Indian Institute of Management
Research and Technology Development Service
Research, Extension and Training Division, FAO
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
MANAGEMENT O AGRICULTURL RESARC
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the
purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director,
Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale
delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this
publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever
on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or
area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its
frontiers or boundaries.
There has been a tremendous development of agricultural research in developing countries
over the past few decades, during which time investment in agricultural research from both
national resources and international assistance has increased markedly. However, agricultural
research institutions are generally managed by veteran agricultural research workers promoted
for seniority rather than for management training and skills. Further, there are few courses
available on the management of agricultural research, and solutions and models used in the
developed world may not be appropriate for developing countries.
FAO has actively participated in strengthening the national agricultural research
systems of developing countries, and has stressed the importance of effective organization and
management for efficient research systems. The need for training in this area is great, -and
resources particularly trained human resources are limited. FAO has therefore developed
a training programme on agricultural research management to support the training of trainers,
with the expectation of a multiplier effect, and to facilitate a common perception of the
structure and terminology of management, thus enhancing communication and understanding
among agricultural research managers in discussing management problems, solutions and
This training manual has been prepared as a basic reference resource for national
trainers, to help them structure and conduct their own courses on management at the institute
level. A separate manual will cover project and programme management. This manual is
based on the four structural functions of management: planning, organizing, monitoring and
controlling, and evaluating, each of which is covered in individual modules. Within each
module, the manual addresses pervasive management functions, including motivating,
leading, directing, priority setting, communicating and delegating, which are at all times a
concern to all managers. Topics such as leadership, motivation, human resources
management, policies and procedures are treated separately in individual sessions.
This manual as been designed for participatory learning through case studies, group
exercises, presentations by the participants and participatory lectures. Throughout the
manual, particular effort has been made to use the cases studied to capture the unique and
rich experience of developing country research managers in tackling policy, programme and
the day-to-day problems of managing research institutions and systems.
This publication is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes
in developing countries and for higher education institutions interested in launching in-service
training courses on research management. However, it is hoped that agricultural research
managers everywhere will also find it useful. The manual provides a course structure with
contents that can be built upon and enriched. Users are therefore encouraged to send
suggestions for its improvement.
Louise O. Fresco
Research, Extension and Training Division
iv Introductory module
The task of preparing a training manual on Agricultural Research Institute Management began
with the FAO Expert Consultation on Strategies for Research Management Training in
Africa, held at the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
12-16 December 1983. Following the recommendations of the consultation, and on the basis
of the curriculum design adopted, FAO embarked upon the preparation of this manual. In
the process of its preparation, many agricultural research managers and management
specialists have contributed. Besides the two main consultants, namely Dr Ronald P. Black,
Denver Research Institute, University of Denver, USA, who prepared the first draft, and Dr
V.N. Asopa, Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India, who
prepared the current version of the manual, the contribution of the following specialists in
various fields must be singled out: Ramesh Bhat, J. Casas, A.K. Jain, F.S. Kanwar,
V. Martinson, Gopal Naik, P. Nath, R.K. Patel, T.P. Rama Rao, S.K. Sharma,
E.S. Tayengco, and J.S. Woolston. FAO expresses its gratitude to them all.
Special thanks are due to the International Service for National Agricultural Research
(ISNAR), which has willingly made available its valuable experience and relevant materials
throughout the preparation of the manual.
FAO also thanks all those authors and publishers who have allowed the use of
copyright material from their publications, and the courtesy is recognized in each case.
This manual has been prepared under the responsibility of the Research Development
Centre, Research and Technology Development Division, FAO, with the guidance of:
Mohamed S. Zehni, former Director; and J.H. Monyo, E. Venezian and B. Miiller-Haye,
past Chiefs of the Research Development Centre. Scientific supervision was provided by
G. Beye, Senior Officer, now Chief, Research Technology and Development Service.
Training manual for institute management
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Research management: a key ingredient 4
Components of a worldwide agricultural research management programme 5
Defining FAO's role 5
Modus operandi 5
The Manual 6
Evolution of the training manual 6
Institute management 8
User's guide 9
Design of the manual 9
Session sheet 10
Session guide 10
Instructional materials 10
Background readings 10
Recommended readings 10
Design flexibility 11
Workshop schedule 11
Organizing a training workshop 11
Appendix 1 Management orientation and decision making 13
Understanding the situation 13
Will to act and action orientation 14
Problem-solving approach 14
Defining the problem 14
Generating alternatives 15
Specifying criteria 15
Evaluation and decision 16
Developing an action plan 16
Feedback and contingency planning 16
vi Introductory module
Appendix 2 Case method 17
What is a case? 17
Types of cases 17
Dimensions of a case 18
Case discussion 18
Usefulness of the case method 19
Acquiring knowledge 19
Developing skills 19
Forming attitudes and values 19
Behavioural learning 19
Facilitating the process of learning 19
Training of managers 20
Using the case method 20
Sequential process of the case method 21
Role of the resource person 22
Role of participants 23
Guidance to participants 23
Utility of small group discussions 24
Case development and writing 25
Identifying case development needs 25
Developing case leads 25
Initial clearance 26
Data collection 26
Preparing the case outline 26
Preparing a case draft 27
Clearance, registration and testing 27
Teaching notes 28
Appendix 3 Summary of course contents 29
Appendix 4 Illustrative schedule for a workshop on agricultural research
institute management 31
Appendix 5 Management training 37
Aims for management training 37
Some critical aspects of learning 37
Participation and practice 38
Feedback and reinforcement 38
Application of learning 38
Training manual for institute management vii
Appendix 6 Planning and management of short-duration, executive
development programmes 39
Problems in managing SEDPs 40
First-day problems 40
Some participants switch off ... 40
... While others dominate 40
All face mid-programme blues 40
Total breakdown 41
Non-academic concerns 41
Suggestions to the programme coordinator 41
Screening participants 41
Planning the course and teaching material 42
The first day 42
On Subsequent Days 43
Designing a learning climate 43
Monitoring and reviewing the programme 44
Suggestions to programme faculty 44
First and last sessions 44
Planning the programme 45
Other aspects 45
Suggestions to participants 45
References cited and sources for further reading 46
The other Modules are:
Module 1 INSTITUTIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH:
ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
Session 1. MANAGEMENT: THOUGHT AND PROCESS
Session 2. OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
Session 3. ORGANIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
Session 4. ORGANIZATION OF NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SYSTEMS
Module 2 RESEARCH PLANNING
Session 1. PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH PLANNING
Session 2. THE INSTITUTE-LEVEL PLANNING PROCESS
Session 3. SETTING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Session 4. FROM OBJECTIVES TO AN OPERATIONAL PLAN
Session 5. PARTICIPATORY PLANNING EXERCISE
Session 6. CASE STUDY: PLANNING AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN MUGHAL
Module 3 ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES AND DESIGN
Session 1. ORGANIZATIONAL THEORIES
Session 2. STRUCTURE OF AN ORGANIZATION
viii Introductory module
Session 3. ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN AND CHANGE
Session 4. CASE STUDY: ESTABLISHMENT OF A DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH AT
SORONNO UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE
Session 5. CASE STUDY: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE AT SAMARU, NIGERIA
Module 4 LEADERSHIP, MOTIVATION, TEAM BUILDING AND
Session 1. LEADERSHIP
Session 2. MOTIVATION
Session 3. TEAM BUILDING
Session 4. THE IRRI AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT PROGRAMME CASE STUDY: IRRI
MANAGEMENT COMPARES IRRI WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTES
Session 5. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Session 6. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY: DR AGADIR
Module 5 MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES
Session 1. RECRUITING AND MAINTAINING STAFF IN THE RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
Session 2. THE PROFESSIONAL STAFF
Session 3. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT EXERCISE
Session 4. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL
Session 5. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL CASE STUDY: SUZENE KOPEC
Session 6. EXERCISE IN DESIGNING PERFORMANCE EVALUATION FORMATS
Module 6 MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS, COMPUTERS AND
Session 1. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS)
Session 2. MIS EXERCISE
Session 3. COMPUTERS AS MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Session 4. NETWORK TECHNIQUES
Session 5. PERT AND CPM EXERCISE
Module 7 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Session 1. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 1: COMPONENTS AND INFORMATION NEEDS
Session 2. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 2: PLANNING AND BUDGETING
Session 3. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 3: PROJECT DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Session 4. CASE STUDY: FARO ARROYA
Session 5. GENERATING FUNDS THROUGH CONSULTING AS AN INSTITUTIONAL
ACTIVITY. CASE STUDY: FOOD TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF DONGAL
Module 8 RESEARCH-EXTENSION LINKAGE
Single Session: RESEARCH-EXTENSION LINKAGE
Module 9 INFORMATION SERVICES AND DOCUMENTATION
Session 1. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN A DEVELOPING-COUNTRY
Session 2: INFORMATION AS AN INPUT TO RESEARCH
Session 3: INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH
Session 4: COOPERATION IN NATIONAL PROGRAMMES
Session 5: EXERCISE ON BARRIERS TO THE FLOW OF INFORMATION
Module 10 INSTITUTE EVALUATION
Single Session: INSTITUTE EVALUATION
Training manual for institute management ix
used in the text
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
ECA UN Economic Commission for Africa
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ICIPE International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology
ILCA International Livestock Research Centre for Africa
ISNAR International Service for National Agricultural Research
MIS management information systems
OAU/STRC/SAFGRAD Consultative Advisory Committee on Semi-Arid
Food Grain research and Development of the Scientific Technical
and Research Commission of the Organization of African Unity
NARS national agricultural research systems
R&D research and development
RDC Research Development Centre
SEDP short-duration, executive development programme
TAC Technical Advisory Committee
TCDC Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries
Training manual for institute management 1
In all of the fields of science, there is none that is more basic to the needs of humanity than
agricultural research. Some have suggested that 'agricultural research is the oldest form of
organized research in the world.' While this may or may not be so, individuals were making
systematic attempts to apply scientific knowledge to improvement of agriculture by the middle
of the eighteenth century. By the middle of the nineteenth century, organized agricultural
research was taking place in institutions such the Agricultural Chemistry Association of
Scotland, and the Agricultural Experiment Station, M6ckern, Saxony. During the first half
of the twentieth century, most industrialized nations developed extensive national systems for
agricultural technology development, which received increased attention and resources
following the Second World War. The practical benefits that accrue to society through
systematic support of creation and use of scientific knowledge had been demonstrated
convincingly to the world's leaders and to much of the general populace of industrialized
societies. This belief that an investment in research would result in generous future returns
was, and probably still is today, based largely on personal experience and observation.
