Everything you need to know about management development. Management Development is a systematic process of training and growth by which individuals gain and apply knowledge, skills, insights, and attitudes to manage work organizations effectively.

Management development is a key component of an organizations effort to prepare its employee to successfully handle new challenges. Management development helps managers to understand new cultures and customs that have become an integral part of the global market.

“Management development includes the process by which managers and management acquire not only skills and competency in their present jobs but also capabilities for future managerial tasks of increasing difficulty and scope.” —Flippo

MDP is the process adopted to supply knowledge, skills, attitudes, and insights to managerial personnel, and help them manage their work effectively and efficiently.


Management development is the systematic process of training and growth with the ultimate purpose of organizational growth. In management development programmes, the faculty members share their experiences in organizational context using anecdotes relevant to the development programmes.

Learn about:-

1. What is Management Development? 2. Definitions of Management Development 3. Concept 4. Need 5. Objectives 6. Importance 7. Process 8. Methods 9. Programmes.

Management Development: Definitions, Concept, Need, Objectives, Importance, Process, Methods and Programmes


  1. What is Management Development?
  2. Definitions of Management Development
  3. Concept of Management Development
  4. Need for Management Development
  5. Objectives of Management Development
  6. Importance of Management Development
  7. Process of Management Development
  8. Management Development Methods
  9. Management Development Programmes

Management Development – What is Management Development?

Management Development is a systematic process of training and growth by which individuals gain and apply knowledge, skills, insights, and attitudes to manage work organizations effectively. Management development programs shape the managers into new personalities.


There is a change of attitude and understanding as a result of these programs. Management develop­ment needs to be a planned, systematic process that integrates the organizations response to changing external and internal environments with the aspirations of individuals within.

The change of attitudes and the eventual change of personality is not a one shot approach. It is a long process. Therefore, it requires a planned approach. Such an approach must be flex­ible enough to accommodate any internal and external environmental changes. Without such accommodation, the developmental process may not take root.

The increasing complexity of problems, both technological and environmental, demands more rigorous skills and talents from managers. The managers who fail to keep themselves informed as to what goes on in the environment may turn out to be losers. Whatever the developmental programs designed by the organization or the individual, it must sense these and other changes and restructure their programs to meet new objectives and goals.


Environment for Management Development:

Environment means the surrounding or atmosphere in which the employees are working in a particular organisation. Environment is affected by attitude of management, relationship between managers and employees, rules, regulations, authority, delegation of authority, autonomy, accountability, responsibility, working conditions, welfare and compensation system.

All these factors are controllable factors and management can adjust these factors to create healthy working environment. If the healthy working environment is created, management development programme is possible. Otherwise question of MD programme does not arise. Further to plan, implement and review MD programme, support of top management is essential.

Initiative should be taken by the top management in this regard. The general awareness regarding globalisation and challenges created by this should be very high. The management should analyse the situation very carefully and timely.


The emerging trends are to be identified and their impacts are to be assessed. The gap between the existing and required talents should be found with the help of experts or consultants. There should be open discussion with the experts in this regard. For development of the organisation the different interventions are to be decided. The management development is one of them.

The proper focus should be given on this because the business activities are planned and managed by the managers. Proper support, allocation of budget and favourable change in attitude of top management towards manpower would create healthy environment. That is highly suitable for management development programme in the progressive organisation

Management Development – Definitions Propounded by Dessler and Varkkey, Jucius, Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, Flippo and Johnson

The terms ‘management development’ and ‘executive development’ are used interchangeably. According to Dessler and Varkkey, management development is any attempt to improve managerial performance by imparting knowledge, changing attitude or increasing skills.

According to Jucius, ‘Management development is the programme by which executive’s capacities to achieve desired objectives are increased’.


Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy have defined development as ‘an effort to provide employees with the abilities the organisation will need in the future’.

Thus, the process of executive development is important as it enables managers to develop their man­agement skills. It improves their morale and motivation and equips them to shoulder more responsibili­ties easily at the time of their promotion.

