How to Differentiate Human Resource Development and Training and Development


This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In the early 1980s, the field of personnel management shifted its function from handling staffing and related administrative activities to the development of people as a resource of the organization (Sims, R. 2006). Thus, here comes the field of Human Resource Development (HRD). The term HRD started out first simply as "training", then involved into "training and development"(T&D), and finally into HRD. Therefore, some confusion arise relating to the difference between Human Resource Development and "training and development". In order to differentiate HRD and T&D, the author illustrates this essay by clarifying the definition of HRD and T&D, their respective main purpose, and the strategies of each term.


1.Definition of HRD

Because of the evolving nature of HRD, defining HRD is difficult. The first definition of HRD offered by Harbison and Myers related HRD to broad contexts, including economy, political, social and culture contexts, rather than just individuals and organizations. They defined HRD as a process to increase the knowledge, skills and capacities of all the people in a society:

"In economic terms, it could be described as the accumulation of human capital and its effective investment in the development of an economy. In political terms, HRD prepares people for adult participation in the political process, particularly as citizens in a democracy. From the social and cultural points of view, the development of human resources helps people lead fuller and richer lives, less bound to tradition."(Harbison and Myers, 1964)

HRD was also referred as a learning experience provided by employees, leading to the improvement of their performance and/all personal growth (Nadler and Nadler, 1989).

A recent definition from Swanson (2009) explained the term HRD as a process of developing and unleashing expertise which aimed at improving organizational system, work process, team, and individual performance.

2.Definition of T&D

Generally speaking, training and development is defined as a field concerned with organizational activity whose objective is to improve the performance of individuals and groups in organizational context.

To be specific, writers of some literatures have divided the term T&D into two independent parts: "training" and "development". Separated definition for each word is created, which makes the definition of training and development quite straightforward.

Training was defined as a "planned and systematic process to modify or develop attitude, knowledge or skills through learning experiences, to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities." (Garavan et al.,1995; Harrison, 1993; Reid et al. 1994) . A separate definition of development was that "the growth or realization of a person's ability through conscious or unconscious learning, which usually includes elements of planned study and experience supported by coaching and counseling" (Wilson, 1999).

Similarities can be seen from these definitions that both HRD and T&D provide human resource with learning to improve performance. However, their emphasises are different according to the definitions. T&D focuses more on the improvement of individual performance, whereas HRD is a business approach which plays a crucial role in the improvement of whole organizational.

II. Main Purpose of HRD and T&D

Main purpose of HRD

The key functions of HRD are individual development, organizational development, career development and performance improvement. Actually, the main purpose of HRD is under debate of researchers and practitioners. Should it focus on increasing the performance requirements of its organizations and enhancing the productivity of the workforce or on developing the individual competency and skills? When practiced in productive organizations, HRD should contribute directly to the organization's goal. As a result, performance improvement becomes the main purpose of HRD.

There are many aspects that HRD could improve performance: individual, process, as well as organizational levels. For instance, performance is impeded when the goal of an organization do not fit various internal and external realities (culture, for example). HRD could solve this problem by formulating a goal that fit in the organizational culture while a culture change process being implemented in order to support the goal of the organization.

Main purpose of T&D

In many literatures, the purpose of T&D concentrates on individual development. There is need to train and retrain the employees on continuous basis. T&D has the goal of influencing basic values and beliefs of individual. Meanwhile, there are also technical and management T&D programmes related to systems and procedures appeal to the inherent logic, and the planning methods and people skills appeal to the strategies of succeed.

The relationship (or difference) of HRD and T&D (and other HRD functions) could be illustrated by figure1:

Figure1 (Haslinda, 2009)

Although the main purpose of T&D is individual development, which is one of the four key functions of HRD, we can not say that T&D is a subset of HRD. HRD and T&D are discrete entities. HRD is the integrated use of T&D, organizational development, career development and performance development to improve individual, group, and organizational effectiveness.

III. Strategies of HRD and T&D

Strategies of HRD

To contribute to the goals and missions of the organization, efforts of making HRD strategies must take place. First, there should be a clear overview of the relationship between the organization's missions, strategic agenda, and competitive environment. Followed by an assessment of the current capacity of workforce, special needs are identified. An evaluation system needs to be built in order to examine if the target competencies indeed enhance the actualization of organizational goals. Finally, the organization needs senior leadership and a culture that support lifelong learning of the work role of each employee.

2. Strategies of T&D

Training and development in an organization also requires a mechanism that establishes the competencies required by an organization to achieve success. Therefore, the strategy of T&D includes 1) identifying the employees' training needs, 2) finding out the HR strategic plan, 3) establishing personal developing plans and 4) evaluating the T&D outcomes by assessment. The process could be revised over and over again.

The strategies of HRD and T&D have several points in common. However, those tiny distinctions make HRD a more strategically orientated organizational process.


In spite of the existence of some similarities, HRD and T&D are differentiated in their definitions, purposes, as well as in strategies. HRD has roles that extend far beyond training and development (Stead and Lee, 1996). It is an extension (or evolvement) of T&D and is associated with an organization's overall business success and employee's T&D process.

Writing Services

Essay Writing

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.