However, starting with Griliches' pioneering work in 1958, there has been a steady
accumulation of economic analysis pointing to very beneficial returns from investments in
Prior to independence, agricultural research in many economies was largely focused on
crops of economic significance for the colonial powers. The research institutions and
experiment stations that emerged usually focused on plantation crops, and were staffed by
expatriate scientists. Following independence, it was normal for governments to initiate
research on improving agriculture to attain food self-sufficiency. This transition from
colonial to national agricultural research systems (NARS) often started with fairly good
research facilities and equipment, and some technicians. It was rare, however, to find a
national who had been trained and nurtured to the level of a scientist, and rarer still to find
such a person with managerial experience.
Still, at that time, the exhilaration of independence, the excitement associated with a new
world organization that would maintain peace and focus resources on the betterment of
mankind, and the awareness that science had and would further revolutionize the world, were
all factors that made it hard to be pessimistic. It was in this environment that new NARS
began to be formed and moulded in the developing countries, in parallel with similar
scientific structures in other fields, such as industry and medicine. In industrialized nations,
the scale of research operations had been changed completely by the end of the Second World
War. Science had moved dramatically to the centre of the stage. Following the War, there
was, to be sure, a change in focus, but not in the magnitude of the support. Science would
lead to rapid development and agricultural research was riding the wave of optimism.
In developing economies, the most pressing problem was to produce adequate supplies
of food. The world responded by creating the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations (FAO), the first article of whose Constitution states:
"The Organization shall promote and, where appropriate, shall recommend national and
international action with respect to:
(a) scientific, technological, social and economic research relating to nutrition, food and
Developing economy governments rose to the challenge by setting up new institutions and
expanding existing ones. In almost all countries, agricultural research was a favoured sector.
The problems of hunger and malnutrition, it was expected, would fall to the march of
Forty years later there are still famines, and children go to bed hungry over much of the
world. Malnutrition still saps the energy and mental vitality of a significant portion of the
The FAO 1992-97 Medium-term Plan notes:
"... by the end of the 1990s, there will be over one thousand million more people to feed
than at the beginning of the decade. In addition, unless there are unprecedented shifts in
income distribution, both from the North to the South and from the rich to poor within the
South, the 500 to 1 000 million people who are currently underfed largely because they are
too poor to buy sufficient food, will continue to go hungry."
What went wrong? Why did these new agricultural research organizations and resources not
meet the expectations?
In retrospect, it can be said that the problems were much more complex than originally
envisioned. Some would contend that scientific skills may have even been inadequate.
Management skills obviously were not adequate, and hence a constraint.
During the eighteenth century, agricultural research was characterized by gifted
individuals working on their own initiative, establishing and recording unrelated findings
which had little impact on agriculture. A management innovation occurred in the nineteenth
century, when learned farmers began to form societies with the objective of defining and
solving their problems. Interacting with interested chemists, these societies took the initiative
in setting up laboratories and field experiments. Agricultural science began to grow and
develop in a systematic fashion, mirrored by improved farming methods and practices.
Looking back, the major questions addressed seemed to have concerned the nature and
structure of the new organizations, the setting of priorities, the proper source of support, the
Training manual for institute management
relationship of research to the farmer, the relative emphasis to be placed on research and
diffusion of research results, the degree of appropriate autonomy for the research
organization, and other issues of management. It was only through effectively dealing with
these management issues in industrialized economies that agricultural research was able to
grow and lead agricultural development into the last quarter of the twentieth century.
However, as noted earlier, agricultural research in developing economies moved into the
same period with inadequate scientific skills and even fewer management skills.
The two very different situations in developing and developed nations both had a very
similar procedural obstacle in the management of research organizations, namely:
"The management of the research organization, at all its levels, is, in most cases, in the
hands of veteran agricultural research workers who have risen from the ranks. This is as
it should be. However, here we have people who, by training and inclination, have usually
been conditioned to averseness to administration in all its manifestations. They are then
made responsible for managerial activities in an extremely complex field, for which they
have had little or no training whatsoever and for which their only qualifications are their
individual character traits and standing with their research colleagues. Administrative
understanding is usually incidental and rarely present."'
This occurs in both industrialized and developing economies, but with two significant
First, in the hundred or so years that management has been a concern to agricultural
research managers in the industrialized societies, a fair amount of management knowledge,
expertise and capability has been generated and passed down from generation to generation.
A new researcher, in say the United States of America, entering an agricultural research
organization is surrounded by people who are fairly effective at managing at their level. The
new scientist learns management on the job, the most effective way to learn most things.
After independence, few developing-economy agricultural research organizations had
indigenous management experience. Managers and staff have had to learn together.
The second difference has had to do with the general management environment. Toward
the end of the nineteenth century, management became a discipline of importance in
industrialized countries. In the early twentieth century, universities began to teach
management, with a focus on industry. Today management is a serious concern of virtually
all segments of society in industrialized countries. This is supported by a multi-million dollar
annual business in management training in those countries. When one comes from a
developing economy to an industrialized one, one is struck by the degree of organization,
discipline, planning and management of virtually everything. This difference between the
two types of economy works to the disadvantage of the developing-economy agricultural
RESEARCH MANAGEMENT: A KEY INGREDIENT
An FAO paper reviewing FAO's experience in strengthening NARS notes that FAO's first
attempt to come to grips with research organization, planning and management issues at the
national level was at an FAO European meeting held in London in October 1951. At the
meeting, a survey of approaches to administration and financing of agricultural research by
European countries was examined. It was also in 1951 that FAO appointed a part-time
1. Arnon, I. 1968. Organization and Administration of Agricultural Research. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
4 Introductory module
officer to deal with agricultural research. In 1962, the position was made full-time. A
number of national projects with research organization and administration components were
conducted. A research centre was established in FAO in 1972, which, in addition to national
research support, also provided the Secretariat of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). These two
functions were separated in 1976, and the Research Development Centre (RDC) became the
focal point for research support activities in FAO, including sole responsibility for research
organization and management aspects of FAO's assistance. In FAO's The State of Food and
Agriculture 1972, it was noted that "... guidance in programming, administration, the
establishment of appropriate institutions as models for new programmes, training in research
techniques, and training of research directors, managers and administrators ..." were areas
that deserved support.
From FAO review and planning missions and recommendations arising from expert
consultations and seminars, increasingly the message was that poor management of existing
human, financial and physical resources was the greatest bottleneck to agricultural research
in developing economies. In late 1983, FAO convened an expert consultation on strategies
for research management training in Africa, where one of the delegates, Dr Amir
Muhammed, echoed the prevailing opinion: "Experience has shown that management
capability becomes a limiting factor in getting the full benefits from an agricultural research
system ..." Based on the recommendations of that consultation, FAO initiated preparation
of agricultural research management manuals, and began a programme of regional and
national management seminars and workshops. While concern was growing within FAO
about management capabilities in NARS, this concern was reflected elsewhere.
It had become such an issue during the 1970s that the Rockefeller Foundation and the
Government of the Federal Republic of Germany convened a meeting in Munich in April
1977 to discuss the possibility of creating and supporting a service to assist the development
of NARS in developing economies. This meeting led to the establishment of a task force "to
consider the need for an international service to strengthen national institutions and
programmes for agricultural research." The task force concluded that "existing agencies ...
cannot meet the pervasive needs of NARS in full." It was proposed that a new organization
be established as a part of the CGIAR system to "concentrate largely on planning,
organizational, and management issues." On 1 October 1980, the International Service for
National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) was established. Its ultimate goal was "to enable
developing countries to plan, organize, manage and execute research more effectively from
their own human, natural and financial resources." Recognizing that this goal was more
than any one organization could manage, ISNAR was instructed to "work in close
cooperation with all international organizations, in particular FAO." ISNAR's constitution
provided for a trial period of six years to test the need for the service. On the recommen-
dations of an external review team, the ISNAR Board and TAC, ISNAR was subsequently
made a permanent international institute in the CGIAR system.
COMPONENTS OF A WORLDWIDE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
The primary components of a research management programme are training, consultancy,
research, and communication. Training is important because it increases the skills of current
managers, provides new information and enhances analytical skills. While there are a
number of ways to accomplish this, in balancing costs and benefits one is drawn to a
Training manual for institute management 5
programme wherein a faculty trains a group of participants. This is the primary approach
employed by FAO, ISNAR and other international agencies currently involved in manage-
ment development activities.
DEFINING FAO'S ROLE
Training in management would help overcome management-related barriers to increasing
agricultural productivity through effective agricultural research management. Some of the
major constraints observed in developing economies are:
inadequate management skills among both research and managerial staff of agricultural
a lack of institutionalized programmes to correct the situation; and
a lack of awareness on the part of national agricultural research leaders of the urgent need
for better management of research.
The task of training is huge, while resources particularly trained staff are limited. Based
on an extrapolation of data reported in an ISNAR external programme review, there were
approximately 115 000 agricultural scientists in developing economies in 1990. All of these
would benefit from an introduction to agricultural research project management, while about
10% would need the basics of research institution management. If one assumes 20 managers
per course, it would mean 5 750 project management and 575 institute management courses.
It is reasonable to assume that 5% of the scientists are new each year. Thus, just to meet the
needs of new entrants, 288 project management and 29 institution management programmes
would need to be held annually, even if there were no growth in the number of agricultural
research scientists. The ten-or-less agricultural research management courses provided
annually throughout the world, aimed at developing-economy agricultural researchers, is
insignificant in comparison.
Besides the basic programmes, courses on specialized areas of agricultural research
management, such as planning, organization, management information systems (MIS),
evaluation, client-institute relations, personnel management, etc., are also needed.
Programme evaluation activities have been shown to enhance the benefits of training.
Clearly, FAO and all of the other agencies active currently in strengthening agricultural
research management skills cannot train all of the world's agricultural research managers.
Even training the new entrants to the field is a job far beyond the combined capabilities of
the few agencies involved.
The only feasible option under the circumstances is to train the trainers, in the expectation
that it will have a multiplier effect. That would also help adaption of training to regional and
country-specific needs. FAO has therefore initiated such training activity through preparation
of this reference training manual, designed to be used as a basic resource by national trainers
when structuring and conducting their own courses.
6 Introductory module
In earlier times, scientists pursued their research on an individual basis. Funds were never
a problem and researchers continued their lines of inquiry on an open-ended basis. These
activities were often not structured as projects, per se, i.e., they were without starting and
ending dates, a budget, or specified technical productivity goals within the given budget and
time frame. It was more common for researchers to work alone or in a loosely structured
group conducting research in related areas. As projects, i.e., well defined programmes, with
clear objectives, and institutions with interlocking programmes, have emerged, management
has become more and more important to science. Yet this importance has not been reflected
by changes in academic curricula. It is a rare PhD agronomist who has had management
training. FAO's agricultural research institution management training manual will provide
the basis for overcoming what is a major constraint on agricultural research productivity.
