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Experiential learning provides a phenomenon where management as a learning process is applied for individual workers, team building and organizational structures (Bartik 2001). It provides a holistic and dynamic approach in management through entrepreneurial learning, strategy formulation, problem solving, decision-making and leadership. Experiential learning as applied in management has therefore been instrumental in designing managerial education programs, training and development. It is particularly crucial in shaping the behavior of individuals with respect to actual experiences that they go through at their respective workplace in relation to their personal goals and objectives.
Employees are motivated to work at the organizational level by the degree to which their personal and career aspirations are applied. The management of different organizations therefore needs to motivate their employees by creating an environment that promotes their welfare for the mutual benefit. The learning styles utilized towards strengthening management in organizations benchmark both the experiences of managers and workforce (Brockett& Merriam 2007). It is equally important that personal learning styles are le in the process of acquiring dynamic knowledge and training. Through entrepreneurial learning, knowledge is acquired which is then complimented by the assimilating phases that includes strategy formulation. Entrepreneurial learning incorporates ways of exploiting opportunities that are beneficial to both workers and the management.
Individuals are benefit from experiential learning in management by building the capacity to identify problems in their lives after which resolutions are designed to solve them based on the actual challenges that follow the underlying experiences. In managing organizations, the leadership seeks to solve problems which interfere with the output of their businesses. The learning styles that guide the process are benchmarked on a proper understanding of the managerial behavior, team building and organizational structure. Individual are able of acquiring knowledge through a careful observation of their experiences in addition to their interaction with their surroundings. People are then in a position to evaluate their experiences in life in order to make important decisions meant to solve their problems.
Since learning is a process of acquiring knowledge, the process of interrogating daily life experiences from the perspective of one's goals and objectives then invent his/her identity accordingly (Moon, 2004). People are then directed in their lives by the subsequent choices that they make to respond to the accompanying challenges. Experiential learning therefore establishes an elaborate means of transforming experiences into knowledge which is appropriate to individual aspirations.
Learning in general seeks to enlarge the knowledge base of information. This requires that the information is stored for future reference or otherwise memorized. The skills and facts acquired during the learning process should empower learners in solving their daily problems through applying them appropriately. Individuals have a natural ability to learn from their experiences (Griffin, 2003). It therefore explores a method of obtaining information by learning from experiences. The knowledge is then acquired and transformed to solve problems that individuals have as well as the environmental concerns. Experiential learning is a continuous process that incorporates the experience with theory, reflection as well as solutions.
Experiential learning is based on the principle that individuals learn better from their personal experiences. People's actions in this theory are more important than what they have been taught (Moon, 1999). It therefore employs a learning process that is self fulfilling and enjoyable in order for the learners to face the challenges appropriately. It also empowers the individuals with the ability to become creative and innovative.
The theory of experiential learning therefore based on firsthand experience and observation. Reflection in experiential learning is very critical (Silberman, 2007). I t provides the link between the real life experiences and theoretical concepts. Participants in the learning process are given an opportunity to interact with each other with an aim of learning from one another. An individual is also expected to evaluate his progress within the team with a view of developing oneself at the end. This is particularly useful learning since it equips individuals with the potential to comprehend ideas easily. This is due to the fact that workers are engaged in several activities at the same time.
As a result they require such group activities to inspire their learning process with maximum output out of each session (Hillier, 2002). This is also because the professionals are able to interact with the learning phenomenon firsthand from familiar experiences that could guide their reflection. Both the content of the learning process and the relevant experience that is applicable to the learner are explored. The immediate personal experience provides the foundation for learning because it provides a familiar relationship to the theoretical concepts being discussed.
Any new ideas being discussed can therefore be verified against these known experiences for their validity (Brockett & Merriam, 2007). The experiences can also be understood better through a conscious reflection. Experiential learning is typically a continuous process that combines actual tangible experiences through reflection to academic theories in order to forecast current and future events. This may include the process of learning about market and corporate dynamics for the goal of organizing and managing businesses. No teacher is involved but the learner gains knowledge by interacting with the environment directly thereby being able to make personal discoveries without looking at others' experiences (Moon, 1999). In order for the learner to benefit from this kind of exposure education, he/she should be able to participate proactively in the experience.
Another basic component entails the learner's potential to reflect on each and every detail of the experience (Nasta, Gray & Gray, 2000). In order to comprehend the experience fully, the learner should possess critical investigative skills in order to probe the issues being experienced. Then the learner needs to have the skills to deal with difficult scenarios as well as making wise choices. This is very useful in empowering the learner with the potential to exploit the experiences involved in real life situation. This becomes even more essential to managers and their subordinates alike who find the experiences a viable resource material for reference when solving daily problems as well as making life decisions.
