• Paul Kearns’ column (7 December), although provocative in tone, lackssubstance. His claim that the IPD has only recently recognised the importanceof relating the professional body of knowledge to the wider business context isincredible.The IPD professional education scheme has, for a long time incorporatedmainstream business issues. As an example, IPD students learn to assess andcope with situations of ever increasing turbulence and uncertainty. For many years a major focus of the institute’s activity has been how people(professionals) can add most value to the development of people and theperformance of organisations. Let me remind you that it was the IPD which firstintroduced business strategists such as Michael Porter, Gary Hamel, CK Prahaladand Sumantra Ghoshal to HR audiences and went on to relate their thinking tothe practice of people management.The particular project, “People Management and BusinessPerformance” which Kearns singles out for criticism involves a long-standinginvestigation involving academic research and practical evidence. If Kearns hadread the material relating to this project in any depth he would know that aprimary aim is to address the very issues of causality and practitionerrelevance which he raises.All research undertaken by the IPD comprises theory and practice.Practitioners who have a high level of input into all projects, both insteering investigations and in the design of re- search tools and outcomes,favour the case study approach. Is Kearns saying theory is irrelevant? If weare to build our knowledge and understanding in this crucial area we must havesound linkages between both theoretical and empirical data. We must also find different ways of evaluating the contribution people maketo organisations that go beyond short-term results and cost control. If we donot, people will continue to be seen as low value, expendable assets and thiswill not be in anyone’s long-term interest.It is of concern that Kearns should comment without properly evaluating thework and evidence available. Constructive criticism and debate is alwayswelcome and enhances the work. Unfounded, opinionated sniping helps no one.Ron CollardUKHRoperations managerPricewaterhouseCoopersLetter of the weekThe real value of HR to business• Regarding the ongoing discussion in your pages about HR expertise versusbusiness acumen, several of your correspondents (30 November) were discussingthe role of HR within business. They left me with quite a negative impressionthat HR exists merely to prevent business managers from tripping up overlegislation.That is such a limited view of the real value that HR adds to business. Andit does nothing to try to persuade business managers that they should view HRin a more positive light.But what do I know, I’m not an HR person. Well, recently I found myselfworking with the HR team of a blue-chip organisation, and I witnessed a bunchof professionals working in partnership with the executive team to help theircompany compete in a very aggressive marketplace. It was a revelation to meabout the real role of HR within industry, and I think it would be a revelationto a few more business managers if it was actually communicated.How to change the perceptions of managers about HR? Try emphasising how itadds value to the organisation – as a key to competitive advantage, say.People are a fundamental source of competitive advantage. Whether it is tobe able to make things faster/cheaper/better, or design products at the leadingedge of technology, the company will not have it without the right people inplace.HR is the team with the responsibility for ensuring the organisation has inplace the right people with the right skills, motivated to do the right job.And HR therefore has a pivotal role in creating the competitive edge that willenable business to succeed.Not that the logic follows that, to succeed in this role, HR people must beexperts in their field and up to speed with the objectives and strategies ofthe business. But I will leave it to others to discuss whether the IPDqualification is a demonstration of ex- pertise in the field of HR.But it is not much use having a highly qualified HR team that is finelytuned to the needs of the business if the other people in the business havelittle idea about what the HR team can do.So we come back to communication. Internal communication is vital ifbusiness managers are to recognise the role HR plays in the organisation.Fran Bodley-ScottMarketing consultantMarketing In Control Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Sniping at the IPD helps no oneOn 18 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today
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