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Essay 1IntroductionThis essay focuses on the contexts in which the theory and concepts of human resource development (HRD) are applied. Particular emphasis is given to the nature and scope of HRD with respect to HRM (human resource management) and its role within and outside an organization. Also considered are the impacts of the internal organizational environment and economic and social conditions on HRD. Human Resource DevelopmentHistorically, HRD has been considered an inseparable part of HRM. Its central concerns are training and development, career planning and development, and organizational development (Aswathappa, 2008).

Over the last decade, HRD has become much more strategic as the effectiveness of human resources use has become more crucial in the realization of business objectives (Tichy et al. , 1982). In particular, HRD is increasingly considered central to the strategic management processes of formulating the mission, corporate objectives, and marketing of an organization (Schuler et al. , 1987). This has led to the development of the new concept of strategic HRD (SHRD) that enables an organization to respond more effectively to technological, economic, and social changes. Such effective responses require a balance between flexible HRD practices and the necessary congruence between SHRD and competitive conditions, organizational developmental stages, business strategy, and the realities of multinational business (Grieves, 2003).

Emerging social issues that give rise to public policies affecting HRD practices are also important. HRM and HRD HRD policies are closely associated with aspects of HRM concerned with investing in people and developing human capital. A primary objective of HRM is to create conditions in which the latent potential of employees will be realized and their commitment to organizational causes secured. Such potential includes not merely the capacity to acquire and utilize new skills and knowledge, but also any untapped wealth of ideas about improving the organization’s operations (Keep, 1989). HRM reaches beyond personnel and organizational levels to consider societal structures involving such matters as legal compliance, benefits, and union relationships. Organizational Role of SHRDHuman capital theory argues that firms should protect core competencies through investment in training and development (Lepak et al. , 2003), for the value of employees is related to the particulars of their capabilities and skills.

Research confirms that SHRD facilitates the development of those core capabilities critical in building up and maintaining competitive advantage by facilitating optimal use of existing firm-specific capacities.

It also encourages the development of new capabilities and skills for coping with change. SHRD is sensitive to and has a role affected by both emergent and planned strategies. In planned approaches, it is unlikely that SHRD will have any major role during the strategy-formulation phase. Its most effective contribution will be within the strategy-implementation phase. By contrast, emergent approaches to strategy are embedded in the organization’s social structure (Garavan, 2007).

Impact of the Firm’s Internal Context on HRDParticular aspects of an internal context that have an impact on HRD are focus, orientation and practices, including strategic orientation, organizational structure, organizational culture, and leadership. Strategic orientation is especially relevant as it influences HRD practice selection and their priority and importance. Firms pursuing cost-oriented strategies generally focus on skills training that raises productivity and efficiency and are less likely to invest in management and leadership development and knowledge management (Lepak et al. , 2003). As firms emphasizing innovative strategies mostly strive to create and build a capacity to respond to change, they need to posses the required internal flexibility.

These firms should adopt HRD practices focusing on organization-wide development involving management, leadership, and career planning, as well as organizational and knowledge development (Lepak et al. , 2005).

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