While certain models on assessing return on
investment of human resource related programs might carry some
appeal, this article considers reasons to be wary of searching
for ROI in “softer” organizational initiatives, and suggests the
Linkage Research Model as an alternative approach. The data for
this article came from client engagements, targeted literature
reviews, discussions with key executives on the value of
assessing ROI of management development initiatives, and from
the authors' applied research work.
Interviews with key executives and
conversations with colleagues relating to assessing “softer”
organizational initiatives served as additional data sources.
Applied researchers interested in further reviewing the value of
ROI and the Linkage Research Model for practitioners are
encouraged to formally and systematically address these subjects
using more quantitative methods.
There is likely more value in measuring
business outcome metrics like profits, productivity and revenues
than spending resources to calculate ROI estimates for “softer”
organizational initiatives. Managerial leaders and applied
researchers can benefit from the perspectives offered. They may
focus more on methodologies that address business outcomes
including the Linkage Research Model rather than pursue the
approach of assessing ROI in “softer” organizational