Gollan, P. (2010), "New Trends in International HR Management debate, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, 25 March 2010", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 9 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/shr.2010.37209eae.001Download as .RIS
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New Trends in International HR Management debate, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, 25 March 2010
Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 9, Issue 5
Paul J. GollanDr Paul J. Gollan FAHRI is an Associate Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Business at Macquarie University and is an Associate Fellow in the Department of Management at the London School of Economics (LSE), UK.
In March, LSE played host to some of the world’s leading HR management academics and practitioners who were participating in this and other debates as part of its first ever “HR Week”.
During the New Trends in International HR Management debate, a number of panelists agreed that a new metrics-driven agenda is developing in the HR function of organizations across the world. Increasingly companies are turning their backs on so-called “touchy-feely” HR initiatives and focusing on performance measurement processes and skills development. This focus is seen as a means to reduce cost and ensure greater value from staff. In this new environment employees must “prove their value to the company” in ways that can be measured. This approach has been termed a “rebalance” from focusing on employee behavior to how such behavior directly translates into workplace and organizational performance.
The greater influence of the chief financial officer and increased global competition has driven increased accountability and value-led approaches. These pressures have forced the human resource management function to undergo a radical transformation by justifying its role and existence.
HR is key in the new world of work
The debate highlighted how increasing global competition has intensified the influence of the “market” in dictating the nature, type and purpose of the employment relationship. Overall there was consensus from participants that, from an international perspective, the HR function has changed. But, instead of playing a diminishing role in organizational decision making, HR may in fact acquire the influence it has always wanted – providing the balance between behaviors and business performance and giving managers the tools to measure and evaluate their practices and policies.
Recent research has focused on organizations with high performance workplace systems and advanced HR practices and it has provided hope that at long last the HR manager has something to be proud of. The compliance mentality that previously drove systems and institutions in the workplace is now considered by many to be outdated. “Softer” HR strategies are being replaced by a greater focus on performance and technical skills.
The capacity of HR managers and the international HR function as a whole is undoubtedly under the spot light. Overall the panel concluded that the challenge for HR is to step up to the mark and not only embrace but fully integrate the new world of work and its performance based demands into HR strategy. For HR managers, there are challenges, but the opportunities are there.