Mind the Gap – A Comparative Analysis of (In-)Congruences in HRD Role Perception


Inspired by role conceptualisations and calls to rethink and reshape activities and competencies of professionally qualified HRD practitioners, we examine HRD’s role and its associated activities through established versions of role theory. We ask: To what extent is there congruence in role expectations of HRD practitioners and other stakeholders? We study this question by interviewing 71 HRD practitioners and non-HRD managers across 16 organisations in three countries (US/UK/NL) and analysing their responses on HRD role expectations and perceptions, congruences and incongruences. We map our findings on a 2 × 2 matrix and find that only a small number of organisations see professional HRD practitioners as strategic partners; most organisations find themselves within a more operational HRD role definition, or somewhere ‘on the fence’, with mixed ideas of role perceptions. Yet, a few organisations struggle to find alignment on HRD’s strategic aspirations and how those play out in practice. While our findings highlight the progress that HRD practice has made towards strategic partnership, we conclude that many HRD practitioners struggle to gain a seat at the table. We close our paper by discussing implications for HRD practice and scholarship.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


HRD practitioners, role theory, role perception, (in-) congruences, business managers, strategic HRD


Lundgren, H., Stewart, J., Kah, S., Jones, J., Poell, R.F., Hamlin, G. R. and Scully-Russ, E. (2023) Mind the gap – a comparative analysis of (in-) congruences in HRD role perception. Human Resource Development International,


Research Institute

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)