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Ingo Kallenbach

Strategic Personnel Development: The Second Side of the Medal

To reach public interest is harder than ever in today’s world: The media is flooded with the latest and hottest news. In order to reach a wide audience and thus to achieve high sales, three core topics have been valid for a long time already: Sensation, sex and fear. To approach those core themes, some authors and speakers use extreme positions.


strategische personalentwicklung spotlight

Figure 1: Strategic personnel development | second sides of the coin


By means of simplified illustrations, polemic statements and one-sided perspectives these alleged experts get a broad audience – much to their publicity’s joy and their related salary.
Swiss Roger von Wartburg addresses that topic in his German article with the examples of Hüther, Precht and Fratton. Hüther and Precht should be familiar to a broad German audience.

That brings us to two questions:

How much simplifying is necessary and helpful to reach a wide audience? On the other hand: How much precision and scientific accuracy is required to maintain a profound but understandable line of argument? How much is the heroization of these people due to the recipient himself/herself?

Finally, it all comes down to one question: Where does charlatanism start and how can one detect it? Also, in the area of personnel and organizational development there is a wide spectrum ranging from confident self-promoters to charlatans. For years Rolf Stiefel has been occupying himself with that topic (Führungskräfte-Entwicklung: Die andere Wirklichkeit - Mythen, Kunstfehler und Trainingsgauner - St. Gallen: MAO-Press, 2013). Viktor Lau also published a German book about the same topic. But especially with the last two publications named one gets a similar impression: A little less polemic, a little less exaggeration would have been really helpful. It leaves the impression that even so called critics (experts themselves, too) have to be polemic towards charlatans to be heard or read, isn't that ironic?