HR IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY. An extended version of a paper presented by Dr Peter Saul to MGSM Executive HR Forum 12th June, 2003 Sydney. Where to Look for Disruptive Organisational Paradigms. IN VOLUNTEER “ORGANISATIONS” SUCH AS THE OLYMPICS AND CLEAN-UP AUSTRALIA
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An extended version of a paper presented by
Dr Peter Saul to
MGSM Executive HR Forum
12th June, 2003
Many experts forecast the future of HR without giving any kind of driving logic.
The Knowledge Economy provides a powerful logic for the emergence of a new kind of people management function.
Competitive kind of driving logic.pressures; market changesDisruptive Shifts in Human Resources
Large, Centralised HR Departments
Central HR Policy; Decentralised HR Operations
Performance the HR “market” needs, uses and will pay for
Core Values; HR Tailored to Workforce Segments
People Management Integrated Into Operation of Knowledge Networks
Adapted from ideas in “The Innovator’s Dilemma” (1997)
by Clayton Christensen
“... we define a knowledge based economy as one that is increasingly dependent for its growth on the input of knowledge as a value-added input to the economic system. This is reflected in a change in the basis of ‘competitiveness’ for economies, organisations and individuals. This is realised in four interrelated ways. First, such economies experience a changing structure exemplified by new industries, occupations and organisational arrangements. Second, there is a change in the types of skills required, with a rise in the importance of generic skills, including the ability to work more autonomously, monitor their own output and behaviour, work as part of flexible teams, adapt to change, solve problems and think creatively. Third, the economy requires new forms of knowledge and places increased importance on the creation and application of knowledge in networks or clusters of companies/enterprises, and within ‘communities of practice’ where workers are required to work together in new and more complex ways. Fourth, innovation becomes more important as a means to increase economic competitiveness, and knowledge management becomes increasingly the key to sustainable competitive advantage…”“The Knowledge Based Economy: A Review of the Literature”NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training, Oct 2000
“Business-webs, value chain integrators, and other new types of inter-organizational alliances abound these days. They are called into being by:
...companies that won't be able to redefine themselves, will most likely disappear, and the human cost of that is unforeseeable.
The fear of the unknown, combined with the impact of the massive and sudden devaluation of many traditional competences, may trigger resistance to the waves of evolutionary changes washing our shore.
Now is a time when keeping alive the question of how to reinvent ourselves and develop working prototypes of the new ways of organizing is a measure of leadership.”
George Pór, Founder of Community Intelligence Labswww.co-i-l.com/coil/knowledge-garden/kd/vcmodels.shtml
“…it’s at Singapore’s newest university, Singapore Management University, where the real groundbreaking changes are taking place. SMU has dispensed with lectures entirely in favor of facilitated learning, and soft skills development is now part of the academic curriculum. Emphasis is placed upon developing leadership, team skills as well as creative thinking, and emotional literacy…. The university’s stated aim is to harmonize academic rigor with soft skills training. By moving away from a structured learning model, SMU hopes that their graduates will be better equipped to contribute to an innovation-driven economy”.Paul FitzPatrick, Singapore Human Resources Institute
“Organisations will soon be managed as shifting clusters of internal enterprise units and self-managing teams. They will be connected by interactive information networks in a web of alliances, including working relationships between workers, customers, suppliers, rivals and governments to form a seamless global economy”. Michael Milgate “Management Today”, June 2003, p. 13
“In Australia, the 1000 largest entities account for 51 per cent of turnover and 33 per cent of employment. If in the next 15 to 20 years the share of revenue drops to 40 per cent they’ll only be employing 25 per cent of the workforce.
Medium sized enterprises - those with 20 to 200 employees -are likely to be the fastest growing employers followed by businesses with five to 20 employees. But the classic centre of the modern working world, the big company, has reached a level of ‘dysfunctionality’ ”
Phil Ruthven, Weekend Australian Financial Review, 1-2 Feb 2003, p. 26.
“Unlike information, knowledge involves us and our deeper motivations and dynamics as human beings. We interact with something or someone in our environment and then use who we are - our history, our identity, our values, habits, beliefs - to decide what the information means. In this way, through our construction, information becomes knowledge. Knowledge is always a reflection of who we are, in all our uniqueness. It is impossible to disassociate who is creating the knowledge from the knowledge itself.
...We must recognize that knowledge is everywhere in the organization, but we won't have access to it until, and only when, we create work that is meaningful, leaders that are trustworthy, and organizations that foster everyone's contribution and support by giving staff time to think and reflect together.” Margaret Wheatley (2001) “The Real Work of Knowledge Management”. IHRIM Journal, April-June, Volume 5, Number 2, pp. 29-33
"Successful knowledge sharing is 90 percent cultural, 5 percent tools and 5 percent magic."
Mark Koskiniemi, Vice President of Human Resources, Buckman Laboratories
For a presentation on the k-economy development strategy of the Office of Western Sydney go to:
The village economy
The experience economy
The knowledge economy
Source: Marion and Uhl-Bien (2002) “Complexity Theory and Al-Qaeda: Examining Complex Leadership”
PAST kind of driving logic.
HR ROLE WAS CLEARLY
mechanistic (Personnel Admin)
ritualistic, legalistic (IR)
CEO’s eyes and ears with the troops
provider of specialist services
distinct professional career paths
HR is HR’s responsibility
PEOPLE/LEADERSHIP ROLE IS DISTRIBUTED AND DIFFUSE
network ecologist; teamwork; leadership
purchaser of specialist services
no distinct HR profession - new hybrid roles emerge
everyone’s responsibilityCHANGING “HR” ROLES: A Summary