The definition of skill or knowledge upgrading in Merriam-Webster dictionary is to advance to a job requiring a higher level of skill especially as part of a training program. In Learning and Development (L&D) the essence of knowledge and skills upgrading, is the attempt to improve current or future performance by increasing individual ability to perform through learning and aim to enhancing performance and productivity to bridge the gaps for growth. (Sadler-Smith, 2006)
Distinction and overlaps of L&D vs HRD
The concept of L&D in the field of management research and practice is concerned with how individuals acquire or create knowledge and skills which enable them to perform and grow in their role. Whereas in the context of Human Resource Development (HRD) there is no specific research finding to identify the scope and to define its but according to Nadler 1970, Davis and Mink 1990s, McLean 2001, or Stewart 1999 (referring to appendix) from the Learning and Development for Managers textbook, all of them deem HRD as a series and wide range activities that resultant in behavior change for positive impact as an outcome of development. It seems to be no consensus, despite the fact that numerous efforts made to explain their own perspective of HRD. As for Lee (2001), he contested that some writes refused to define HRD and could not be defined sufficiently.
However, Harbison and Myers (1964) being the first to define HRD definition as “…the process of increasing the knowledge, the skills and the capacities of all the people in a society. In economic terms, it could be described as the accumulation of human capital and its effective investment in the development of an economy. In political terms, HRD prepares people for adult participation in the political process, particularly as citizens in a democracy. From the social and cultural points of view, the development of human resources helps people lead fuller and richer lives, less bound to tradition. In short, the processes of HRD unlock the door to modernization”.
The definition is rather broad as it covers basically all aspect from culture to economy, social and political instead of individuals and organisation but overall still encapsulate the process for improvement.
Key differences are the strategic deliverable activities to meet business intent Overlaps area is the objective of both driver: “development” for improvement
Personally I don’t find any distinction differences between the two in term of the above claim from the textbook. The ultimate meaning from both perspectives is acquiring skill and knowledge for the purpose of achieving effective performance and to enhance or improve the abilities of individual to meet some desired outcome. In short, HRD is a transformation word from L&D to change the perception of L&D from an operational department that dealt with day-to-day activities of learning need and implemented without aligning it to organisation objectives and strategic focus.
If we break the word L&D it means learning and development, which restricted to the word learning to grow. Whereas HRD would sound more holistic as it mean Human Resources Development that could encompassed with all rounded advancement through not limited to “learning” but training, education, strategic intent and all other aspect in advancing and developing people “the human resources” for better performance. The ultimate objectives of both concepts are driving in the arena of development for individual growth to bridge the gap for current or future job.
Relationship of knowledge and skill upgrading in the concept of HRD and L&D
Generally in view of organization perspective I deem both L&D and HRD are meant to enhance individual performance through upgrading and thus improving organization effectiveness and productivity except whether or not it is meeting the strategic intent of the business strategies to enhance future organization...