Some of the important definitions of Management Development are as follows:

“Management development includes the process by which managers and management acquire not only skills and competency in their present jobs but also capabilities for future managerial tasks of increasing difficulty and scope.” —Flippo


“Management development focuses on developing in a systematic manner, the knowledge base, attitudes, basic skills, interpersonal skills and technical skills of the managerial cadre”. —Johnson

Management development is a key component of an organizations effort to prepare its employee to successfully handle new challenges. Management development helps managers to understand new cultures and customs that have become an integral part of the global market.

It helps managers to equip themselves with the latest technologies, tools and techniques for improved quality and performance.

Management Development Concept

Executive or management development is a continuous process of learning and growth designed to bring behavioural change among the executives. It implies that there will be a change in knowledge and behaviour of the individuals undergoing development programme.

The individual will be able to perform his present assignment better and also increase his potential for future assignments through the acquisition, understanding and use of new knowledge, insights and skills. The learning process involves the implication that there will be changed behaviour on the part of the individuals given the adequate training and education.

Managers develop not only by participating in formal courses of instruction drawn by the organization, but also through actual job experience in the organization. It should be recognized that it is for the organization to establish the developmental opportunities for its managers and potential managers.

But an equal, perhaps more important, counterpart to the efforts of the organization are those of the individuals. Self-development is an important concept in the whole programme of management development

The important assumptions and concerns behind management development are as follows:

1. An executive needs development throughout his work life and his professional career. Thus, management development is an on-going activity.

2. There always exists a gap between ‘required performance level’ and the ‘capacity’ of an individual. Management must fill in the gap to provide an opportunity for improvement.

3. Some personal variables (such as age, habits, level of motivation, state of mind, etc.,) retard the growth of an individual.

4. In work situation, growth involves stresses and strains. Development can seldom take place in a completely peaceful atmosphere.

5. Involvement and participation are inescapable for growth.

6. In addition to the methodology of achievement, there must be defined objectives and goals required to be achieved.

7. Shortcomings must be identified. Feedback and counseling to junior colleagues mentioning the shortcomings and applying suitable HRD instruments to overcome the shortcomings are essentially required.

Management Development – Why is Management Development Needed?

A business organisation has to develop the potential of all those who are in management positions or who are fresh from management positions or who are fresh from management institutions and have the potential for development.

This development is necessary because of the following reasons:

(a) The competition for talented people who are capable of development is increasing. They are less in supply as per the demand. The need for their development in organisation is felt. The talented persons can give better performance for improving effectiveness of the organisation.

(b) Society is facing a rapid rate of technological and social change. Under changing business environment the changes are to be managed so that technology can be operated properly and products and services can be modified as per needs of the customers in the society.

(c) Business and industrial leaders are increasingly recognising their social and public responsibilities which call for a much broader outlook on the part of management. The social responsibility is to be fulfilled to stay in high image of the public.

(d) Managers have to be developed for handling problems arising out of increasing size and complexity of organisations. Due to entry in a large number of markets with more number of products the size is increasing and organisation is becoming more complex. To deal with this situation the skilled managers are needed.

(e) There is need to improve performance despite these complicated environmental factors. The efforts are needed in business to improve its product, lower its cost and extend its use will continue to be a major aim of managers. The high competency managers are needed for this purpose.

(f) Management labour relations are becoming increasingly complex. Due to diversity in organisation the relationship between different parties becomes a major issue. The trained and experienced managers can deal this situation properly for developing healthy work environment.

(g) To understand and adjust to changes in socio-economic forces including changes in public policy and concepts of social justice and industrial democracy problems of ecology.

But it was also pointed out that if the human resource is to become a critical success factor; organisations must be prepared to develop individual managers and management teams that are not only flexible, adaptable and innovative in technical, financial and business issues, but skilled in HRM as well. To achieve this, organisations must be prepared to establish as a strategic imperative, greater investment in continuous management education and development.

