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Reflections on the HRINZ Research Forum

Reflections on the HRINZ Research Forum

Guest poster, Amanda Sterling, was a speaker at the recent HRINZ Research Forum When I was asked to write the for the HRINZ blog it was a no brainer. I was probably going to write one anyway because my blog is one of the ways I reflect on what I’ve learnt. The other technique I use is to tweet key points. You can view a summary of tweets from the research forum here. I thought I’d talk about the two presentations that I found the most interesting and that challenged and enlarged my thinking. I will follow this with my overall impression of the forum. My favorite presentations were those of Keith Macky, talking about instrumentalism and engagement, and Nigel Haworth, talking about the importance of High Performance Work Systems (HPWSs) for the New Zealand economy. Employee Instrumentalism is defined as “the belief that work is primarily a means to non-work ends rather than a central life interest” (Macky, 2012). Keith Macky argued that instrumentalism is not the polar opposite of employee engagement and doesn’t necessarily mean that people are alienated from their work. Now engagement is a really hot topic in HR and a lot of money is spent on measuring it and putting in place initiatives to improve it. But do we really know what engagement is? I think critical views of engagement, such as those presented at the research forum, help us rethink the way we approach HR initiatives. How does ‘engagement’ contribute to business performance? This is definitely food for thought. Speaking of business performance, the main thing I took away from Nigel Haworth’s presentation was the importance of HPWSs in the NZ economy. To be competitive NZ needs to produce goods at a high quality, a high-price (but low cost), and at a speed...

posted on: Nov 19, 2012 | author: Guest post