Cajiao Martinez, Laura Victoria (2018-05). Exploring Independent Human Resource Development Consulting Practice and Expertise in Colombia through Reflective Practice. Doctoral Dissertation.
This qualitative study explored the learning experiences of independent HRD consultants that helped them improve their practice and develop expertise. In addition, my aim was to provide a framework about the (a) consulting business, process, and services, (b) profile of independent consultants, and (c) knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to be an effective consultant in Colombia. Findings of my study were presented based on the three research questions proposed. Learning from experience highlights the importance of reflection. Reflective practice, in particular, is key for professional development and continuous learning, benefiting independent HRD consultants with opportunities to reflect and identify strategies to constantly improve their practice and develop expertise. Benefits of reflective practice can be extended to client organizations, designing interventions to help individuals and companies to engage in reflective activities that lead to action and continuous learning. The qualification framework is presented to boost broader debate on independent HRD consultants' knowledge and skills. It provided a holistic perspective for assessing and certifying the development of independent HRD consultants' knowledge and skills. In terms of the consulting process followed, independent consultants reported that entry and contracting was a very important phase because it was the moment when consultants had the opportunity to delimit the boundaries of the project, based on realistic expectations from both parties. Among the tools that independent consultants used to assess organizations were the balance scorecard, benchmarking, Porter's five forces, SWOT analysis, and core competencies analysis. The most used HRD interventions that independent consultants implemented were T&D, coaching, 360-degree feedback, job design and job descriptions, team building, process improvement, Total Quality Management, benchmarking, strategic planning, and balanced scorecard. Finally, findings provided two perspectives on HRD in Colombia. Gathering perspectives from ten independent HRD consultants did not represent an entire population or a final contextualization of HRD practices in Colombia. However, these perspectives helped delimit consultants' practices, and suggested a continued revision of the HRD field in other contexts outside the United States.