Chapter 1: Foresight from Insight
Setting, motivation, scope and objectives of the book. Discussion and debate of the role of HRD in a world characterized by volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguity. Summary of each chapter and its role contribution to the book's objectives.
Chapter 2: Evaluation of HRD practices from 1999 to 2019: What next?
The aim of this paper is to analyze the evolution of theory and practices on the evaluation of HRD since the UFHRD Conferences began to exist. The study is, we believe, of interest because evaluation has been a stream and topic on UFHRD as evaluation is fundamental for HRD. The research questions are
· How is evaluation of HRD done and more specifically:
· What are the underlying theories?
· What are the methods used ? Who does it? With what purposes? With what results? Has evaluation changed since 1999?
There are many approaches possible to HRD, and the outcome variables depend on the researcher. In general, the evaluation applies to an operation and it is possible to define immediate or long run outcomes. The most celebrated model to analyze the topic is Kirkpatrick's, but there are much more. Evaluation may seek results (participants or funds involved) or influence (difference in outcome variables before after or within-without). The level of qualitative or quantitative data involved in the operations of evaluation may differ considerably.
We will do a literature review on the research questions using large databases like EBSCO, Publons and SCOPUS. We will also use data published in books by renowned sources on the topic and available online. We hope to find trends and benchmarks on the several research questions. We also will discuss if HRD scholars and in particular if the UFHRD community had any impact on the results. This chapter has the limitations of dimension associated with it. However, regardless of this aspect we hope to get a comprehensive idea on the topic addressed. For researchers, the chapter offers an informative and open to speculation argument - what should we do in the next 20 years that we did not do in the last 20? For policy makers and managers, it should be challenging - what new policies and operations should design and implement on evaluating to fill the gap exist in practice. For the evaluators, it should be of interest because if good give a precise idea of the close past, present and distant future of the field they are evolving. Even if evaluation is a much-debated topic assessments like the one we suggest are not so common and the fact that will be focused on the last 20 years might be of interest for the book. In addition, we believe that more and more countries and organizations are evaluating HRD and also that resources had never felt as so scarce, and policies as so important - therefore the assessment is important and the inclusion in the book is important.
Chapter 3: OCD and HRD: Evidence-Based Learning
Contemporary literature suggests that 70% or more of rightsizing, mergers, acquisitions and other organizational change programme either fail or are just partially successful, and that the workplace challenges posed by organizational change and development (OCD) initiatives typically have a negative impact on employees (Shook & Roth, 2011; ten Have et al., 2017; Hamlin et al., 2019). Consequently, various scholars have suggested that organizational leaders, managers, and HRD professional practitioners should strive to become more critically reflective and truly evidence-based in their OCD-related change agency practices. However, other writers (Hamlin, 2001& 2016; Mclean & Kim, 2019) contend that a major obstacle is the continuing paucity of relevant management and OCD-related Mode 1 and Mode 2 research that change agents can draw upon to use as 'best evidence' for informing, shaping and critically evaluating evidence-based organizational change and development (EBOCD) initiatives. In the absence of such forms of 'best evidence' generation there is a strong need to gather lower strength forms of 'best evidence'. These can include national and international examples of situated expertise in OCD-related change agency regarding what works and does not work in practice assisting and supporting leaders, managers and HRD professionals to make more informed decisions relating to the development of organizational capability and the implementation of more effective organizational change..
We have addressed this paucity of 'best evidence' in our role as the editors of the book titled Evidence-Based Initiatives for Organizational Change and Development that was published by IGI Global in March 2019 (Hamlin, Ellinger & Jones, 2016). Specifically, as a conclusion to the book, we conducted a qualitative content analysis and multiple cross-case comparative analysis of: a) a range of critically reflective case histories of specific OCD initiatives conducted within single organization settings of which most were evidence-based, but some were not; and of b) various critically reflective perspectives on EBP in the field of change management in general and OCD in particular. The purpose was to glean common insights that other OCD practitioners could use to help enhance their change agency capabilities, and in so doing reduce the impact of failure rates that have been identified in the contemporary OCD-related literature. Four specific research questions were addressed:
· RQ 1 What insights and lessons learnt (ILs) about EBOCD can be deduced from a qualitative content analysis of the critically reflective case histories of specific evidence-based OCD initiatives within 33 single organization settings situated in 4 Anglo and 11 non-Anglo countries across five continents?
