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Personal Development Plan and Successful Careers

The practice of Personal Development Planning by students has become more important with time. Any entity, whether it is an individual or an organization, needs to plan so that the future decisions may have some direction or focus. In this research proposal, this practice has been taken forward towards finding its relevance in employment and entrepreneurship. INTRODUCTION Before we can introduce the topic, we shall define Personal Development Planning.

PDP has been defined as ‘a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development’1. In simpler terms, PDP is about giving all efforts a direction to move2. Research Topic The research topic is about the ‘impact of PDP on a potential employee’s or entrepreneur’s career’. It should be taken care of the fact that PDP is a process done by educational institutions3.

In this report we are going to discuss whether PDP can help a student achieve his career goals successfully. Hypothesis The hypothesis chose is that professionals and entrepreneurs, who are successful in their respective areas, may have done PDP during their education. Beyond this there is a need to find the contribution

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that PDP made to their success. This hypothesis has been chosen so that if research proves it to be true, then it will be possible to propose how PDP ‘files’ can be utilized for career development of working professionals and entrepreneurs.

The statement is testable and thus can be defined as a hypothesis. 16 The aims and objectives of the research is to • Acknowledge the importance of PDP • Utilize PDP ‘files’ for those who have completed education and are looking for opportunities, but they lack the ability to move towards it. • How PDP can be pursued by employers to improve their workforce. PRELIMINARY LITERATURE SEARCH We have looked for researches that have already been made. It is necessary to do so because past research opens the horizon for the real research work such as a survey.

There are many books such as one7 we found, where it is stated Sources of Literature Our focus has been to find past research journals because these are more authentic and can be relied upon. In our search, we came across an article4 which discusses the effectiveness of personal development planning. However to know the processes and practices involved in PDP, we search another article5 which presented various models. Another journal article6 treats PDP as a king of competency that eventually translates into success.

Another source of literature is a book3 which stresses that PDP is not limited to school but can be extended towards the career development. To acquaint with this area of study we used other sources such as those which we referred for an accepted definition of the term1, 2. There is some literature on Continuing Professional Development which is important to our research because it is like a PDP version for professionals working in the industry. These include the website of an institute8 that teaches this discipline and a foundation9 that is meant to promote CPD.

Relevance to Research Topic In our opinion the literature is relevant to the research topic. If we see the first journal article4 mentioned, it is evident that it conforms to topic in the sense that it discusses about the effectiveness of PDP in career. The article also mentions about a case study where the Wiltshire Training and Enterprise Council’s PDP were analyzed, which can be of a great help in designing surveys. In another journal article6 we see that it focuses on the competency, which is needed in career.

The book3 is relevant to the research topic in the sense that it is focusing on the actual success that can be achieved through PDP but however it also discusses another planning technique called Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which is relevant as an advanced version of PDP. We may also draw some characteristics of CPD and will use these to improve PDP. Summary of literature Our focus shall remain on the book3 and the journal articles 4, 5, 6. So it is expected that most of the theories and concepts will be derived from the literature while a survey will substantiate upon the research topic to find answers to the hypothesis.

The literature states that none of the findings in researches conducted with teachers led to any conclusive result. There are many models but all those models are case specific and cannot be applied in cases which differ. In the literature is a case study, the Wiltshire Project4 which produced the finding that PDP is perceived as a co-operative activity, which will be considered for the research. METHODOLOGY The research methodology will be multi-phased. To start with, inferences will be made from the literature mentioned above.

These inferences will be used to create a summarized literature review where the given information will be compared with the information we are going to collect in the survey that is going to be conducted. In the survey, we are going to approach individuals whose appraisals from their employees and from business associates has been good. We will use ratings to approach successful entrepreneurs and business organization performance appraisal data to approach professionals. Then we will issue questionnaires to these individuals, if they have ever had taken part in the PDP.

The questionnaires will be objective in nature and will not reflect the subjective opinions of those questioned. To ensure measurability, close-ended questions will be preferred. 10 In the last stage we are going to conduct interviews of teacher who have been helping or teaching their students to use PDP. We will take their views about the success stories we may have compiled since then. This will lead to the creation of multiple case studies12 with clear numerical comparisons which will be a part of the actual research and will individually use inferential statistics14 to prove or reject the research hypothesis.

Rationale of Methodology Chosen We have chosen multiple methodologies13 because it is simply the most appropriate one for such a research that we are conducting. As we see, our research hypothesis, it mentions about the impact of PDP on successful professionals and entrepreneurs, requiring quantitative data. As for the interview with teachers on case studies, it is there to enrich the research that has been done so far.

Without such interviews, our opinions can make the case study more biased because we will be enriching the case studies with opinions of a few people including those mentioned in the journals 4, 5, 6. Sampling Strategy We build upon the briefly described populations above limiting those to a target city or region, especially that region where statistics suggest that PDP’s are promoted and practiced the most. We will go through their list of alumni to look for those professionals and entrepreneurs who are successful. Here we stumble upon an important issue of what successful really means.

We can categorize successful professionals as those who have been promoted twice during the last five years; Have incomes above the average income in the UK; have attained a senior post in a large organization. We can describe success entrepreneurs as those whose organizations now categorize under medium sized firms within ten years of start-up. Out of the defined population, random sampling will be conducted twice to get samples which are true representative of the population. Such a sampling can reduce selective bias. More than once sample usually makes research more reliable15.

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