International Journal of HRD Practice Policy and Research
Volume, 3 Number 1, 2018
Welcome to the first issue in Volume 3 of the International Journal of HRD Practice, Policy and Research. For some years now there has been growing recognition of the impact of HRD beyond its traditional settings and aspects of focus. From an overtly ‘practice’ perspective let’s just look at Standards for a moment. Standards are a prevalent feature of the contemporary organizational environment. But as perceptively argued by Valerie Anderson (2017) standards are ‘no respecter of disciplinary specialisms’ and many of them have implications of our work as HRD professionals. From a more research-oriented perspective Jim Stewart (2017), following a review of HRD in terms of the UK research assessment, argues that it is likely that HRD has played a much wider role in achieving impact than might be suggested by examining only directly HRD related case studies. Jamie Callahan, in an article in 2012, takes the argument about perspectives on HRD a step further. “I don’t want the field to be satisfied with what we think we ‘know’ is HRD. Let’s take some risks and think creatively about how to see different kinds of social collectives as ‘spaces’ for HRD so we can continue to shape our identity as a field that is relevant to the engagement of learning in ‘organizations’”. In lending the Journal’s support to such positions, I highlight three of the articles in this latest issue of IJHRDPP&R, which seem to me to reflect, albeit modestly, this wide-lens perspective on HRD. The first is the article by Steven Chase, Director of People in the Thames Valley Police Force in the UK. Its focus is individual and organizational fairness in policing. HRD, implicitly, is drawn into this examination as the author explores opportunities to promote a culture of learning in this increasingly important and politically sensitive context — and which relates not just to policing. In the second, an account of practice in relation to the leadership and management of change within a chemical manufacturer, a word search reveals no mention of HRD and only a handful of references to training. Yet what is ‘shared leadership’ if not a critical HRD construct with potentially huge practice implications for inclusive organization development? Alina Waite, Indiana State University, USA, examines experiential learning using graduate-level research. In one sense experiential learning might be regarded by many as pretty ‘mainstream’ HRD. However, her research is notable in two key respects. Despite its prominence within HRD practice evidence-based data on its use and practice in organizations remains limited. Secondly a glance through the settings and contexts of the research studies explored by the author provides further support for the Journal to take a wide-lens perspective in considering what can make a valued contribution to IJHRDPP&R.
In Search of Individual and Organizational Fairness in Policing | Steven Chase, Director of People, Thames Valley Police
This article considers the impact of an evidence-based approach to professional development. For the human resource field, an international trend for evidence can reinforce credibility and better professional recognition. The research focused on practitioner experiences of what counts as acceptable evidence of learning. Findings suggest that most practitioners attempt to fit learning to organizational expectations, but a quantitative view of evidence can restrict the possibilities of autonomous professional growth. Some records capture the significance of thinking around work experiences which build professional judgement. A practice implication for educators, policy makers, and employers is to widen understandings of valid evidence of learning; to value deeper reflections on casework based in practice. This article offers an approach to meaningful evidence that guides practitioner competence in the management of unpredictable workforce issues.
Key Words: evidence, professional learning, CPD, identity, HR practice, development
Examining Experiential Learning and Implications for Organizations | Alina M. Waite, Indiana State University
The scholarly literature on experiential learning has soared since the 1980s, yet evidence-based data on its use and practice in organizations remain limited. The goal of this study was to fill the research void by examining empirical graduate-level research using a bounded qualitative meta-synthesis framework. Forty documents were retrieved by an unlimited date search of the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) Global™ digital database using the terms “experiential learning” AND “management” to answer the overarching research question: What can we learn by examining doctoral dissertations and master’s theses on experiential learning in the context of organizations between 1991 and 2015? Analysis of the coded data revealed three central themes: (a) learning from experience, (b) experiential learning interventions, and (c) experiential learning outputs. An integrative framework highlights the significance of experiential learning for organizations from a human resource development perspective. Practical implications are offered around individual competencies, learning processes, and learning outputs.
Key Words: experiential learning programmes, organizations, reflection, action research, leadership development, performance improvement
The Value of an HR Professional Group for Organizational Learning | Vivienne Griggs, University of Leeds, UK and Jenny Allen, Formerly NHS Digital, UK
This paper reports on the value of the HR Professional Group at NHS Digital. A partnership between an academic researcher and an HR practitioner was adopted to bring together organizational knowledge with extant research. The study examined the lived experiences of members of the HR Professional Group in relation to social learning activities. Thirteen interviews were conducted with members of the HR Professional Group. A thematic analysis was undertaken on the resultant narratives. Three key themes emerged from the analysis. These were: strategic direction and ownership; professional identity and knowledge sharing; reflection and transfer of learning. The findings suggest professional groups offer a means of developing an expert learning community through the integration of research, practice, reflection, and knowledge sharing. By offering development beyond current job roles it contributes to talent development within the organization. Drawing on the findings, a model is proposed for professional groups which offers both development for the existing groups at NHS Digital and a template for HRD practitioners wishing to develop professional learning communities in their organizations. The proposed outcomes relate both to action for the organization and a contribution to knowledge in this field.