There are four distinct levels of agricultural research management that suggest themselves
immediately as the targets for training programmes, namely the project, the programme, the
institute, and the national. This manual focuses on the institute management level. National-
level management is not given emphasis for several reasons, not least because FAO already
consults with national-level managements on management problems within their NARS.
Managers at the national level may not be as receptive to training programmes because of
extreme demands on their time, and possibly a legitimate belief that they would not have
reached where they are if they were not already good managers.
Managers at the institution level and below are more receptive to management training.
Also, there is evidence that it is not long before managers from these lower levels, with their
enhanced management capabilities, begin to move to national-level positions, taking with
them their 'new' management skills and understanding. Therefore it is at lower management
levels that FAO has focused this training manual.
EVOLUTION OF THE TRAINING MANUAL
The task of preparing a training manual on agricultural research institute management began
with the FAO Expert Consultation on Strategies for Research Management Training in
Africa, at the International Livestock Research Centre for Africa (ILCA) (Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, 12-16 December 1983). The expert consultation was convened to recapitulate
research management training needs in developing countries, review some of the approaches
being used and those planned to improve research management capabilities with particular
reference to sub-Sahara Africa, and explore the possibilities and modes of cooperation among
those institutions which are most active in this field. The scope for Technical Cooperation
among Developing Countries (TCDC) and for North-South cooperation were also studied,
and modalities for such cooperation were defined.
The consultation was attended by participants from Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Pakistan, the Philippines, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Representatives of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Gerdat (France), the
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), ILCA, ISNAR and the
Consultative Advisory Committee on Semi-Arid Food Grain research and Development of
the Scientific Technical and Research Commission of the Organization of African Unity
(OAU/STRC/SAFGRAD) also attended as observers.
Training manual for institute management 7
The expert consultation recognized the following:
There was an urgent need for effective management of resources, as, in the foreseeable
future, the situation was going to get worse owing to diminution of resources (land) and
The status of agricultural research as a profession had to be enhanced by proper
management capable of attracting funds and devising rewarding career structures.
Training needs were identified at three major levels: national, institutional and project.
The expert consultation worked out a plan for training at the different levels (Table 1).
Table 1 Training needs of agricultural research managers
Cnhiort aroa iDirectors of
Subject area Directors Dicts o Programme
General Institutes or leaders Other staff
Programme Identification and
Planning U(A) S S A for others
S for Finance Officers;
Financial Management U U(A) U for Finance Officers;
A for others
U for Personnel Officers;
Personnel Management U S S U for personnel Officers;
A for others
Communication U U U U for Staff responsible for
U for Research Officers;
Documentation and Information A U S U for Research Officers;
A for others
U for Transport and
Operational Management A U U U fo r Transport an
S for NARS and Centre
Monitoring and Evaluation U U U S for NARS and Centre
Extension and Linkages A U U U for Extension Specialists
Key: A = Awareness; U = Understanding; S = Skill.
Following the recommendations of the expert consultation, FAO embarked upon prepar-
ation of training manuals. Subsequently, two manuals were prepared by Dr R.P. Black,
Denver Research Institute, University of Denver, USA. While one manual focused on
institution management, the other focused on project management. These manuals were used
in training programmes in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. A thorough review of these manuals
revealed a need for re-design, concretization and capsulization. Copyright reading materials
needed to be replaced by reading notes. Relevant case studies had to be developed, and
incorporated into the modules. Following this review, work on preparing a training manual
on agricultural research institute management began.
The manual presented here has been virtually rewritten, although the presentation style
of the previous manual is retained. Reading materials based on available published literature
have been incorporated to serve as required or background readings.
Although this FAO manual does not currently focus on project management issues, they will
be covered subsequently through a separate manual on project and programme management.
The FAO approach aims to evolve a common perception of the structure and terminology of
management. This will enhance communication and understanding among agricultural
research managers in discussing management problems, solutions and opportunities. This
FAO manual, while contributing to the establishment of a common perception of the subject,
differs from other currently employed training approaches in an important way. The FAO
approach provides a course structure with contents that can be built upon and improved over
time. The current state-of-the-art should always be embodied in the FAO manual and
associated training materials.
Other agricultural research management programmes are less standardized and are
faculty-dependent. Some have course agendas that are fairly standard, but different faculty
members may handle the same session differently, especially where consultants are normally
used as faculty. There is nothing published to provide a basis for transferring session training
capability to others or to provide a product for improvement. Many agricultural research
management courses seem to be even more ad hoc. There is nothing wrong with this
approach, and some training objectives may best be served by specially designed and
implemented programmes. It is only that these programmes do not lend themselves as
approaches for transfer and for continual growth and improvement in the way the FAO
While a better understanding of management concepts and of philosophical approaches, as
well as many attitudinal changes, are needed, courses focusing on and emphasizing these are
considered theoretical by many agricultural research scientists. Therefore, the FAO approach
is to focus on management skill development e.g., how to prepare an institution plan and,
in the process of presenting skills-oriented materials, to include information, materials,
exercises and presentation approaches that will also achieve participant growth in conceptual,
philosophical and attitudinal areas.
Institute management is built around the four structural management functions: planning,
organizing, monitoring and controlling, and evaluating. These areas are covered in the
manual, and are assembled in separate modules as this is the natural sequence in which they
are a concern to a manager. First, a manager must plan. With a plan in hand, an optimal
organization can be designed to carry out the plan. As the plan is implemented, the manager
must monitor and control the activities in accordance with the plan. Finally, the institute
activities are evaluated against the objectives and other standards set forth in the plan. A
reading note (Appendix 1 to this module) introduces the frameworks for management
orientation and for decision making.
Pervasive management-function activities, such as motivating, leading, directing,
prioritizing, communicating and delegating, which are of interest to managers at all times,
are treated while covering the structural functions. Also, in some cases, such as for
leadership and motivation, individual sessions are programmed. Several specialized areas of
management, such as human resources management and policies and procedures, are treated
in their own set of sessions.
Training manual for institute management 9
It must be recognized that the manual does not cover many issues which are specific to
individual research institutions. It is expected that these issues will be raised and discussed
at appropriate places during the training workshop.
The manual has been designed for a very participative form of teaching, including use of the
case method, group exercises, presentation by participants, and participatory lectures.
Because of their participative nature, it might be more appropriate to call them workshops.
The case method is the main pedagogic tool used in the manual, admittedly even though
all topics do not have cases. The resource persons should acquaint themselves with the case
methodology to be able to effectively handle a case. A note on the case method is given in
Appendix 2 of this module.
The manual is designed so that anyone with a knowledge of and experience with the session
subject matter should be able to prepare and manage the session based on the session
materials. In practice, those with past teaching experience are usually more effective teachers
in the workshop context.
DESIGN OF THE MANUAL
The workshop training manual is presented in 11 parts, comprising this introductory module
and ten teaching modules, namely:
Institutional agricultural research: organization and management
Organizational principles and design
Leadership, motivation, team building and conflict management
Managing human resources
Management information systems, computers and network techniques
Information services and documentation
Each module is divided into several sessions of varying duration, depending upon the material
to be covered. Each session is presented together with information on components supporting
the trainer and the training function. Details of the modules and their associated sessions are
summarized in Appendix 3 of this module.
The session sheet provides basic information concerning the session title, date, time, trainer
(to be filled in for each FAO workshop), format, objectives, instructional materials provided,
background readings provided and bibliographic references to recommended readings which
are not provided in the manual.
The session guide gives the trainer notes and comments which refer to instructional materials
(exhibits, hand-outs, etc.). The guide provides a suggested approach to covering the subject.
Exhibits illustrate in a sequential manner how a session can be handled. Every trainer,
however, will have different experiences with respect to the subject and should therefore
approach the topic from his or her own perspective, using the session guide as a background
and reference source.
The session guides are suggestive in their approach. They are designed to draw upon the
experience of the teacher using them. This flexibility allows them to design the programme
around specific national concerns, or to be more general, as would be appropriate for
regional and broader international audiences.
Instructional materials are either exhibits to be shown on an overhead projector, flip chart,
or by some other means or hand-outs to be passed on to participants at some specific point
in the sessions. These materials and their use are described specifically in the session guide.
In many cases, these exhibits are based on published literature.
Background readings will be useful to the trainer in preparing for the session. They may also
be distributed to workshop participants so that they can prepare in advance for the session.
Background readings are included in the manual and are based on published literature.
Recommended readings are further sources of information of potential use to the trainer, but
are not themselves included in the manual.
Both background and recommended readings include extensive references which can be
followed up by the resource person to help them handle the sessions more effectively.
Each session with its set of materials the session sheet, session guide, instructional
materials and background reading is designed to stand alone. This gives a workshop
organizer great flexibility in designing a workshop. Programmes may be conducted using
the manuals as they are, or, if so desired, modules could be selected from the manual for
courses on more specific subjects. Additional material can be added and new cases included,
each enriching the manual.
In scheduling sessions, the practice is to schedule various modules consecutively. However,
in a short-duration programme, rapid switching from one disciplinary area to another reduces
learning effectiveness. An alternative course is to schedule various modules in a sequential
manner and cover them one by one during the period of the programme. An illustrative
workshop design using this approach is presented in Appendix 4 to this module.
Training manual for institute management 11
A full workshop day would normally comprise four sessions, with breaks for lunch and
tea or coffee as appropriate. In some cases, shorter-duration periods may be necessary,
which may increase the total number of sessions in a day. It is important to provide reading
time in the evening so that participants can prepare well for the next day's sessions.
ORGANIZING A TRAINING WORKSHOP
The first step in planning a training workshop is to assess training requirements. This issue
is discussed in Appendix 5 of this module. Since training workshops of the type discussed
here are usually of short duration, it is necessary to properly plan and manage them. Some
of the important issues involved in this are discussed in Appendix 6 to this module.
Training manual for institute management 13
MANAGEMENT ORIENTATION AND DECISION MAKING
A major role of managers and administrators is decision making in each of the specific
situations faced by them. To perform this role effectively, the decision-makers should first
understand the situation, and then frame the issues or problems requiring decision making.
Next, they must have the will to seek programmes of actions which are effective and
implementable in the given situation. Finally, for developing action programmes, they should
use the problem solving approach. Any training of managers, therefore, should be directed
at improving their abilities to perform these three tasks.
UNDERSTANDING THE SITUATION
Managers make decisions in real and not hypothetical situations. They often face new and
complex situations, with little resemblance to past or present situations because of the
everchanging environment and people around them. Moreover, the situations do not present
themselves in neat clean shapes, but unfold slowly. Decision-makers, therefore, needs to
improve their knowledge and skills in understanding new and complex situations, even though
information may be inadequate and future outcome uncertain.
