Human resource development (HRD) as an applied discipline is an example of a scholarly field that has emerged through the collaboration of scholars and practitioners with backgrounds in various foundational disciplines. This study interested in both the influence of other disciplines on HRD research and in HRD’s influence on other disciplines. The purpose of this study is to take stock of the relationships between HRD research and research in other academic disciplines affecting and affected by HRD research.
The study used content analysis of the top 100 most frequently cited empirical articles published in three HRD journals between 2000 and 2019 to identify disciplinary foundations of HRD research. The influence of HRD on other disciplines was scrutinized through citation analysis of work citing the top 100 articles. In addition, categorizing the 100 articles into six research themes, the influence of six research themes on citation patterns was explored.
The findings indicated that empirical research in HRD, as represented by the top 100 articles, relied mainly on theories and frameworks from two disciplines, management and psychology. Another important finding is that the top 100 HRD articles were cited most often in management publications and the rate of citation in management journals has been growing rapidly since 2005. The citation frequency of HRD articles in other disciplines including psychology, social sciences, education and medicine and nursing shows a general upward trend as well. In addition, there was a difference in disciplines providing theoretical foundations to the HRD articles and citing the articles depending on six predominant research themes, identified in HRD articles.
This study empirically identified theories and disciplines contributing to HRD research, considering the influence of cited research on the HRD articles through content analysis. In addition, the findings of this study broadened the understanding of the relationship between HRD research and other disciplines by examining the contributions of HRD articles to other disciplines. Finally, this research provided new information regarding the changes in dominant themes in HRD research over time.
An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the 2020 AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The authors won the 2020 AHRD Cutting Edge Award for this manuscript in the 2020 AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas.
Seo, J., Lee, S. and Ardichvili, A. (2021), "How is HRD related to other disciplines? The analysis of 100 most frequently cited empirical articles published in three HRD journals", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 45 No. 4/5, pp. 402-418. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-06-2020-0108
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited