Department of Educational Administration



Richard J. Torraco

Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Human Resource Development Review 2020, Vol. 19(1) 39–65

DOI: 10.1177/1534484319877058


Copyright © 2019 Richard J. Torraco and Henriette Lundgren. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Human resource development (HRD) is no longer expected to be the primary agency for promoting learning and development among employees. Today, HRD is diffused and integrated into a broad range of leadership and supervisory roles. As more responsibility for learning and development is assumed by others, what is the role of HRD? Although HRD has largely adapted to sharing more of its traditional responsibility for learning and development, the field has also encountered challenges and criticisms. We juxtapose recent adaptations and advances in HRD with perspectives on the dilemmas, challenges, and criticisms of HRD as seen by those outside the field of HRD. Grounded in a comprehensive review of recent literature, the authors seek to provide a balanced perspective on HRD’s strengths and weaknesses and to conceptualize a new perspective on HRD and its transformation for the future.