· RQ 2 To what extent do the ILs identified by RQ1 lend support to 10 'original' common insights and lessons (CILs) previously derived by Hamlin (2001) from 16 UK based and two non-UK based critically reflective case histories published in Hamlin, Keep and Ash (20001)?
· RQ 3 Can other 'new' CILs be identified by subjecting the ILs identified by RQ1 to multiple cross-case comparative analysis?
· RQ 4 What insights about effective OCD and EBOCD practice can be identified by a qualitative content analysis of the perspectives on EBOCD of 15 'seasoned' OCD practitioners from two Anglo and four non-Anglo countries?
Based upon our analysis, of the 10 'original' CILs used as coding categories, 7 were strongly validated by over 50% (18 to 27) and a further 2 by over 40% (13 & 16) of the 33 critically 'reflective case histories'; and only 1 CIL was weakly validated with just over 18% (n=6) of the case histories. The coding of the remaining led to the emergence of 10 'new' CILs.
The content analysis of the reflective perspectives on EBOCD initiatives offered by 'seasoned' practitioners operating in a wide range of Anglo and non-Anglo countries, resulted in a synthesis of their insights and key learnings which suggest there are four important factors that influence effective OCD: 'context', 'leadership, 'communication' and 'collaboration'.
The 10 validated 'original' CILs and 10 emergent 'new' CILs, and the four identified factors that influence effective OCD resulting from this study have relevance and utility for organizational leaders, managers, HRD professional practitioners, OD specialists and change management consultants who are striving to become evidence-based and more effective in their OCD change agency practice. They have equal relevance and utility for HRD scholars and practitioners who deliver MLD programmes that focus on strategic leadership concerned with developing dynamic organizational capabilities for innovation and change.
Chapter 4: Self-Directed Learning and Absorptive Capacity in Organizations
Andragogy tells us the adult learners' best when they need to solve a problem (and of course solving the problem serves individual's interest!). Consequently, they need to be motivated. Adult learners must be shown that learning and development opportunities are relevant to them; be it their immediate jobs, or for the future of their careers, for example. This is important as studies, such as those that relate to the self-determination theory, tells us that generally people do want to develop and grow as this helps them to be independent and autonomous. Hence, people are generally motivated to learn but organizations need to be clear in terms of the 'why' and 'how' a learning and development opportunity is relevant.
Attitude, in some sense it is similar to disposition/ personality, but it is more fleeting and is perhaps more easily shaped by the organization. Attitude can perhaps be described as a mindset (e.g. to see a cup half full rather than half empty), and is a starting point for organizations when cultivating and nurturing values and organizational culture in individuals. This 'affect' side of learning is also helpful in understanding the notion of self-directed learning. Self-directed learning occurs when individuals are proactive in seeking out opportunities to learn. They are autonomous in identifying and prioritizing such learning opportunities. Self-directed learning may also be relatively proficient in reflection and self-improvement. The implication of self-directed learning is immense as organization shift focus from developing training 'interventions' to enhancing an environment and culture of learning to develop strategic capabilities such as absorptive capacity.
