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Theory and Philosophy in HRD

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Amy Lovelace

on 10 November 2013

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Transcript of Theory and Philosophy in HRD

Theory and Philosophy in HRD
As the HRD profession continues to grow and develop it requires use of core theories to organize and guide the profession.
Theoretical Foundations of HRD
The HRD model is supported by three contributing theories: psychological theory, economic theory, and systems theory. "Economic theory is recognized as a primary driver and survival metric of organizations; systems theory recognizes purpose, pieces, and relationships that can maximize or strangle systems and subsystems; and psychological theory acknowledges human beings as brokers of productivity and renewal along with the cultural and behavioral nuances" (Swanson & Holton, 2009 p. 102).
Human Capital Theory
Human capital theory is the most relevant branch of economics in regards to HRD. Knowledge and expertise of employees gained through education and training are generally referred to as human capital. Human capital can be viewed as "specific" human capital and "general" human capital.
"Theory building is the process or reoccurring cycle by which coherent descriptions, explainations, and representations of observed or experienced phenomena are generated, verified, and refined" (Lynham, 2000b, p. 160).
Philosophical Metaphors for HRD Theory and Practice
Organizational Problem Solver
Organizational Change Agent/Interventionist or Helper
Organizational Designer
Organizational Empowerer/Meaning Maker
Devloper of Human Capital
There are multiple root philosophies and theories that lend themselves to develop the HRD practice
Importance of Theory
Economic Theory
Source resource theory: HRD must justify its own use of scarce resources.
Sustainable resource theory: HRD must add value to creating sustainable long-term economic performance.
Human capital theory: HRD must add short-term and long-term vallue from investments in the development of knowledge and expertise in individuals and groups of individuals.

General systems theory: HRD must understand how it and other subsystems connect and disconnect from the host organizational system.
Chaos theory: HRD must help its host organizational system retain its purpose and effectiveness given the chaos it faces.
Futures theory: HRD must help its host organizational system shape alternative futures.
Systems Theory
Swanson & Holton, 2009, p. 109
Psychological Theory
Gestalt psychological theory: HRD must clarify the goals of individual contributors, work process owners, and/or organization leaders.
Behavioral psychology theory: HRD must develop the knowledge and expertise of individual contributors, work process owners, and organization leaders.
Cognitive psychology theory: HRD must harmonize the goals and behaviors among individual contributors, work groups, work process owners, and organization leaders.
Swanson & Holton, 2009, p. 107
Swanson & Holton, 2009, p.105
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