concurrent workshops (HR Interactions)
D2 Developing Peoples Capability in NZ Organisations:
what’s happening now and what’s next?
Prof Mary Mallon, Professor of HRM, Massey University
and Jane Bryson, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University
The session will be a two way sharing of academic and practitioner
experiences and thinking about the issue of developing people’s
capability in the workplace - and making sure this capability
is actually used.
The session will start with reporting on the findings so
far of the case study phase of a government funded research
grant, “Developing capability in New Zealand organisations”.
It will also provide a brief, up to date review of national
and international research on capability development as well
as an assessment, using a range of information, of how well
we are doing in New Zealand in developing our workforce.
Through interactive discussion sessions, we will provide
opportunities to share best – and next practices
in the participants’ workplaces. Individuals will also
get together in small groups to review what is facilitating
and constraining the development and use of employee capability
in their own organisations.
In the final report back and discussion, we hope to explore
together why, despite considerable evidence about the benefit
of a well-trained work-force to organizational success, do
we still need to challenge organisational attitudes and practices?
We will ask what might “next practice” look like
in the area of developing and using capability and whose
thinking or attitudes or actions need to be shifted (and
how) to get us there?
Presentation 30%; group work 30%;
forum 20%; reporting 20%
Underlying the research programme (Developing Human Capability:
Employment Institutions, Organisations and Individual)
on which the proposed session is based is the premise that
much more can be done in New Zealand to better develop
and use the talent already available, and to make New Zealand
a work destination of choice for skilled migrants. Previous
New Zealand studies have observed a tendency to opt for “low-road” approaches
that are negatively correlated with growth and innovative
behaviour. Differential access to learning and training
opportunities, associated with ethnicity, gender, age,
disability or employment in non-standard work threatens
further social exclusion and reduces the potential of those
people to realize skills and abilities at work.
The guiding principles of the research project are that
- Improved human resource management practices,
based on rigorously researched, detailed, and richly nuanced
and New Zealand
focused data (informed by international best practice)
will improve New Zealand organisational performance, which
be measured through a range of relevant indicators.
- ·optimal performance is based on practices that
value people; quality of working life is a necessary condition
the successful development and deployment of the capacities of
the diverse New Zealand workforce.
A starting point is to ensure that we identify and disseminate
what is the current state of capability development in New
Zealand; using our own empirical research, benchmarking through
a range of international literature and understanding the
wide range of statistical information already available about
development in NZ.
Support for the importance of employee development comes
from a growing body of empirical research pointing to the
benefits of what is variously known as ‘high-involvement’, ‘high-commitment’,
or ‘high-performance’ work practices- or more
commonly as “best practice HRM”. While there
is much here to stimulate discussion, we are keen to ensure
that we do not attempt to slavishly follow ideas from elsewhere;
we are quite capable of developing solutions which are New
Thus, central to this research project, is partnerships
with organisations to ensure that we explore together, not
just what is best practice in terms of capability development,
but what might be the template(s) for “next practice” in
At the same time, the project is committed to understanding
this issue from the individual’s viewpoint. In this
way, we can incorporate the perspective of the people whose
capital is to be increased and we can explore the optimum
conditions for the development of a positive attitude to
learning and innovation alongside the provision of appropriate
opportunities for all.
By September 2004 we will have completed a number of case
studies of New Zealand organisations, interviewing managers
and staff, as well as CEOs, HR Managers, EEO managers and
trade union representatives as appropriate; looking in detail
at organisational employee development processes and policies
and associated HRM practices; identifying a range of indicators
of success of employee development activities. We will also
conduct interviews with associated industry bodies, professional
associations, networks and other organisations on the supply
chain to look at the learning/development terrain beyond
In this way we will have developed some rich pictures of
what is happening in capability development in some of our
organisations. We will have some indicators of success and
also of where opportunities are being lost. We will be clearer
about what other HR practices and/or individual or organisational
attitudes help or hinder.
The session will operate both as opportunity to
share with participants this data along with our associated
readings of international literature and NZ specific statistical
data and to offer structured opportunities for them to reflect
on its relevance for their own situation and what they can
learn and apply from it. It is also an opportunity for us
to hear the views of a wider range of NZ practitioners, which
is of fundamental importance in ensuring that the research
programme (the next phase is survey to be followed by action
research case studies) remains relevant for the real – and
changing needs of HRM in New Zealand.
Professor Mary Mallon is Professor of
Human Resource Management at Massey University. Her background,
before entering academia,
was in Career Guidance and in HRM, particularly Training
and Development. She worked in the UK for many years, first
as a practitioner, then as a manager and finally as corporate
training manager in a large Local Government organisation.
She then established and ran her own company offering training
courses and consultancy in Equal Employment Opportunities,
staff development and career counselling.
Mary academic and professional qualifications were gained
in the UK. Her first degree is in English Language and Literature.
Later she studied and qualified as a Careers Advisor (gaining
the Diploma in Career Guidance) and as a Personnel Manager
(as a Graduate of the Institute of Personnel and Development).
She went on to gain academic qualifications in HRM with her
MSc (on the Career development of women managers) and her
PhD (on the Transition from managerial careers to portfolio
Her research has been broadly in the area of managing peoples’ careers.
More recently she has been involved in projects on learning
and well-being and on work-life balance. She is currently
involved in a government funded research project that is
exploring “Developing Human Capability: Employment
Institutions, Organisations and Individuals”.
Dr Jane Bryson is an organisational psychologist who has extensive
practical experience in HRM in the public and private
sectors as a consultant and as an HR Manager. She is a senior lecturer
in the Victoria Management School at Victoria University
of Wellington and has taught in HRM and industrial relations,
organisation development and public management over a
of years. Her research has included examining responses
to ethical dilemmas of managers and professionals and
the implications of this for human resource management. She
has also looked at the management of HR risks in merger
situations, and how HR contributes to organisational
capability. Currently she is investigating the development of human
capability in the workplace.
<< Previous |
home | introduction | programme | keynote
speakers | concurrent workshops
general info | special
events | expo | sponsors | why
attend | registration