Making an HRD Domain: Identity work in an online professional community

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Defining Human Resource Development (HRD) as either a scholarly domain or field of practice is widely recognised as problematic. This article investigates how practitioners engage in processes of identity work to collectively construct definitions of the domain of HRD in two Twitter chat events. HRD is presented in these events as a highly individualised practice taking place within professional networks and is characterized as an ‘enterprising self-hood’. The enterprising-self strives to demonstrate professional competence within networks that provide affiliation and relational support in the experiences of becoming and being a professional. HRD is seen to be shaped by the demands of the knowledge economy and by emerging digital technologies. This determinist stance positions technology as a challenge for the practices of HRD and as a means for HRD to develop better, more effective practices. The participants in the chat events position themselves in contrast to an ‘other’ HRD that is slow, old fashioned and failing to effectively engage with new technologies. These Twitter chat events are presented as enactments of the future practices of HRD demonstrating ‘how a professional can practise’ against descriptions of how HRD professionals currently do practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-139
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • professional identity
  • social media
  • practice
  • professionalism
  • personal learning


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