However, these experiences can be fully utilized if they are understood within the context of formal learning otherwise general experiences may end up being applied wrongly(Doyle, MacDonald & Leberman 2006). Therefore experiential learning on its own may lead to generalizations, stereotypes and prejudice when learners make conclusions from their experiences. On the hand, experiential learning becomes very useful in helping individuals educate themselves about their best way to meet personal requirements, wishes and needs through direct experience. Individuals participating in this kind of learning should possess personal initiative and regular evaluation of their experiences in order to effectively engage in the process.
The process requires that learners at the inset set their goals and objectives which are meant to guide them in evaluating their experiences. Evaluation entails making relevant observations, reflection and the ultimate decision making. There is also a component of enjoyment in experiential learning characterized by sports and games (Zounková D, Franc & Martin, 2004). The serves to keep the lessons obtained in the learning process for a good period of time. The social forums created by the sports encourage team work, communication and leadership. When learners are personally involved in the experiential learning process, they are able to appreciate their talents and gifts within a communal and enjoyable setting. As a result, those facilitating the experiential learning should be quite outgoing in terms of engaging the learners in process fully.
This demands that the facilitator provides leadership by active participation as well as encouraging the team members to exploit the environment to the maximum. They should brainstorm the minds of their colleagues to think in tandem to the set goals and objectives. Emphasis is therefore put on an individual's personal growth and development through adventure in the target environment (Hillier, 2002). The approach seeks to empower the personal intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. The individual's senses are put to practice in the learning process engaging the brain, the eyes, the heart, the tongue and the hands. This means that the whole being of a person is engaged in a holistic learning process. Individuals then interact with each other building relationships and fostering character development and individuality.
This form of learning is particularly effective in adult learning and management. The adults have basically gained experience in the immediate past which is relevant in experiential learning process when dealing with present challenges. Tangible experience is related to theoretical concepts through reflection and dynamic trials (Moon, 1999). The adult learners utilize their immediate experiences through keen observation and reflective thinking to draw relevant concepts about the past events in their determination of future plans. The four stages are integrated processes that follow each other in the experiential adult learning process.
Learners are constantly involved in establishing personal experiences that are related to the current environment being evaluated within a social cultural setup. This properly defines the best perspective to engage in lifelong learning process. It provides a forum for the adults to develop the society through their personal experiences in view of the current challenges. Experiential learning also provides an opportunity to develop the adults' careers after their formal learning in schools. Their work experience is particularly important when seeking for promotions at their workplace and leadership in the society as an opportunity to further their careers.
The process of experiential learning therefore develops a person's overall outlook and social relevance. This mode of learning is actually important in determining the sequence of events in a particular situation especially when discussing possibilities of solving a problem. From this pattern of events, a general defining principle can be established to explain the situation (Silberman, 2007). The actions that characterize the response to the situation and several other related events provide the underlying principle. When a similar situation arises or some other related scenario, this principle is applied in defining the steps which can be exploited to solve them within that context.
This is an important form of learning to adults especially those in management positions. This is because they are able to make wise judgments by carrying out a critical reflection on issues based on previous experiences in management. The adults are able to anticipate future outcomes by connecting similar actions that occurred in their past experiences at work or in social forums. Despite of this noble learning process, the generalization of issues may lead to erroneous conclusions which could damage the credibility and integrity of particular blanket decision making procedures (Griffin, Holford & Javis, 2003). Above all, learners in management have their own strengths and weaknesses which they are familiar with. This when coupled to their own experiences which they are easy for them to apply, forms a comfortable learning atmosphere to gain personal knowledge.
Management as a learning process also exploits relevant experiences that are practical in nature such as the application of learning styles by portfolio managers in investment banking. The underlying approach seeks to study the manner in which the portfolio managers are able to utilize the subsequent problem solving and decision making skills in organizing assets in their portfolios (Checkoway 2007). The investment sections of a bank which are normally demanding in terms of the large discretionary accounts and clients with a risk inclination then guide the investment managers in decision making. They actually achieve the status using accommodating learning styles such as active experimentation and concrete experiences in reconciliation of accounts.
On the hand, other sections of a bank such as the personal trust department with lower performance and risk expectations as well as fewer discretionary accounts then inform the managers on learning styles that incorporate reflective observation and active conceptualization in decision making. The respective managers with learning styles opposite to each other had different experiences in their management learning; the concrete managers preferred people in the form of fellow workers, brokers and businessmen in their management portfolios. Abstract managers on the hand obtained information relevant in their departments through analytical data from sources such as company reviews and economic analysis (Pettigrew 2003).
