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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2018

Helen Francis and Tom Baum

This study aims to identify recent trends in the strategic repositioning of the human resources (HR) function within the hotel industry, and to explore challenges facing…

1870

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify recent trends in the strategic repositioning of the human resources (HR) function within the hotel industry, and to explore challenges facing HR professionals as they engage in strategies to develop talent and organisational capability, while adjusting to the shifting boundaries of the HR function.

Design/methodology/approach

The study provides a case study investigation based on a qualitative research design. It draws on a series of informal discussions with key informants, in-depth round table discussions with members of the HR function and a rich source of secondary (company specific) data about a recent strategic change initiative.

Findings

The study presents a rich picture of the contradictory nature of the strategic repositioning of the HR function, and the role of electronic HR systems in shaping this. It points to the significance of “higher-order” HR capabilities associated with the functions’ capacity to engage in strategies to develop talent and organisational capability.

Practical implications

This study points to contradictions and tensions in shifting the focus of the HR function from “operational” to “strategic” management of talent. It offers four practice implications in the areas of continuous professional development, and building HR and line manager skills in dialogue, project management and the use of new technology, talent data and analytics.

Originality/value

This study illustrates the deployment of talent management practices within a broader organisational development remit to restructure the business and HR function in pursuit of more efficient and effective people management.

Details

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4217

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Helen Francis and John Cowan

This paper seeks to explore changes taking place in a curriculum design for postgraduate teaching in personnel and development, aimed at enhancing lifelong learning. A…

2439

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore changes taking place in a curriculum design for postgraduate teaching in personnel and development, aimed at enhancing lifelong learning. A scheme is described which aims to improve the alignment for professional development of students, in ways that facilitate critically reflective practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on their personal experiences as a programme leader (Master's in HRM) and an educational consultant to describe their strategy for critically reflective continuous professional development (CPD). In doing so, their practice is related to some of the theories underlying critical reflection, and the key challenges in seeking to engage student practitioners in professional development of this kind are drawn out.

Findings

It is argued that achieving an alignment between the development and assessment of student capabilities is vital to the development of critical reflection, and it is explained how the strategy presented for CPD supports self‐management of this process.

Practical implications

Although the paper is grounded in the authors' particular experiences and structure for student support, it is hoped that reflections on these can be of general value to those interested in developing critically reflective practice amongst students which is both effective and practical in the increasingly demanding world of higher education.

Originality/value

The self‐managed process explored in the paper is framed by a social approach to learning that places peer interaction at the forefront of the learning processes involved.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Helen Francis

This paper presents a discourse‐analytic approach to the study of human resource management (HRM) and organisational change, which is more sensitive than conventional…

11846

Abstract

This paper presents a discourse‐analytic approach to the study of human resource management (HRM) and organisational change, which is more sensitive than conventional research designs to the dynamic role of language in shaping processes of change. The prevailing positivism within business and management research is noted, in which language is treated as unproblematic; it simply mirrors or represents an objective “reality” that can be measured in some way. In contrast, discourse‐based studies accept that language is not simply reflective of reality, but is significant in constituting reality. The paper moves on to examine the potential of discourse‐based studies to offer fresh insights into the role of HRM in producing change. Drawing on the work of Ford and Ford, change is treated as a “shift in conversation” and case‐study evidence is presented of the surfacing of a change initiative within a large UK manufacturing firm.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Helen Francis

The discourse of human resource management (HRM) is increasingly dominated by a normative, consensus‐oriented perspective on managing the employment relationship. This…

1821

Abstract

Purpose

The discourse of human resource management (HRM) is increasingly dominated by a normative, consensus‐oriented perspective on managing the employment relationship. This paper aims to explore the potential of critical discourse analysis (CDA) to provide new and different understandings of HRM and processes of organisational change, and which highlights the creative role of language in the shaping of organisation and management practice.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study analysis of managers' experiences of introducing change in a large catering firm is drawn upon to highlight the inherent tensions in people management, which stem from the need for employers to motivate and control labour in order to remain profitable. This is illustrated in a change programme aimed at increasing organisational efficiency and achieving a “results driven culture” that exhorted managers to think and behave as “entrepreneurs” and to “comply” with stringent new rules on managing their staff.

