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12/04/2023 Monday,1:00 PM

30th ACPM-CIC: Beyond Rhetoric in HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT in Construction

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Date(s) - February 21, 2022
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM



Beyond Rhetoric in HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT in Construction

It is widely accepted that in order to be more productive and competitive within the knowledge economy, companies across all industries need to become learning organisations and invest significantly in their employees. Human resources are recognised as organisation’s greatest asset, even in the era of fourth industrial revolution with its emphasis on science and technology (including Robotics & Artificial Intelligence). The application of human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD) theories and concepts is particularly important in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector, where technology often plays a secondary role to human interactions. The organisation and improvement of HRD are therefore central to organisational sustainability in the sector (see Dainty and Loosemore, 2012).

Numerous studies also recommend that HRD practices such as training and development should align with and drive organisational strategy. However, a wide gap between rhetorical claims about the importance and benefits of HRD and the reality of HRD practice in construction industry organisations is evident. These disparities between the rhetoric and reality of HRD in the built environment necessitate further examination. In particular:

  • How can HRM be used to ensure that government infrastructure departments have sufficient appropriately skilled and efficient personnel that can drive their mandates and objectives (i.e. as derived from key legislation, IDMS, ISO Standards, etc.), and the needs of the built environment in South Africa?
  • How instrumental is HRD in encouraging employees to drive organisation performance in the built environment?
  • How should organisations in the built environment use HRD create a positive organisational learning cultures that instils norms and values and align these with development activities and organisational goals?
  • What HRD tools and processes should be deployed to engender positive outcomes for individuals and organisations?
  • How can HRD be transformed so that it drives the development of human resources that meet the needs of a dynamic work environment experiencing frequent social/ cultural, technological, health, environmental and economic changes?


In summary, how can we structure HRM and HRD to meet the challenges that our built environment faces in South Africa?