Why is organizing human resource development so problematic?

Perspectives from the learning-network theory (Part I)

R.F. Poell, F.J. van der Krogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
Human resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and support organizational change. Organizing HRD to these ends, however, is frequently a problematic affair, in terms of training effectiveness, participant motivation and added value. This study, which consists of two parts, aims to investigate the question of why this is the case. In this first part, the problem is stated and the backgrounds and basic tenets of learning-network theory are addressed.
Design/methodology/approach
The paper first describes three approaches to organizing HRD, namely, as a training issue: customization by HRD practitioners; as a learning issue: didactic self-direction by employees; and as a strategic issue for employees and managers: micro-politics. The learning-network theory is then introduced as an integration of these three approaches. It presents a number of key organizational actors that organize four HRD processes, each operating strategically in their own way.
Findings
Organizing HRD is mostly viewed as designing training courses and instruction sessions for employees; it is also predominantly understood as a tool of management. A network perspective on organizing HRD is better able to guide organizational actors than other approaches can.
Originality/value
The study argues that organizing HRD needs to take into account learning experiences that employees can gain from participating in work and career development as well (besides formal training); moreover, that employees’ HRD strategies are at least as important as those used by line managers and HR practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-193
JournalThe Learning Organization
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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human resources development
employee
learning
internal labor market
manager
micro-politics
organizational change
management
value added
didactics
Human resource development
Employees
Organizing
Learning networks
Network theory
career
instruction
methodology
resources
experience

Cite this

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title = "Why is organizing human resource development so problematic?: Perspectives from the learning-network theory (Part I)",
abstract = "PurposeHuman resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and support organizational change. Organizing HRD to these ends, however, is frequently a problematic affair, in terms of training effectiveness, participant motivation and added value. This study, which consists of two parts, aims to investigate the question of why this is the case. In this first part, the problem is stated and the backgrounds and basic tenets of learning-network theory are addressed.Design/methodology/approachThe paper first describes three approaches to organizing HRD, namely, as a training issue: customization by HRD practitioners; as a learning issue: didactic self-direction by employees; and as a strategic issue for employees and managers: micro-politics. The learning-network theory is then introduced as an integration of these three approaches. It presents a number of key organizational actors that organize four HRD processes, each operating strategically in their own way.FindingsOrganizing HRD is mostly viewed as designing training courses and instruction sessions for employees; it is also predominantly understood as a tool of management. A network perspective on organizing HRD is better able to guide organizational actors than other approaches can.Originality/valueThe study argues that organizing HRD needs to take into account learning experiences that employees can gain from participating in work and career development as well (besides formal training); moreover, that employees’ HRD strategies are at least as important as those used by line managers and HR practitioners.",
author = "R.F. Poell and {van der Krogt}, F.J.",
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Why is organizing human resource development so problematic? Perspectives from the learning-network theory (Part I). / Poell, R.F.; van der Krogt, F.J.

In: The Learning Organization, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2017, p. 180-193.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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N2 - PurposeHuman resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and support organizational change. Organizing HRD to these ends, however, is frequently a problematic affair, in terms of training effectiveness, participant motivation and added value. This study, which consists of two parts, aims to investigate the question of why this is the case. In this first part, the problem is stated and the backgrounds and basic tenets of learning-network theory are addressed.Design/methodology/approachThe paper first describes three approaches to organizing HRD, namely, as a training issue: customization by HRD practitioners; as a learning issue: didactic self-direction by employees; and as a strategic issue for employees and managers: micro-politics. The learning-network theory is then introduced as an integration of these three approaches. It presents a number of key organizational actors that organize four HRD processes, each operating strategically in their own way.FindingsOrganizing HRD is mostly viewed as designing training courses and instruction sessions for employees; it is also predominantly understood as a tool of management. A network perspective on organizing HRD is better able to guide organizational actors than other approaches can.Originality/valueThe study argues that organizing HRD needs to take into account learning experiences that employees can gain from participating in work and career development as well (besides formal training); moreover, that employees’ HRD strategies are at least as important as those used by line managers and HR practitioners.

AB - PurposeHuman resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and support organizational change. Organizing HRD to these ends, however, is frequently a problematic affair, in terms of training effectiveness, participant motivation and added value. This study, which consists of two parts, aims to investigate the question of why this is the case. In this first part, the problem is stated and the backgrounds and basic tenets of learning-network theory are addressed.Design/methodology/approachThe paper first describes three approaches to organizing HRD, namely, as a training issue: customization by HRD practitioners; as a learning issue: didactic self-direction by employees; and as a strategic issue for employees and managers: micro-politics. The learning-network theory is then introduced as an integration of these three approaches. It presents a number of key organizational actors that organize four HRD processes, each operating strategically in their own way.FindingsOrganizing HRD is mostly viewed as designing training courses and instruction sessions for employees; it is also predominantly understood as a tool of management. A network perspective on organizing HRD is better able to guide organizational actors than other approaches can.Originality/valueThe study argues that organizing HRD needs to take into account learning experiences that employees can gain from participating in work and career development as well (besides formal training); moreover, that employees’ HRD strategies are at least as important as those used by line managers and HR practitioners.

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