The Development of the Field of HRD





The Development of the Field of HRD

The authors use the Delphi methodology in their research, which is beneficial in checking for group consensus. It enables researchers to seek clarification on any different issues. Participants include the past and present members of the main journals dealing with HRD and the board of directors of the AHRD. The sample size was ninety and thirteen members participated in the study. The members were drawn from the US and Western Europe. The researchers sent invitations and the explanation of the research process to the participants via email. The email also contained five open-ended research questions. The paper addresses five main components in HRD. These components include the search for disciplinary bases, historical milestones, constituent components, the future of the field, and the contributions of literature to human resource development.

In examining the search for disciplinary bases, the authors observe that despite the field of human resource development having an interdisciplinary foundation, the identification of the foundation has been challenging. Practitioners in the field have had a hard time developing and agreeing on the exact definition of HRD, or on its role. Identifying a disciplinary foundation will enable research and development in the field to continue. Research will make it possible to identify the challenges, issues, and opportunities in HRD. On the other hand, lack of identifying the discipline has led to the practitioners undermining HRD. Factors such as academic norms, reward systems, and expectations will contribute to the development and understanding of the exact disciplinary bases on which to place HRD. From the research, the participants identified psychology, systems theory, and adult learning as the main disciplinary bases. However, there were disparities in their responses because they had different ideas concerning the disciplinary bases.

The diversity of application within the HRD field makes it problematic to identify its historical context. Authors in this field do not have a clear picture on the exact origins of HRD. Some claim that it began with the Greek and Roman civilizations, while others claim that began earlier than that, as human beings learned how to develop tools used in agriculture. Others look to recent activities such as industrial training in the twentieth century and the in-group development initiated by the National Training Laboratory. Examining the historical milestones compels one to examine research in other areas. The only countries that seem to have substantial information regarding HRD development are the US and the UK. Literature from the UK posits that the Second World War was the possible origin of HRD, as it was a way for the UK to examine its relationship with the rest of Europe, organizations to realize the existing competition, and individuals to realize the concept of shared responsibility. Results from the research show that many members considered “The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy” and the 1976 text “Developing Human Resources” as the main representation of HRD historical milestones. They pointed out the importance of research in developing HRD.

Practitioners in the field have not developed the exact components of HRD. Most of researchers and authors in the field have developed on the work of McLagan, who identified the initial components of HRD as training and development, organizational development, and career development. Other practitioners in the field have based their work on these constituents, even as they have developed other components. The element of human resource management within the organization is the underlying factor in identifying the components of human resource development. The responses from the research do not differ much from the available literature on HRD. The participants indicated factors such as workplace learning, employee development, and training and development as the main constituents of HRD. Other factors identified include organizational development and performance improvement.

The members were given the option of choosing between journal articles and books as the main influence of HRD development. The members thought that books would be the main contributors to the development of HRD. They identified the book by Michael Knowles, “The Modern Practice of Adult Education, Andraogy versus Pedagogy”, and Nadler’s “Developing Human Resources”, as the main contributors to the field of HRD. They also identified books that dealt with learning as some of the main contributors, and they identified books dealing with organizational learning by Argyris, experiential learning by Kolb, and the book “Informal Learning and Incidental Learning in the Workplace” by Marsick and Watkins.

The future of HRD will focus on maintaining its relevance within the organization, identifying ways of adopting technology to use in the development of human resources, and finding ways to measure the contributions that human resource development makes to the organization. Practitioners must find ways of ensuring that HRD remains relevant to organizations. With the increased rates of globalization, companies have to ensure that they adopt technologies to use in the development of their human resources. This will ensure that the companies remain relevant in the industry of operation. The participants were of the opinion that changes in the structure and organization of work, changes in the global workplace environment, globalization, e learning, changes in workers demographics, and the need for professionalism, as the main trends that will influence the future of HRD. The researchers concluded by noting that HRD will continue if it remains relevant to the organization, and it meets the needs of the people within the organization.

This research was important for practitioners in HRD, and for those interested in the field. It identified the need and relevance of having a consensus on different issues. The lack of consensus and clarity on disciplinary bases is especially important because it determines the future of HRD. The research pointed out the weaknesses within human resource development. It noted some of the conflicting areas among the practitioners within the field. Identifying the weaknesses, limitations, and lack of consensus on different issues in HRD is a first step in ensuring that the development of HRD. This is because this will allow the practitioners to work on reducing the effects of these factors.

Human resource development is important in every organization. It involves the people working in the organization including the employees and the management. Humans are the most important resources in any organization. An organization that takes the time to train its employees in different areas such as customer satisfaction, seeks to gain more in the end. The increased customer satisfaction rates will be an added benefit to the organization, and it ensures growth. Companies that seek to enhance the careers of their employees within the organization will benefit from increased loyalty and reduced turnover, and this will in turn increase productivity. An organization with a suitable working environment and which supports a good, open, and free organizational culture will benefit from more output. The employees in such an organization will feel free to share their ideas with the management. Such an organization provides enough tools and resources to ensure smooth flow of work.

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