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Leadership in the 21st century can be a minefield. Power to the people, and to the shareholders, is the order of the day, and the autocratic route is rarely an acceptable option ‐ even in entrepreneurial‐based organizations where it was once deemed alright for strong‐willed leaders to firmly stamp their vision and authority on others.
There are many challenges involved in managing change, but also many opportunities, as the features in this issue convey. The main theme of this issue is mergers and acquisitions and the vital role that HR plays in achieving successful outcomes.
Restructuring, streamlining, downsizing and redundancies have been commonplace in recent years as the corporates of the Western world gear up for a highly competitive, globalised marketplace governed by the “survival of the fittest” rule. HR has been at the heart of cost‐cutting exercises, from strategic input to transactional tasks. Perhaps as a result of this key role played in cost reduction initiatives, or due to the intangible nature of many HR services, or purely as a continuation of the streamlining trend, the HR department itself has been vigorously called upon to define its own value and to prove the efficiency of its operations.