Manpower development, now commonly referred to as human resource development, is an ongoing process that analyzes, forecasts and projects an organization’s future manpower requirements. In other words, manpower development focuses on such issues as whether the organization is ready to compensate for the loss of experience from retiring employees and if employees are adequately prepared to implement organizational change.


Manpower development is a process that seeks to optimize an organization’s usage of its human resources. It requires an integrated approach that addresses multidimensional aspects of employees, ranging from enhancing technical and interpersonal skills to creative thinking and leadership. Organizations with high productivity levels have made manpower development an integral part of their business culture.

Development and Training Act of 1962

President Kennedy enacted the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 to help re-employ, through re-training, unemployed American workers who were displaced by automation and technology. At the organizational level, manpower development (training of workers) is associated with anticipating manpower shortages so adequate personnel are available to implement future organizational plans.

Individual Growth

In “Human Resource Development: Learning & Training for Individuals & Organizations,” John P. Wilson says the term development implies an improved situation attained by an individual through learning. Thus, the growth of an individual impacts the collective growth of an organization.

Performance Enhancement

Richard A. Swanson and Elwood F. Holton in “Foundations of Human Resource Development” define human resource development (a more recent term for manpower development) as a process that helps develop human expertise through personnel development with the objective of enhancing performance.


In “Principles of Human Resource Development,” Jerry W. Gilley, Steven A. Eggland, and Ann Maycunich Gilley define the development of organizational personnel as “a dynamic and evolving practice used to enhance organizational effectiveness.”