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Human Resource Development:
The development of the human resource is an important aspect of any managerial undertaking by organizations. Human resource comprise of the main input and drivers of productivity and their development as well as management needs to be undertaken to ensure that the high efficiency levels are achieved at the workplace. The implications of human resource development are significant in all the aspects of an organization where continual development of the employees is quintessential in preparing them to meet the challenges of the future. Moreover the continual development of the employees by means of training and provision of relevant education would prepare the organization to adapt to the environmental changes in an effective manner without any significant negative impact being witnessed. In order to understand the dynamics of human resource development is important that all the aspects of social interaction, social learning systems, self efficacy and relevant theories are evaluated in the context of the organization so as to understand the implications of the measures undertaken for human resource development. The self perception of performance is a common undertaking witnessed in the human resource and this often hinders the adaption to the new environmental changes as employees consider their skill levels to be adequate. This lack of eagerness to learn is one of the most profound issues known to exist in employees and the curbing of this issue along with others relevant to the attainment of continual development is quintessential in establishing an appropriate learning environment for the employees. Organizations are continually striving to find innovative ways to identify and analyze the learning patterns among their employees so as to determine the most effective remedial measure to address this issue.
Critical Path Activity Theory Approach to Learning:
(ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001) has explained the implications of reconceptualization of activity theory on the expansive learning opportunities at the work place. In order to analyze the components of the study, the researcher had selected a hospital in Finland as the site for the conduction of the evaluator study. The culture - historical activity theory was first propounded by Lev Vygotsky and developed further by his colleague, Alexei Leont'ev. This theory is the outcome of various generations of research that has been conducted by scholars in keeping with new ideas or different perspectives on the subject.
Source: (ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001)
The above diagram illustrates the fundamental structure of any system which is influenced human activity. It reveals the interconnectivity of the associated components and the manner in which each element contributes towards the maintenance and attainment of equilibrium in the system. There has to be a balance in the extent of involvement between all the associated components wherein the increase or decrease in contribution from any of the elements would disrupt the harmony of the human system, thereby affecting the overall processes being undertaken in the respective system (ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001).
The learning environment in organizations is assumed to have stability wherein the outcomes of the education gained have a lasting impact on the behavior as well as social interaction of the individual. But in practice, this theory is refuted by the fact that the organizational learning environment is continually subjected to new skills and education which requires individuals to undertake continual learning initiatives so as to be able to comply with the current learning requirements. Such learning needs are also unpredictable as it is evaluated only when the particular need surfaces in the environment, in response to which the management has to devise the appropriate learning modules for the employees. The learning challenges not only pertain to the acquiring of new levels of education or skills but also relate to the adoption of new working methods in order to address the issues which arise in a given scenario (ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001).
The case of the Finland Children's Hospital highlights the issues pertaining to the monopolizing of patients and the lack of adequate encourage to utilize primary care health care services which are offered at nominal rates owing to the involvement of tax funds to offer relief to the patients in terms of the treatment costs. The main issue was the tracking and monitoring of the child patient's trajectory of treatment. In this respect the challenge was to set up a coordinative system which would see the participation of various health organizations and entities (ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001).
Source: (ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001)
The above diagram indicates the contradictions which were evident in children's health care in the Helsinki region of Finland. In order to address the issues, expansive learning methods were utilized for establishing concepts based on critical pathway which prioritized the activities required to be achieved in the system. In the context of human resource development, the critical path approach provides the means to integrate the different aspects to a problem situation so as to prioritize the activities and ensuring apt learning of the required issue addressing measure. This is an appropriate example of expansive learning in the context of human resource development as it provides a situation where new and old concepts pertaining to patient care coexisted without any rejection being made on the previous concepts. The participants had approaches the critical path for identifying the solution for the issues pertaining to patient trajectory management (ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001).
Social Learning Systems:
The ability of the organizations to redesign themselves as social learning systems is the key determinant to the identification of the success of the firm. The implications of social learning systems are not only evident at the organizational level but it is also evident on a broader perspective of learning systems which are inclusive of the industry or a consortium. By utilizing the paradigms of social learning systems, the three modes of belonging are distinguished, thereby giving way to the analysis of the key elements of the system, namely communities of practice, nature of identities shaped by the participants and the boundary processes among the participating communities (WENGER, Etienne, 2000).