To understand emerging new situations, a manager needs to ask a series of questions:
Who is facing the situation?
Who are involved in the situation?
Who or what individuals, systems, organizations, forces in the environment, etc. could
possibly become involved?
What is happening where and when in the situation?
What could be of significance to interested parties?
What could relate to input, to process and to output?
How are the 'What?' factors happening where and when?
How could the situation progress in future?
Are 'What?' and 'Who?' linked in the situation?
Why the what/where/when/how factors?
and decision making
14 Introductory module Appendix 1
Why are particular individuals, systems, organizations, forces, etc., acting the way they
These questions are universal in understanding any idea, process, physical object, abstract
thought or a system. In the context of decision making, they help in defining problems,
generating alternatives and specifying criteria for evaluating alternative options.
WILL TO ACT AND ACTION ORIENTATION
The will to act or the action orientation of the decision-maker is another important parameter.
It has often been seen that some managers can do excellent analysis but are not quite able to
take effective and implementable decisions. Action orientation helps in (i) weeding out
impractical alternatives, (ii) better assessing alternatives in taking an appropriate decision, and
(iii) implementing with requisite responsibility the decision taken.
Ability to act and action orientation implies:
a sense of what is critical and what is possible in a given situation, rather than a futile,
time consuming search for the best solution;
a willingness to make firm decisions on the basis of imperfect and limited data, carry out
the decision taken, accept personal responsibility for the solution, and take the
consequences of the decision;
an ability to convert targets and objectives into accomplishments, and to create a vision
for themselves, their colleagues (through whom the decisions would be implemented) and
the organization and others concerned, for better implementation; and
an appreciation or realization that most problems do not disappear even if tackled well
they recur in some other form, according to the decision taken this time.
A problem essentially means an area of decision making.
After understanding the situation thoroughly and realizing the need for action, a manager
may find the problem solving approach useful to devise action programmes. The problem
solving approach involves problem definition and identification of decision area, generating
decision making alternatives, and specifying criteria for selection, assessing alternatives and
the optimal selection, and developing an action plan for implementation, including a
DEFINING THE PROBLEM
Problem definition is one of the most crucial steps in the problem solving approach. A
wrong definition of the problem would not only fail to resolve the issues involved but could
also lead to more complicated problems. The following steps have been found to be useful
in defining problems:
Step 1 List all concerns (symptoms), particularly from the point of view of the
decision-maker in the situation (i.e., the answer to 'Who?' and 'What?' of the
Training manual for institute management
Step 2 Diagnose (from the answers to 'How?' and 'Why?') the concerns in order to
establish real causes.
Step 3 Establish decision (problem) areas, and prioritize them in order of
Step 4 Evaluate if appropriate decisions are taken in these areas whether the
overall situation would improve particularly from the decision-maker's point
A knowledge of the problems encountered in similar organizations would be helpful in this
exercise. Besides this, holistic as well as logical thinking would significantly help in
understanding the nature of problems, their categorization into long or short term, and in
Having identified the problem, the decision-maker needs to generate appropriate alternatives
for resolving the problem. An understanding of organizational and external constraints as
well as organizational resources helps in identifying the range of feasible action alternatives
open to the decision-maker. A proper assessment of what is possible helps them to rule out
infeasible options. Sometimes the alternatives for resolving different problems are obvious.
However, more often than not, there could be a real possibility of generating comprehensive
alternatives, which could address more than one problem area while respecting differing
points of view. The next step, after generating alternatives, would be to rank them, before
actually evaluating them. The decision-maker should check whether the alternatives
generated cover the entire range (collectively and exhaustively) available, and whether each
is distinct from the other (mutually exclusive).
The skills which could help in discovering alternatives would be holistic and logical
thinking to comprehend the situation, as well as creative skills in generating the options which
fit the situation. Knowledge of both the internal and external environments of the
organization and the subject matter pertinent to the problem (human relations, how scientists
can be motivated, etc.) would also help in arriving at better alternatives.
The ultimate purpose of developing and specifying criteria is to evaluate alternatives and
select the best one for resolving the problem. Criteria are developed from a proper
understanding of the situation and the inherent goals, objectives and purposes of the
organization and the decision-maker involved in the situation. They would also be influenced
by the goals, objectives and purposes of other individuals, departments and organizations
connected with the situation. Criteria could be economic, social or personal. For effective
use, criteria should be specific and measurable through quantification or other means. They
should also be prioritized to assist proper selection among alternatives.
The skills needed for improving the ability to specify criteria are basically two:
holistic skills, for identifying broader aims, goals, objectives and purposes in a situation,
logical reasoning, for deducing the specific criteria and their prioritization from such
16 Introductory module Appendix 1
EVALUATION AND DECISION
Alternatives need to be evaluated against the specified criteria in order to resolve the
problem. Also, the outcome of choosing any alternative is not known with certainty.
Usually, any one alternative would not be uniformly superior by all criteria. As such,
prioritization of criteria could help in identifying the best alternative. The decision-maker
might explicitly consider trade-offs between alternatives in order to select the best.
Assessments of alternatives among the criteria need to be made, given partial and limited
information about the possible outcomes of the alternatives. A final check may yet be needed
to see whether adoption of the best assessed option is:
consistent with the requirements of the situation, bearing in mind the uncertainty
convincing to others involved.
The skills needed for improving this phase would thus be the ability to analyse logically, the
ability to infer implications based on incomplete information and uncertainty, and the skill
to convince others about the decision taken so as to obtain approval or help in proper
implementation, or both.
DEVELOPING AN ACTION PLAN
Once the alternatives are developed, an action plan has to be developed. This is essentially
the implementation phase. In this phase, the decision-maker needs to decide who would do
what, where, when, how, etc. The process of arriving at these decisions is just like the steps
involved in the problem solving approach, except that the chosen alternative becomes an input
to this step. This phase would require coordination skills to properly organize a variety of
resources (human, material and fiscal) and develop a time-phased programme for
FEEDBACK AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING
For a variety of reasons, the original decision (chosen alternative) may not work well and the
decision-maker may have to be ready with a contingency plan. This implies devising
feedback mechanisms allowing monitoring of the status of the situation, including results of
the action plan. It also implies anticipating the most likely points of failure and devising
appropriate contingency plans to handle the possible failures.
The additional skills required in this step would be those of devising control and feedback
Training manual for institute management 17
The case method has long been accepted as an important method for training managers and
administrators. It is a method of learning based on active participation and cooperative or
democratic discussion of a situation faced by a group of managers. The method of discussion
also replicates the manner in which most decisions are taken in practice. It also involves
replicating discussions with supervisors, peers or subordinates. If properly used, it has the
power to improve the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
WHAT IS A CASE?
No universally accepted definition of 'case' exists. We may consider a case, to quote Carl
"... a partial, historical, clinical study of a situation which has confronted a practising
administrator or managerial group. Presented in a narrative form to encourage student
involvement, it provides data substantive and process essential to an analysis of a
specific situation, for the framing of alternative action programmes and for their
implementation, recognizing the complexity and the ambiguity of the practical world."
Thus, broadly speaking, a case is a description of a situation faced by an individual or
TYPES OF CASES
A case could be a one-page, or even smaller, description with very little quantitative or
qualitative information, of a situation faced by a manager concerning just one of the aspects
of management involving just another individual. This is usually termed a 'caselet.' It could
also be extensive and detailed, forming what is called a 'comprehensive case.'
The Case Method
18 Introductory module Appendix 2
DIMENSIONS OF A CASE
Three possible dimensions encompass a large part of the case:
What is described. A case could merely describe an individual, an incident, an organization,
or a system. On the other hand, it could describe a decision making situation faced by
a manager, involving part or whole of the organization, with a focus on one or more of
the elements of the problem solving approach.
Purpose. The purpose of a case may be either research or learning. If the purpose is
learning, the emphasis could be on one or more of the forms of learning, namely
acquiring knowledge, gaining skills, and developing attitudes and values.
Mode of description. The nature of presentation could be written, audiovisual or oral.
The case method should more appropriately be called the 'case discussion method' as
discussion in a group of co-learners is an integral part of the method. This involves the
study of a case by an individual learner, analysis of the case, and development of a
strategy and action plan from the point of view of the decision-maker in the case;
discussion in a small group (6-10 individuals) of the individual learner's analysis and
proposals, and consequent revisions, if needed;
discussion in a plenary session (up to 80 to 100 individuals) with the help of a discussion
leader (resource person/faculty member); and
post-plenary session discussion with co-learners and discussion leader to consolidate the
learning, if necessary.
Study and analysis of a case by an individual manager would bring to bear only that
individual's knowledge, skill, experiences and attitudes in resolving the problems faced by
the manager in the case situation. Discussion in small groups or a class by several managers,
with their respective backgrounds, knowledge, skills and attitudes and values, has the
potential to enlarge the perspective of each individual. Discussion is supposed to take place
in a democratic spirit, where each participant is free to present their analysis and the rest of
the class or group tries to assimilate and understand it. Co-learners try to see the similarities
and differences in such presentations. On the basis of strong logic, and not brute force of
lung power, the issues are analysed and final assessments made. Thus, through discussion
in small groups and class, an individual would:
acquire new knowledge, and learn about skills and attitudes possessed by others,
reflect on the applicability of their own knowledge, skills and attitudes or values, and
learn the art of listening to others, convincing others and social interaction in a group
Training manual for institute management
USEFULNESS OF THE CASE METHOD
The case method has been found to be extremely useful in acquiring knowledge, developing
skills, forming attitudes and influencing behaviour.
In the managerial context, knowledge is, firstly, situation-specific concerning policies of
those both external and internal who influence managers' actions, and, secondly,
concepts, approaches and techniques expounded in the literature or by colleagues, or from
other sources. A manager needs to acquire such knowledge, not merely as words but so as
to be able to appropriately interpret it for improved decision making. In the case method,
knowledge is acquired while grappling with a real-life situation and not in isolation of its
Development of skills involves an element of actually doing. The case method helps, through
discussion of real-life situations, to discriminate properly between the situations where
particular skills could or could not be applied. The practice part could be accomplished by
doing the exercise repeatedly or using different cases over a period of time.
Forming attitudes and values
Formation of attitudes and values for adults is a time consuming process, as attitudes and
values are fixed early in life. It seems that the discussion mode of the case method,
particularly with co-learners, helps a great deal in re-examining the attitudes and values of
managers. Such discussions in small groups should be characterized by a relaxed, tension
free, non-evaluative atmosphere in which participants may discuss their own experiences.
Exposure to different ways of looking at the same situation might provoke the process of re-
examining one's own attitudes and values. Needless to say, the longer the duration of the
programme, the higher the likelihood of more participants starting such personal re-
examination and attaining a greater degree of change in attitudes and values.