Organisations which take sincere efforts and invest in management development process for development of the managers and potential managers, it gets benefits in the following activities –

(a) Exploit future opportunities and potential.

(b) Adapt successfully in the face of major change.

(c) Develop new markets and products.

(d) Retain and motivate employees.

(e) Create and sustain an effective management team.

(f) Survive and prosper.

From the study of the above mentioned points it is said that the management development is the need of the changing global business environment. The change agents take it as an OD intervention for educating, training and motivating the managers to shoulder the challenging responsibility.

This contributes in improving the performance of managers, employees and organisation with healthy working relationship. The organisation gets multidimensional benefits out of this. Due to these reasons management development is needed in the present competitive situation.

Management Development – Level-Wise Objectives of Management Development: Top Management, Middle Line Management & Middle Functional Executive & Specialists

The level-wise objectives of management development are as follows:

Objective # 1. Top Management:

(i) To improve thought processes and analytical ability in order to uncover and examine problems and take decisions in the best interests of the company.

(ii) To broaden the outlook of the executive in regard to his role, position and responsibilities in the organization and outside.

(iii) To think through problems which may confront the organization now or in the future.

(iv) To understand economic, technical and institutional forces in order to solve business problems.

(v) To acquire knowledge about the problems of human relations.

Objective # 2. Middle Line Management:

(i) To establish a clear picture of executive functions and responsibilities.

(ii) To bring about an awareness of the broad aspects of management problems, and an acquaintance with, and appreciation of, inter-departmental relations.

(iii) To develop the ability to analyze problems and to take appropriate action.

(iv) To develop familiarity with the managerial uses of financial accounting, psychology, business law and business statistics.

(v) To inculcate knowledge of human motivation and human relationships, and

(vi) To develop responsible leadership.

Objective # 3. Middle Functional Executive and Specialists:

(i) To increase knowledge of business functions and operations in specified fields in marketing, production, and finance and personnel management.

(ii) To increase proficiency in management techniques (e.g., work study, inventory control, operations research, and quality control).

(iii) To stimulate creative thinking in order to improve methods and procedures.

(iv) To understand the functions performed in a company.

(v) To understand human relations problems.

(vi) To develop the ability to analyze problems in one’s areas of functions.

Management Development – Importance

Management or executive development is an organised and: planned process and programme of training and growth by which individual manager or executive at each level of manage­ment hierarchy gains and applies knowledge, skills, insights and attitudes to manage workers and the work organisations effectively.

Of course, it is beyond the shadow of doubt that the com­pany can only create the favourable climate for the development of managers. Ultimately, in any programme of management development, self-development will be the key-factor to deter­mine the success of the programme of executive development.

In other words, the participants in this programme must have the capacity to learn and develop and they must be highly motivated to achieve the planned objectives. Executive develop­ment is the guided self-discovery and self-development.

Management Development is important because of the following reasons:

(1) Management and labour relationship is becoming more complex.

(2) Business and industrial leaders are increasingly recognizing their social and public responsibilities.

(3) Management of public utilities, state enterprises and civic bodies are being professionalized in order to improve operational efficiency.

(4) Rapid technological and social change in society requires training of managers.

(5) The size and complexity of organizations are increasing day by day.

Management Development – Process: 5 Steps in the Process of Management Development

The process of management development should follow certain steps:

1. Determination of Organization’s Objectives:

The process of management development must begin by looking at the organization’s objectives. The objectives will provide us the direction we must go and give a framework to determine our managerial needs.

2. Appraisal of Current Management Resources:

On the basis of the information gathered from human resource planning, we can prepare an executive inventory. The executive inventory can provide us background and qualifications of our current managers as to appraise our current management resources.

3. Ascertain the Development Activities:

The third step in a sound management development is to ascertain the development activities needed to ensure that we have adequate managerial talent to fulfill future managerial needs. This analysis can tell us the potential obsolescence of some our executives, the inexperience or shortage of managers in certain functions, and skill deficiencies relative to our future needs.

