Human resource development ‐ a contingency function? (Whatever happened to theory Y?)

Tom Kilcourse (Independent consultant, Colyton, Devon, UK)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Publication date: 1 December 1996


Argues that much of what has been taught in recent years on human resource management ignores the reality of globalization. Deregulation and new technology have shifted power to the employer, leaving sellers of labour competing in a buyers’ market: labour is divided into a core élite, necessary to corporate strategy, a highly skilled second rank, probably self employed, and “the rest”. Contends that if a country such as the UK is to attract investment by offering a highly trained human “resource”, we may have to abandon our egalitarian approach which pretends that any one of “the rest” can become a “second ranker” or a member of the élite. Predicts shrinkage in the human resource development function.



Kilcourse, T. (1996), "Human resource development ‐ a contingency function? (Whatever happened to theory Y?)", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 20 No. 9, pp. 3-8.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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