By Bart Tkaczyk
Human Resource Management (HRM) has been around for decades. Apparently, same goes for organisation-wide issues such as toxic workplace culture, inequality in the workplace and sexual harassment to name a few. With these problems continually hitting organisations, how can HR demonstrate its greater value to the organisation to boost its timeless distinction and relevance?
Although Human Resource Management (HRM) is not the basis of all business activity, it is the basis of all management activity.
Having said that, HR has suffered from a major identity crisis – for decades. In fact, Peter Drucker, a management guru, described HRM, or “personnel management” as it was known in the 1950s, as a “trash can activity”, embracing a range of unrelated, low-level management operations that are shunned by higher-status management specialisms.1 Of note, HRM replaced the term “personnel management” in the 1980s when HRM courses began to be delivered as part of MBA curricula at business schools in North America.
With so many particularly nasty problems hitting organisations nowadays, such as toxic workplace culture, inequality in the workplace and sexual harassment, how can HR demonstrate its greater value to the organisation today?2,3,4 HR strategising may be the answer.
About the Author
Bart Tkaczyk, Fulbright Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, Course Leader (mbasprint.com), management thinker and writer, is in the business of energising extremely good leaders around the globe to aim even higher. On Twitter @DrBTkaczykMBA.
1. Heery, E and Noon, M. (2008). Trash Can Activity. A Dictionary of Human Resource Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2. HBR Podcast. (2018, May 3). Toxic Workplaces. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/podcast/2018/05/toxic-workplaces.html
3. ILR Review. (2017). A Special Issue on Inequality in the Workplace. ILR Review, Vol. 70, Iss. 1. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School.
4. SHRM. (2018). Workplace Harassment Case Studies & Research. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management. www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/Workplace-Harassment-Case-Studies.aspx
5. As a snapshot of the consulting industry, see Tkaczyk, B. (2017). “A Balanced Approach to Professional HRD Consulting: Lessons from the Field”. Global Business and Organizational Excellence (GBOE), Vol. 36, Iss. 4, pp. 6–16.
6. For sample consulting methods, see Tkaczyk, B. (2017). The Practical Rigor of Management Consulting: Methods, Frameworks, and Impact. Alexandria, VA: Association for Talent Development.
7. For more insights into the consulting industry, see Tkaczyk, B. (2018). “Business Leadership for the Management Consulting Industry: A New Model for the Greater Good”. Rutgers Business Review (RBR), Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 53–66.
8. Chatman, JA and Cha, SE. (2003). “Leading by Leveraging Culture.” California Management Review (CMR), Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 20-34.
9. ATD. (2017). Mentoring Matters: Developing Talent with Formal Mentoring Programs. Alexandria, VA: Association for Talent Development.
10. Pearce, JA. (2010). “What Execs Don’t Get about Office Romance”. MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring, pp. 39-40.