An investigation of the distinguishing characteristics of exemplary trainers in business and industry in Zimbabwe
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This study investigated the demographic, psychological, interpersonal, and attitude and belief characteristics that distinguished exemplary business and industrial trainers (N = 18) and other trainers (N = 70) in Zimbabwe. Additionally, the study investigated whether work experience, academic ability, creativity, trainee-content orientation, and self-perception between the trainers grouped as business, technical, and management trainers significantly differentiated between the groups of trainers. Usable data collected from 88 business and industrial trainers through the Adult Personality Inventory (API), the Attitude and Belief Inventory (ABI), the Trainee-Content Training inventory (T-CT), and the Training Job Competence (TJC) rating scale were analyzed through discriminant analysis and hierarchical linear models. The findings were: (1) Work experience, a demographic variable, was the single largest factor that distinguished exemplary trainers from the rest of the trainers. Exemplary trainers had mean work experience of 16.72 years while the rest of the trainers had a mean of 12.3 years; (2) Creativity was the second best distinguishing factor, and the only psychological factor that significantly differentiated between the two groups trainers; (3) Trainee-content orientation and attitude towards self were the third and fourth highest distinguishing factors differentiating exemplary trainers from the rest; (4) Academic ability was the fifth best predictor of job performance among the trainers; (5) A trainer's caring and assertiveness characteristics did not significantly differentiate exemplary trainers from the rest of the trainers; (6) There were significant differences between the trainers in terms of their trainee-content orientation and academic ability (with correlations of r =.81 and r =.43, respectively, with the discriminant function) when the trainers were grouped into business, technical and management trainer categories. Technical trainers showed the highest academic ability and lowest trainee-content orientation;The implications of the results are discussed within the context of human resources development and organizational performance improvement.