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Human resource development

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Human resource development

Human Resources Development (HRD) as a theory is a framework for the expansion of human capital within an organization through the development of both the organization and the individual to achieve performance improvement.[1] Adam Smith states, “The capacities of individuals depended on their access to education”.[2] The same statement applies to organizations themselves, but it requires a much broader field to cover both areas.

Human Resource Development is the integrated use of training, organization, and career development efforts to improve individual, group and organizational effectiveness. HRD develops the key competencies that enable individuals in organizations to perform current and future jobs through planned learning activities. Groups within organizations use HRD to initiate and manage change. Also, HRD ensures a match between individual and organizational needs.[3]


Understanding the foundations of HRD can be found in "Brief Foundations of Human Resource Development"[4] by Richard A. Swanson.

A detailed PowerPoint and HTML overview of Foundations of Human Resource Development,

Six journals that emphasize human resource development issues include:

Advances in Developing Human Resources:

Human Resource Development International:

Human Resource Development Quarterly:

Human Resource Development Review:

New Horizons in Adult Education & Human Resource Development:

T&D Magazine:

Process, practice and relation to other fields

Notably, HRD is not only a field of study but also a profession.[6] HRD practitioners and academia focus on HRD as a process. HRD as a process occurs within organizations and encapsulates:[7]

  1. training and development (TD): the development of human expertise for the purpose of improving performance
  2. organization development (OD): empowering the organization to take advantage of its human resource capital

TD alone can leave an organization unable to tap into the increase in human, knowledge or talent capital. OD alone can result in an oppress rce. HRD practicitioners find the interstices of win/win solutions that develop the employee and the organization in a mutually beneficial manner. HRD does not occur without the organization, so the practice of HRD within an organization is inhibited or promoted upon the platform of the organization's mission, vision and values.

Other typical HRD practices include:

  • executive and supervisory/management development
  • new-employee orientation
  • professional-skills training
  • technical/job training
  • customer-service training
  • sales-and-marketing training
  • health-and-safety training

HRD positions in businesses, health care, non-profit, and other fields include:

  • HRD manager
  • vice-president of organizational effectiveness
  • training manager or director
  • management development specialist
  • blended-learning designer
  • training-needs analyst
  • chief learning officer
  • individual career-development advisor

As a Program of Study in Formal Education

Academic programs in Human Resource Development (HRD) are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Having become available only in 1980, one of the more well-known universities offering degrees in Human Resource Development is the University of Minnesota.[8] By 2011, many universities offered Human Resource Development degrees (both graduate and undergraduate).[9]

University Institution Type Degree Online Regional accreditation
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Public, Not for Profit MS, PhD Yes HLC
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Public, Not for Profit Bachelor of Science in Education, HRD Major Yes HLC
Xavier University Private, Not for Profit Graduate (Masters level) No HLC
University of Minnesota Public, Not for Profit Master No HLC
University of Louisville Public, Not for Profit Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D. Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Villanova University Private, Not for Profit Graduate Yes Dept. of Education
Florida International University Public, Not for Profit Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) M.S. may be completed fully online, fully face-to-face, or blended. Ed.D. requires many of the same courses as the M.S., which may be completed online or face-to-face; however, some Ed.D. courses are only offered face-to-face. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Barry University Private, Not for Profit Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) No The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Texas A&M University Public, Not for Profit BS, MS, Ph.D. Bachelor's, No. Master's, Yes. Ph.D, No. Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
University of Texas at Tyler Public, Not for Profit BS, MS, Ph.D. Bachelor's, No. Master's, Yes. PhD, No (PhD is Executive Format) Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools



  • Elwood F. Holton II, James W. Trott, Jr. (1996). "Trends Toward a Closer Integration of Vocational Education and Human Resources Development", Journal of Vocational and Technical Education, Vol. 12, No. 2, p7
  • Kelly D. (2001). Dual Perceptions of HRD: Issues for Policy: SME’s, Other Constituencies, and the Contested Definitions of Human Resource Development,
  • Kelly D. (2006). Human Resource Development: For Enterprise and Human Development,
  • Nadler L Ed. (1984). The Handbook of Human Resources Development, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
  • Xavier University HRD Program.
  • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
  • Swanson, Richard A., Elwood F. Holton III (2011). "Foundations of Human Resource Development"
  • Swanson, Richard A. (2008). "A Brief on the Foundations of Human Resource Development"
  • University of Minnesota HRD Program.
  • Woodall, J. (2001). HRDI special issue: defining HRD. Human Resource Development International, 4(3), 287. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  • HRDI.

External links

  • Free HR Software
  • HR Software
  • HR Signals
  • Academy of Human Resource Development
  • HRD intelligence and cloud based mobile performance support software solutions (epss) with HRDi Soft
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