Callahan, Texas A&M University, USA
Gazing into the Crystal
Ball: Critical HRD as a Future of Research in the Field
my brief comments by acknowledging that I approached this topic from my
scholars, we tend to test out new ideas at conferences, so as I prepared
for my 5-minute panel presentation, I looked at themes that stood out for
me at the AHRD and UFHRD conferences. In both, there is a lot of work on
topics such as:
it is organizational interests that dominate HRD.
learning, shaping students to corporate interests, or creating ‘competencies’
to enhance the effectiveness of individuals
particularly here in the UFHRD dialogue, there is a growing voice that
challenges us to question the interests served by HRD interventions. Essentially,
a critical approach is gaining a foothold in HRD scholarship.
are many ways to interpret the concept of ‘critical’. Fournier and Grey
(2000) suggest that critical approaches can range from disengagement, in
which the critical scholar avoids being sullied by interactions with the
world of organizations, to transformation, in which the critical scholar
engages in praxis and confronts the world of organizations through dialogue.
that the future of HRD lies near the latter perspective. I do believe HRD
professionals face a reality of serving two masters, both the dominant
social structures (in other words, organizations) and the individuals within
must be creative, and smart, with the way we apply critical theory. This
application requires more of a constructive approach to critical theory.
I think the future of HRD, a future toward which I believe we should, and
indeed are beginning to, move is one that allows for contextual interpretation
of the application of critical theory without being co-opted into the dominant
discourse of critical thinking and one that celebrates innovative practice
that honors and models concepts such as democracy, justice, equity, freedom,
short, I believe the future of HRD lies in what I am calling constructivist
V. & Grey, C. (2000). At the critical moment: Conditions and prospects
for critical management studies. Human Relations, 53(1), 7-32.