The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of how self-directed learning can improve the absorptive capacity of employees by examining the influence of two mediators; namely, trust in leader and organizational culture. A multi-source, three-step causal chain (sequential mediation) is proposed and tested on a sample of 162 employees in a housing association in the UK
The findings show that the indirect effect of self-directed learning on absorptive capacity via the organizational climate of open systems is not significant and that the indirect effect of self-directed learning on absorptive capacity via trust in leader is not significant. However, the indirect effect of self-directed learning on absorptive capacity via trust in leader followed by organizational climate of open systems is significant. Furthermore, the direct effect of self-directed learning on absorptive capacity is greater than its total indirect effects via trust in leader and the open systems organizational climate. The findings indicate that self-directed learning not only has a strong impact on the job performance of the sample of staff in the housing association but also has a profound psychological impact on them. This finding highlights the need for organizations to design jobs and create cultures that not only encourages individuals to be autonomous in their learning but to also create organizational environment that facilitates self-directed learning.
Numerous studies over the last few decades have shown that self-directed learning is not only trend given the pervasiveness of on-demand learning platforms such as e-learning and even just the Internet, but it is also a strategic approach to ensure that staff take ownership of their learning and are able to help the organization to react and even anticipate the acquisition and application of new external knowledge within the firm. Designing jobs and roles that encourage self-directed learning that entails organizational-level elements such as leaders who provide psychological safety for staff to gain and experiment with new knowledge and an organizational climate that is urges staff to seek, recognize, assimilate and apply new knowledge. Furthermore, although several mediators of the individual-level learning-strategic capabilities relationship have been examined, whether trust in leader and organizational culture mediates the self-direct learning-absorptive capacity relationship has not been considered.
Chapter 5: Foundations for HRD in Organizations
Organizational leaders seeking positive public perceptions as well as employee engagement continue to lean on the implementation and expression of organizational ethics. While using explicit statements about the organization's ethics and implicit expectations related to how those ethics are demonstrated by organizational members, leaders express pride in their ability to steer organizations which are above and beyond the pitfalls that befell bad actors of the past (Pullen and Rhodes, 2015). Of concern is whether organizations are satisfied with the status quo of meeting basic expectations for ethical behaviors or whether they are willing to engage broader discussion about the ways in which civility and equity will define the organization of the future.
Bevoc (2017) notes that organizational ethics "establish ideas of right and wrong and need to be followed because unethical actions set undesirable precedents" (p. 31). In essence, organizational ethics serve as the lines within which organizational members are expected to act in order to adhere to expectations of behavior. Rather than relying on members to use their own judgement about how to act and interact, organizations put constraints upon their conduct, accountability, and dedication (Bevoc, 2017). Built into this structure of ethics may be human resource development strategies (HRD) strategies such as codes of conduct, training programs, and guidelines for sanctions if ethics are violated. These tools demonstrate further boundaries for organizational members supporting adherence. What is not addressed in the structure of ethics as boundaries for organizational behavior is what happens within the boundaries. Nowhere within the structure of setting ethical boundaries are the expectations for how to achieve organizational ethics addressed. This gap in expectations and actualities leaves room for organizational members to improvise and potentially be drawn into behaviors that lead counter to their intended goals.
Filling the space between the boundaries of ethics should be behaviors guided by civility, inclusion, and equity. Organizational members whose behaviors within the organization and external with the public are based on civil behavior and discourse as well as a value of inclusion and equity have the potential to drive a more positive organizational environment, greater affinity and appreciation from others, and higher levels of engagement. Indeed, as noted by DiFabio, Giannini, Loscalzo, Palazzeschi, Bucci, Guazzini and Gori (2016), "Organizations need to develop a positive relational environment in the workplace enabling workers to enhance their personal resources so that they can cope with the on-going changes in today's world of work and also improve their well-being" (p. 1748). Civility should not be misconstrued as a lack of self-respect or unwillingness to take a position counter to another. Rather, it should be understood as "behaviors that are fundamental to positively connecting with another, building relationships and empathizing" (Nagy, 2018, p. 159).