4. Determine Individual Development Needs:

The next step is to identify individual development needs: skill development, changing attitudes, and knowledge acquisition. Generally, most of management development effort focuses on the changing of attitudes and the acquisition of knowledge in specific areas.

The assessment centre can prove to be an effective tool to determine what specific development attempts our managers need. The assessment centers can also be used to assess current and potential managers to find out what development activities might be necessary to improve their job performance. Assessment centers thus become a definitive source for selecting and developing managers.

5. Evaluation:

The final step in the process is to evaluate the management development efforts. Once managers have engaged in development activities, it is necessary to assess changes in behavior and managerial performance.

Management Development Methods – 7 Methods: In Basket, Business Games, Sensitivity Training, Understudy, Multiple Management and a Few Others   

The different types of methods are used to acquire and develop different types of managerial skills and abilities. According to David Ewing, “The managerial personnel must rely that they will not survive unless they keep pace with modern management, education, research theory, principles and practice.” These methods have been classified in five broad categories, viz.; decision- making skill, interpersonal skills, job knowledge, organisation’s knowledge, and specific needs.

Method # 1. In Basket:

The coverage of this type of method is around the incoming mail of a manager. The trainee is given a number of business papers such as reports, memoranda, and telephone messages that would typically come across a manager’s desk. The paper is presented in no particular order. The trainee is required to act on the information contained in these papers. The first step in this method is to fix the priorities of matters and then take appropriate actions accordingly.

This method is simple, easy and expensive. The decisions are very fast but the major value depends upon the amount of feedback and reinforcement provided. The feedback on his decisions, forces the manager to reconsider not only his administrative actions but also his behavioral style.

Method # 2. Business Games:

Business games are classroom simulations exercises in which teams of individual compete against one another in order to achieve a given objective. These simulations attempt to duplicate to selected parts of particular situation which are then manipulated by the participants. The participants are assigned such role as president, controller, marketing, manager, etc. They make decisions affective price level, production volume and inventory levels.

The results of their decisions are manipulated by a computer programme with the results stimulating those of an actual business situation. The participants are able to see how their decisions affect other groups vice versa. These games are intended to teach trainees how to take management decisions in an integrated manner. They provide increased understanding of complex relationships among organisational units.

Though business games are relatively difficult and expensive to develop. As per views of Taylor and Lippit (1975), “The trainees almost always react favourably to a well-run game and it is a good technique for developing problem solving and leadership skills.”

Method # 3. Sensitivity Training:

This method was originally developed by Kurt Lenin and popularized by the National Training Laboraties, USA under Leland Broadford. This technique works on the basic assumption that change in behaviour cannot come by knowledge alone practice in human relations creates an atmosphere for change in attitudes and approaches.

According to Chris Argyris (1972), “Sensitivity Training in a group experience designed to provide maximum possible opportunity for the individuals to expose their behaviour give and receive feedback, experiment with new behaviour, and develop awareness of self of others.”

The objective of this training includes an understanding of oneself and sensitivity to others; an ability to listen to others and to communicate diagnostic understanding of group problem; an ability to contribute effectively and properly to the work of group and an understanding of the complexities of inter group and intra-organisation problems . The methodology generally adopted is that small group of eight to twelve persons meet in an unstructured learning situation away from the job.

The professional trainer acts as a catalyst. He provides an opportunity for group members to express their ideas and feelings freely in its own methods of proceeding. The individuals are allowed to focus on behaviour rather than on duties. Each group member is encouraged to say what he is thinking and how they see others in the group. The emphasis is on a face to face interaction and confrontation.

Mathis (1990) observes, “Because of its nature, the sensitivity training group is a controversial technique. Some believe that it is unethical, impractical and dangerous.” At the same time, this training leads to increase empathy towards problems of others and also increased interpersonal competence in dealing with relationship and problem solving. It is an effective team building exercise. It results in increased organisation performance and profit.

Method # 4. Understudy:

An understudy is a person who is under training to assume, at a future time, the full duties and responsibilities of the position currently held by his superior, In this way, a competent person as much as superior is available to organisation to fill the position which may fall vacant because of absence or illness, promotion, transfer and retirement.

