Conceptual Organization and Identity of HRD: Analyses of Evolving Definitions, Influence, and Connections

Seung Hyun Han, Chungil Chae, Soo Jeoung Han, Seung Won Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid expansion and diversification of human resource development (HRD) research and practices is a welcoming sign for HRD scholars, who are interested in improving a social system through developing human resources. At the same time, however, it raises questions about the core identity and boundary of the field and desirable future directions. This study aims to trace the significant thematic periods, called the wave in the evolution of HRD, from its early development days to the present. In doing so, we present how “the body of HRD knowledge is evolving through the intellectual evolutionary process” based on analyses of widely cited definitions, influential work, and connections among co-appearing research topics. As the finding, we identified three distinctive waves of evolutionary phases of HRD research: (a) developing definition of disciplinarity, (b) competition and selection between major paradigms, and (c) divergence and expansion of topics. Major characteristics of each period and the influence between periods were also described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-319
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Resource Development Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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