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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 31 October 2023

Jenni Kantola, Kirsi Lehto and Riitta Viitala

This study explores municipal leaders' perceptions on strategic human resource management in their local government organization. Previous studies on companies demonstrate that…

Abstract

Purpose

This study explores municipal leaders' perceptions on strategic human resource management in their local government organization. Previous studies on companies demonstrate that the top manager's perceptions of the importance of human resource management (HRM) for the organization are reflected in the quality of human resource management and its strategic role. The authors are interested in how leaders in municipalities perceive HRM.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors interviewed 30 leaders of Finnish municipalities for this qualitative study focused on municipal leaders' perceptions of HRM. The authors applied a discourse analytical approach in the analysis.

Findings

The authors recognized four discourses that frame perceptions of HRM: HRM as a strategic weapon, HRM as an underperformer, HRM as a matter of formality and HRM as a cost generator. In addition, the authors recognized that the discourses reflected leaders' self-positioning in relation to the power to impact issues related to HRM. Shifting between distinct roles demonstrated that municipal leaders' emphasis on HRM and its strategic alignment reflects the power relations in the municipality and the attitudes to the importance of HRM.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the academic discussions on HRM in municipalities and provides views on the municipal leader's role and impact on valuing and investing in HRM. From a practical point of view, the study will increase municipal leaders' knowledge of HRM's impact on the performance of the organization and also of the possible means of HRM.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 September 2023

Susanna Kultalahti, Riitta Viitala, Maija Hujala and Tauno Kekale

The purpose of this study is to gain more understanding of how competence might matter from the perspective of well-being at work. The authors explore how perceived competence is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to gain more understanding of how competence might matter from the perspective of well-being at work. The authors explore how perceived competence is connected to perceived work-related well-being among Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y employees.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors explore how perceived competence is connected to perceived work-related well-being among Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y employees. The frames of reference of the study are based on literature on employee well-being (measured with work engagement and overcommitment) and competence, as well as on generational discussions. The quantitative, questionnaire-based study was conducted in 88 companies in Finland, with the total number of respondents being 4,418.

Findings

The main finding was that perceived competence related to current duties is statistically significantly connected to employee well-being. The results indicate that high competence results in high employee well-being in all generational groups. Further, Generation Y estimated their work well-being, both in terms of work engagement and overcommitment, lower than Baby Boomers or Generation X. The results suggest that developing competence of employees in organizations seems to be an important means to also support work well-being. It is especially important to pay attention to that among Generation Y, who take their first steps in working life. Competence is a meaningful factor for coping in working life in continually changing work environments. Incompetence is not just a factor for poor performance but also a potential threat to employee well-being.

Originality/value

Most of the competence/workplace learning results research concentrates on cognitive competence and skills, often from the employers’ benefit viewpoint (useful skills, productivity increase). This study starts from the finding that new generations of workers rather look for a meaningful work life, and thus, a feeling of having the necessary competences directly improves their well-being and, thus, life quality. Furthermore, the study is based on an original questionnaire-based study conducted in 88 companies in Finland, with the total number of respondents being 4,418.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 35 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Riitta Viitala, Susanna Kultalahti and Hilpi Kangas

Recent academic discussion depicts leadership development (LD) as an important tool for supporting the implementation of an organization’s strategy, maintaining ongoing…

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Abstract

Purpose

Recent academic discussion depicts leadership development (LD) as an important tool for supporting the implementation of an organization’s strategy, maintaining ongoing development of the organization, and building capabilities that are essential for the future. However, the role of LD in reality depends to a considerable extent on how human resource (HR) managers and other top managers perceive LD and its importance. In this study, the purpose of this paper is to examine how LD manifests in HR managers’ and other top managers’ views on the future challenges of HRM. Accordingly, the authors reason what the findings indicate concerning the strategic role of LD in managers’ minds.

Design/methodology/approach

The topic was approached inductively. The qualitative data were collected from 473 Finnish HR managers and 276 other top managers, using a web-based brainstorming tool that adopted ideas from social media platforms. All of the informants are part of the top management team. The material was analysed using content analysis.

Findings

The findings were a cause for concern. They show that top managers do not very actively consider either leadership or LD when asked to consider the HR challenges of the future. In addition, when they did so, the ideas of LD were mostly traditional and individual-centred. Only a few of the informants connected LD to business needs. The comments mainly reflected ideas of heroic leadership and training.

Originality/value

The study advances the understanding of the perceptions of LD decision makers in organizations, but also suggests that more research on the topic is needed. In addition, the study shows that more discussion would be required between academics and managers to deepen the common view of the content, potential, and reality of LD.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Riitta Viitala

This research sets out to achieve three goals: first, to discover the most important management development areas specified by Finnish managers; second, to discover the intentions…

4685

Abstract

Purpose

This research sets out to achieve three goals: first, to discover the most important management development areas specified by Finnish managers; second, to discover the intentions of Finnish managers in management development on a personal level and with the support of organizations; and third, to compare the above mentioned aspects and to compare those also with competency models presented in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data were gathered through an internet survey. The sample consists of 2,500 middle and senior managers from different industries in the Finnish private sector. Altogether 794 responses were received, giving a response rate of 32.

Findings

This study revealed that there are a lot of managers who do not have any specific development intentions for themselves. In organizations where management development was both well organized and connected to strategic management, managers were more consciously aware of the development needs at a personal as well as at a general level. Additionally the study revealed that the development intentions of the managers differed from the ideas presented by the scholars in literature on management competencies. Technical and business skills were emphasized, while social skills and intrapersonal skills were neglected.

Research limitations/implications

More detailed qualitative study is needed in order to understand managers' personal interpretations of their development needs.

