HRD in SMEs: a research agenda whose time has come

Heather Jane Short, David E. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

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As can be seen from its website, and reiterated in numerous editorials (e.g., Anderson, 2017; Nimon, 2017; Reio & Werner, 2017), Human Resource Development Quarterly (HRDQ) provides a central focus on human resource development (HRD) issues as well as the means for disseminating empirical research across the breadth of the discipline. Furthermore, the listing of keywords on its website indicates the importance HRDQ places on knowing more about learning in workplace settings as it includes words and phrases such as workplace issues, workplace learning, organizational studies, and workplace performance. This is in line with general increased interest in organizational learning in recent years (Higgins & Aspinall, 2011). Therefore, it is concerning that HRDQ seldom reports on an area of workplace learning in a sector that, in many countries throughout the world, encompasses approximately 99% of all businesses, provides over 50% of employment, and can generate around 50% of national turnover (Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development [CIPD], 2015; Coetzer & Perry, 2008; European Commission, 2016; Federation of Small Businesses, 2015; Hamburg, Engert, Anke, & Marin, 2008; Matlay, 2014; Mellett & O'Brien, 2014; U.K. Parliament, 2014; U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). If you have not yet guessed, this area of learning, which is vital to economies across the globe, occurs in small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). Consequently, in this editorial, we seek to explore the extent of this omission, not only in HRDQ but also in other journals, and then investigate possible reasons for this. We hope that by emphasizing both the importance of and the lack of reported research into HRD in SMEs, we will encourage further dialogue and submissions related to this important topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
JournalHuman Resource Development Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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