Key words: organizational learning, HR, professional development, identity, community of practice
Conversations About Change: Leading and Managing Change at CaseX | Bob Morton, ODHRM Consultants Ltd and Rick Holden, Liverpool Business School
That organizational change is problematic and challenging is generally acknowledged. Yet there remains a dearth of real, industry, and organizationally based case studies addressing problems, pathways, and practice experience. This article provides a reflective account of practice in relation to the leadership and management of organizational change within one part of a global chemical manufacturing company. The context in which a major programme of change was acknowledged as necessary is explained. The article then focuses on the culture change aspects, identified as critical if a range of structural, technical, and process changes were to be achieved successfully. Drawing on the experiences of senior managers involved in the change process, together with a consultant engaged as an external change agent, the article provides a rich picture discussion of key issues and themes, tensions, and questions regarding the leadership and management of the change. Conversations about change were central to the programme of culture change, providing the basis for critical connections to be made regarding workforce involvement, values, learning, and knowledge flow. Importantly, the account presented reveals the significance of the leadership team and a scenario which over time saw the emergence of a more collaborative approach to the management of the change process.
Key Words: culture change, workforce involvement, shared leadership, chemical sector
Training Incentives for Malaysian SMEs: An Impact Evaluation | Corporate Strategy and Insights Department, Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad
The article reports on the effectiveness of a Malaysian Government initiative to enhance training within the country’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The Training Incentives for SMEs Scheme was designed to improve the level of productivity among SMEs by upgrading the skills and capabilities of the existing SME workforce. The Scheme has benefited a total of 16,248 employees from 5,502 employers and they were trained by 276 training providers. The article reports on a study to assess the outcome of the Scheme by measuring the effectiveness based on the perspective of trainees, employers and training providers. In conclusion, the Scheme was effective. Strategic recommendations are developed to improve future schemes by targeting types and content of training programmes, delivery of training programmes and execution of future training programmes and incentive schemes mechanism.
Key Words: training, training incentives, SMEs, impact, Malaysia
HRD Scholarly Practice at AHRD 2018: Trading Secrets | Sarah Minnis, Former Chair, HRD Scholar Practice Special Interest Group, AHRD
HRD Forum — Viewpoint
Prior to the February 2018 Academy of Human Resource Development International Research Conference in the Americas the Scholar Practitioner Special Interest Group (SP SIG) held a pre-conference workshop to, in organizer Darren Short’s words, “get the band back together”. In this, the Academy’s 25th anniversary year, it seemed like the right time to reconnect with a number of former SP SIG leaders who have left AHRD and focus vital conversation around a number of topics of current and future relevance to those who engage in scholarly practice in HRD. Darren’s vision, encapsulated in the theme of the pre-conference Trading Secrets: Addressing Human Resource Development Challenges & Opportunities — was borne of an ongoing desire to examine how a research-to-practice way of working in HRD makes sense for a field that is, by its very nature, about how people engage in work.
HRD Forum —Viewpoint
This viewpoint seeks to generate practice informed discussion on the characteristics and quality issues of a positive apprenticeship experience. The article suggests how work based research is informing practice in the use of apprenticeships in social services and contributes to understanding some of the factors that influence the learning process. It argues that further studies are required which evaluate the quality of experiences and characteristics of good practice in apprenticeships as the model of vocational learning is expanded further.
HRD Forum — Book Review
Andy Swann’s book The Human Workplace offers an engaging twist on the old adage people are an organization’s greatest assets. As he notes himself in the final chapter the book should not be looked on as a “how to guide” but a book which is all about “what if …?”. The ideas raised are about behaviours at work, recruiting the ‘right people’; work environments; connections, conversations, and networks; learning; culture and change; and leadership. What holds this potentially disparate array of themes together is a sense, or aspiration, that workplaces can be energizing and collaborative, where all employees feel positively connected. Perhaps Swann’s notion of a workplace community, “where people want to be” is the nub of his aspirations for human centric workplace design. A tall order? Certainly, this is how I began my notes as I starting reading the book. But Swann’s enthusiasm and persuasion are infectious. Only occasionally does it fall foul of a rather tired cliché. The book is stacked full of great examples. I was particularly impressed with the achievements claimed by Schneider Electric. Schneider Electric is a large multi-national organization with over 144,000 employees. Well-being is at the heart of Schneider’s mission to become a more human-centric organization and which itself is the principal ‘strategic’ platform for culture change. “Schneider’s view is that well-being drives engagement and engagement drives performance.”