The exhibition of knowledge is defined in terms of the competencies which are applicable in a given social group or learning system. Participants in any learning environment usually relate to the competencies that have been predetermined by the social elements or the new competencies that have been identified by the social consortium. In order to understand the implications of social learning, the three aspects (engagement, imagination and alignment) need to be evaluated. (WENGER, Etienne, 2000) states that engagement is the nature of sharing experience and knowledge by means of relevant acts or social dynamism in a coordinated manner. Imagination pertains to the determination of new possibilities in a social learning system by developing a self perception of the self as well as the group. Alignment is to ensure that local activities are adequately integrated with other processes so as to reach effective engagement levels beyond the current achievements.
Source: (WENGER, Etienne, 2000)
The above table indicates the boundary dimensions associated with social learning systems. In the context of human resource development, the understanding of the social learning systems provides the means to identify the social dynamism of learning for individuals, for organizations and also for the various communities. It is important to understand that each individual develops a different of competencies and perspectives in keeping with the social environment to which he / she is subjected. Hence the organizations need to analyze the social realm of the employees before undertaking any initiative to inculcate learning in the task force (WENGER, Etienne, 2000).
An example of social learning is the case of those children who have been brought up in abusive environments. Such children have been known to develop such nature which makes them either perpetuators of violence or victims of violence. Another example to illustrate the social learning concept employees tend to become better at team work if they are subject to a team oriented environment in the organizations. This is an appropriate example of social learning systems as it clearly highlights the influence of social elements on the behavioral response of the employees with respect to the immediate social dynamics.
Self Efficacy - An Essential Learning Motive:
The last decades have witnessed the increasing use of self efficacy for predicting the motivation and learning for students. Self evaluation of learning efficiency has always been a difficult aspect to determine scientifically. Self efficacy provides the means by which standardized analysis criteria can be implemented for the self evaluation of learning effectiveness for the individuals. Evidences have revealed that the self efficacious participants have a higher possibility of working harder with fewer adverse emotional responses to situations which eventually leads to an increased effectiveness of the learning acquired, especially in the context of the new learning challenges. Participants who have incorporated self efficacy are known to implement self regulatory measures by means of which the learning can be ensured to have the most profound impact (ZIMMERMAN, Barry J., 2000).
In the context of human resource development, the concept of efficacy is the most profound component as it provides a viable solution to the self perceptions of learning needs and performance of the individuals. By incorporating self efficacy, the individuals are provided the means to sustain self encouragement and motivation to undertake higher learning with respect to their work and professional obligations (ZIMMERMAN, Barry J., 2000).
The most apt example for self efficacy in terms of practical implementations is the case of those students who had a difficulty in listening to class situations. In response to the arising of these changes, the instructors make sure that the level of Self Efficacy for each student are maintained at high levels by analyzing and identifying the strategies which would enable them to work efficiently. This is an appropriate example as the instructors made sure that the levels of self efficacy are maintained at appropriate levels so as to provided the required personal drive.
Contrast between the Studies:
(ENGESTR-M, Yrjö, 2001) highlights the critical path theory which involves the determination of the prioritization of the learning needs by the management or managing body so as to provide the means by which the human resource may adopt to the challenging environment appropriately. This implication was duly explained with the case of the Children's Hospitals in Finland. This approach gives way to the involvement of management in the addressing of learning challenges. (WENGER, Etienne, 2000) focuses on the implications of social learning systems which reveals the influence of social dynamism on the learning systems owing to the competencies and self perceived notions of learning which are determined by the social entities and consortiums. This approach gives way to the extent of influence of social environments and consortiums on the learning challenges for human resource development. (ZIMMERMAN, Barry J., 2000) evaluated the implications of self efficacy by studying its impact on students. The findings revealed that the adoption of self efficacy resulted in higher possibility of working harder with fewer adverse emotional responses to situations which eventually leads to an increased effectiveness of the learning acquired, especially in the context of the new learning challenges. This focuses on the individual efforts to sustain motivation and encouragement for overcoming learning challenges and undertaking continuous development. The above mentioned concepts have different implications for human resource development and are dependent on the needs of the organizations for its implementation.
I feel that self efficacy is most useful in the workplace as it provides the means to scientifically analyze the self perceptions of learning and also provides adequate measures for ensuring that the employees are self motivated for learning by undertaking meticulous learning methods, reducing adverse emotional responses to stimuli and implementing self regulatory measures for monitoring the self learning process.