Findings

It is concluded that conflict and resistance is an inevitable feature of HRM‐based initiatives and that CDA offers a powerful lens for exploring this dynamic. Importantly, it provides a less restrictive view of management decision making than that found in conventional understandings of HRM, which tend to treat management as a more or less culturally unified body, and ignores the subjectivity of managers. In contrast, the empirical evidence presented here provides an example of how the deployment of CDA can provide rich insights into the dynamics of HRM‐based change rooted in a complex shifting network of alliances (and related discourses).

Originality/value

Focus is placed on how concepts, objects and subject positions are constituted through language and embedded in power relations.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 1960

IN July we sugggested that one outcome of the formation of a European Work Study organisation could be a standard certificate of competence, recognised by all the…

Abstract

IN July we sugggested that one outcome of the formation of a European Work Study organisation could be a standard certificate of competence, recognised by all the participating countries. That opinion is confirmed after reading carefully through the various memoranda compiled for the conference by representatives. They showed a wide variance in training methods and in the subjects regarded as important.

Details

Work Study, vol. 9 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0043-8022

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Helen Francis and Norma D'Annunzio‐Green

Aims to draw attention to how managers actively re‐construct inherent contradictions characterising the employment relationship that in the service sector, are rooted in…

3722

Abstract

Purpose

Aims to draw attention to how managers actively re‐construct inherent contradictions characterising the employment relationship that in the service sector, are rooted in drives for increased efficiency and customer‐oriented behaviours.

Design/methodology/approach

Presents a case study of the human resource implications of changes taking place within a contract catering firm seeking to attain “world class” service delivery.

Findings

Finds that managers' accounts of “the reality” of change were constructed upon three overlapping and competing discourses – labelled “enagagement”, “enterprise” and “compliance”.

Originality/value

Highlights the active role of discourse in the management of HRM and organisational change.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Norma D'Annunzio‐Green and Helen Francis

The purpose of this paper is to present case study evidence of how managers in a contract catering firm made sense of an organisational change initiative that encouraged…

2457

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present case study evidence of how managers in a contract catering firm made sense of an organisational change initiative that encouraged them to become self‐sufficient and display “entrepreneurial” behaviours in an environment where they were also expected to “comply” with new operating procedures aimed at strengthening central control.

Design/methodology/approach

Uses 25 in‐depth interviews with a cross‐section of line and HR managers over an 11‐month period to uncover practical experiences of change and their attempts to constructively manage the tensions between the opposing dualities that arise from it. The paper draws on empirical research from an in‐depth case study of a leading multinational corporation in the contract catering sector.

Findings

the findings expose the pressures that managers faced in the reconciliation of the contrasting need to develop as entrepreneurs alongside an organisational strategy driven by cost minimisation and control. It provides an empirical example of the duality that exists in organisations between the quantitative need for discipline in managerial procedures at the same time as the organisation has to pay attention to the qualitative need for investment in human resources.

Originality/value

This paper provides insights to a relatively under‐researched yet significant sector of the hospitality industry – contract catering. It provides a vivid empirical account of the tensions that managers face in times of change and a practical illustration of the creative ways that managers found to deal with the contradictions arising from the change initiative.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2002

Helen Francis

This article uses discourse theory to examine the rhetoric of human resource management (HRM) in shaping organisational change. Built on the assumptions that people…

4401

Abstract

This article uses discourse theory to examine the rhetoric of human resource management (HRM) in shaping organisational change. Built on the assumptions that people actively construct their “organisational world” and that language is central to these processes of social construction, HRM is treated as a discursive resource that can be used by managers to persuade employees to accept a particular world view of organisational change. Drawing upon a private sector case study, the article highlights important implications on the use of HRM rhetoric not addressed by conventional research designs concerned with notions of “strategic fit” and “best practice”. Here organisations are treated as being part of an objective reality that can be “measured” using some kind of statistical analysis. This article challenges assumptions underpinning these designs and examines the potential of discourse theory to develop richer insights into questions about the practicalities and ethics of managing meaning at the workplace.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Abstract

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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