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They are indeed often used interchangeably by commentators and practi-tioners. However, the introduction of ‘learning’ has emphasized the belief
Approaches to HRM and L&D86that what matters for individuals is that they are given the opportunity to learn, often for themselves but with guidance and support, rather than just being on the receiving end of training administered by the organization.The L&D function may exist as part of an all-embracing HR function (eg a centre of excellence), although in some smaller organizations there may not be a distinct function – L&D will be one of the responsibilities of HR generalists. L&D is sometimes but not often a separate function. However, the essential role of the function is unaffected by where it is placed in the organization in relation to HRM, although what is practised and how it is practised varies immensely according to the size and context of the organi-zation; and the extent to which it can exert influence will be affected by the degree to which it has access to those ultimately responsible for managing the organization and its people.Purpose and aims of the L&D functionThe starting point in considering the role of the L&D (HRD) function is to answer the question ‘What is its purpose?’ As noted by McGoldrick et al (2001: 346), debates on the purpose of HRD ‘centre on the learning versus performance perspectives. Should HRD practice focus on the well-being of the individual or should the interests of the shareholders predominate?’ The answer is, of course, that L&D should be concerned with both. But Lee (2005: 105) commented that: ‘HRD… finds itself in the forefront of the bat-tleground between people-centred and for-profit motives and thus operating in an environment fraught with ethical quandaries.’In meeting both purposes, the aims of the L&D function are to:●ensure that L&D strategies support the achievement of business goals, satisfy the learning and development needs of employees and are integrated with complementary HR strategies;●create and sustain a learning culture, ie an environment which promotes learning because it is recognized by all concerned as an essential organizational process to which they are committed and in which they engage continuously;●identify organization, team and individual learning needs;●develop organizational learning strategies to meet organizational needs;●encourage and facilitate workplace learning for individuals and teams;●plan and deliver learning events and programmes designed to satisfy identified needs;●evaluate the effectiveness of organizational learning, workplace learning and learning programmes and events.
The role and organization of the HR and L&D functions87The approach to L&DMabey and Salaman (1995) identified six conditions which had to be met to demonstrate a rational and strategic approach to L&D:●alignment with organization objectives;●senior management support;●involvement of line managers;●