Component Theories for Human Resource Development in China: A Proposition

Component Theories for Human Resource Development in China: A Proposition

Carsten Schmidtke (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA) and Peng Chen (Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou, China)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2016100103
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Abstract

Chinese scholars have not yet achieved consensus on the specific theories that should be part of a Chinese HRD theory base. A review of the Chinese HRD literature has identified four theory domains frequently mentioned as a possible foundation for the discipline: management, economics, sociology, and psychology/learning. Considering Swanson and Holton's (2009) argument that theory is important for any emergent discipline, the purpose of this paper is to help ignite the discussion on a theoretical foundation by going beyond the level of domains and proposing an initial core of theories for HRD in China. The proposed theories were chosen because of their fit with the four theory domains, with Deng Xiaoping's guidelines for the development of the Chinese economy and its human resources, and with the Chinese cultural context.
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Statement Of Purpose

The purpose of this article is to recommend an initial set of component theories for Chinese HRD based on the theory domains and sub-domains identified by Chinese HRD scholars. The main ideas of each theory will be summarized to show how it fits into its respective domain. Theories will also be assessed in terms of their adherence to Deng Xiaoping’s thoughts and their flexibility to adapt to the Chinese cultural context.

There is presently no consensus among Chinese scholars on which specific theories should be included in an HRD theory base, but a review of Chinese HRD literature has nonetheless identified four theory domains frequently mentioned as a possible foundation for the discipline. Considering the still-emergent nature of HRD in China and Swanson and Holton’s (2009) assertion that theory is important for any discipline at such a stage, this paper hopes to help ignite the discussion on a theoretical foundation that Dong (2014) had advocated by going beyond the level of domains and proposing an initial core of theories for HRD in China. The authors do not mean to suggest that the theories proffered in this paper are the best choices nor the final choices but are simply intended as a starting point for the further discussion and development of indigenous Chinese HRD theories.

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