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HRD professional education provision in the UK: past, present and future

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The professionalization of occupations has led to the increased demand for specialised knowledge in many fields, in response to which Higher Education (HE) institutions have provided professional education programmes. The purpose of this paper is to address a need for research into the history and current position of professional education in Human Resource Development (HRD) in the UK and to consider the problem of the extent to which HRD can be regarded as a profession. The paper reports findings from a mixed methods study comprising an audit of the postgraduate HRD programme provision in UK universities and a symposium at which the perspectives of key informants were captured. There is evidence of declining use of the term `HRD’ in programme titles, and of contestation and conflict between the professional education of HRD and Human Resource Management (HRM). The paper argues for regarding HRD as symbiotic in relation to HRM, rather than as a distinct profession. It identifies the implications of this conceptualisation for professional education in the field and discusses the relevance of experience in the UK for HRD internationally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Early online date9 Jul 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 9 Jul 2020


  • ANDERSONv_2020_cright_HRD Professional Education Provision in the UK

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Human Resource Development International on 09.07.2020, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 718 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 9/01/22

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