Likewise, as an extension of the fundamental construct of diversity, inclusion encompasses the ideal of not only recognizing and honoring the differences between and among organizational members but viewing each individual as unique but with the same access and opportunity for contribution and achievement within the organization (Shore, Randel, Chung, Dean, Holcombe Ehrhart, & Singh, 2011). While diversity has been recognized as an assumed aspect of best organizational HRD practice within organizations, it is the current movement toward inclusion which is the "removal of barriers that block employees from using the full range of their skills and competencies in organizations" (Robertson, 2006, p. 213) that has taken hold and is driving progress toward the healthiest, most productive, and most future-oriented organizational environments. This chapter will explore organizational ethics, civility, and inclusion as the foundations of strong organizations as implemented through HRD policies and initiatives to support organizational sustainability and growth for the future.
Chapter 6: Innovations in Learning through Coaching in the Workplace
The dominant view of learning and development is partly influenced by positivist philosophy (Bachkirova and Kaufman, 2008) and we are so used to this controlled and structured way of learning. Most businesses also tend to believe in 'objectivity, thus the measurability seems to have been given prime importance within every activity they engage. Therefore, there is a tendency to explore and/or believe in universal ways of learning and development (Garvey, 2011). This mode of learning and development is also regarded as highly prominent by the institutes that market standardization and certifications. The traditional ways of learning and development appears to make it easier "to judge success in teaching and learning" (Garvey et al., 2017:110). Therefore, there is a tendency to continue with current practices of learning and development rather than exploring more effective, inclusive and innovative ways of learning and development these practices have been challenged by various researchers, practitioners and policy makers over the years.
As a result, interventions like coaching has been establishing its position within the learning and development industry over the years. The origin of coaching is surrounded speculations (Gray et al., 2016). Zeus and Skiffington (2000) argue that few writers link coaching to the primordial era citing that it has been used to improve hunting skills. De Haan (2008) noted that some relate coaching to Socratic teachings, and another discourse is that coaching originates from the practice of coaching people in sports to improve their performance (Whitmore, 2012; Wilson, 2007; Starr, 2003; Witherspoon and White, 1996). Garvey (2011) highlights a broader perspective of the initial uses of coaching. He emphasizes that coaching has been used in tutoring for academic performance, performance improvements in boating and rowing, teaching the defense of the wicket in cricket and developing subject matter expertise.
This suggests that coaching has performative or development links from its inception. Coaching is known for, for example (a) providing a safe space for learners to critically reflect on their experiences, (b) being a non-judgmental approach, (c) self-directed learning, (d) accommodating subjectivity of learning and development, (e) enhancing self-understanding and confidence of learners (see Bennett and Campone, 2017; Jones et al., 2016; Smither, 2011). This chapter critically explores how these characteristics of coaching link with theories such as andragogy, reflective, experiential, transformative, and social learning and aims to develop understanding of how coaching can be an effective and innovative way of learning and development.
We position coaching as a social process so as adult learning and suggest that coaching is an alternative to reductionist ways of learning. This may contradict with some dominant views of both adult learning and coaching. However, our aim is to create a constructive debate among practitioners, scholars and policy makers rather than pleasing a community that hold on to a particular world view. We acknowledge that there are different ways of learning and development interventions that can be equally valid and relevant. There is no intention to discard any of them and their abilities to cater to the current demands of learning and development, but we aim to develop a conceptual rationale as to why coaching can be more effective as a learning and development tool in modern world of work. The chapter also explores current research developments and gaps within the field. We conclude the chapter by critically exploring practical issues and barriers of commissioning coaching for learning and development in organizations.
This chapter discusses coaching as an innovative way of learning and development and positions coaching as a social activity. It encourages to question current practices of workplace learning and to be critical and evaluative in selecting most appropriate ways of developing people. The chapter also highlights the contextual and subjective nature of learning and the increasing demand for inclusive means of learning. Therefore, the chapter fits with the objectives of the book by creating a critical debate among scholars, practitioners and policy makers as to how coaching can be used to address learning and development demands within the current business environment.
Chapter 7: HRD for an Ageing Workforce
Dealing with the challenges of older labour force is becoming an increasingly important part of the HRD processes of companies. Organizations need more complex steps to help an effective development of human resources and prepare the company for future challenges in the next years. To explore the differences of the perception of workability among the employees of companies draw the main dimensions of future HRD practices in business organizations.
