IInternational Journal of HRD Practice, Policy and Research 2018, Vol 3 No 1: 43-57
doi: 10.22324/ijhrdppr.3.101

The Value of an HR Professional Group for Organizational Learning

Vivienne Griggs, University of Leeds, UK
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