3Training Needs Analysis at Work

Rodrigo R. Ferreira, Gardênia da Silva Abbad, and Luciana Mourão


Training needs analysis (TNA) is an important component of instructional systems because the success of the planning, execution, and evaluation of training in organizational environments depends on the quality of information generated in the TNA stage. However, there is still relatively little theoretical or empirical research in TNA (Kraiger, 2003; Aguinis & Kraiger, 2009). Literature reviews dedicated to the topic are rare (Gould et al., 2004; Chiu et al., 1999; Abbad & Mourão, 2012; Ferreira & Abbad, 2013). The characteristics and theoretical-methodological gaps in this field are, to some extent, still unknown.

It seems that the prescriptions of seminal authors (Mahler & Monroe, 1952; McGehee & Thayer, 1961; Moore & Dutton, 1978, among others) have not yet been completely adopted in practice or in TNA research. For over 50 years, training and development (T&D) literature has been concerned with the importance of systematic procedures for TNA and the investigation of internal and external variables that influence or originate needs for training in work contexts (McGehee & Thayer, 1961). However, the scientific production in the area has yet to provide plausible answers to important theoretical and methodological questions surrounding the topic.

For McGehee and Thayer (1961), training needs are derived from poorly developed skills, insufficient knowledge, or inappropriate ...

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