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HRD as a Tree: Growing Together. Tara Chatterson EHRD 603 Dr. Dooley Texas A&M University. What HRD means to me:.

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Hrd as a tree growing together

HRD as a Tree: Growing Together

Tara Chatterson

EHRD 603

Dr. Dooley

Texas A&M University

What hrd means to me
What HRD means to me:

I like to think of HRD as a tree. HRD is often defined as: “the framework for helping employees develop their personal and organizational skills, knowledge, and abilities…[Also,] the focus of all aspects of [HRD] is on developing the most superior workforce so that the organization and individual employees can accomplish their work in service to customers” (Heathfield, 2013). A tree is a fully integrated system where all parts must work together to ensure the survival and growth of the entire entity. The roots, trunk, bark, branches, twigs, leaves, and fruit of a tree can be viewed as metaphorical parts of an organization. The outside elements (i.e., wind, storms, rain) act as the global economy, forcing the tree and all of its components to work collaboratively in order to be successful in an unpredictable environment. Finally, the fruit the tree works to produce can be viewed as the product offered to consumers.

The parts of a tree
The Parts of a Tree:

Roots-extract life-giving nutrients and water from the soil, store sugar, and anchor the tree to the ground

Trunk-supports the crown of a tree and gives the tree shape and strength

Bark-covers the trunk, branches, and twigs of a tree and acts as, “a suit of armor against the world by protecting the tree from insects, disease, storms, and extreme temperatures” (Parts of a Tree, 2011)

Branches-are the woody divisions/parts of a tree that grow from the trunk

Twigs-are: “slim woody shoots that grow from a branch or stem of a tree” (Twig, 2003-2008)

Leaves- “really make the tree” (Leaves, 1999-2013), come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and positions, and are the product of the tree’s nutrients, sun, and soil

Fruit- is the fleshy product of a tree that can be eaten as food or used for reproduction (Fruit, 2003)

The roots training development
The Roots=Training & Development

  • I think of a tree’s roots as the Training & Development division of the tree. Roots extract, or recruit, nutrients (i.e., employees), anchor the entire structure, and are where any changes or improvements will begin.

The trunk organizational development
The Trunk=Organizational Development

  • The overall duty of a tree’s trunk is to offer support and introduce changes that shape and strengthen the entire structure. The trunk has a network of tubes that transfer nutrients and minerals between the crown and the roots. This is similar to the the collaboration and networking that occurs in Organizational Development.

The bark career development
The Bark=Career Development

  • The bark on a tree consists of multiple layers that go through a series of changes to create a final, outer product which protects the vital nutrients inside of the tree. These changes are similar to those in Career Development in that each stage or layer, “is characterized by a relatively unique set of issues, themes, and tasks” (Werner & DeSimone, 2012, pg. 12).

Branches departments

  • The branches of a tree are the separate divisions issuing forth from the trunk. Branches are similar to departments in an organization because they are both offshoots of the main subsidiary.

Twigs managers

  • Twigs are the woody shoots that grow from a branch and sprout leaves. I like to think of twigs as managers because they grow from a branch (i.e., department), and are responsible for the growth of leaves (e.g.,employees).

Leaves individual employees
Leaves=Individual Employees

  • Leaves are the food processing part of the tree (e.g., organization). The leaves must absorb the nutrients and minerals provided by the roots (T&D), trunk (OD), and bark (CD) in order to produce chlorophyll in photosynthesis and transpiration. These processes can be viewed as the production and teamwork used by employees in an organization, and are the vital to the entire structure.

Fruit product of hrd
Fruit=Product of HRD

  • I view the fruit of a tree as the yield or output of the entire system. The tree (i.e., organization) uses all of its parts and divisions to create a product that can ensure the success and continuity of the entire structure.

What a tree and an organization must have to flourish
What a Tree, and an Organization must have to Flourish:

Carbon/Oxygen Exchange=Communication and feedback between management and employees

Water=Innovation to stimulate change and fluidity

Soil-Motivation to promote growth and well-being

Sunlight-Inspiration to reach for the sky and become the absolute best that one can be

Hrd as a tree
HRD as a Tree:













Training & Development


Branch. (n.d.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. (2003). Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Defining Organizational Development for Practical Purposes (2011). The Center for Human Systems. Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Fruit. (n.d.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. (2003). Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Heathfield, S. (2013). What is Human Resouce Development? Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Leaves and What They Do (199-2013). Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Parts of a Tree (2011). Forsite: Forestry Outreach Site. Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Twig. (n.d.) WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection(2003-2008). Retrieved April 4, 2013 from

Werner, J. & DeSimone, R. (2012). Human Resources Development (6thed). United States of America: South Western, CengageLearning