University of Portsmouth, Business School (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 2890-2894
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0815
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
The work of human resources centres on a practitioner’s ability to contribute to organisational decision-making. Chief executives increasingly expect HR specialists to hold an independent professional view that can balance business needs and influence managers and employees (Farndale et al. 2010). One approach to develop practitioner capability is through writing that invests in personal thinking. Time spent reflecting on work experiences can tease out personal insights to guide professional behaviour (Edwards & Nicholls 2006). Yet business students often question the need to write down learning observations; some see writing as remote from organisational action.

This paper discusses a case study of practitioner experiments in writing to actively support professional development. The research aims to increase practitioner confidence through writing of an evolving professional viewpoint. Two questions guided the study: What are practitioner attitudes to reflective writing? How can writing strengthen practitioner competence in the workplace? The study draws on the concept of andragogy, adult teaching, and the principle that adults bring to learning significant resources of knowledge and experience (Knowles, Holton & Swanson 2015). The research design used playful activities to explore student approaches to writing and stimulate peer reflection on work experiences. Data from group discussions and individual written narratives was analysed to code effective aspects of teaching and learning.

Findings demonstrate that writing allows practitioners to gain better understandings of relational connections in their job environment. Some note the struggle to express personal thinking and integrate practice development. The data suggest that time dedicated to reflective writing can enhance self-knowledge in operating effectively within an organisational culture (Done et al. 2011). In short, reflective writing filters the meaning of experience for professional learning.

This study contributes fresh insights into the value of reflective writing to underpin professional development. Practice implications are that reflective writing can support practitioners’ growth. Writing skills can transfer across disciplines and the conscious effort to articulate a professional self extends expertise. For human resource specialists, developing an independent professional voice matters to steer the talent management of the workforce.

[1] Done, Knowler, Murphy, Rea and Gale. (2011). (Re) writing CPD: creative analytical practice and the ‘continuing professional development’ of teachers. Reflective Practice 12 (3): 389-399.
[2] Edwards, R. and Nicoll, K. (2006). Expertise, competence and reflection in the rhetoric of professional development. British Educational Research Journal 32, no. 1: 115-131.
[3] Farndale, E., Scullion H. and Sallow, P. (2010). The role of the corporate HR function in global talent management, Journal of World Business 45, no.2: 161-168 doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2009.09.012
[4] Knowles, M., Holton, E. and Swanson, R. (2015). The Adult Learner: the Definitive Classic in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development. Butterworth: Heinemann.
Writing, reflection, professional development, continuous learning, human resources.