Does Critical HRD really exist outside academia? An interview study with nine Critical HRD scholars

Chang kyu Kwon, Matthew Archer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The complex world in which we reside is calling for more critical approaches to address the precarity experienced by the most marginalized in social systems. However, human resource development (HRD) lacks empirical data to describe, define and project the objectives and future directions of Critical HRD in today’s turbulent and volatile times. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the historical and contemporary progression of Critical HRD, as described by nine of its most well-known scholars. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected through semistructured interviews, and a constructivist grounded theory coding approach was applied during analysis to identify themes and patterns. Findings: The findings of this study highlight the persistent scholarship versus practice divide among Critical HRD scholars, suggesting that Critical HRD may merely be an academic undertaking and something not practiced within the public domain. The authors call for an evolution of Critical HRD toward more practice- and action-oriented approaches to scholarship and teaching so that meaningful changes can take place in actual organizations and workplaces. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study was the first to empirically show that there is a real research–practice gap, particularly among Critical HRD scholars. Critical HRD scholars need to take these findings seriously as an opportunity to reflect on how they can take Critical HRD to the next level beyond academic discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Critical HRD
  • Diversity
  • Identity
  • Power
  • Research–practice gap
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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