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The HR specialist as an agent of change: Skills that open up a place at the company's top table

Choi Sang Long (Lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia)
Wan Khairuzzaman Wan Ismail (Associate Professor, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Publication date: 16 March 2012



This paper aims to explore the role of human‐resource (HR) specialists as change agents and the competencies they need in order to execute this role.


Drawing on the HR literature, the paper enumerates the skills that HR specialists should seek to acquire in order to make them more valuable members of their organizations' top teams during periods of change.


The paper highlights the importance of culture management, effective relationship and communication skills, good human‐resource development practices, performance‐management skills, value‐chain knowledge, conflict‐management skills and the ability to use the latest information technology.

Practical implications

The paper urges HR specialists to be actively involved in operational matters, so they can understand more fully the relevant issues and assist line managers in improving efficiency.

Social implications

The paper explains how today's volatile business environment makes it more important than ever for HR people to be able to guide their organizations’ change‐management initiatives.


The paper reveals ways in which HR specialists can play a more strategic role in their organizations.



Sang Long, C. and Khairuzzaman Wan Ismail, W. (2012), "The HR specialist as an agent of change: Skills that open up a place at the company's top table", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 24-28.



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