Exploring the relationship between discourse and a practice perspective on HRD in a virtual environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article presents an exploration of how human resource development (HRD) practices are ‘talked in to being’ in discussion events held in an open online environment. The discursive strategies of actors in such open virtual spaces are examined as a means to analyse how HRD practitioners collectively discuss and define what they do. Reflecting much of the research literature, this exploration found that a common definition of HRD remains elusive and that HRD as a practical concept is fluid and expansive. The analysis of the specific discussion events found that the discourses of practitioners have moved away from the common binary structuring between the US and European ‘Schools’ of HRD. The findings presented here suggest that HRD practices are elastic, contested and unstable and that the discursive strategies of practitioners seek to negotiate points of consensus and stability drawing on components of both the Schools. Furthermore, the discussion event clearly positions HRD practice as being in a largely self-created crisis that emphasizes a failure to meet the expectations of management or to respond to changes in the ‘business’ environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-202
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number2
Early online date10 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • discourse analysis
  • identity
  • online discussion
  • Twitter


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