Imagination, creativity and HRD: an aesthetic perspective

Gibb, S. (2004) Imagination, creativity and HRD: an aesthetic perspective. Human Resource Development Review, 3 (1). pp. 53-74. ISSN 1534-4843 (

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Human resource development is conceptualized here in terms of levels of action: representations, experience, relations, and communities. Functionality is taken as a hallmark of good human resource development in these. Yet reflecting on what works, and on innovations in human resource development, factors other than those associated with functionality seem to matter: imagination and creativity. To understand and explore these, an aesthetic perspective on human resource development is proposed. How the aesthetic exists and lives in human resource development is described here as a quadrant, with imagination and creativity existing in the form of imported metaphors, design thinking, development epistemology, and the aesthetics of organization. The implications of this combining of an under-standing of the functional and the aesthetic for theorizing and practicing human resource development are outlined.