An understudy may be picked by the head of a particular department. It helps the superior to lighten his workload by delegating some portion of his work to a designed person. This exercise would be beneficial only when trainees get a real opportunity to deal with challenging or interesting assignments instead of performing paper shuffling chores. The chances of costly mistake are also eliminated by understudy method, this method also suffers from some amount of favours by superior during the selection of person.

Method # 5. Multiple Management:

It is also called a Junior Board of Executives. In this type of method; advisory Committees of junior level executives are formed by Chief Executive of the organisations to study problems of the organisation and make recommendations to higher management. In this way juniors get an opportunity to share in managerial decision making and to learn by watching others.

These Committees may be temporary or permanent depending upon nature and assignment. The temporary assignments can be both interesting and rewarding to the employee’s growth. This method helps Board Members to gain first-hand knowledge on various issues, at the same time juniors also get a chance to improve their problem solving skills. It is relatively an expansive way of development of juniors.

Method # 6. Special Projects:

Under this method, a trainee is put on a project closely related to the objectives of his department. The project will give a first-hand experience of the problems and prospects.

Method # 7. Committee Assignment:

In this method an adhoc committee is appointed to discuss, evaluate and offer suggestions relating to an important aspect of business.

Management development programmes should be carefully- evaluated with a view to determine effective methods, procedures and devices. Attempts should be made to assess the extent to which these programmes have accomplished the objectives and needs.

Management Development – Management Development Programmes (MDP): Meaning, Objectives, Content, Process, Guidelines and Pre-Requisites for Successful MDP

MDP is the process adopted to supply knowledge, skills, attitudes, and insights to managerial personnel, and help them manage their work effectively and efficiently. Management development is the systematic process of training and growth with the ultimate purpose of organizational growth. In management development programmes, the faculty members share their experiences in organizational context using anecdotes relevant to the development programmes.

Objectives of Management Development Programme:

Management development programmes must aim to achieve the following objectives:

1. To provide the organization with the required numbers of managers having the ability to meet the present and future organizational needs

2. To inculcate a sense of self-dependency and achievement among managers

3. To encourage the managers to keep themselves up to date, and grow to meet the challenges, cope up with the changes, and handle complex situations and greater problems

4. To discharge their responsibilities with improved performance

5. To sustain good performance and gain distinctive competence.

Contents of a Management Development Programme:

The contents of a management development programme depend to a large extent upon the needs of an enterprise. Such programmes are basically personnel development programmes which provide a frame­work for the consideration of problems in developing an executive or management development programme.

The items generally covered are individual development techniques, organisation analysis and planning, managerial appraisal and inventory, and such other items which may increase the skill of existing managers so that they may shoulder more responsibilities easily after promotion and so on.

Thus, a management development programme must have:

1. A carefully considered plan and organisation for carrying out such a programme

2. A periodic appraisal of each executive regarding his/her performance, skill and capabilities and need for further development

3. After evaluation, the plans for individual development should be chalked out and then the programme should be organised

4. Programme evaluation, in terms of its cost and time, is also essential.

As a matter of fact, the contents of development programmes should be based on the tasks the executives are most likely to encounter. That is why we find that most executive development programmes take up various subjects connected with handling people, that is, human relations.

According to Michael J. Jucius, under such programmes, the subjects such as the following ones are discussed:

1. Present-day labour management philosophy and policies

2. Working with others through organisational channels

3. Communicating up and down organisational channels

4. Employment policies and practices

5. Training and education policies and practices

6. Discipline, grievances, and rules and regulations

7. Employee services and recreation

8. Transfers, promotions, merit and seniority policies

9. The union contract—its meaning and implications

10. Community agencies and institutions.

As an executive has to work as a leader, the contents of an executive development programme should be related to the characteristics a leader should possess.

