International Journal of Human Resources Development Practice Policy and Research

Volume 1, Number 1 2016

ISSN 2397-4583

  • I have a saying posted above my desk which says “Anything worth doing is going to take longer than you think”. This first issue of The International Journal of HRD Practice Policy and Research has provided a perfect example! It has indeed been some time in gestation and I commend you to the short article by Bob Morton and Jim Stewart, in the HRD Viewpoint section, for a fuller account of how the partnership between IFTDO and UFHRD has finally brought the Journal to fruition. I want to focus in this editorial on the rationale for and the direction of the Journal.

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Articles

  • Abstract
    Most HRD practitioners are, or wish to become, actively involved as strategic business partners of managers, particularly with respect to helping them bring about effective and beneficial organizational change within their own organizations, or within host organizations. This article discusses the complexities of HRD related process issues in the effective management of organizational change, and the value of using HRD-related theory, change management-related theory, and/or academically rigorous internal in-company research to help inform, shape, and evaluate the change agency practice of HRD professionals and the managers they partner. Following a discussion of why many organizational change programmes fail, the author argues that ‘evidence-based HRD’ geared to the strategic thrust of the business will likely lead to the HRD function maximizing its contribution to organizational effectiveness and sustainable business success. Two UK case examples of evidence-based HRD are presented, followed by a discussion of the worth of ‘professional partnership’ research and empirical generalization ‘replication’ research.

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  • Abstract
    The article begins with a challenge to the view that leaders = leadership, suggesting that leadership can be found through patterns of working in which people exert influence on what is happening. Such patterns create difficulties for appointed leaders when they seek to bring about cultural change. The article then explores how leaders can tackle the difficulty of culture change through the use of action learning combined with appreciative inquiry where the latter focuses on conversations to find out what works well in organizations. Ongoing work from examples from two organizations are presented. The first, Company X sought to shift culture in response to the need to re-align strategy to build relationships more directly with consumers. The second, PublicBody, faced funding difficulties and a recent survey of staff opinions and attitudes had revealed a lowering of morale and engagement. In both cases, leaders used conversations with their staff to find examples of ‘really good work practice’. Findings were then shared in an action learning group to identify patterns and consider actions for improvement. The process allows leaders to set up further action learning groups to support further conversations which reveal further patterns of what is working.

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  • Abstract
    HRD professionals are often involved closely with apprenticeship systems. Apprenticeships operate within companies but are almost always linked to a national apprenticeship system which provides legislation and regulation around aspects of apprenticeship. Most countries around the world have a formal apprenticeship system, although systems vary widely in their nature, their relative size and their sophistication.

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  • Abstract
    Organizations struggle to move from the conceptualisation of talent strategies to practical implementation. This paper proposes the use of a talent management evolution matrix which enables the organization to assess and develop the link between the concept and practice of talent management. Gathering data from thirty-nine semi-structured interviews, the matrix is applied in order to understand the differences between the finance and energy sectors in Oman and how they perceive and practice talent management. The findings suggest that Omani talent management practices are shaped strongly by the institutional environment and the nature of business strategy, yet this has resulted in differences between how the finance and energy sectors conceptualize talent management. Despite these differences the findings show that talent management is practiced in similar ways within both the finance and energy sectors, suggesting convergence at the practice level only.

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  • Abstract

    This paper explores a team-based knowledge sharing framework as a structured approach to addressing complex work-related challenges through the sharing of knowledge drawn from concrete experiences.   Knowledge sharing is constructed through individual narratives that serve as the basis for collective sensemaking. In turn, interpretation of the problem at hand and articulation of related past experiences help develop reflective inquiry and dynamic feedback increasing team learning. When individuals select their frames of references to construct their narratives,they also unlock their tacit knowledge about past successful experiences or practices. Through collective sensemaking, team members develop critical change behaviours that lead to knowledge experimentation modifying their action patterns. Through an exploratory research design involving qualitative feedback analysis, semi-structured interviewing, and ethnographic participation in a Saudi Arabian multinational company, the study found that the framework promotes team learning in both formal and informal contexts. Not only do individuals begin to view organizational change differently, they also engage more actively in people conversations, collaboration, empowerment, and decision making resulting in specific organizational outcomes. The paper offers implications for human resource development (HRD) practice and research.

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  • Abstract
    This qualitative phenomenological study explores the short-to-medium term personal impact of Development Assessment Centres on UK healthcare managers. The study identified overarching themes relating to personal performance impact, enabling and disabling factors in Centre design, trauma and safety implications, and behavioural adaptation. Practice implications arising focused upon three key areas. Firstly, Centre design should equally enable both introverts and extraverts and provide conscious consideration toward behavioural adaptation amongst participants. Secondly, there is a need for adequate follow-up support to enable participants to continue to learn from their experience, whilst also mitigating any potential risk toward long-term trauma caused by such deeply personal experiences. Finally, where assessment and reward form an output from any Centre, judgement should be limited until a thorough de-brief has been undertaken with the participant to explore causal behavioural responses, as opposed to basing decisions on observed behaviour alone.

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HRD Viewpoints

  • The genesis of this journal has a long history both within the University Forum for HRD (UFHRD) and the International Federation of Training and Development Organisations (IFTDO). For UFHRD, it can be traced back to the establishment of the journal Human Resource Development International (HRDI). And so a brief summary of the history of that journal is a necessary starting point.

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  • Is it possible to engage in research requiring the participation of HRD practitioners from a multitude of nations, without offering individual tangible incentives? This viewpoint shares the experiences of our HRD research team in attempting to gather research data from HRD practitioners across the Globe. Issues that potentially indicate tensions between the worlds of HRD practice and academia are reflected upon in the following account. We suggest HRD practitioner awareness of, and connection with, the associated research has a fundamental influence on the relative successes of data collection methods. A review of our experiences of conducting this data collection follows.

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  • Kogan Page, 2015
    ISBN 978 0 7494 7459 1

    There are different responses to the statistics and arguments which tell us that most training and development is wasted effort. One is to ignore and carry on with doing what has been done for decades. Another is to heed the advice of the likes of ROI ‘gurus’, such as Jack Philips, and pay more attention to the process of evaluation so as to find out what is working and what less so. Yet another is to question, fundamentally, organization’s stubborn preference for formal, classroom based, training and development. This is the position adopted by Robin Hoyle but he is quick to point out that his central thesis is that “we need good formal learning and effective informal learning”. Indeed he goes a step further arguing that “effective formal trainers encourage, harness and enable informal learning to happen”.

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  • OneWorld Publications, 2015
    ISBN 978-1-78074-749-1

    The central thesis of Ford’s book is that accelerating technology will ‘disrupt’, radically and fundamentally, global employment and the nature of work. Of course predictions of a jobless future are not new. However, Ford argues that we are approaching a critical ‘tipping point’; one that is poised to make the world economy significantly less labour intensive. It is not simply routine jobs that are most threatened by technology; more accurately it is ‘predictable’ jobs. Computers, argues Ford, are becoming highly proficient at acquiring skills, especially where a large amount of training data is available. Whether you are training to be an airline pilot, a retail assistant, a lawyer or a pharmacist, labour saving technology is whittling away the numbers … and in some cases hugely so.

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