Demographic changes may cause the most significant negative labour market impulse in the 2020s, when the number of people of employment age may drop significantly compared to the averages of the previous decades. This is a significant number in relation to which complex age management programmes need to be launched at the level of the national economy and companies at the end of the current decade. In future, global trends will influence the labour market (robotization, artificial intelligence) in which gradual increase of work performance will have a crucial role. This can only be achieved by boosting knowledge intensity, which requires continuous knowledge transfer between generations. Among these challenges, human resource development must develop new tools to be able to generate sufficient added value both in the public and private sectors as one of the most important functional and strategic organizations within a company. Predictive analysis is becoming an increasingly important part of the HR processes of companies because it provides complex business information and insights that help more effective development of human resources and prepare the company for future challenges in time, before they would present impossible tasks to the management of the organization.
The Work Ability Index methodology could help to develop such a predictive tool in the future through a deeper statistical analysis of the results. Age management strategies (part time, transformed/customized jobs, etc.) may be developed where aging employee groups can deal with knowledge transfer and other key roles and where this social group can also become more active in the labour market. The special responsibility of an HRD specialist is not only to take advantage of the workforce, but also to preserve, retain, develop and renew the workforce through well shaped jobs, a planned work environment, and occupational health measures. This activity could be understood as preventing the risk of working ability of the older workforce. The Work Ability Index clearly indicates the need to create age management or, where this is not possible, to employ an HR specialist at local level who can help older workers. In line with the holistic approach, teamwork is an important element in which collaboration between HR, occupational health services and management members is more and more important.
Age sensitive risk assessment is required. Age sensitive risk assessment considers the specific characteristics of different age groups in risk assessment, including possible changes in the ability and health status of the older workers. In the case of older workers, more attention should be paid to their physical use, to the risks associated with shift work, or working in heat, noise, and so on. However, as the differences between individuals become more pronounced with age, no conclusions should be drawn based on age alone. The risk assessment should consider the individual functional capacity and health status of the employee in the light of workplace expectations.
Developing and operating a stress monitoring system can be an important HRD task as well. It is a system for the inventory, assessment and management of physical and psychological stressors (and their effects) resulting from the physical and social work environment, with the professional operation of the so-called physical and psychological stressors workplace stress can be judged, treated and prevented. Development of a health-conscious behaviour is also essential to improve the Work Ability Index, where the importance of prevention in health and safety at work cannot be over-emphasized.
Chapter 8: Gig economy and HRD
This chapter will explore the opportunities and threats that are presented to Human Resource Development (HRD) strategy and practice in the burgeoning gig economy. Digital labour platform companies are regarded as being at the forefront of innovation and cutting edge "disruptors". The gig economy is also associated with a proliferation of non-standard contract types that can bring increased flexibility but also precarity for both organizations and individuals. As such the benefits and costs of gig and platform work for employers, workers, and society remains highly contested (Johnston and Land-Kazlauskas, 2018). Arguably HRD as a discipline has been slow to respond to address the specific conditions and concerns of the gig economy and its impact on the three principles constructs of HRD; people, learning and organizations. Whilst there remains some debate about the specific nature and impact of the gig economy there is now increasing evidence that it is growing in size and significance (TUC, 2019). HRD scholarship and practice has an important role to play in embedding progressive and creative learning practices that can aid innovation in platform organizations and also to address employee wellbeing and precarity in the wider global gig economy. This chapter applies the framework for critical HRD practice, as proposed by Bierema and Callahan (2014) to a case study analysis of a leading Global Legal Talent Platform seeking to embed innovation and principles of good work amongst its diverse and global gig-based workforce. It will be argued the framework can support more effective innovative and ethical HRD decision making and practice in complex global environments, as seen in the gig economy by helping to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders and identifying power relations that impede the development of all.