Practical implications

Managers in organizations should first be educated in management competencies, management development and learning issues, before they can become thoroughly conscious about their own competencies and development needs. Those who can provide help in these matters are human resource professionals, researchers and consultants.

Originality/value

The paper provides useful information on the development needs of management.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 17 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Riitta Viitala, Jussi Tanskanen and Risto Säntti

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the connections between organizational climate and well-being at work.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the connections between organizational climate and well-being at work.

Design/methodology/approach

Connections between perceived organizational climate and well-being at work were studied through quantitative data gathered from 24 public day-care centers in Finland.

Findings

The unit-level analyses revealed that different types of organizational climates were connected to different types of job well-being in the unit. Organizational climate types were differentially connected to stress and cynicism, but were not connected to work engagement. Employees in units where work climate was collectively evaluated as particularly weak reported significantly lower well-being than those in units with better work climate. The most positive climates – “relaxed and friendly” and “encouraging and supportive of new ideas” – seemed to be more strongly connected to well-being than negative climates.

Originality/value

The study confirmed and clarified the link between organizational climate and job well-being and emphasized how different climate types have varying types of connection to well-being at work.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 September 2014

Riitta Viitala

Not only does leadership produce changes, but those changes produce leadership in organisations. The purpose of this paper is to present a theoretical and empirical analysis of…

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Abstract

Purpose

Not only does leadership produce changes, but those changes produce leadership in organisations. The purpose of this paper is to present a theoretical and empirical analysis of the transformation of leadership at two different historical points in a health care organisation. It leans on the perspective of social constructionism, drawing especially from the ideas of Berger and Luckmann (1966). The paper seeks to improve understanding of how leaders themselves construct leadership in relation to organisational change.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical material was gathered in a longitudinal case study in a nursing organisation in two different historical and situational points. It consists of written narratives produced by nurse leaders that are analysed by applying discourse analysis.

Findings

The empirical study revealed that the constructions of leadership were dramatically different at the two different historical and situational points. Leadership showed up as a complex, fragile and changing phenomenon, which fluctuates along with the other organisational changes. The results signal the importance of agency in leadership and the central role of “significant others”.

Originality/value

The paper questions the traditional categorisation and labelling of leadership as well as the cross-sectional studies in understanding leadership transformation. Its originality relates to the longitudinal perspective on transformation of leadership in the context of a health care organisation.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2003

Tauno Keka¨le and Riita Viitala

Introduces the special issue on learning in networks. Attempts to answer whether a network is capable of learning and, if so, how this learning could be described, and asks if it…

990

Abstract

Introduces the special issue on learning in networks. Attempts to answer whether a network is capable of learning and, if so, how this learning could be described, and asks if it should be seen instead as a tool – a learning forum – for learning by individuals, groups and organizations.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

599

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Findings show that top managers do not very actively consider either leadership or leadership development (LD) when asked to consider the HR challenges of the future. In addition, when they did so, the ideas of LD were mostly traditional and individual-centered. Only a few of the informants connected LD to business needs. The comments mainly reflected ideas of heroic leadership and training.

Practical implications

The paper provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world’s leading organizations.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 February 2015

Susanna Kultalahti and Riitta Viitala

The purpose of this qualitative paper is to seek more understanding of the elements important to the psychological contracts of working Millennials. The study also presents the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this qualitative paper is to seek more understanding of the elements important to the psychological contracts of working Millennials. The study also presents the implications of those findings for human resource management practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data were collected from Facebook using the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS). A sample of working Millennials describes the factors they saw as motivating and desirable in working life.

Findings

The findings are in line with previous quantitative studies in western countries, which reveal constant learning and developing at work; interesting, challenging, and varied tasks; social relations and the supervisor’s behaviour; reciprocal flexibility concerning timetables and working hours; and a good work-life balance to be important factors. However, the findings indicate that the desire to develop competences, and factors related to time may be even more significant for Millennials than previous literature on psychological contracts has suggested. Neither monetary issues nor a desire for long-term contracts emerged clearly as important factors from the material, showing that the manifestations of some elements that are important in the formulation of the psychological contract vary in different contexts.

Practical implications

The findings of this study indicate that employing Millennials challenges HR professionals to develop HR practices that offer flexible time structures, systematic and individual development procedures, and a coaching form of leadership.

Originality/value

The paper exhibits a methodological innovation in using Facebook as a vehicle for data gathering. Additionally it applies the MEBS: a method still rare in research in the field of business.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Riitta Viitala and Jenni Kantola

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the kinds of effects that using a temporary agency workforce may cause on an organisational level, especially on relations between…

1283

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the kinds of effects that using a temporary agency workforce may cause on an organisational level, especially on relations between employees. In this study the authors explore the organisation as a community, leaning on the theory of social capital.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were gathered via semi-structured interviews with 18 temporary agency workers and five employees in permanent positions. Discourse analysis with some degree of pragmatism was employed in comprehending the speech of the interviewees.

Findings

The position of agency workers may be problematic from the perspective of social capital formulation in a work organisation. The short duration of contracts and different conditions of employment shake relations in a work group. Agency workers may also be outside the information flows. Additionally the norms and rules may be different for temporary and permanent employees and thus cause confusion.

Research limitations/implications

The findings will hopefully provoke researchers to investigate the effects of using a temporary agency workforce in different organisational contexts. In addition, the study indicates that the theory of social capital is fruitful for investigating the topic on the organisational level.

Practical implications

The use of agency workforce should be considered comprehensively in organisations. Its effects on work organisations may be conflicting. If temporary agency workers are needed as interim help, HRM practices should be developed in order to minimise the potential problems in terms of social capital.

Originality/value

The study adopted an organisational perspective on the agency workforce, which is still rare in studies on the topic.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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