The concrete managers actually preferred information that was useful in making specific recommendation to a problem with respect to investment banking. It was also worth noting that abstract managers arrived at a decisive conclusion from sources of information that they could directly analyze with respect to investment dimensions. As a result, abstract managers have a tendency to use so much information in their analysis in order to arrive at a decision as compared to their concrete counterparts in the same investment banking (McGill &Weil1989). A situational analysis reveals that experiential learning in investment banking enables managers to be sensitive in their feelings towards other people especially their clients and other stakeholders who matter in their programs.
This actually empowers them with an open-minded approach in their lives and managerial careers. This is then followed by problem analysis with respect to investment situations which then strengthens understanding in solving problems. The rationale follows a perspective that recognizes people's thoughts and feelings in order to establish important opinions to be made that resolve management challenges. Those individuals that participate successfully in this analysis develop a character profile with important values such as patience, fairness and resourceful thinking. The subsequent experiences are utilized in solution analysis where possibilities are created for practical solutions to underlying following the precedence already established in the previous stages.
A solution analysis therefore generates solution as well as their application in resolving problems (Sheth& Eshghi 2008). In this process, people are prefer intellectual reasoning as opposed to mere feelings as well as establish theories related to underlying situation(in this case investment banking) than investigating established facts. Managers are concerned with systematic organization of issues, quantitative analysis and theoretical manipulation of concepts in business. As a matter of fact, the resulting outcome of their thought patterns follows a strict criterion of analyzing ideas and subsequently organizes their systems in investment portfolios for the mutual benefit of the business and clients. What follows then is the implementation analysis which is characterized by the process of identifying tasks that are part of the solution analysis into a logical plan characterized by relevant time frames with appropriate evaluation strategies.
Mechanisms are established to encourage clients for instance to invest more in stocks and to mortgage facilities instead of pyramid schemes that could risk their monetary gains in unsecured ventures. Managers who are able to interrogate issues to this level gain practical knowledge of their business challenges and situations that confront their dynamic markets (Partin 2008). These managers eventually obtain practical applications of their theoretical knowledge in order to influence fellow colleagues. In essence the managers taking advantage of active experimentation find it easier to apply abstract solution to their problems and their organizations.
In the world of investment banking, the managers are able to innovatively design practical solutions through a situational analysis and the subsequent implementation protocols. They are actually capable of taking manageable risks in order to achieve their goals and objectives in addition to their passion to see an impact of their banks in the surrounding environment (Griffin, Holford& Jarvis, 2003). Through corporate social responsibilities, the managers are capable pioneering local investment into initiatives that lead to poverty eradication. They are influential in convincing directors on important boardroom decisions that create investment initiatives for other corporate as well as small and medium enterprises.
Since experiential learning follows a paradigm that values team building, managers who are beneficiaries of the training value the contribution of their colleagues in benchmarking business investments related to banking as well as research and development of their portfolios towards competitive advantage in the market(Hillier 2002). Team building characterized by learning from one another's experiences enables for self evaluation and brainstorming techniques to be applied with a high degree of accountability and transparency. In order to learn from diverse experiences in a team, the team actually builds itself from constructive dialogue which allows for members to reflect about their individual experiences together.
As a result of reflection, conservation and collective responsibility and active interrogation of individual experiences, practical solutions can be created for the benefit of the entire society. Members are encouraged to interact as peers in group discussions where they brainstorm on issues in their environment and particularly in their investment banks. The groups equally do research in their niche markets on their customers with leadership from managers with diverse experiential learning in order to integrate dynamic ideas in decision making (Moon 2004). The managers are able to assist the teams to develop an image unique to their organization by spearheading a collective discussion on different members' experiences.
As a result of the fruitful discussions, the managers are able to instill in the team some sense of collective responsibility in the subsequent decisions that affect their organization. In essence, the managers integrate in the workers through responsible leadership, an understanding that all of them belong to the company and their aspirations and goals in life equally matter (Silberman 2007). Investments in the bank are more likely to improve when the employees are trained to believe in the vision and mission of the organization as well as guided on how to integrate their individual experiences and aspirations into the broader picture of the investment mandate.
For instance, the workers' career aspirations can be developed more appropriately when the bank through team building recognizes talents and capabilities of its staff in their decision making process. Monetary awards are not enough in motivating the bank workers to perform better and honest in their undertakings. The workers' family and career ambition is basically a major ingredient of their direct experiences which could influence the overall output of the organization. The managers basically provide the executive consciousness required to guide the interaction process within the team with maximum respect and focus (Nasta, Griffin& Gray 2000). It is important that the workers are guided into fruitful deliberations with a lot of respect with one another's experiences.
