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On the Nature of Human Resource Development : Holistic Agency and an Almost-Autoethnographical
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The nature of human resource development (HRD) has been, and remains, a contested topic – accentuated by increasing globalization and diverse conceptions of how, exactly, one might characterize the field beyond traditional definitions of training, education, or career development efforts to improve individual and organizational performance. This debate was sparked in part by Monica Lee’s seminal 2001 paper which refused to define the discipline of HRD. Since that time, Lee has advocated for the use of an unorthodox autoethnographic approach to research in human resource development, and all that such an approach has to offer the field.
This book represents a very wide view of HRD – that HRD is at work in every organizational life; that it is about our selves and our relationships; that we continually co-create HRD and ourselves; and that HRD can most easily be interpreted through autoethnographic methods. Using her previous work as a basis of each chapter, with modifications to enhance their relevance and explanations of their context in the literature, Monica Lee explores the very nature of human resource development. Examining the tensions between self and other, agency and structure, the book draws inspiration from sources as diverse as science fiction, the challenges for HRD in transitional economies, and the structural uncertainties of contemporary society. The autoethnographic approach yields a text that is personal, entertaining, and easier to read than many academic tomes – and ultimately offers a culmination of a lifetime of research and teaching in human resource development.