Behaviourial learning is done mostly through on-the-job training and experience. However,
the learning of attitudes and behaviour could be enhanced by supplementing the case method
with the syndicate method and field project work. The syndicate method (discussions in
small groups) is an integral part of the case method. Field projects are widely used in
degree-type programmes to provide real life behaviourial exposure. It is, however, difficult
to use this method in short-duration, executive development programmes (SEDPs).
FACILITATING THE PROCESS OF LEARNING
For any learner, the major motivating element in the case method is the process of grappling
with a situation faced by another manager. A better identification with the situation leads to
increased involvement and enhanced learning for the entire group of participants. Other
motivating elements could be embedded in the process by which participants are selected by
their organizations, possibly in combination with the interest they show in the programme.
As noted earlier, an element of feedback also leads to improved learning of positively
20 Introductory module Appendix 2
reinforced action. In SEDPs, depending on the maturity and experience of participants, the
discussion leader or teacher may have to provide feedback to improve the learning climate.
Participants would receive the feedback and develop their own mechanisms of improving
learning. This would not only help in learning during a programme but also afterwards in
The application of learning obtained through the case method is effective on two counts.
Firstly, the learning instrument (a case) is just like the situation faced in real life. Secondly,
the process of arriving at the situation in real life, i.e., discussion with peers, use of the
problem solving approach, and convincing others about one's proposed action, also matches
with the process used in the method.
TRAINING OF MANAGERS
The case method has been found to be quite successful for training managers and
administrators in both conceptual and pragmatic considerations. Some of the important
features and dimensions of the case method which have enhanced learning are:
The approach suits the mission of training managers and administrators, which is not
merely to know but to act, and, there too, not merely to act but to learn how to act. This
matches with the everchanging and complex situations encountered by managers and
The method provides practical experience in group behaviour, such as learning to listen,
express and gain confidence in one's judgment.
It helps individuals discover and develop their own unique frameworks for decision
It is suitable for all three forms of learning: acquiring knowledge, gaining skills and
developing attitudes and values.
The resource person finds the method intellectually stimulating, as each group of
participants raises different questions and group dynamics are always distinct, although
the case being discussed may be same.
It meets the learning and research needs of a resource person in a professional institution
by requiring him or her to keep in touch with practice by way of writing cases and deep
interaction with practitioners in the teaching-learning encounter.
It is an economically efficient method for a class size as large as 60 to 100 participants.
In comparison, on-the-job training and small group learning could be very costly and time
consuming, besides having a narrower perspective.
USING THE CASE METHOD
The decision to use cases would be based on programme objectives, potential participant
profile and contents of the programme. The case method of learning requires significant
preparation by individual participants, discussion in a small group (of 6 to 8 members) before
attending the class, class discussion by participants with the help and guidance of a resource
person, and after-class discussion and reflection. The above processes take place each
session, day after day, during the programme to achieve the programme objectives and to
match the contents and the profile of participants. The learning from each class session and
Training manual for institute management 21
from the programme could be significantly influenced by some characteristics of short-
duration executive development programmes.
SEQUENTIAL PROCESS OF THE CASE METHOD
The process of training through the case method involves the steps below.
(i) The case method involves preparation, both individual and in small groups, and also
discussion with the help of a discussion leader (resource person) of a situation as
described in the case. This is done with the aim of not only of solving the problems
faced by the manager in that situation, but also of learning to solve problems by gaining
repeated experience in resolving real-life problems through analysis and discussion of a
variety of cases.
(ii) In stage (i) participants first go through and prepare each case individually by
assuming the role of the decision-maker in the situation and then decide on
appropriate decisions and action plans to resolve the problems faced. During this
preparation, a participant struggles with, first, defining the appropriate decision
areas; second, specifying objectives, purposes and criteria for resolving the issues;
third, generating options to resolve the issues; fourth, evaluating the alternatives on
the basis of information available, which is usually incomplete; and, finally, deciding
the course of action and contingency plan on the basis of their best judgment. In
other words, they apply a problem solving approach.
(iii) The individual participants next discuss their inferences and action plans in the
forum of a small group of 6 to 10 participants. Different individuals might, and in
fact do, come up with different inferences and action plans. Group members need
to carefully listen, understand, and appreciate these different views, and thus expand
their range of thinking as well as depth of analysis. For this to happen effectively,
the group atmosphere should be as free as possible, and focusing on important
(iv) In-class discussion is also like small-group discussion, except that the range of
experiences encountered in the inferences and action plans may be much larger, and
that there is also a discussion leader to help the class in its deliberations. To
enhance class learning, individual participants can play different roles, involving
presenting, listening, clarifying, synthesizing and generalizing. However, a
participant or a group of participants should not try to dominate the discussion, and
should try to convince rather than to impose their views on co-participants.
(v) After-class discussion should be used to reflect on class discussion. Synthesis should be
made within the initial small group, aiming to arrive at both an improved understanding
of, and better decisions made in, the particular situation, and also tentative generalizations
about individual approaches, attitudes and values for improved decision making in the
(vi) The instructors assign the cases and associated readings for the classes, provide
guidance, if any, for preparation, and make themselves available for any
clarifications. They do a thorough analysis of the case and devise a class strategy
for themselves, which includes:
deciding the objectives of the session,
how to open the discussion,
Introductory module Appendix 2
whom to call on for opening the discussion, for particular clarification or
decide on the nature of questioning to bring out certain crucial issues if participants
do not touch those issues,
how much direction to use in the particular case discussion, and
how to close the discussion.
While doing all this, the resource person should not seem to teach but merely provide
learning impetus and thought space during the course of class discussion.
(vii) The programme coordinator, along with the programme faculty and support staff,
creates a learning climate conducive to peer learning through planning as well as
implementing both academic and non-academic components of the programme.
(viii) The method as such demands time, effort, involvement and self-discipline from
participants as well as from the programme teachers and resource persons. This
could be frustrating, particularly at the beginning of a programme. However, as the
programme progresses, the pace and quality of learning improve and is quite
satisfying in terms of achieving the learning objectives.
ROLE OF THE RESOURCE PERSON
One of the critical components in the effective use of the case method is the degree of
preparedness of the resource person. A poor case, poorly prepared by the participants, can
still be a valuable learning experience if the resource person is fully prepared. The case
method relies heavily on the leadership skills of the resource person.
The role of the resource person in a case discussion is basically to guide and direct. The
objective is to keep the discussion moving towards useful goals, with a minimum of
intervention. The resource persons should keep themselves in the background until they feel
that direction has been lost, that there is a need for more analysis, or that the key points are
not receiving proper emphasis. To be effective, the resource person:
should be prepared;
should be flexible. Accept the fact that this is necessary in using case materials. Try not
to force the discussion along predetermined lines;
should ask questions when necessary, but ask as few as possible to support the open
nature of the decision without leading into unproductive channels;
should never become emotionally involved in the case discussion; they should never
advocate or oppose a particular idea; and
should summarize at the end and leave time to pull together the key points of the case.
Many participants will need assistance in drawing out concepts from the ongoing
Participants in the case method approach often feel uncomfortable because, more often than
not, there is no single solution to the situation described in the case. There are likely to be
no irrefutable principles of management highlighted by the case which can be remembered
for use in future situations. There is no hard and fast answer. To resolve this dilemma, the
resource person must make clear to the participants that the case method is designed to
develop their analytical and judgmental skills. It is the process by which they reach their
Training manual for institute management 23
decision that is important. The objective of the case method is to nurture this thought
process; not to communicate facts to be memorized.
ROLE OF PARTICIPANTS
The case method heavily relies on adequate preparation and analysis by participants.
Discussions are best for cases which are short and can be analysed on the spot. Case
materials should be given to the participants at least one day before the proposed discussion,
together with both instructions as to the amount of time they should spend on case analysis,
and some insights as to how the case should be analysed. The former is important since
many participants underestimate the amount of effort needed for effective case analysis. For
example, a 30-page case would require approximately one hour to read. A preliminary
analysis might take a further hour, and a detailed analysis and preparation might take an
additional one to three hours, depending upon the complexity of the case. Case analysis is
clearly not something which can be dismissed in ten minutes just before the discussion.
Guidance to participants
The extent to which a resource person may wish to provide guidance as to the optimal line
of analysis will depend on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the case, relative
time available for its discussion, and the participants' experience and skills in analyses. If
the case is complex and there is a strong possibility that the class discussion will fail to focus
on the key topics, or if participants are inexperienced in handling cases as they normally
will be in research and development (R&D) management workshops analyses and
instructions are both appropriate and desirable.
The following is a general set of instructions, which could be given to workshop
participants to help them with case analyses.
(i) Read the case through quickly to get a first impression of what it is about or what
the basic issues may be. Then, re-read more slowly and begin to note down the
facts and quasi-facts supplied and their relationship.
(ii) Once the data in the case have been itemized, analyse and determine the major as
well as the secondary issues. The analysis itself can be done in several ways. For
example, it may be conducted by
examining the background environment in which the organization operates and the
events and circumstances leading to the points at issue, and
determining the major areas with which the problem is concerned.
Some major points for analysis, commonly encountered in analyzing R&D management
The nature of competitive R&D organizations.
The organization's reputation and how this affects the issues.
National economic conditions and their effect on the demand for R&D.
The characteristics of the user community for the R&D organization's services in
terms of location and relationship to the R&D organization.
The characteristics of the organization's product, i.e., research, development,
information, consultancy, etc.
24 Introductory module Appendix 2
The nature of the extension activities that connect the laboratory to the ultimate user
or benefactor of R&D results.
The impact of end-user attitudes and interests on the R&D organization's outputs.
The project initiation and approval processes in the organization and their
The willingness to delegate authority in the organization.
The degree or urgency of the project.
The amount of uncertainty involved in the project.
(iii) As the analysis proceeds, several possible courses of action will become apparent.
Each of these should be examined, retained, or rejected as the analysis proceeds.
Take note of both the strengths and weaknesses of each point. Few, if any,
situations are totally correct or incorrect.
(iv) The participant should try to realize when there is a need for more data and what
information is needed, or, if they are not available, what assumptions should be
(v) Once all this has been done, it should be feasible to arrive at one or more decisions. It
should be remembered, of course, that possible solutions, or approaches to them, are
many, and others may develop an entirely different solution or approach. Both may be
equally correct if the participant has thought through the analysis clearly and logically.
