Human Resource Development as a Knowledge Management System: The Importance of Bridging the Scholar-Practitioner Gap

Human Resource Development as a Knowledge Management System: The Importance of Bridging the Scholar-Practitioner Gap

Claretha Hughes (University of Arkansas, USA) and Matthew W. Gosney (Hillcrest HealthCare System, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8356-1.ch084
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The crux of the challenge in bridging the scholar-practitioner gap in Human Resource Development is in creating effective mechanisms for the transfer of knowledge between scholars and practitioners. Emerging literature on the topic of knowledge management, and of knowledge management systems, provide a compelling point of view in which to consider the scholar-practitioner gap in HRD. In the chapter, knowledge management systems, as a functional outcropping of systems theory, are considered along with the use of logic models to develop and evaluate organization and program effectiveness. Preliminary research results conducted by Hughes and Wang (2015) gives further support to the notion that considering HRD as a knowledge management system may provide a framework for bridging the scholar-practitioner gap.
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Systems Theory

As a core theory within the HRD discipline, the examination of systems theory aids in understanding the discipline of seeing the wholes (Senge, 1994) and how the HRD professional’s purpose of performance improvement is linked to working within performance and organizational systems to improve the capabilities of individuals and the organization. System theory’s primary goal is to discover information about systems within which it operates, to understand how the parts of the system are arranged, how the parts are interrelated to other parts and the whole system, and the rationale and reasons of the system design (Ruona, 2001).

Additionally, systems theory integrates the study of behavior within the system, how change impacts systems, the future of systems as they evolve, and “provides HRD with capabilities – the potential to act” (emphasis in original, Ruona, 2001, p. 119). Senge (1994) defined the attributes of systems thinking as “a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static “snapshots.” it is a set of general principles” (Senge, 1994, p. 68). The discipline of systems thinking as seen by Senge (1994) is a way of seeing the underlying structures within complex situations and as a way of identifying high and low level change.

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