When the culture of mutual respect is developed in the team, members become receptive to their colleagues points of view which then lead to proper reflection on the subsequent decision for the common growth and development of everyone. The team actually develops into a learning system with members have a functions that contribute towards upholding the objectives of the team. The managers are left to monopolize leadership instead they are part of the team which assumes shared leadership with personal needs being integrated into the team's goals. The roles assigned to team members revolve around the investment banking portfolio with others being information seekers, coordinators and others could serve as standards setters, compromisers, encouragers and group observers(Zounková, Franc & Martin 2004 ). Members actually preferred performing those tasks which they were familiar with or otherwise interested in.
Despite of this, they were motivated by the team spirit to perform some duties for the best interest of the group. As a result, the group provides a hospitable space for career growth and expertise among its members. The process of experiential learning in management of the banking industry also allows for the creation of jobs through expansion of business opportunities to the youth. The investment portfolio is therefore guided by its contribution to the society as a result of the fruitful deliberations that involve the entire members of the community. The banking interests in fostering financial growth in the surrounding community is paramount and team building ensures that the products provided by the institution (Silberman 2007).
For instance farmers can be financially empowered through loans that enable them to buy farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers in order to ensure that the output of their agricultural produce is sustainable with high profit margins. Students can equally be supported through experiential learning to develop a holistic approach in career progression. The banks are equally positioned well to extend educational loans and grants to the students with minimal interest rates for their mutual benefit. Management as a learning process is therefore sustained as a process of adapting to the daily challenges that confront the society especially in uplifting their living standards.
Action Plan involving economic research
Economic research is important in determining the extent to which the benefits of an industrialized economy are to both the urban and rural settings. Economic decisions are always made by political leaders in government and people in management (Bartik, 2001). Since most of the industries are based in urban settings, there is sporadic rural-urban migration leading to congestion in major cities. The limited resources especially in housing, space, employment and sanitation have lead to an increase in the level of poverty as well as an increase in criminal activities.
Managers therefore need to take advantage of the available statistics which demand for increased funding into urban centers with a view of improving the social facilities in order to avoid health risk from occurring (Bartik, 2001). Facilities such as schools, hospitals, prisons and social entertainment joints require periodic evaluation and upgrading in order to support the increasing populations. The government may equally consider undertaking economic programs which promote private businesses in order to reduce poverty levels and empower personal investments in generation of employment. Such small and medium enterprises are managed by people with little training in business management.
The government should therefore explore economic research into ways of training business owners for such small and medium ventures with a view of equipping them with necessary skills on current technologies (Bartik, 2001). Research into the situation is very crucial in guiding the process of policy making within government. Such policies are useful because some reliable statistics are available to guide the process. It is therefore important that a proper analysis is done to find out the possibility of relocating some industries to rural areas in order to empower the impoverished populations there economically.
It is not fair for government to spend huge financial investments in traditional sectors of the economy that cannot be extending to accommodate the increasing populations. They are also located within urban centers only leaving rural inhabitants suffering in rampant poverty. It could appear expensive to establish new industries for instance in rural areas but this type of venture presents rather a permanent solution to the marginalized state of the economy in the remote settings (Bartik, 2001). These demands that adequate resources are budgeted in the nationally in order to finance infrastructure projects meant to open up rural areas for both government and private investments. There is also need for government subsidies and tax waivers for economic activities already based in rural areas.
Agricultural-based industries could be set up in rural settings because there are available raw materials that can be when the necessary infrastructure is in place (Bartik, 2001). As such, economic research is very relevant in guiding government interventions in reducing poverty levels as well as generation of wealth across the board. It is therefore important for policy makers to understand the dynamics associated with both urban and rural settings.
Other factors crucial for the economic research include the literacy levels and adoption of technologies in the various settings. When the government goals within the its locality as a nation succeeds in achieving their objectives in eradicating poverty as well as create employment opportunities for all, they equally open up their countries for direct foreign investments(Bartik, 2001). This therefore means that economic productivity could progress with equal distribution of resources. The government general fiscal policies are based on reliable data about the realities on the ground as well as the global political trends.
Experiential learning is therefore an important parameter that informs research, education and management for the wellbeing of society. Experiences that people have in different environments, when integrated into the common goals of the community, boosts development initiatives. Resources including human work force are effectively managed when diverse experiences are exploited for the common good of everyone. As a result of this worthwhile learning paradigm, management in such financial institutions as banks can be effectively done as noted through team building for the purpose of not only increasing investments but also reducing poverty and creating jobs. The overall result is the improvement of the people's living standards.
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