UTILITY OF SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS
In an attempt to lighten the workload, participants can be divided into groups to analyse and
prepare positions on a case. Such group discussions have proven to be highly valuable,
provided each participant has made his or her own prior analysis, and they should be
encouraged. Additional insights, ideas and perspectives are often brought out in such
discussions. Participants who are reluctant to speak out in plenary sessions will usually open
out in group discussions. Also, for most workshops, small group discussions allow
participants to discuss the case among themselves in their own language before having to
discuss in the official language of the plenary session. In using this technique, however, care
should be taken to ensure that some participants do not use group discussions as a means of
avoiding the effort associated with an analysis of their own. It should be made clear that,
unlike the lecture approach, the case method assigns primary responsibility to the participant.
In order to maximize the benefits, they must maximize their own efforts. The resource
person should move from one group to another during case discussions so as to be aware of
the emerging analysis.
CASE DEVELOPMENT AND WRITING
Case development and writing should be an ongoing process for any institution using the case
method. Its importance arises from the fact that recent cases not only provide an element of
interest among programme participants, but also bring to the class the latest situations being
faced by decision-makers.
Training manual for institute management 25
IDENTIFYING CASE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
Case development and writing needs arise in two different ways. First, some of the existing
cases in current courses may need replacement by new ones as the old ones are too old to
generate much interest among participants, or they do not adequately depict the current
decision making scenario in real life. Second, an opportunity may arise to write an additional
case which would be useful.
The programme coordinator or resource person should review the objectives of the
training programmes, modules or sessions in which new cases could be used, and then should
specify the contents to be covered, the major issues to be tackled, the level of decision
making (middle, senior or top), and the type and size of organization desired. Such
specifications would provide a somewhat sharper focus when searching for leads on
DEVELOPING CASE LEADS
A case writer, having defined the case writing requirements and prioritized them, has to look
for real-life situations. Several ways are open in locating such situations.
Primary sources Colleagues, alumni, participants in current executive development
programmes, contact persons in organizations where consulting may be in progress or
may have been provided earlier, and visiting executives could all be sources of case
Secondary sources Scanning relevant reports (including reports of government commissions,
departments, etc.), particular industry and trade papers and journals, and other relevant
publications all these could generate possible case leads. These need to be followed up
by correspondence or personal visits to ascertain the possibility of developing the leads
into cases from the point of view of availability of required information as well as
willingness of the organization to allow their use.
Pursuing possible case leads The case writer needs to prepare a list of contacts and
associated files, with names and addresses of contact persons and organizations, and
prioritize them on the basis of a priori assessment of converting these into actual case
leads. Some might suitable for immediate application, others at a later date, and still
others may require additional effort, such as inviting the relevant executives for an oral
presentation. Systematic recording and follow-up procedures need to be established in
pursuing possible case leads.
Getting initial clearance, preferably from top executives of the organization, is necessary for
efficient time utilization in case writing. If this step is not followed, the time spent on
developing cases is wasted.
It may be helpful to brief the contact executive as well as the top executive about the
purposes for which cases are used, with assurances both of confidentiality while working on
it and of its non-use until the case draft is cleared by the organization. While there could be
benefits to the organization through discussion of the situation, care must be exercised in
making assurances which cannot be fulfilled. In any case, initial clearance for writing the
case should be obtained fairly early.
Introductory module Appendix 2
The real work of case writing starts by planning and implementing the data collection phase
through secondary sources, both published and in-company, and primary sources (interviews
with executives and other knowledgeable persons). In the first phase of data collection, the
case writer familiarizes him- or herself with the situation. This could include scanning of
published materials for understanding the industry and the organization, records or personal
knowledge of colleagues about previous attempts at case writing on the organization, and
other knowledgeable persons about the industry, the company and the phenomenon under
The second phase would begin with preliminary interviews with key decision-makers in
the organization in order to understand the situation and acquire an understanding of what
went into decision making. Following this, detailed data from both primary and secondary
sources will have to be collected according to a work schedule.
While secondary data from outside the organization could be collected independently,
many in-company documents are obtained whilst or as a result of interviewing executives.
It may be useful to plan out the nature of data that the case writer is seeking since many
documents may not be allowed to leave the organization's premises and so will have to be
studied in the limited time available during the visit. This phase is like conducting research
based on secondary sources of data as well as in-depth interviews of executives. It demands
all the capabilities of a good researcher.
PREPARING THE CASE OUTLINE
The case writer may have prepared a preliminary case outline even before embarking on data
collection, but, having collected the data, a firm outline of the case should be elaborated.
Some of the elements to be dealt with in this phase are listed below.
Identify the major issues in the situation and those which need to be highlighted in the
A background of the organization, its situation and executives should be included in the
case as it is relevant and useful in providing a perspective for the case analyst. Usually
this description follows the opening paragraphs on the major issues in the case.
The nature of information from secondary and primary sources and their sequencing in
Essential aspects to be included in the text, versus explanatory and supportive information
to be put in exhibits or appendixes.
A sequencing of items to provide for easy reading and comprehension, unless the purpose
of the case suggests otherwise.
PREPARING A CASE DRAFT
The efforts put into preparing the case outline should help in writing the case draft.
Additional considerations and suggestions are given below.
(i) The case writer must keep the focus on the decision-maker, and be faithful and objective
in describing the situation. Therefore personal comments, reactions, etc., of the case
writer must be avoided. The language and terminology used by executives or generally
Training manual for institute management 27
used in the trade or profession must be retained. If such terminology is not likely to be
understood by participants, explanations should be given in a glossary.
(ii) A case should be written using a structure which promotes an easy flow of thought
for better understanding and comprehension by the participant. For the same
reason, the language of the case should be understood by the participant. Details
could be increased or reduced according to participant's anticipated knowledge and
ability, interest and experience.
(iii) A catchy title and dramatic opening will attract reader attention immediately. The
length should be kept as short as possible so that no unnecessary time has to spent
on reading to attain comprehension. Generally, cases are written in the past tense.
The case writer must maintain complete confidentiality.
(iv) The final draft should be written with as much care as a professional journal article.
CLEARANCE, REGISTRATION AND TESTING
Clearance of interview transcripts needs to be sought from executives before finalizing the
case draft, more so if they are quoted. Having written the final draft, formal clearance must
be requested from the organization. The organization may suggest disguising the name of
the organization, names of executives, financial data, etc. Disguise helps participants in
concentrating on and discussing the case per se, without possible introduction of extraneous
information from other sources. However, disguise should not distort the situation to the
extent where the purpose of the case is defeated. Having made such changes, formal
clearance must be sought and obtained.
After obtaining formal clearance, the case needs to be tested. This could be in two
stages. First, it could be discussed among other faculty members. This is particularly
helpful when case writing activity is new, and many faculty members are willing to
participate in such an activity not only to help a colleague but probably also to learn from
each other's experiences. Alternatively, the case writer could request experienced faculty
colleagues to comment on or personally discuss the draft.
The second, and more useful, test should be on the kinds of participants for whom the
case is prepared. It would be useful if another colleague is involved in this process to learn
about how the case was discussed, what issues emerged, how were they analysed, was some
critical information missing, was some available information irrelevant, etc. Depending on
the reactions, the case could be revised.
The case should be formally registered so that issues of copyright, use and distribution
are in proper form.
Writing a teaching note is an extremely important activity in the case writing process. It
helps in checking the adequacy of the case for the purposes it was written, in describing its
use, in ensuring that proper analysis can be done, and in outlining strategy of its use. A
teaching note should cover:
programmes in which the case could be used;
position of the case in the programme and module for which it is intended;
learning objectives, major or minor, which could be achieved by using the case;
28 Introductory module Appendix 2
major issues and their analysis, both qualitative and quantitative;
background information and reading which would facilitate learning from and use of the
preparation required by the resource person and the participants;
possible assignments for facilitating preparation and learning;
strategies to be used by the resource persons to get the best out of the case;
past experience in using the case; and
what happened in real life (if the organization featured in the study allows the information
to be shared).
Training manual for institute management 29
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENTS
MODULE TITLE SESSIONS
1 Management: Thought and Process
Instit l al 2 Objectives and organization of agricultural
Module 1 Institutional agricultural research
Module 1 research
(4 Session research: Organization 3 Organization of international research
and management 4 Organization of national agricultural
research systems (NARS)
1 Principles of research planning
2 The institute planning process
3 Setting goals and objectives
Module 2 Research planning 4 From Objectives to an Operational Plan
(6 Sessions) Participatory planning exercise
6 Case study: Planning agricultural research
in Mughal Sultanate
1 Organizational theories
2 Structure of an organization
3 Organizational design and change
Module 3 Organizational principles 4 Case study: Establishment of a Directorate
(5 Sessions) and design of Research at Soronno University of
5 Case study: Organizational change at
3 Team building
Module 4 Leadership, motivation, 4 Case study: IRRI Agricultural Equipment
SSeo team building and Programme: IRRI Management compares
(6 Sessions)conflict management IRRI with LDE research institutes
5 Conflict management
6 Conflict management case
study: Dr Agadir
Summary of course contents
30 Introductory module Appendix 3
MODULE TITLE SESSIONS
1 Recruiting and maintaining staff in the
2 The professional staff
3 Human resources management exercise
Module 5 Managing human
4(6 Se ) r s Performance appraisal
(6 Sessions) resources
5 Performance appraisal case study: Suzene
6 Exercise in designing performance
1 Management information systems
Module 6 Management information 2 MIS exercise
5 S ) systems, computers and 3 The computer as a management tool
sessions) network techniques 4 Critical Path Method
5 PERT and CPM Exercise
1 Financial management 1: Components and
2 Financial management 2: Planning and
Module 7 3 Financial management 3: Project design
(5 Sessions) and implementation
4 Case study: Faro Arroya
5 Generating funds through consulting as an
institutional activity, + case study: Food
Technology Research Institute of Dongal
Module 8 Research-extension 1 Research-extension linkage
(1 Session) linkage
1 Scientific and technical information in a
developing-country research institution
Information s s ad 2 Information as an input to research
Module 9 Information services and
M so d a 3 Information as an output of research
(5 Sessions) documentation
4 Cooperation in national programmes
5 Exercise on barriers to the flow of
Module 10 Institute evaluation Single session: Institute evaluation
Training manual for institute management 31
Institutional agricultural research: Organization
1 Management: Thought and Process
2 Objectives and organization of agricultural research
3 Organization of international research
4 Organization of NARS
Reading time for next day's sessions
Principles of research planning
The institute planning process
Setting goals and objectives
From Objectives to an Operational Plan
Group discussions on participatory planning exercise
Plenary session on participatory planning exercise
Group discussions on case: Planning agricultural
research in Mughal Sultanate
Reading time for next day's sessions
Illustrative schedule for a work-
shop on agricultural research
Introductory module Appendix 4
1 Case discussion: Planning agricultural research in
Organizational principles and design
2 Organizational theories
3 Structure of an organization
Reading time for next day's sessions
1 Organizational design and change
2 Group discussions on the case study: Establishment of
a Directorate of Research at Soronno University of
or Group discussions on the case study: Organizational
change at Samaru, Nigeria
3 Plenary session for discussion on the case study
selected for group discussions
Reading time for next day's sessions
Leadership, motivation, team building and conflict
3 Team building
Reading time for next day's sessions
Day 6 0900 1000 1 Group discussions on case study: IRRI Agricultural
(6 Sessions) Equipment Programme: IRRI Management compares
IRRI with LDE research institutions
1000 1100 2 Plenary session on the IRRI case study
1100- 1130 Tea/Coffee
1130 1315 3 Conflict management
1315 1430 Lunch break
Reading time for next day's sessions
Training manual for institute management 33
1 Group discussions on case study: Dr Agadir
2 Plenary session on case study: Dr Agadir
Managing human resources
3 Recruiting and maintaining staff in the research
4 The professional staff
5 Group discussions on human resources management
6 Plenary session on human resources management
Reading time for next day's sessions
1 Performance appraisal
2 Group discussions on case study: Suzene Kopec
3 Plenary session on the case study: Suzene Kopec
4 Group discussions on exercise on designing
performance evaluation formats
5 Plenary session on exercise on designing performance
Reading time for next day's sessions
Management information systems, computers and
2 MIS exercise
3 Plenary session on MIS exercise
4 The computer as a management tool
5 Network techniques
Reading time for next day's sessions
34 Introductory module Appendix 4
1 CPM exercise group discussions
2 Plenary session on CPM exercise
Financial management in an agricultural research
3 Part 1: Components and information needs
4 Part 2: Planning and budgeting
5 Part 3: Project design and implementation
Reading time for next day's sessions
1 Group discussions on case study: Food Technology
Research Institute of Dongal
or Case discussion on the case study: Faro Arroya
2 Plenary session on case study: Food Technology
Research Institute of Dongal or Faro Arroya
3 Research-extension linkage
Information services and documentation
4 Scientific and technical information in a developing-
country research institute
5 Information as an input for research
6 Information as an output of research
7 Cooperation in national programmes
Reading time for next day's sessions
Day 12 Module 10 Institute evaluation
1 Session 0900 1100 1 Developing a framework for institution evaluation
1100- 1130 Tea/Coffee
1130 1230 Feedback session
1230 1315 Valedictory function
Training manual for institute management 35
AIMS FOR MANAGEMENT TRAINING
An analysis of the major requirements for training managers and administrators suggests that
a training programme should aim at enhancing their capability to (i) understand specific
situations, (ii) orientate action, and (iii) use effectively a problem solving approach which
involves (a) defining problems, (b) generating options to resolve the problems, (c) specifying
the criteria to select the best option, (d) assessing options on the specified criteria and choice
of option, (e) developing an action plan, and (f) developing a contingency plan.
