ERIC Number: EJ922418
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
What Is Theory?
Stewart, Jim; Harte, Victoria; Sambrook, Sally
Journal of European Industrial Training, v35 n3 p221-229 2011
Purpose: The aim of the paper is to examine the meaning and value of the notion of theory as a basis for other papers in the special issue which examine facets of theorising HRD. Design/methodology/approach: A small scale and targeted literature review was conducted which focused on writings in the philosophy and sociology of science in order to review the current status of knowledge and debate on the concept. Findings: The literature review revealed problems with the traditional but still conventional understanding of the concept. These are best illustrated by critiques of "scienticism" which apply in both the natural and social sciences. There are clear and significant problems with simplistic formulations of "theory" as a concept which limit the potential value of applying the term in academic enquiry and which also limit what might be thought possible for theorising HRD. Research limitations/implications: A number of implications for theorising and so researching HRD are identified. These include a need to locate such theorising in declared and clearly articulated as opposed to assumed positions and to be aware of the paradigmatic principles informing both research and theorising in HRD. Originality/value: The article has value primarily in relation to setting the scene for the other papers in the special edition and in delineating the aspirations and possibilities of future HRD theorising and research. It suggests a need for working towards achievable outcomes within a context of rejecting the grand ambitions and aspirations of scienticism. While not directly addressed in this article the other papers make clear that such aspirations and ambitions have been characteristic of previous and current HRD theorising.
Descriptors: Knowledge Level, Social Sciences, Theories, Human Resources, Labor Force Development, Literature Reviews, Philosophy, Sociology, Sciences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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