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The efficacy of pharmaceutical sales training : a case-study exploration Leighland, Christine

Abstract

Adult education pervades the workplace in many different ways. Corporate training, in particular, is one of the most significant forms of adult education in terms of activity and funding. North American companies spend billions of dollars delivering training programs annually, but it is not clear whether training programs are effective and how they influence their sponsors. The objectives of this qualitative case study research are to: understand how the context of a Canadian pharmaceutical company shapes its' training initiatives; determine whether, how and why a pharmaceutical sales training program (New Representative Training) was perceived to be effective; and assess the influence of these factors on the company's performance. Results from this study suggest that New Representative Training was perceived, by study participants, to be effective because it helped enhance pharmaceutical sales representative work performance (e.x., more focussed and organized physician details) due to improved confidence and indirectly, the company philosophy (e.x., a different attitude and appreciation for the company and its employees). Nevertheless, an improved understanding of the philosophy, assumptions, and processes of this company suggest that training is only one part of an integrated system that affects performance, regardless of its' efficacy. Therefore, training, like workplace learning and evaluation, cannot claim sole or specific responsibility for the performance improvement of the company Research findings contribute to workplace learning, training, and evaluation literature by elucidating how the context surrounding an organization shaped its' learning and performance.

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