role of HRD professionals is changing from trainer to consultant. Their
strategic role is to link HRD closely to business; their practical role
is to provide learning opportunities for employees [R08].
in organisations is no longer an isolated activity for which training professionals
alone are responsible. It has been given a strategic function. Training
professionals are expected to be instrumental in setting up learning processes
that are in line with the strategic policy and, moreover, ensuring that
this is done in a cost conscious and effective manner. It is proving difficult
for training professionals to strike a balance between the interests of
the organisation on the one hand and the interests of individual employees
on the other [V16].
differences in the role of HRD professionals across Europe have been identified:
historical role and development of HR professionals varies considerably
across Europe, as do their career paths. In the UK a strong professional
body representing both HRM and HRD practitioners regulates initial
training. Elsewhere in Europe this does not happen, and HR professionals
can undergo very different training [R12].
diversity of roles, corresponding to the diversity of the HRD field itself,
is perceived by HRD practitioners in different countries. The roles range
from change agent, instructor, programme designer and manager, to coach,
reflective developer, consultative communicator. The related areas of competence
include interaction, information analysis, organisation, and learning processes
anticipation of training related developments varies between HRD professionals
in the Nethelands and their counterparts in the USA. The Dutch group, to
a greater extent than the American one, expect less emphasis on traditional
training concepts, more self-guided learning and team learning, and more
employee responsibility; both groups are equal in expecting a shift from
isolated skill building to performance improvement [R16].
development of mentoring in companies, as one of the HRD practitioners'
roles, is assumed to be influenced by different cultural contexts in Europe.
In accordance with the criteria advanced by Hofstede, mentoring is more
suited to countries with low power distance and a high tolerance for uncertainty.
Multi-national organisations might provide a significant trigger for the
spread of mentoring across Europe, either because of exposure to schemes
via international placements or because of benchmarking activities through
conferences [R11] [R15].
to selected issues