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Connecting Developments in Corporate Human Resource Development Thinking to the Capability Approach in International Development Research

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Abstract:

This paper offers a framework for understanding and evaluating Human Resource Development activities in larger organisations.
There is a growing literature on international human resource management (IHRM) targeted at people studying management in large organisations. This has encouraged an element of cultural sensitivity in HR practices?
• ‘the concept of HRM itself, like all social constructs, takes its character and quality, if not its very existence, from the socio-cultural and political economic context which gave birth to it’ (Tayeb, 2005: 204)
• ‘MNCs may not always be able to devise and implement company-wide global HRM strategies and policies …. Notions such as ‘modifications’, ‘adaptations and ‘local variations’ rather than ‘global’, ‘international’ and ‘universal’ more accurately characterize HRM in multinational companies.’ (Tayeb, 2005: 209)
• The Burke and Cooper (2005) collection of articles can be seen as representing the optimistic universalistic approach to HRM that ‘endorses … balance: healthy people and healthy organizations’ (ibid: 5).
Human Resource Development thinking tends to start from asking why do people underperform in a workplace? Relevant factors may include some or all of the following:
• Poor recruitment – under-qualified or over-qualified for tasks given?
• Personal negative characteristics, e.g. laziness, indiscipline
• Monetarily under-rewarded
• Poor physical environment, health and safety risks
• Bullying managerial style, lack of consultation/deliberative processes
• Boredom – no opportunities for expression of imagination/creativity
• Perception of absence of long term developmental/career opportunities
• Limited or negative social ‘peer’ relationships in work and lack of positive ‘spread’ effects to wider life
• Feeling undervalued personally and/or group cultural alienation
This paper is concerned with demonstrating how the capability approach can help integrate the last five factors into a holistic, humanist framework of a well-lived life.
To move towards an HRD image of improvement and a positive language, the paper then sets out differing perceptions of employer-employee relationships, initially dichotomised into more mutually conflictual perceptions paired with more synergistic relationships (Table 1 will show these perceptions).

Table 1
Universalist models of employer–employee relationships

More negative perceptions
• Conflictual absolute income seeking
• Bored alienation
• Socially negative relationships
• Hierarchical quantitative performance measurement
• Domination
More positive perceptions
• Mutual additional income seeking
• Creative expression
• Socially positive relationships
• 360 degree qualitative developmental assessment
• Appreciation


The concepts of human exploitation (more negative) and raising returns to human capital (more positive) as over-arching models will be briefly summarised and their limitations discussed.

Table 1 is then discussed in terms of realities in which employer-employee relationships are complex mixes of these characteristics (most jobs contain some times, spaces and activities in which either more conflictual or more synergetic elements dominate). The role of Human Resource Development can be seen as seeking to change the mix towards more positive characteristics, though within cost and authority constraints set by the employer and the insecurity of the employee.

From this perspective, HRD interventions can be analysed and evaluated as to how far it connects to the international Human Development agenda and the general improvement of human well-being in which the economic dimension is important but not exclusive. This agenda has some of its roots in Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach which has been widely used to understand local level changes in well-being, though often neglecting the quality of employment experiences.

For the Capability Approach, it is important to take into account the potential impact of HRD on employees in their lives both inside and outside the confines of the organisation where the HRD was active and the specific tasks of the employees. How does the HRD intervention affect the agency (or power) of the employees receiving it and what potential impacts are produced: e.g.
• improving valued specific skills and competence in their current jobs
• providing a more general capability to gain promotion
• helping employability in other organisations or take up sustainable self-employment
• becoming a more effective agent in wider civil society or political processes

The Capability Approach can be seen as an umbrella framework that includes human exploitation and human capital will be shown in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1; THE CAPABILITY APPROACH AS AN INTEGRATING FRAMEWORK


The Capability Approach has developed a comprehensive conceptual framework which will be summarised in Figure 2. This framework appears very demanding in terms of a check-list of potential capability impacts that a HRD intervention could offer. But as a checklist, it does allow identification and prioritisation of areas of either real gains or actual damage to capability and can be used as an analytical and evaluative framework for HRD interventions.

