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Theoretical Underpinnings of Human Resource Development Essay

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Updated: Dec 18th, 2019

What are the theoretical underpinnings of HRD?

The following are the three main theoretical underpinnings of Human Resource Development i.e. economic theory, system theory and the psychological theory. The economic theory of Human Resource Development is concerned with the allocation of scarce resources to the most efficient needs.

According to research which was done by Weinberger (1998), Human Resource Development has both costs and benefits and therefore, a choice has to be made in order to satisfy all the wants. Human Resource Development is aimed at providing an organization with the financial advantage.

Human capital is the key ingredients that are available for producing goods and services. This implies that an organization must continually invest in human capital in order to influence its financial benefits. Investment in human capital can exist in form of enhancing their skills, knowledge and physical wellbeing (Swanson, 2009, Pg. 203).

The skills and knowledge that employees have are of major economic value to the firm since they influence the productivity. Employees thus act as the organization’s competitive advantage and therefore, the organization should embark on investing in its human capital (Weinberger, 1998, P.11-16).

Psychological theory of HRD is concerned with the manner in which the employees interact with the environment and with each other. The interaction between the employees and the environment determines their behaviors, attitudes and values.

According to this theory, HRD should aim at overcoming individual limitations, help individuals meet their personal goals and enhance creation of synergy. Usually, every one within the organization is expected to act towards realizing the goals and objectives of the organization (Weinberger, 1998, P.11-16).

System theory of HRD views an organization as a system that is organized to attain set objectives. According to this theory, an organization has inputs, outputs and processes that are involved in the realization of its objectives or in carrying out its activities. The inputs refers to the aspects that enables an organization to operate e.g. manpower, raw materials, finance e.t.c.

Processes entails the policies and operations that are followed in an organization. Outputs entail the processing results in an organization e.g. the employees’ performance. HRD must thus strive to understand how the systems interact within the organization for the organizational duties to be carried out effectively and efficiently (Weinberger, 1998, Pg.11-16).

How have these theoretical underpinnings shaped HRD?

These theoretical underpinnings have enhanced the concept of workplace learning. They have shaped HRD by unleashing human expertise. This in turn plays an important role of enabling people to perform their work faster, cheaper and better. Workplace learning enables an organization to compete successfully with others in a global economy as it provides the employees with more skills and education to perform their work effectively.

Today’s workplace calls for employees to posses more generic skills such as communication skills, problem solving and decision making among others (International Labor Office, 2000, Pg.14). The theoretical underpinnings have shaped the HRD in that they have eliminated the employees’ skills gap. They have in turn enhanced competitiveness and productivity.

Employers are thus concerned with matching the employee’s skills and the job requirement skills. For organizations to perform well there is need for the HR managers to higher reliable employers who have higher problem solving skills.

The three theoretical underpinnings have therefore enabled the Human Resource Development professionals to enhance the skills and knowledge of employees and in turn enhance the firm’s effectiveness. Successful companies across the globe have realized that their success is attributed to their human capital.

These theoretical underpinnings have shaped HRD by making it development oriented. HRD professionals across the globe are now focusing on developing the potential of the human resources in order for them to perform their organizational duties well and to attain the overall objectives.

The HRD professionals strive to help human resources realize their full potential. This plays an important role in ensuring that human resources are competent (Sims, 2006, Pg.18).

Looking forward, where do you believe the field is headed?

Human Resource Development is not an old discipline as opposed to many fields such as career development. The HRD is yet to acquire some of the attributes that are required for a profession, that is, it is yet to achieve the global standards. This implies that the future of HRD is characterized with numerous challenges.

Some of the challenges that the HRD may experience in the future includes technological innovation among others (CIPD, 2002, Pg.49). In order for the Human Resource Development field to be ahead of the game, there is need to consider investing in knowledge economy. Knowledge economy will allow the HRD professionals to run those activities that are current and up to date.

It will also enable the professionals to make business decisions on time. With the global economy increasingly being changed into a knowledge economy, there is need for the HRD professionals to be proactive.

HRD professionals should aim at designing an organizational curriculum that offers the employees a greater learning environment. The HRD professionals should create a learning environment that allows employees to fully exploit their potential and also participate in a range of knowledge work (CIPD, 2002, Pg.49).

Reference List

CIPD. (2002). Training in the knowledge economy. London: CIPD Publishing.

International Labor Office. (2000). Training for employment: social inclusion, productivity and youth employment: human resources training and development: vocational guidance and vocational training, Issue 5. Geneva: International Labor Organization.

Sims, R. (2006). Human resource development: today and tomorrow. New Delhi: IAP.

Swanson, R. A. (2009). Foundations of Human Resource Development: Easy read Large Bold Edition. London: ReadHowYouWant.com.

Weinberger, L.1998. Commonly held theories of Human Resource Development.Vol.1.Issue No.1. London: Routledge.

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