Enhancement of the above capabilities requires an improved knowledge base,
covering the organization and its functioning, the environment in which it operates, a
conceptual knowledge to explain actions of the organization and the people forming it, and
the theory, techniques and approaches for resolving organizational problems. Besides such
knowledge, decision-makers would also need a variety of skills to diagnose situations, apply
theories, approaches and techniques, and both listen to others' opinions and convince
colleagues about their own inferences and decisions. Finally, in the absence of complete
information, appropriate values and attitudes would be most useful in taking decisions,
devising implementable action plans, and obtaining support for implementing action plans.
Any training programme aims at improving a mix of the three elements of learning:
knowledge, skills and attitudes. As the level of responsibilities increase, the importance of
attitudinal development is enhanced and that of gaining skills and acquiring knowledge
reduces. Ironically, it is also more difficult to impart and imbibe development of attitudes
and values, compared to gaining skills, and gaining of skills as compared to mere acquisition
SOME CRITICAL ASPECTS OF LEARNING
Learning is a complicated process in general, and more so among managers at different levels
and in different functions of organizations. Besides, each may have developed their own
ways, which differ from those of others. Yet, some general principles relating to the learner
and the learning process have been found to be helpful in improving adult learning. The
level of motivation of the learner is likely to affect learning positively. Three elements of
the learning process which help in improved learning are (i) participative or active learning,
(ii) reinforcement and feedback, both positive and negative, and (iii) applicability of learning
to the learners' situation.
Introductory module Appendix 5
Motivation is positively related to learning. There could be a variety of motivations for
individual learners: some want to learn merely for the sake of learning, others learn to
improve their status, still others to master improved techniques and skills to do a job better,
and still others learn to safeguard their current position. Whatever the reason, motivation has
been found to be positively related to the extent of learning. The trainer should understand
the diversity in motivational bases to relate to the learners for better individual and group
learning. It may also be useful to pay adequate attention to the learner's requirements of a
nature other than academic, i.e., comfort, food, timing, feelings of acceptance from the
group and the resource person, etc. This would allow true motivation to spur the participants
towards the goal of learning.
PARTICIPATION AND PRACTICE
Experience suggests that an active and participative method of learning with some minimum
repetition leads to improved learning of a variety of knowledge and skills.
FEEDBACK AND REINFORCEMENT-
It is well known that positively reinforced learning leads to retention, whereas negatively
reinforced learning leads to avoidance. In a training programme, such reinforcement could
come from test results, feedback from colleagues (co-learners), feedback from resource
persons, or the learner's increasing confidence in their own learning. The last kind is akin
to self-actualization and would, most likely, work best for mature individuals. This,
however, is a lengthy process, and the time needed might not be available in SEDPs. The
learning method may, therefore, have to put more emphasis on other forms of reinforcement.
APPLICATION OF LEARNING
The purpose of most training of managers and administrators is to improve their decision
making skills in actual work situations. Potential application of the learning in real life
situations significantly enhances their motivation for learning. Further, if the process of
learning is also similar to real life situations, the training method would be still more
Training manual for institute management
Short-duration, executive development programmes (SEDPs) based particularly on application
of the case method are characterized by the following:
(i) Heterogeneity of participants with respect to age, education, maturity level, breadth
of experience, exposure to organizational cultures within and across countries,
motivation level, work culture in organizations they belong to, etc. These differences
could be a source of strength, as they bring to bear a multifaceted view on the issues
under consideration. However, they could also be the source of serious weaknesses,
because they could lead to slow progress in preparation and in class discussions,
particularly in the early part of the programme, as participants would take longer to
understanding each other's views.
(ii) Heterogeneity of participant's expectations both in academic and non-academic terms.
These range from those who consider such programmes to be 'paid holidays' (thus
looking for non-academic satisfactions like stay arrangements, food, etc.), through
those who consider themselves merely 'observers' (and thus hardly participate
actively) and those who are interested seriously in only some aspect of the
programme (demanding far more emphasis on it), to those whose expectations match
with what is being offered by the programme.
(iii) Heterogeneity of expectations of the sponsoring organizations and executives, ranging
from providing a holiday as a reward, through enabling executives to establish
contacts with executives in other organizations, acquiring knowledge, gaining skills,
etc., to be able to shoulder current or possible higher responsibilities, to those using
the course as a building block in the career development of their executives.
(iv) Lack of understanding about the case method and participant's responsibilities.
(v) Limited time and flexibility available to the programme coordinator and faculty to
adjust the programme plan and implementation to suit such diverse expectations,
particularly at short notice.
Planning and management of
Introductory module Appendix 6
PROBLEMS IN MANAGING SEDPs
The special characteristics of SEDPs give rise to some typical problems in planning and
implementing the programmes as well as the class sessions. These pertain to some
difficulties particularly faced on the first day, extended 'switch off' of some participants,
domination by a few in class, mid-programme blues faced by participants, chance of total
breakdown in some programmes, and non-academic concerns of the participants.
The most typical problem on the first day is that of lack of preparation, even reading, by the
participants. This can arise in spite of advance mailing of material and written
communication emphasizing prior preparation. The problem arises not merely because of
lack of time to go through the material but more because of lack of understanding of
requirements of the case method on the part of most participants.
SOME PARTICIPANTS SWITCH OFF ...
Some participants could switch off for extended periods because of:
perceived irrelevance of topics and cases, or incomprehensibility of programme
domination in discussion by only a few (including the faculty),
difficulty in understanding language and terminologies, or
a feeling of being out of place for some other reasons.
The resource person and other participants may also inadvertently contribute to this
phenomenon. It may be helpful to build a system and learning climate in which attention gets
paid to individuals so that the phenomenon is avoided and, even if it occurs, the programme
coordinator and resource persons may be able to detect it promptly and take appropriate
... WHILE OTHERS DOMINATE
Some participants might try to dominate the discussion in particular sessions because of their
'expertise' in the particular situation or decision area, as well as their personal need to show
off. Those having significantly greater need to show off might in fact end up dominating the
discussion in several sessions. Over time, this might become frustrating to other participants
as well as the faculty members. Steps need to be taken by both the participants and the
instructor to use the expertise available in the group without allowing domination by some
to the detriment of learning by others, as well as the effects on group learning.
ALL FACE MID-PROGRAMME BLUES
Almost all programmes of one to several weeks' duration are found to exhibit what can be
termed as 'mid-programme blues.' This phenomenon strikes somewhere around the time
when 40 to 60% of the course is over. The primary reason seems to be the nature of the
heavy workload in case-based programmes, coupled with a feeling of 'we are over the
hump.' As a result, the following day's classes are a washout as the previous evening would
Training manual for institute management 39
go in merry making, general discussion, etc. The programme coordinator should consciously
plan for such a contingency and/or forewarn the resource person leading the discussion on
such a day.
Once in a while again, somewhere around the middle of a programme a strong feeling
develops among participants that they are reaching nowhere in terms of their learning vis-a-
vis the programme, the methodology, the arrangements and probably even the resource
person. While this occurrence in well-managed programmes is rare, it indicates several
shortcomings in design and implementation of programmes. A careful programme
coordinator can salvage the programme if he or she can sense the feeling in time and if the
faculty is cooperative.
In spite of the fact that the primary purpose of any SEDP is academic, sometimes the
facilities of food, accommodation, group discussion and classroom become irritants to
participants. If the case is genuine and the dissatisfaction justified, the coordinator should
try to take ameliorative action. However, more often than not, the dissatisfaction reflects
deeper maladies related to individuals, the programme, or both. They need to be noticed
early so that they can be diagnosed and appropriate remedial action taken.
SUGGESTIONS TO THE PROGRAMME COORDINATOR
The programme coordinator plays a crucial role in planning, implementing and evaluating a
management development programme. In this context, the coordinator, together with
programme faculty, specifies objectives, decides the target participant profile, and chooses
the contents of the programme and its pedagogy. He or she also plans for and obtains
feedback from participants in order to assess the programme and to suggesting improvements
to the next coordinator and faculty members.
