Employee Relations and Development

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Employee Relations and Development







Employee Relations and Development Motorola Case Study


The world is currently a global village with a very volatile market where competition is stiff than ever before. For companies to compete and remain successful, they have to offer the customers the best quality in services as well as goods (University of Minnesota, 2012). Of a company to offer quality goods and services, it has to have a very highly competent production force. This force can only be the employees of the organization. For the employees to have competence and high skills to guarantee quality production, their training and development is crucial. Employee training and development is the joint continuous process where both the organization and the employees come in to advance the knowledge, skills as well as the abilities of the employees. Many companies have realized that employee training and development is very important for the continued improvement of quality and production (Vemic, 2007). Motorola, one of the leading renowned companies in production of electronic and telecommunication gadgets, is also one of the leading companies in training and development of employees.

Background Information

Motorola Company is on of the leading electronic and telecommunication products maker that was started in 1928 by Galvin brothers, Paul and Joseph (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005). The company started with manufacturing of ‘battery eliminator’, which was meant to eliminate the use of batteries I radio, and make them use electricity directly. Motorola begun training its employees almost the same time it was started, with an aim newly recruited employees how to manufacture the gadgets it made using the manufacturing equipments as well as how to handle them. Everything was technical in the training. Since then, almost eighty decades, the company has been recognized as the best company in providing training for its employees. During the 1980s, the company was recognized as the role model in training of employees. During the same decade, the company made training a continuous process unlike before when it only involved training new recruits (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005).

During this decade, the company set up a training center known as the Motorola Training and Education Center, an institute that was served with the responsibility of training and developing the employees of the company. Towards the end of the decade, in 1989, the institute was made a university (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005). Through training and development offered by the university improved production continuously throughout the years, as well as quality. Their products were known for quality and precision, which made the company receive an award for best company in training and development. Through Motorola, other companies realized that training and development of employees is of benefit to both the company and the employees, which pay off quite well in terms of productivity and performance (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005).

In training and development of employees, several players must be present for the development and training to take place. Each of the players is served with their responsibility, which they must fulfill in order to make the training and development to be a success. The key players in training and development in Motorola are the employees, who are to be trained and developed, supervisors, the human resource, the supervisors and the management. All the players are equally important. However, for Motorola, the university is yet another player involved in the training.

The supervisors are the first players in the training and development. The supervisors are served with the role of identifying the training needs of the employees they supervise. Supervisors in the Motorola Company included management too. The supervisors were served with the responsibility of training the subordinates through setting a good example before the training center was established. The supervisors also took the responsibility of coaching the employees in order to understand what they needed to develop their skills and knowledge. More so, the supervisors were supposed to provide the employees with a feedback concerning their progress in performance after training. They are also involved in guiding planning and goal setting and checking the performance of the employees to assess the progress made (University of Minnesota, 2012).

The employees on the other hand have their role to play considering they are the subjects to the training. In any training and development, the employees are supposed to take part in identifying their training needs and asking for help in areas they are interested in learning (University of Minnesota, 2012). During the initial establishment of the Motorola Training and Education Center, the employees were supposed to embrace taking formal classes to train on new technologies as well as concepts. However, this was faced by resistance since very few were willing to take them. The management tried to use take away assignments, which the employees were supposed to return but also never worked. The employees were not much willing to play their part considering it was a new kind of training. Before the World War II In addition, training only involved teaching the workers to do particular tasks, and were not required to be creative. Rather, they would lonely do the tasks day after day, and in cases where equipments breakdown, outside expertise had to be sought. After the war, many things changed including technology, forcing even management to take up broader roles other than just management. This forced workers to train more in other operations involved in their work. The employees become players in their own development.

The human resource department plays the bigger role in employee training and development. In the Motorola Company, the human resource department plays a crucial role of identifying and planning the training and development. During the 1970s, Motorola set to modify the training of its employee (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005). The strategic training and development was meant to train and develop employees in accordance with the new emerging technology as well as concepts of new operations. The human resource conducted a study of the employees, concerning their skills, knowledge and abilities (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005). The human resource did not just test their capabilities in their respective tasks; rather, it conducted a study on their general knowledge including communication skills, arithmetic among other areas that would enable them to be creative in their work, as well as allow better interaction in the workplace. The study found that many of the workers only had skills for their specific tasks, and lacked more knowledge in other fields. Through this study, the human resource identified many areas for training the employees. The other role played by the human resource was now organizing the training to take place. The human resource was also involved in designing the training for the employees, which was set to take five years (Ghoshal, Bartlett & Moran, 2005).


In this case study, it is assumed that all employees were able to identify their training needs for their development. This assumes that all employees played their part in working with the human resource and supervisors for their own development. In addition, it is assumed the     case study was unbiased in representing issues of training and development in the company. It is also assumed that management was part of the supervisors since all levels and department in Motorola Company are required to undertake training. In addition, it is also assumed the university offers training to Motorola employees only and new recruits.

Point of View

Establishing a university specifically designed for the Motorola Company is a move that elevates the standards of skills and competence in a company. Considering the advancement in technology that is posing great competition, having a training and development educational center is a major investment towards not only enhancing performance and quality, but also innovations that are a major competitive ad advantage especially if it is a new idea (Vemic, 2007). Enhancing training and development does not just benefit the employees and the organization, but also the consumers. Through improved skills and competence, customers are afforded a great deal of quality and perfect goods that guarantee a good value for their money.

Management practices and principles involved

There are several management principles and practices involved in training and development of employees, which are evident in the Motorola Company. One of the management principles involved is maintaining sustainable development within the corporate level through training executives as well as employees. Another of the principles involved is the facilitating of improving product designs, their use, disposal, and avoiding of wastage. The other principle is improving the overall company to realize the best value for shareholders money. Some of the practices involved are facilitating training and development, which is one of the management practices that is crucial in a company for continued growth. Motorola, more than any other company has been very active in this practice, which is their strategy in developing better goods for the consumers.

Motorola has been recognized as the leading company in employee training and development. It is not surprising that it is among the leading companies in providing consumers with products of state of the art, with high quality. This can be attributed to their training initiatives that have come along way, being the first company to have its own university meant to train and develop its employees. In addition, the company dopes not discriminate who will receive training; rather, it provides training to its entire employee across the globe. Training and development should be seen as a long-term investment, which ensures continued improvement of the company. Through training, workers are able to gain more skills and competence, which is brought back to the organization.



Ghoshal, S., Bartlett, C.A., & Moran, P. (2005). Employee Training and Development at Motorola. Sloan Management Review.

University of Minnesota. (2012). Employee Development. Retrieved from: http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/toolkit/development/index.html

Vemic, J. (2007). Employee Training and Development and the Learning Organization. Economics and organization, 4 (2): 209-216.


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