Managing People at Work

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 12 January 2015



(2015), "Managing People at Work", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 23 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Managing People at Work

Article Type: Suggested reading From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 23, Issue 1

Julian Randall and Allan J. Sim, 2014, Routledge, ISBN: 9780415534383

Julian Randall and Allan J. Sim’s Managing People at Work describes the links between company strategy, human-resource (HR) planning and implementation using cost-benefit analysis to illustrate the hard and soft approaches to HR management. It also looks at evaluating the results of HR in terms of efficiency and effectiveness in the main management interventions that lie within human-resource development.

The authors maintain that the four key roles of HR are strategic partner, change agent, administrative expert and employee champion. Management is both an art and a science. The science can be learned from books or lectures, but the art can be acquired only by practicing the skills as closely as they can reflect conditions in the workplace.

Julian Randall and Allan J. Sim argue that learning to be assertive in the workplace is a vital part of being successful. In the workplace, you will need not only to be aware of your achievements but also to have the ability to make others aware of them. If you cannot do this, you are likely to miss out on opportunities.

The authors claim that training for trainers is an important investment because people learn in different ways and at different speeds. Skill development is usually hands-on and experiential. Role-play and filming of activities provide useful opportunities to exercise the skills in the scenarios that business is likely to face. Video recording can be used to capture the performance of those involved and enable group and tutor comment on what has been achieved.

In the modern working environment it is more important than ever to be able to work as part of a team. The days of the gloriously isolated expert have long gone. Globalization and technological change have made team-working essential. It is important to get along with your team members, but you do not have to be their best friend. Sometimes being overly friendly can harm the effectiveness of a team.

In executive coaching, senior managers work with professional behavioral coaches to help them to see clearly the things they do that are effective as well as those that are ineffective.

Skill without knowledge is vacuous. Knowledge without skill is powerless. A combination of the two may encourage managers to continue in their search for best practice in managing their people at work more effectively.

The book is well researched and is written in a conversational tone. It is useful for students, educators, learners and HR specialists. Activities at the end of each chapter help students with their understanding. These exercises can be done individually or in tutor-led groups.

Reviewed by Professor M.S. Rao, available at:,

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