Measuring the organizational impact of training: The need for greater methodological rigor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


  • Thomas Garavan
  • Alma MacCarthy
  • Maura Sheehan
  • Yanqing Lai
  • Nicholas Clarke
  • Ronan Carbery
  • Valarie Shanahan

External organisations

  • School of Business, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Edinburgh Business School, Napier University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Southampton Business School, University of Southampton
  • Dublin City University
  • University College Cork


We review the methodological rigor of empirical quantitative studies that have investigated the training and organizational performance relationship. Through a content analysis of 217 studies published in quality journals, we demonstrate significant validity threats (internal, external construct, and statistical conclusion validity) that raise questions about the methodological rigor of the field. Our findings suggest that the time is appropriate for a renewed methodological endeavor to understanding the relationship between training and organizational performance. We make specific recommendations to enhance methodological rigor and generate research findings that will enhance operationalization of theory, help researchers to make inferences about causality, and inform the decision-making of Human Resource Development (HRD) practitioners.

Bibliographic note

Garavan, T, McCarthy, A, Sheehan, M, et al. Measuring the organizational impact of training: The need for greater methodological rigor. Human Resource Development Quarterly. 2019; 1– 19.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalHuman Resource Development Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019


  • methodological rigor, training and organizational performance, validity