Perceptions of Software Employees towards HRD Roles and Functions

Author Name(s): Bhagyashree Barhate, Malar Hirudayaraj
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In order to meet the human capital needs of the organizations, human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD) often work hand-in-hand [1]. Human resource departments are an integral part of any organization. These departments perform various functions such as recruitment, engagement, performance management, organizational development, training, change management, and diversity. While the concepts of HRM have been practiced in the industry for some time now, HRD is a relatively new field under the umbrella of human resources studies. Developing employees to maximize their contribution to the organization is an essential aspect of HRD. Employee training and development are key to maintaining competitive advantage in all industries, especially knowledge-based industries such as software. Constant evolution in technology, consumer needs, and global competition demand that software industries provide training and create developmental opportunities for their employees to remain competitive. However, there is no study yet that explores the perceptions of software professionals towards developmental functions within the organization undertaken by human resource professionals. This research therefore, examined the perceptions of software professionals towards HRD roles and functions in their organizations. This research adopted a quantitative methodology and administered a survey on an online platform. The participants in this study were employed in the software industry and working in their current technical job role for at least a year. The survey was designed to include all the roles and functions described in the competency model developed by The Association of Talent Development in 2014. The survey reviewed participants’ perceptions of usefulness and importance of specific HRD roles and functions. The participants ranked Learning and Knowledge Management as the most important and Change Management as most effectively managed HRD function. The results of the study indicated a general amiable perception towards HRD roles and functions.

Keywords Human Resource Development, Perception, Software Employees


In the software industry context and its nature, Swanson’s (2009) definition of HRD is best suited – “HRD is the process of developing and unleashing expertise for the purpose of improving organization system, work process, team, and individual performance”. HRD has had a long journey in terms of establishing itself as a separate field from HRM. The HR umbrella manifests both HRM and HRD functions but the HRD functions are not popularized separately and employees seldom acknowledge the presence of HRD in their organizations and often overlap their functionality with HRM. Haslinda (2009), established a distinction between HRD and HRM through definition and the processes involved in each of these functions (see Table 1).


As a practitioner or scholar within the HR umbrella, it is important to understand employee perceptions so that the HRD practices and research can be customized to meet the employee and organizational needs. The participants of this study were able to respond about their perception towards the different HRD roles and function because of their personal interactions with the HR department. In the future, a qualitative inquiry will be worthwhile where the participants can be interviewed about their individual experiences with the HRD roles and functions. The qualitative data will be able to provide subjective perceptions leading the practitioners to improve their current professional practices. Current research shows that HRD is not considered a strategic partner by organizational leadership and thus the HRD practices take a back-seat in the organization’s agenda [19]. A strong support from the employees at the managerial level will give the HRD department freedom to engage in employee development activities on a larger scale which can also help in building healthy employee perceptions. The findings in this study indicate that employees have a better perception of the HRD roles and functions that are effectively performed such as learning and knowledge management. The HRD roles and functions may differ from industry to industry and it is worthwhile to understand them before designing HRD interventions for employee and organizational development.

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