Validation of a comprehensive executive learning and development measure


Solomon Akrofi, Researcher, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK. Email: Nicholas Clarke, Senior lecturer, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK. Email: Guy Vernon, Lecturer, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK. Email:


Evaluating the returns on intangible assets in general and executive human capital in particular is still a challenging endeavour. One possible means of addressing this challenge involves developing a broad measure of executive learning and development (L&D), encapsulating both the formal and informal activities that closely reflect the dynamic job profile of modern business executives. Yet an extensive review of the literature fails to confirm the existence of such a broad measure. The present study seeks to fill this gap. It puts forward an executive L&D measure defined by four main dimensions: strategy, self-direction, experience and participation. This measure has been validated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. All four factors within the construct exhibited good unidimensionality, validity and reliability characteristics and are underpinned by high Cronbach's alphas. We conclude that organizations can increase executive human capital capacity by focusing on strategically-aligned informal learning interventions supported by carefully selected structured activities. In terms of originality, this research offers a broad and internationally validated executive L&D measure which we believe is suitable for evaluating and monitoring executive L&D interventions within organizations.