Human Resource Management Education: Skill Training or Preparation for Life

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2 Citations (Scopus)


While tertiary education has always reflected broader societal tensions between the search for knowledge and the pragmatism of business, politics and economics, current debates are more focused on struggles between liberal and business approaches. Long‐established disciplines like medicine and law have attempted to mystify the development of technical expertise by reference to the long traditions of Greek, Roman and latterly, Chinese professions. By such means they have separated their studies from criticisms of traditionalists and liberal educators. Newer professions, such as human resource management, social work, visual and performing arts, and nursing do not have such consolidated traditions and have consequently been subject to contempt and disregard from both liberal educators and the established professional groups. Whilst economic and social trends have encouraged the development of courses at tertiary level this has often added to the distaste felt by colleagues. However, impelled by industry, professional associations, government policies and funding, these business courses have blossomed throughout Australian universities. The challenge presented to such courses is to incorporate the best of university traditions of critical thought whilst fulfilling some of the expectations of students, employers and society generally. The following paper explores the pressures on such vocational courses, concentrating on human resource management, and examines possible directions for academics to take to reconcile the inherent conflicts. Several relevant constructions of education are analysed with applications to the focus, curriculum teaching and assessment strategies of such courses. 1992 Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes


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