Aligning human resource development with organisational strategy in construction: What else matters?

Paul W Chan, Mick Marchington, A. Dainty (Editor), M. Loosemore (Editor)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Publications analysing the development and improvement of human capabilities in organisations, or human resource development (HRD), have often made connections with organisational performance and strategy. The purpose of this chapter is to question this prescriptive link by highlighting disconnections between rhetorical benefits and practised reality of HRD. The discussion centres on three key challenges that cast doubt on dominant view that aligning HRD practices to meet the strategic objectives of the firm is desirable and achievable in the construction industry. Firstly, there is the danger that organisational strategy is narrowly determined by senior managers. The myopic view that HRD should align with strategy specified by the corporate elite marginalises genuine participation of workers, and distorts the true picture of how HRD benefits all stakeholders within the organisation. Secondly, companies in construction are rarely in charge of their own destinies, given the networked organisational context that characterises work in the sector. Therefore, it is difficult to define employer responsibility of HRD given the inter-organisational dynamics that matter in construction. Thirdly, there is the challenge of looking beyond the organisation to consider wider political economy of skills formation in construction. It is crucial that employers engage with the vocational education and training (VET) system. The conclusions point to the need for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to clarify levels of analysis across interpersonal, inter-organisational and institutional perspectives when examining HRD in construction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHuman Resource Management in Construction
    Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2012


    • alignment, HRD practices, institutional context, inter-organisational and interpersonal relations, rhetoric versus reality, strategic HRM


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