Employee motivation for personal development plan effectiveness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose - This article aims to understand conditions under which personal development plans (PDPs) can effectively be implemented for professional learning. Both the organization's manner of supporting the PDP practice as well as the individual employee's motivation is taken into account.

Design/methodology/approach - A questionnaire was distributed among employees of a Dutch governmental office, measuring perceived effectiveness of the tool (undertaking learning activities and performance), perceptions of PDP practices in the organization, and individual motivation. Regression analysis revealed that learning and reflection practices in the organization are positively related to number of learning activities undertaken by employees and to perceived performance.

Findings - A significant moderating effect of motivation was found, supporting the idea that the tool's perceived effectiveness depends both on the organization's efforts as well as the individual's motivation.

Research limitations/implications - In this study, the authors were limited by a low response rate, a single setting, as well as a lack of causal evidence due to the cross-sectional set-up. They therefore encourage the validation of their hypotheses in different settings, and in an experimental/longitudinal manner.

Practical implications - Implications for practice include the importance for organizations to implement PDPs in an on-going cycle of learning, combined with opportunities for formal and informal learning, while supervisors carry great responsibility for providing feedback and encouragement based on the employee's motivation for learning.

Originality/value - This combination of company practices with individual supporting conditions such as employees' motivation to understand when PDPs work best is a novel approach to understanding PDP effectiveness and hopes to add to both theoretical and practical understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-543
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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