Reconciling autonomy and community: the paradoxical role of HRD

Turnbull, Sharon and Elliott, Carole (2003) Reconciling autonomy and community: the paradoxical role of HRD. Human Resource Development International, 6 (4). pp. 457-474. doi:10.1080/13678860210155395

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This paper examines the competing discourses of autonomy and community, so long a concern to social theorists but which we argue have been under-theorised by researchers of HRD. We argue that it is this tension, embedded in the assumptions and behaviours of those working within organisations, which has informed a growing concern by HRD practitioners to balance the needs of the individual with those of organisations, a preoccupation which dates at least to the appropriation by organisations of the socio-psychological theories of the human relations movement. The paper examines the most recent attempts to reconcile autonomy and community through the emergence of the new managerial discourses of spirituality and organisational citizenship. We conclude that this quest is inevitably elusive, based as it is on assumptions of trust within organisation relationships which are increasingly challenged by the short term nature of our post-bureaucratic organisational relationships and the fragmentation, instability and the blurring of boundaries. We conclude with a call for HRD to take on the mantle of critical educator and moral conscience raiser to encourage a deeper engagement with social, existential and philosophical questions that lie at the heart of organisational life.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomy; community; discourses; organisational relationships
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 11:04
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 21:27

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