Human resource development (HRD) is a concept associated with human resource management, and, by this association, one component of the broader concept of management. Much work has examined management practices from a critical stance and this article provides a brief review. However, HRD is a more recent concept, still emerging and finding space in both academic and practitioner spheres. This article begins a critical examination of HRD by applying some of the strands of critical thinking to HRD practices and discourses. It also critically examines the attempt to conceptualise HRD as a social and discursive construction to connect ways of thinking, talking about and practising HRD to help academics and practitioners reflect critically on their occupational activities. By examining discourses associated with “being critical” as well as the emerging and eclectic discourses of “HRD”, this article contributes to a deeper understanding by evaluating whether this is indeed a critical time for HRD.
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