Realising Critical HRD: Stories of Reflecting, Voicing, and Enacting Critical Practice

This book contends that the project of Critical Human Resource Development (CHRD) is to effect change/transformation, and that, as such, critical scholars must expose the injustices and inequities associated with the neoliberal narrative which forms the dominant rationality of current mainstream HRD practice. In other words, those that would change must first recognise that there is a problem worthy of being transformed. It is here that much of the CHRD project has plateaued; there is much theorising on dominant ideology, hegemony, power structures, and other artefacts of a critical agenda, yet there are comparatively few empirical explorations of the CHRD project that would facilitate practical engagement. This book offers a means to help progress CHRD from its current concern with problem recognition to a champion of meaningful change.

This book offers a series of chapters that provide examples of different approaches to engaging in interventions that allow CHRD professionals to challenge power structures, and, in turn, begin to effect change for organisations and employees alike. The chapters are clustered in three distinct approaches to thinking about, talking about and doing critical practice; thus, the sections of the book are titled “Reflecting”, “Voicing”, and “Enacting”.


Jamie L. Callahan is Professor and Director of the Human Resource Development Programme at Drexel University. She has held multiple leadership positions in the American Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), including having served two terms as a member of the Board of Directors. Jamie was also the Editor of Human Resource Development Review, the leading publication for advancing theory within the field of HRD. Her research agenda explores issues of power and privilege in relation to leadership, emotion management and organisation contextual issues (such as organisational learning, organisational culture, communities of practice).

Jim Stewart is Professor of Human Resource Development at Coventry University. An award-winning researcher and writer, Jim has authored and co-edited more than 20 books, and numerous journal articles and conference papers. His research adopts a critical stance to theorising and practicing human resource development in order to achieve more freedom for individual life projects and support for challenging established societal and organisational structures which limit human potential and emancipation.

Clare Rigg is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. She has worked for a number of years with practitioners from all sectors, integrating action learning and action research into issues of organisation development, leadership and management development, and has researched and written on action learning, critical action learning, management learning and HRD.

Sally Sambrook is Professor of Human Resource Development, Director of the Centre for Business Research and former Deputy Head of School and Director of Postgraduate Studies at Bangor Business School. Sally employs a critical and autoethnographic approach to HRD research, particularly management learning and doctoral supervision. She has published widely and holds various editorial roles on leading HRD, management education and ethnography journals.

Kiran Trehan is Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development at Birmingham University. She is a key contributor to debates on critical approaches to HRD, leadership, and diversity and how it can be applied in a variety of business and policy domains. Kiran has led a number of HRD initiatives and extensively published journal articles, policy reports, books and book chapters in the field. She is Co-Editor of Action Learning: Research and Practice, the first international journal dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and practice through action learning.

"As a collection of chapters penned by an international group of well-respected scholars and practitioners, the book’s principal success is in its prioritization of highly experienced critical voice. A thorough and thoughtful reading of this text would be helpful to any scholar or practitioner of HRD, as it provides a truly impressive depth of insight into how to move beyond merely identifying problems of injustice and inequity in organizations and in the field of HRD. [...] It should not be understated the importance of the good writing across the chapters of this book – it is both scholarly and practical in its presentation and discussion of the issues. It makes a noteworthy contribution to the still-emerging body of work related to critical HRD. [...] It is with great delight that I recommend this book to others. I believe that this book has the potential for wide appeal – practitioners, scholars, and students of HRD and/or organizational behavior and management."

Joshua C. Collins Univeristy of Minnesota-Twin Cities Human Resource Development International, 19:4 (2016)

"Realising Critical HRD: Stories of Reflecting, Voicing, and Enacting Critical Practice is a riveting, edgy, and important work; a work that students should be required to read."

Tonette S. Rocco, PhD Professor and Program Leader, Adult Education and Human Resource Development; Editor, New Horizons in Adult Education & Human Resource Development

"This edited volume represents a step forward in writing and reflecting on the ways in which we theorize and practice Critical Human Resource Development. The editors have thoughtfully organized the book so as to encourage the reader to focus on how we reflect, give voice to and enact CHRD theory and practice. From a range of empirical starting points, each chapter challenges CHRD’s taken-for-granted epistemological and practical preferences, before offering clearly described alternatives. The book should be read by students, practitioners and researchers who are seeking insights into CHRD’s guiding principles and how these might be practically realised."

Dr Carole Elliott Editor-in-Chief, Human Resource Development International, Durham University Business School

"This book pushes new boundaries in critical HRD. A bold and ambitious tome, it seeks to expose the injustices and inequities affecting workers and counteract the dominant performance paradigm within organisations. Well written by leading experts in the field and uncompromising in tone, it presents examples of interventions where HRD professionals have challenged power structures and prevailing systems of domination and hegemony. A must read for anyone interested in creating fairer, more egalitarian workplaces."

Dr David McGuire Reader in Human Resource Development, Edinburgh Napier University

"This is a very timely book—HRD can be a complacent field that does not often take a step back to look at itself. The first thing that attracted me to this book was the quality of the editors and contributors—these are people who have played a key role in advancing the field of Critical HRD—and it is a real treat to see them all together like this. The book is designed for researchers and thinking practitioners and opens up the area in a reflective and reflexive way. […] I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants a detailed, incisive, and intelligent perspective on the (critical) issues facing HRD as a field of study, and facing HR practitioners in their daily work."

Dr Monica Lee Founding Editor, Human Resource Development Review

"This book draws upon a highly influential field of contemporary importance in the social sciences, that of critical reflective practice. […] Where this book is especially innovative is the manner in which it creates and gives voice to the dialogue between two critical discourses in the management field, that of reflective practice and education."

Dr David Higgins Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool; Co-Editor, Action Learning: Research and Practice

Richard Cotter

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-4438-8020-5

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-8020-6

Release Date: 15th October 2015

Pages: 305

Price: £52.99

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