Delivering Results: A New Mandate for Human Resource Professionals

Paul J. Smith (University of Teesside)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 1 May 2000



Smith, P.J. (2000), "Delivering Results: A New Mandate for Human Resource Professionals", The Learning Organization, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 112-115.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This book is part of the Harvard Business Review Book series edited by Dave Ulrich, a professor at the School of Business at the University of Michigan and author of a number of books on Human Resource Management. The book contains an anthology of Harvard Business Review articles, which are described in the inside cover as creating “a resource that addresses the need for professionals to re‐invent themselves as strategic players capable of generating organizational capabilities”. The contributions are by some of the leading academics in management studies such as Chris Argyris, Sumantra Ghoshal, Michael E. Porter and Robert H. Waterman. The main theme of the book is to explore how HR can contribute to improving organizational performance. The book is divided into four parts: Delivering Core Capabilities, Creating Strategic Clarity, Making Change Happen, Creating Intellectual Capital.

Each chapter examines issues of organizational development with case study examples. They explore issues ranging from the changing role of the HR profession, managing professional intellect to building a company’s vision. Ulrich sets the scene for the book in the introduction with a series of questions: “What are HR results?”, “What capabilities may be defined as HR results?”, “How does a results focus shift HR responsibility, practices, departments, and professionals?”.

Clearly the book does not break any new ground but it does provide a useful anthology of important articles on areas such as change, innovation and organizational learning which may be of use to HR professionals. It does not hang together particularly well and it may have benefited from more signposts for the reader at the start of each section. The case studies referred to are predominately from America and it would have been better if there were more UK and European examples included.

The executive summaries at the back are a particularly useful starting point for busy managers wanting to dip into one or two of the articles and it could be a useful reference book for academics.

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