Human Resource Development

Topics: Human resource management, Human resources, Management Pages: 6 (1441 words) Published: April 20, 2013

Assignment one

By: Shaun Szabo – W0051439


There is a wide range of definitions applied to Human Resource Development (HRD). To demonstrate your understanding of HRD, use an essay format to critically discuss the following definition:

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 field of Human Resource Development (HRD) is embroiled in a dichotomous debate. The purpose of this essay is to provide an understanding how the role HRD performs in coping with, and successfully managing change. It will do this by examining both the learning and performance based streams of thought. This essay will outline the definition of HRD in comparison to Human Resource Management (HRM), and will briefly explain the dichotomy of the academic and practitioners views of Learning and Performance within HRD. It will then examine the two streams of debate in depth to determine how both learning and performance are equally important to the success of an HRD strategy. Finally the importance of strategy will be discussed in how it successfully manages change through assessment of individual and organisational competency, capability and capacity, before a conclusion can be drawn.

HRD and how this differentiates from HRM

Human resource management can be defined as ‘the policies, practices and systems that influence employee behaviour, attitudes and performance’ (De Cieri and Kramer, 2007, pg4). HRD is defined as ‘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’. (Simmonds and Pedersen, 2006, pg122). Comparing the above definition of HRD and to the above definition of HRM there are obvious similarities in their aim. Developing or influencing change is the initial similarity, either through practices and systems or learning and performance.

To be able to differentiate HRD and HRM we are required to look further into the components of these to areas. HRD includes training, development and education whilst HRM includes recruitment, placement, compensation, appraisal, information systems and employee benefits (Soho F 1999 p63). Taking all this into account HRD seemingly has a greater personal and organisational growth focus.

The Dichotomy of HRD

A dichotomy occurs when opinions are ‘Division into two usually contradictory parts or opinions’ Divided or dividing into two parts or classifications’. ( 18/08/07). Such a dichotomy exists within the field of HRD where two parallel streams of debate are common. The two streams of debate relate to whether HRD’s focus is learning or performance based (Garavan 2002).

Two fields from two continents contest this debate being practitioners (mainly American’s) and academics (mainly British), with practitioners arguing for performance and academics for learning (Garavan 2002).

A resolution to this dichotomy raises questions as to whether the focus of HRD is on an individual’s (employee) well being or for the interests of the share holders (organisation). Performance of an organisation is in the general interest of the share holder, though performance is rarely achieved without the continuous development and learning of the workers and the organisation as a whole.

Learning implications for HRD - Structured versus Unstructured Learning

‘Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge or skill through study, experience or teaching. It is a process that depends on experience and leads to long-term changes in behaviour potential.’ (, 18/8/07).

Garavan (2002) identified...

References: De Cieri H and Kramer R, 2007, Human Resource Management in Australia 2E, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Australia, pg4, pg374
Simmonds D and Pedersen C, 2006, HRD: The Shape of Things to Come, Emerald journal of work place learning Vol 18 No.2 2006
Sofo F, 1999, Human Resource Development, Business and Professional Publishing, Australia viewed 18/08/07
Garavan TN, Gunnigle P and Morley M, 2000, Contemporary HRD research: a triarchy of theoretical perspectives and their prescriptions for HRD, MCB University Press Journal of European Industrial Training, viewed 18/8/07 viewed 18/08/07
Ulrich D and Lake D, 1990, Organizing capability: Competing from the inside out, Wiley, New York NY
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