related Masters programmes in Europe
at the round table of the HRD Conference in Limerick, 27 May 2004 (see
> 1 > 2
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question is: where do we find Masters programmes in Europe, particularly
in the domain we are interested in? Masters programmes are a new phenomenon
for many European countries; and those programmes related to the field
of HRD may be called quite differently from country to country. An initial
overview of Masters programmes related to HRD in Europe has been prepared
in the EHRD Base [Overview] - this
is the starting point for my contribution today [Figure
You are probably familiar with recent debates in the European Union on
the Bologna process. In 1999, Ministers responsible for higher education
agreed on important joint objectives for the development of a coherent
and cohesive European Higher Education Area by 2010 [Figure
2]. These include efforts
a very ambitious agenda, if you think of how slowly educational systems
tend to move and how diverse the traditions are in Europe.
effective quality assurance systems;
up the effective use of the system based on two cycles (undergraduate and
graduate), which means to establish Bachelor and Masters programmes in
all European countries involved;
the recognition system of degrees and periods of studies.
Let us first look at the progress made in establishing Masters programmes
in general, quite apart from our special area of interest [Figure
3]. According to the reports of the latest Bologna conference, held
in Berlin in September 2003, we can distinguish roughly between four groups
there are countries which have already got Masters programmes for a longer
time, that is, prior to the Bologna agreement. The UK is obvious, so is
Ireland. Less expected might be the other four countries: Bulgaria, the
Czech Republic, Portugal and Sweden (the latter, however, with a more specific
turn to the development of Masters programmes in our domain: HRD.
How can we define this field in Europe? You may remember the map we created
for describing the broad field of HRD for our resource base [Figure
4]. This map covers several subject areas like HRD/ HRM (in a specific
sense), competence development, continuing vocational training, knowledge
management, learning in organisations, and work based learning. We have
agreed on this spectrum of HRD related activities in Europe in the context
The second group includes countries where the first Masters programmes
have just been introduced, and a full-scale introduction is planned, namely
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
A few countries, forming the third group, have got definite plans for the
introduction of Masters programmes; these are Finland, Hungary and Romania.
The last group consists of countries which envisage the introduction of
Masters programmes, without giving dates; this applies to Denmark, Poland
and Spain. There are, in fact, already examples of Spanish Masters programmes
in our overview.
However, in trying to find Masters programmes, those subject areas have
turned out to be less useful. This is because teaching has got a different
logic, by being tied to national systems of higher education. We therefore
had to find a somewhat different approach. Starting out again from a broad
context we adopted a functional approach. Joseph Kessels provided a very
useful working definition for our domain:
"higher education programmes that deal with learning, development and
education in a corporate setting" [Figure
virtue of this definition we could free ourselves from the specific terminology
of 'human resource development' that might not be applicable throughout
European countries. The subsequent mapping of Masters programmes, in fact,
produced a great variety of terms. These are associated with different
traditions of language and culture in the countries concerned. To demonstrate
this situation let me select some simple examples [Figure
resource development' - this is an obvious term used for Masters programmes
in the UK, in Ireland, also in the Netherlands and some other countries
with English programmes.
of examples leaves out the much more diversified region of Central and
Eastern Europe. As we heard from Devi Jankowicz about the situation in
Poland, for instance, there is no research area of 'HRD', but research
concerned with labour market questions, skill development and societal
When turning to France, you might find a programme title which reads fairly
similar: 'developpement des ressources humaines'. However, as we just learned
from an intervention by Jean Woodall, there are different connotations
even with this kind of concept in France; and there is not a clear-cut
concept of HRD as such; there is quite a variety of other issues that are
addressed in France.
Finally, in German speaking countries, you might find it very difficult
to make yourself understood if you talk about 'human resource development',
let alone 'HRD'. Instead, you can find the term 'Personalentwicklung' (personnel
development), which is quite common, but not the same as HRD.
Now, returning to our functional definition, we can identify quite a range
of Masters programmes across Europe - about 80 in the initial overview.
These have been compiled according to both nationality and subject matter.
As an interim outcome, let me present a rough mapping of fields of study
which turn up in the collection of Masters programmes [Figure
7]. The terms presented here are exclusively in English, either original
terms or translations from other languages.
start with the central term 'HRD', only very few programmes carry this
title. Even in the UK, as already observed by Peter Kuchinke in a recent
study[*], there are rather programmes of HRM, including
HRD, than specific HRD programmes. In the rest of Europe there is hardly
any evidence, except for the Twente programme of HRD chaired by Joseph
this brief overview, you may be aware of the variety of programmes confronting
us. The broad subject field of HRD, as we define it in functional terms,
is very much interlinked with the field of vocational education in Europe.
A lot more analytical work needs to be done, of course, for building the
resource base on Masters programmes in our domain. But this first glance
may help us set the scene and broaden our view on what we can expect.
As already indicated, a lot of programmes are concerned with HRM or strategic
human resources, often including HRD. Further programmes are offered in
business studies or management, with an element of HRM or HRD included.
These are quite common throughout Europe, also in the related programme
type of 'Masters in Business Administration' (MBA). This broad subject
field of business and management may be regarded as fairly established
On the other hand, there are lots of programmes in quite different subject
fields. Fairly close to HRD you can find programmes related to organisational
behaviour or entrepreneurship, for instance 'organisational behaviour'
in the UK and Switzerland, 'leadership and organisational development'
in Germany, 'leadership and organisational psychology' in Norway, 'entrepreneurship
in dynamic business contexts' in Sweden.
A further subject area of HRD related programmes focuses on learning, knowledge
and intelligence, partly in connection with management. Examples are 'adult
learning and professional development' in the UK, 'competence management'
in France, 'knowledge management' in Sweden, 'management of people, projects
and processes' in Germany.
You can also find those concepts of learning and knowledge as part of broader
programmes in business and human resources. It is worth while looking at
the individual components of such a course or at the structure of its syllabus.
Behind a general programme title, such as 'strategic human resources',
you may discover a diversity of subject components, mandatory or optional.
Examples include 'innovation and knowledge' in an Austrian programme, 'learning
company' in an Irish programme, 'work and learning', 'fostering learning'
and 'learning in practice' in Swedish programmes.
Kuchinke, K.P. (2003). Comparing national systems of human resource development:
Role and function of post-baccalaureate HRD courses of study in the UK
and US. In Human Resource Development International. Vol. 6, No 3, pp.