Original Research

A disconnect between training evaluation theory and the practical realities of South African businesses

Carren G. Duffy
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 22 | a2449 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v22i0.2449 | © 2024 Carren G. Duffy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2023 | Published: 29 February 2024

About the author(s)

Carren G. Duffy, School of Management Studies, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: This article emphasises the need to rethink training evaluation due to its lack of practice in South Africa.

Research purpose: This research aimed to investigate the extent to which South African corporates engage in training evaluation.

Motivation for the study: While theorists and training evaluation experts argue the importance of evaluating training, globally, training evaluation is primarily limited to collecting reaction-level data. Training evaluation is a staple in most training and human resource development textbooks and forms part of undergraduate and postgraduate curricula in the Human Resources Management domain, yet, little is published about training evaluation in South Africa and its practical relevance in modern-day corporate environments.

Research approach/design and method: An explanatory sequential (mixed-methods) research design was utilised.

Main findings: While there is a high commitment to training among South African corporates, it is not accompanied by a commitment to training evaluation. Training evaluation is not considered a priority business practice, especially in highly demanding and complex corporate environments. Additionally, with South Africa’s unique legislative frameworks, the motivation for providing training is sometimes distorted, causing a reluctance to determine training effectiveness.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings suggest that a substantial shift in how training evaluation is theoretically conceptualised and practically applied is necessary for South Africa.

Contribution/value add: The research indicates a need to explore creative and nuanced ways, perhaps utiliing established human resource analytics and metrics to assess the merit and worth of training.


training; training evaluation; corporate training and development; South Africa; skills legislation.

JEL Codes

A10: General; A11: Role of Economics • Role of Economists • Market for Economists; A12: Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


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