Research indicates that more than 80% of the knowledge and skills gained in company-sponsored training programs is not applied in the workplace, but there is a growing body of evidence that recognizes managerial involvement as a primary factor in improving training transfer. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of supervisors as they endeavor to facilitate training transfer for their direct reports within one pharmaceutical sales organization. The rationale for the study derives from the researcher's desire to understand the present behavior of supervisors and use these insights to guide the development of management training strategies. The purposefully selected sample was composed of 14 district managers and regional sales directors who were all employees of a large, research-based pharmaceutical company in the United States. The data-collection method was in-depth interviews. After the data was coded and analyzed, several findings emerged: (a) all managers had pretraining interactions with their direct reports, but approaches varied widely; (b) most managers reported having a more intentional and structured approach to posttraining interactions, but few managers described actions that supported sustained behavioral change; (c) most managers had little purposeful contact with their direct reports during training events; (d) study participants had not received a great deal of support from their managers in support of their efforts to apply newly acquired skills; and (e) lack of time and competing priorities were considered to be the primary barriers preventing managers from doing more to promote training transfer. This research revealed that supervisors have only a general sense of what to do, but lack the skills necessary to promote training transfer effectively and do not understand why these practices are important. The research also suggests that organizational factors such as workload, competing priorities, and lack of executive involvement contribute to suboptimal performance. Recommendations are offered for organizational leaders and for further research possibilities. Recommendations for practitioners mainly include setting clear expectations, training supervisors on best practices, and providing a support system that creates easy access to tools and resources. Further research should address whether these findings are consistent in other organizational settings.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Employees -- Training of; Supervisors; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Allen, Mark