Personnel development is ultimately grounded in the idea that people’s competence for exercising their role and fulfilling the expectations which the positions carry, can be improved. Therefore, it is a counterpoint to the procedure that, if a person shows incompetence, they can be swopped for another, i.e. which is usually called personnel policy. Can grown-up people change? Sociological systems theory has always been sceptical about this. Not least for this reason one can view people as decision-making premises, simply because one can expect that different, people reliably(!) decide differently.
From the viewpoint of a ‘psychological’ system theory this is to be seen as more differentiated. On the one hand, schemata are a highly stable phenomenon of psycho-dynamics, on the other hand, highly developed intervention possibilities. which could alter such schemata have only been used purposefully in recent time, e.g. by means of certain variants of coaching in organisations. The main focus for personnel development lay, for many years, in the improvement of behaviour competence (=training) and in the improvement of reflection abilities (=feedback). Neither of these lead to the desired result without a changed internal attitude: that the person concerned, as a decision-making premise of organisations, changes and that one can reliably expect a different, decision-making behaviour.
Therefore, the personnel development gains the role of delivering criteria, regarding when to react with changing the person, when to react with the building up of competences and when to react with the alteration of psychological decision-making schemata. The later, in turn, requires the competence to know and select the appropriate consulting methods.