Michael J. Jucius has pointed the following char­acteristics to which attention should be paid in executive development programmes:

1. Ability to think

2. Ability to organise

3. Ability to handle people

4. Ability to plan

5. Ability to lead

6. Ability to obtain and interpret facts

7. Loyalty

8. Decisiveness

9. Teaching ability

10. Ability to solve problems

11. Courage

12. Self-motivation

13. Desire for achievement and prestige

14. Social balance and understanding

15. Sense of responsibility

16. Emotional balance and poise

17. Ability to influence people, individually and in groups

18. Attitude towards subordinates and associates

19. Attitude towards community and associations

20. Attitude towards economic and political systems.

While establishing its own development programme, an organisation should give consideration to outside practices and also take its own needs into consideration.

Management Development Programme Process:

The following steps are involved in the process of management development programme:

1. Diagnosis of Organization’s Needs – It is necessary to identify the organisations needs in the line of organisation’s objectives for the development of its managers.

2. Appraisal of Present Managers Abilities – To find out the gap between the actual performance of job and the standard performance of job.

3. Set the Objectives of Development Programme – Now the next step is to set the objectives of a particular management development programme.

4. Preparation of Manager Inventory – For the purpose of getting manager inventory the following information about each manager is necessary- Name, age, qualification, work experience, tenure of service, place of posting, nature of job and performance appraisal data, etc. This helps in the selection of manager for development programmes.

5. Planning of Individual Development Programme – On the basis of manager inventory, it is easy to find out the strengths and weaknesses of each of the managers. This helps in training framing and launching tailor made programmes.

6. Establishment of Development Programme – After this the responsibility of HR manager or Training and Development manager is to establish development programme for manager like leadership courses, decision making, creative thinking, management games and sensitivity training etc.

7. Evaluation of Development Programme – The last step is to evaluate the development programme in the line of the objectives of the programme. According to Tracey (1971) the most important means of evaluating development programme are observation, ratings, training surveys and training interviews.

Guidelines of Management Development Programme:

i. All development is no doubt self- development.

ii. We must have individual programme based upon the background, current needs and prospects for future assignments of the manager.

iii. Development takes place be­cause of some action or reaction on the part of the learner- the learner must interact with the stimulus. Actual practice in applying management knowledge is essential.

iv. Controls (de­fined goals, set procedures, known time schedule, cost con­sciousness) help development.

v. The organisation climate affects development of executives. A company cannot train its managers to operate by the book, if it does not follow the book in its daily work. Company must accept change and create favourable climate for MDP.

vi. Line managers are directly responsible for MDP.

vii. The boss himself must be a good teacher, counseller, and motivator, and set a good example. Influence of the boss is crucial.

viii. MDP is a long-range pro­cess.

The basic perquisites for a successful management development program are given below:

(i) Management development starts with the selection of the right candidates for managerial ranks. It is essential to ensure that good material is fed into the program at the entry levels.

(ii) Management development should .be identified as an important and continuous activity in the organization,

(iii) There should be a realistic timetable in accordance with the needs of the company. This timetable should take into account the need for managerial personnel over a sufficiently long period. The resource which are available and the ones which have to be acquired should be estimated,

(iv) Management development must match the needs of the organization and the individual,

(v) Managers must take up the responsibility of developing their subordinates for greater responsibilities,

(vi) Managers must be motivated to invest time in the development of themselves and their subordinates using special reward systems.

The management development program should be based on a definite strategy, which should spell out the type, coverage and objectives of the program. A multi-tier supervisory and management development program should start from the first line supervisor and go all the way up to the top management.

Considerations for Effective Management Development:

There are number of important considerations, they are:

1. Management development programmes are presented as rational and mechanistic in orientation. They utilise universal blue prints and frameworks to guide the production of effective manager. There is a systematic and logical process with clearly identifiable stages. Managers are selected for training.

2. Attitudes and awareness- Different types of attitudes and awareness with regard to management development will exist at different levels within the organisation and influence the approach that is adopted

3. Different goals and objectives- Different organisational groups and individuals will influence and shape management development approaches. Each will have its own set of aims and objectives.