AuthorProfiroiu, Alina Georgiana
  1. Context

    It is well-known that civil servants' competencies are crucial to any public administration. The quality of professional training directly influences the activity and services delivered by public administration. That is why the impact of training on public administration's performance and its contribution to organizational results and climate was a subject of great concern for many scholars.

    There is a legal framework that imposes the obligation of professional training for civil servants in Romania; since Romania is an EU member state, an increasing need to update civil servants' knowledge and skills has occurred, and so has a new opportunity to finance training programs by accessing European Funds. For example, the Sectorial Operational Programme Human Resources Development (SOPHRD) 2007-2013 (called POSDRU in Romania), fourth priority axis Modernization of Public Employment Service (PES), 4.2 major intervention area 'SPO's own personnel training', offers such a possibility to train the personnel of PES. The National Agency for Employment (NAE), as well as its territorial branches, also took advantage of this opportunity using the European Funds in different projects for civil servants' training.

    The present paper attempts to analyze the relation between project management training programs and projects' development and implementation, on the one hand, and the contribution of training in enhancing civil servants' innovation capacity in the territorial Agencies for Employment, on the other hand. As an essential way to stimulate innovation activities, training ensures the exposure of civil servants to a diversity of knowledge, stimulating creativity and modern ideas. Moreover, the paper makes theoretical and empirical contributions by analyzing the concepts of training and innovation in the public sector and providing conclusive evidence regarding training's impact on project management. This article may be of interest to researchers and managers involved in the planning and evaluation of civil servants' training. Furthermore, the conclusions of this study could attract the interest of those who deliver training programs to public institutions under Human Capital Operational Program (HCOP) 2014-2020.

  2. Literature review

    Looking through the relevant literature, there are several definitions for the concept of training. Many decades ago, Flippo (1971) considered 'training' as 'an act of increasing the knowledge and skill of an employee for doing a particular job'. In the same spirit, other authors (Punia and Kant, 2013) who made significant contributions to measuring training effectiveness models, describe this concept as a way to stimulate the employees' and organization's development.

    Generally, the concept of training represents the sum of means of information, learning, guidance, instruction, improvement of a person's knowledge and skills in a specific activity area. The training process can take place either in public organizations or outside of work, in training centers and educational institutions.

    There are several reasons for in-house training (UNECE, 2013): flexibility of training's schedule; training relevance and coherence consistent with the individual's needs; reduced travelling and accommodation costs. In this regard, an important contribution belongs to Holton, Bates and Ruona (2000) who created a learning transfer system inventory (LTSI) focusing on factors affecting the knowledge transfer in the workplace.

    Furthermore, the development of a new soft approach is supported by different authors (Fielden and Pearson, 1979; Bramley, 1991; Horton, 2009); this approach measures the 'value' of training by setting its indirect, but still immense, effects such as moral aspects and contribution to the development of the group.

    Performing meta-analytic investigations, Arthur et al. (2003) examined the relationship between the type of training and evaluation characteristics, and training effectiveness in different institutions. Moreover, they conclude that the training program's effectiveness depends on the methods used and the evaluation criteria set. Other authors (Tracey and Tews, 1995) explore the connection between training programs' effectiveness and external factors such as work environment and trainees' characteristics. In addition, Eseryel (2002, p. 95) notices the emergence of several complex factors generated by 'the dynamic and ongoing interactions of the various dimensions and attributes of organizational and training goals, trainees, training situations, and instruction technologies'.

    In the same vein, Ennis (2008) mentions two categories of factors influencing training's effectiveness: (a) the internal dimension expressed by the individual characteristics and (b) the external dimension linked to external environment constraints and interpersonal relationships in the workplace; in her opinion both are equally important in the training process.

    In a study carried out in the Catalonia region of Spain, Quesada-Pallares (2012) explained the civil servants' responses to survey questions. Accordingly, motivational factors, such as correlation with the workplace's activity and career advancement opportunities are extremely important in facilitating the training process.

    Other authors (Lai, 2011; Kochanowski, 2011) refer to knowledge and skills as motivational factors influencing civil servants' training. Thus, knowledge and skills affect each individual's roles and responsibilities and could be directly related to job specifications (Mokhtar, 2010). Depending on the external factors, they will allow a facile adaptation to transformations (Stanica, 2012), both internally and externally. Furthermore, training effectiveness depends on the subsequent workplace application of knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired by trainees (Baldwin and Ford, 1988). On the other hand, Hanum (2009) focuses on the relationship between training and performance as well as training content by looking at the myths about them.

    Considering that training allows assimilating knowledge from outside the organization, different authors (Neirotti and Paolucci, 2013; B0ring, 2017) have identified a clear link between the concepts of training and innovation, emphasizing that the former is a key element in anticipating the latter. Furthermore, by using databases from two of China's government reports, Shang, Li and Liu (2018) have found evidence that reduc ing political control on the civil service's decision-making process would lead to enhancing innovation and civil servants' creative capacity in solving citizens' problems.

    According to Buckova (2015) there are two approaches in the civil servants' training system in the Czech Republic: knowledge accumulation, corresponding to the theoretical side of the courses, and organizational aspects of the public institution, as well as interpersonal relationships both with the other civil servants and the public. The factors influencing knowledge acquired in training, as well as internal and external organizational aspects, are also analyzed by the author previously mentioned.

    The complexity of training evaluation related to learning, transfer and organizational impact are pointed out by Vukovic et al. (2008). A notorious model applying the objective-based evaluation method was developed by Kirkpatrick (1998). The model is renowned for its four levels: reaction (trainees' perception regarding course effectiveness), learning (improvement of trainees' knowledge while attending courses), behaviour (change in trainees' behavior especially regarding information use) and results (courses' impact on civil servants performance and objective achievement). More recently, Kunche et al. (2011) have proposed a new model, called 'backwards planning'; its process phases are reversed and are part of a cyclical process.

    Furthermore, the use of demographic programs and tests for measuring effectiveness should have a key position in evaluating the training efforts and in reviewing the tools needed (Gotsch and Weimer, 1994). When applicable, the evaluation should also be extended to the workplace behavior which has important consequences on the civil servants' performance.

  3. Legal framework on civil servants' training in Romania

    Under the provisions of Law no. 76/2002 financial resources of the unemployment insurance budget enable co-financing the EU funded projects implemented under an operational programme. This also applies to projects involving civil servants' training activities within the National Employment Agency and its territorial branches.

    Law no. 188/1999 on the Statute of Civil Servants stipulates the civil servants' right and duty to continuously improve their skills and professional training. More specifically, public institutions have to include in their budgets the amounts corresponding to professional training expenses carried out either in the public authority's interest or on the employee's own initiative. The undergraduate or PhD studies do not represent training activities and could not be covered by the state or local budget. In compliance with the legislation in force, public authorities and institutions are obliged to communicate annually to the National Agency of Civil Servants the civil servants' professional training plan. This institution is also informed about the funds foreseen in the budget to cover the corresponding training expenditures.

    The normative act aimed at regulating civil servants' professional training in Romania is Government Decision no. 1066/2008 on the approval of rules on civil servants' training. The ways to achieve civil servants' professional training are listed in its content: training programs carried out by vocational training providers, completed with participation certificates or graduation diploma; training programs developed or approved by public authorities and institutions; training programs carried out during EU funded...

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