It is the responsibility of the programme coordinator, with help from programme faculty, to
screen the participants for their suitability for the programme. Screening is done to check
whether the participants have:
the requisite capabilities to be able to benefit from the programme,
the required motivation to learn, and
the possibility to use the learning for their own and their organization's benefit.
Effective screening is likely to reduce the chances of uninterested participants joining the
programme, and thereby avoiding or minimizing a variety of problems faced in managing the
programme. In fact, the presence of properly screened candidates would go a long way in
building the learning climate in the programme.
A series of steps could help in proper screening of applicants:
proper design of the programme announcement, advertisement or brochure,
proper design of the programme application form,
Introductory module Appendix 6
screening by programme faculty on the basis of written communication, and
if needed and possible, personal interview with the potential candidate and sponsoring
The programme announcement or advertisement should clearly state the objectives, the profile
of participants for whom the programme is meant, the content and didactic approach. The
programme brochure should have details about these aspects so that the potential applicants
and their sponsoring organizations can make up their mind about the suitability of candidates
for the programme. The programme application form should be divided into two parts, one
for the sponsoring executive and the other for the applicant executive. Specific questions
expectations from the programme,
how would the participation of the executive benefit the executive and the organization,
special aspects supporting the candidature of the executives may be included.
At the time of reviewing the applicant for acceptance by the faculty these details could be
useful. In more uncertain cases, additional correspondence or personal discussion could be
necessary to assess the participant's capabilities, motivation and likely benefits vis-a-vis the
Planning the course and teaching material
Planning and scheduling of modules, sessions and teaching material in any programme should
be so done as to achieve the programme objectives. At the same time, these should match
with the contents and pedagogy. The case method imposes some additional requirements.
The first day
The first day, problems may arise because of not setting the stage for the programme. The
coordinator should plan to devote part of the first day to clarification of the objectives of the
programme, delimiting the coverage of the programme, the case method teaching approach
to be used, and emphasizing the participants' role and responsibilities in the case method for
getting the best learning results from the programme.
A short but comprehensive case covering most issues to be handled in the programme
could be well utilized to achieve all these purposes. This exercise may be taken up over an
extended session (or double session, depending on the length of the case and programme).
The programme material of the first day could be sent in advance to participants so
as to provide time for reading. However, the coordinator should still expect some of the
participants to arrive at the venue without the material or without preparation, or both. The
extended session, as proposed above, should be used to provide time for reading (to those
who did not do so) and for (further) analysis of the case by those who took time to prepare.
A separate session, whether in or out of class, should be planned for not merely
introducing the participants and the faculty to each other but also to break the ice among
them. Increased familiarity with each other has been found to go a long way in group and
participative learning, through exchange of each other's experiences.
Training manual for institute management 41
The programme coordinator should also plan a meeting of the programme faculty or
resource persons on the day before the beginning of the programme, to take stock of the
On Subsequent Days
As the time required to prepare each case is significant, usually not more than three sessions
of 70-90 minutes duration should be scheduled on each of the following days. It may be
ideal to have two case sessions and make the third session a lecture and discussion by internal
faculty or a practising executive.
As the programme progresses, cases and reading materials for subsequent sessions
could be increased in length and complexity. However, they should not become too
burdensome, and yet provide enough challenge for motivating the participants to put
demonstrate their best. Depending on reading speed, 50 to 100 pages (prepared in 1 /2 or
double spacing on quarto or A4) would probably be appropriate.
For building appropriate interest among the participants, cases could describe recent
situations, be well written and pertain to organizations and situations resembling those from
which participants are drawn. The programme coordinator's task is catalytic. If required,
she or he might initiate efforts to develop some new cases.
The last day of the programme should be planned to provide an opportunity to grapple
with a situation which encompasses issues discussed in the programme. Sometimes this could
be done through a very complex case. Presentations by participants on such an occasion
could provide a serious assessment of participants' learning during the programme.
Designing a learning climate
The programme coordinator must take a lead in providing a proper learning climate for the
programme as a whole. To counteract the switching-off phenomenon as well as lack of
interest in various topics, the participants should be divided into small groups for purposes
of discussion and syndicate work. The membership of such groups should be heterogeneous
enough to provide representation of varied views on any specific situation. Group discussions
are likely to take place in a free atmosphere, lead to clarifications on the case situation,
enhance learning from each other's experiences, help weed out arguments, decisions or action
plans which are prima facie irrelevant and, possibly, trigger some introspection about
attitudes and values on the part of participants.
Besides diversity in group membership, time and space should be provided for group
meetings with at least a chalkboard. If the programme is residential, participants could fix
their own timing for group discussions. However, if the programme is non-residential, it
may be beneficial to explicitly schedule time for preparation and group discussion.
The programme coordinator could also persuade faculty scheduled to lead classes on
a particular day to be available the day before as well, for clarifications in case individual
participants or groups need such help. This is seen to go a long way in generating motivation
Monitoring and reviewing the programme
As already mentioned, the programme coordinator needs to monitor the teaching and
discussion in the classroom, in small groups, and even individual preparation. This could
Introductory module Appendix 6
be achieved by attending class sessions, interacting with participants in their syndicate groups,
and in informal discussions. Another important mechanism is daily meetings with programme
faculty to review the progress of group learning, group behaviour, individual learning and
individual behaviour. The coordinator should consciously look for positive and negative
signals, both formal and informal, and initiate corrective steps. Interaction with participants
would also help in identifying not only participants who are likely to switch off, participants
who dominate discussions, or when a total breakdown situation is imminent, but also their
possible causes in advance. Initiating corrective steps either on one's own initiative or with
the help of programme faculty then becomes much easier.
Another aspect of monitoring and review is the task of obtaining feedback from
participants on objectives, content, pedagogy, and support services. The coordinator
generally plans to obtain such feedback towards the end of the programme, and both in
writing through a questionnaire, and orally in a group session scheduled for feedback and
review. The feedback needs to be summarized, circulated to programme faculty and passed
on to the next coordinator.
SUGGESTIONS TO PROGRAMME FACULTY
The programme faculty help the coordinator in planning and implementing the programme
in general. The primary task of faculty, however, is planning and implementing the module
sessions assigned to them. Planning of the first and the last case session of the programme
has special significance. They also, help the coordinator in planning the programme and
First and last sessions
In a sense the two sessions are similar. The first session primarily sets the stage for the
programme in terms of objectives, coverage of contents, pedagogy and role and responsibility
of participants and their behaviour. The last session should focus on a complex situation,
providing an opportunity to tackle it and apply the lessons taught during the programme. The
faculty member conducting these sessions has additional responsibility, which is best
discharged with the involvement of the coordinator and other faculty members of the
programme. In fact, the presence and involvement of the entire faculty in these two sessions
would demonstrate commitment and involvement of the faculty, as well as result in a more
cohesive approach to learning in the programme.
Planning the programme
The programme faculty help the coordinator in screening applicants for the programme.
However, their prime responsibility is for planning and conducting the module sessions
assigned to them. In this respect it is advisable for the programme faculty to discuss with
the coordinator as well as other members of the programme faculty the objectives of their
sessions and modules, the materials to be used, and any interlinkages with other sessions.
The choice of cases and reading material, as suggested earlier, should be guided by
the learning objectives of each sessions, the profile of participants attending the programme
and the timing of the particular session in the module and the programme. This is a crucial
planning decision, as this is likely to significantly influence the level of motivation and
preparation during the programme.
Training manual for institute management 43
Having chosen the material, the programme faculty should take a lead in scheduling
double sessions or two sessions for long or complex cases, if needed, as well as in scheduling
specific syndicate work or presentations at appropriate points. These aspects should also be
discussed with the coordinator as well as the programme faculty in informal and formal
Helping the coordinator and other faculty members in monitoring the programme by sharing
information about learning, group functioning, and any significant unexpected developments,
constitute other tasks of faculty members. They could also take care of any negative
developments during the course of the programme, in consultation with the programme
SUGGESTIONS TO PARTICIPANTS
Participants play a crucial role in enriching the learning of not only individual participants
but also of the entire group.
A participant thinking of attending a case-based SEDP should be prepared to spend
long hours, day after day, to seriously involve him- or herself in the programme, be open
and willing to share and exchange knowledge, skills and experiences with co-participants.
The greater the degree to which these elements are present in individual participants, the
greater the chances of better learning in a programme.
Participants would benefit greatly by being patient and trying to understanding the
point of view of other participants. This helps in assimilating knowledge, skills and attitudes
possessed by others. An early assimilation of these would also result in avoiding or reducing
the frustration experienced by participants in the early parts of the programme regarding the
nature and extent of learning, as well as the process of case discussion. The primary reason
for the frustration or switch-off syndrome seems to lie in lack of understanding and
appreciation of the views of other participants.
Reaching out to participants as well as faculty, whenever time permits, could help
enrich one's experience and knowledge. Each participant probably has a unique fund of
knowledge and experience, quite different from others. In general, the participants must put
in as much as they can because, in this method, they gain in direct proportion to their input.
Participants should share their discomfort, difficulties and views about any aspect of
the programme with the programme coordinator, who is likely to be in the best position to
Participants may like to share details of some challenging situations they faced with
each other and with faculty. These may not only enrich the learning of the participants but
could also be potential case leads.
REFERENCES CITED AND SOURCES FOR FURTHER READING
Arnon, I. 1968. Organization and Administration of Agricultural Research.
Christensen, C.R. 1987. Teaching and the Case Method (rev. ed.) Boston: Harvard
Introductory module Appendix 6
Copeland, M.T. 1964. And Mark an Era: The Story of the Harvard Business School. New
York, NY: Harper and Row.
Culliton, J.W. 1973. Handbook on Case Writing. Makati, the Philippines: Asian Institute
Dixit, M.R., & Jain, A.K. 1985. Experiences with the case method in short duration
executive development programmes. in: Proceedings of the Third International
Conference: Case Method Research and Case Method Application. London: City
McNair, M.P., & Hersu, A.C. (eds) 1954. The Case Method at the Harvard Business
School. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Reynolds, J.I. 1980. Case Method in Management Development: Guide for Effective Use.
Rao, S.S. 1989. The Case Method: An overview. Indian Institute of Management,
ILO. 1986. Teaching and Training Methods for Management Development. Geneva: ILO.
This training manual has been prepared as basic reference material to help national research
trainers structure and conduct training courses on research management at the Institute level.
It is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes in developing countries
and for institutions of higher education interested in presenting in-service training courses on
research management. The manual consists of ten modules, each addressing major
management functions including motivation, leadership, direction, priority setting,
communications and delegation. The four structural functions of management planning,
organization, monitoring and control, and evaluation are covered in individual modules. The
manual has been designed to support participatory learning through case-studies, group
exercises and presentations by the participants.
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