The gig economy and HRD
Defining the gig economy and its subsequent relationship with HRD is not straightforward because the existence of the non-standard or informal workplace has been with us for a very long time. The rise of the 'gig economy' may be understood as a new development in labour markets or a circular development, in which the opportunities for work have returned to a previous era of low pay, protection and tenure as the employment market becomes fractured in a renormalization (Juravich, 2018). The 'gig' economy is however, arguably different to previous eras of precarious work due to the growth of platform technologically based organizational structures. The gig economy then becomes significantly different to other forms of work organizations due to the time space distanciation, in which there is a denudation of interpersonal and social elements of the workplace replaced instead by management by platform and algorithm which allows a radical piecework that differs significantly from previous types of precarious engagement (Page-Tickell and Yerby, 2020 forthcoming).
Definitions of the 'gig economy' have also tended to incorporate both platform-based organization of work and the burgeoning freelancer market. Ashford, Caza and Reid (2018) use both the new world of work and gig economy as broadly interchangeable terms to describe "a work context comprised primarily of short-term independent freelance workers (Kuhn 2016) who contract with organizations or sell directly to the market".
Highlighting how the gig economy can be understood as both a 'platform economy' and one with enhanced casualization of labour. In one of the first large scale and global reviews of the gig economy The McKinsey Report (2016) also stressed that the gig economy needs to be understood as both precarious forms of low paid work but also high end freelance or consultancy work. The resultant organizational realities can mean that the boundaries between role, level and even function are challenged by this new way of organizing work. As the boundary between standard and non-standard work is eroded through an ongoing increase in flexible and contingent working patterns in the gig economy this means new realities for management, employees and 'gig' workers themselves. These conditions create unique opportunities and the threats for the profession and discipline of HRD the gig economy; particularly in relation to supporting people in the gig economy when they are treated as rentable things. This disregard of the human aspect of any organization leads to performative HRD practices and the commodification of workers, whereby the employment relationship is simply a monetary transactions and certain groups are either privileged or marginalized along traditional power lines (Sambrook and Willmott, 2014).
This chapter advocates for the application of a critical HRD lens to examine the power relations at play in the HRD and the gig economy. Critical HRD is more socially conscious HRD and prioritizes the democratic implementation of HRD for a range of stakeholders beyond those who have traditionally held power and values and values customers, employees, suppliers, and citizens in equal measure (Bierema & D'Abundo, 2004). The emphasis becomes on conflicting and multiple needs in the negotiation of HRD and its outcomes and in doing so can recognizes marginalized or disenfranchised workers and stakeholders (Bierema and Callahan, 2014). Thus, the benefits of applying the critical HRD lens to the global and precious nature of the gig economy becomes evident, as it can expose the political, social and cultural power relations. In doing so addressing calls for ethical practice in HRD research and the responsibility of the discipline to support international and national growth of people and organizations.
Addressing the ethical role of HRD in the gig economy gains significance when we consider the criticism of the HRD profession, as being complicit in the 2008 global financial crisis and a subsequent retreat of the HRD professional in its aftermath, as evidenced by the falling median annual training budgets and effective and consistent talent management and employee development that can benefit it all. This chapters argues that HRD scholarship and practice in the gig economy is essential not only to support the innovation and ethical practice but to ensure the HRD is not perceived, as either disengaged from this major labour market trend or worse complicit in encouraging precarity and marginalization of workers. This analysis of the gig economy and the role of HRD addresses calls for scholarship to support HRD practitioners critically engaging in assumptions about HRD practice and its ability to connect local and personal problems to change and macro and global social and organization structures. This chapter through the application of critical HRD will emphasizes the importance of reflective techniques that are sensitive to context, power and inequality to the benefit of sustainability and ethical HRD practice (Gold and Bratton, 2014).
Chapter 9: HRD in the future: Implications and Opportunities
This concluding chapter will provide a number of concluding remarks and offer the reader the opportunity to assess current and future implications.