HRD: the shapes and things to come

Simmonds, D.A.J. and Pedersen, C. 2006. HRD: the shapes and things to come. Journal of Workplace Learning. 18 (2), pp. 122-135.

TitleHRD: the shapes and things to come
AuthorsSimmonds, D.A.J. and Pedersen, C.

Purpose - To redefine contemporary HRD through a discussion of its conceptual development from "training and development" to a holistic "orchestra".

Design/methodology/approach - HRD is often defined as being merely the training and development aspect of human resource management and this form of definition is commonly associated with "hard" forms of HRD which focus on the practical and strategic or "structured" elements of organisational functioning. However, it is change, and especially the rate at which change occurs, that largely influences the HRD hybrid that any organisation adopts. This paper systematically considers the professional discussions in a number of countries to trace HRD through four key phases: the "Duet", the "Trio", the "Quartet", and concluding with the "Orchestra" and a holistic definition of HRD.

Findings - HRD is a combination of structured and unstructured learning and performance-based activities which develop individual and organisational competency, capability and capacity to cope with and successfully manage change. The future of HRD now lies squarely in the need for the profession to consider and embrace the inextricably interrelated paradigms of movement (where people have developed from); change (and especially the rate of change); dynamism (provided from leadership); harmony and unity (resulting from cohesive partnerships) - the "Orchestra".

Originality/value - There has been limited critical review and development of Human Resource Development (HRD) theory in the past two decades. This paper presents a sequential discussion of the chronological development of HRD and concludes that contemporary HRD involves a holistic approach involving both hard and soft elements - an "Orchestra".

KeywordsChange management, human resource management
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Journal citation18 (2), pp. 122-135
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