FIGURE 2; SCOPING A CAPABILITIES’ DEVELOPMENT PROFILE – THE RANGE OF POTENTIAL CAPABILITIES PEOPLE NEED TO LIVE A WHOLE LIFE WITH GOOD QUALITY WELL-BEING AND LOW VULNERABILITY




The conclusion will include practical examples of the framework being used to analyse examples of HRD interventions


Indicative bibliography
Burke, R.J and C.L.Cooper (2005) ‘The Human Resource Evaluation, why putting people first matters” Reinventing Human Resource Management, Routledge, London and New York, pp 3-16 .
Mok, K and J.Tan (2004) ‘Introduction’ Globalization and Marketization in Education, Edward Elgar, pp 1-7 (read on to end of chapter in ISS library)
Nussbaum, M (2006) ‘Education for democratic citizenship’. Public lecture presented at ISS on 10 March 2006, Den Haag, ISS
Ozbilgin, M (2005)’Aspects of International Human Resource Management’, International Human Resource Management, Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York, pp 21-28.
Price, A (1997) ‘Researching Candidates’ Human Resource Management in a Business Context, International Thomson Business Press, Boston and London, pp 241-249 and 338-349.
Sen, Amartya (1997) “Human Capital and Human Capability.” World Development 25 (12), pp. 1959-1961.
Sen, Amartya (2000) “Work and Rights.” International Labour Review139 (2), pp. 119-128.
Sen, A (1999) Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press
Sparrow, P, C.Brewster, and H. Harris (2004) ‘Developing Global Themes” Globalizing Human Resource Management, Routledge, London and New York, pp 120-128.
Tayeb, M.H. (2005) ‘International of HRM Socio-cultural Contexts’ International Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 21-31.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

develop (109), human (100), employe (82), train (71), tnc (67), capabl (57), hrd (51), manag (48), employ (44), indigen (42), work (38), resourc (36), educ (31), organis (29), capit (29), approach (29), worker (27), ilo (27), potenti (27), skill (25), compani (25),
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MLA Citation:

Cameron, John. "Connecting Developments in Corporate Human Resource Development Thinking to the Capability Approach in International Development Research" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SASE Annual Conference, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, Madrid, Spain, Jun 23, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p498104_index.html>

APA Citation:

Cameron, J. , 2011-06-23 "Connecting Developments in Corporate Human Resource Development Thinking to the Capability Approach in International Development Research" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SASE Annual Conference, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, Madrid, Spain Online <PDF>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p498104_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper offers a framework for understanding and evaluating Human Resource Development activities in larger organisations.
There is a growing literature on international human resource management (IHRM) targeted at people studying management in large organisations. This has encouraged an element of cultural sensitivity in HR practices?
• ‘the concept of HRM itself, like all social constructs, takes its character and quality, if not its very existence, from the socio-cultural and political economic context which gave birth to it’ (Tayeb, 2005: 204)
• ‘MNCs may not always be able to devise and implement company-wide global HRM strategies and policies …. Notions such as ‘modifications’, ‘adaptations and ‘local variations’ rather than ‘global’, ‘international’ and ‘universal’ more accurately characterize HRM in multinational companies.’ (Tayeb, 2005: 209)
• The Burke and Cooper (2005) collection of articles can be seen as representing the optimistic universalistic approach to HRM that ‘endorses … balance: healthy people and healthy organizations’ (ibid: 5).
Human Resource Development thinking tends to start from asking why do people underperform in a workplace? Relevant factors may include some or all of the following:
• Poor recruitment – under-qualified or over-qualified for tasks given?
• Personal negative characteristics, e.g. laziness, indiscipline
• Monetarily under-rewarded
• Poor physical environment, health and safety risks
• Bullying managerial style, lack of consultation/deliberative processes
• Boredom – no opportunities for expression of imagination/creativity
• Perception of absence of long term developmental/career opportunities
• Limited or negative social ‘peer’ relationships in work and lack of positive ‘spread’ effects to wider life
• Feeling undervalued personally and/or group cultural alienation
This paper is concerned with demonstrating how the capability approach can help integrate the last five factors into a holistic, humanist framework of a well-lived life.
To move towards an HRD image of improvement and a positive language, the paper then sets out differing perceptions of employer-employee relationships, initially dichotomised into more mutually conflictual perceptions paired with more synergistic relationships (Table 1 will show these perceptions).

Table 1
Universalist models of employer–employee relationships

More negative perceptions
• Conflictual absolute income seeking
• Bored alienation
• Socially negative relationships
• Hierarchical quantitative performance measurement
• Domination
More positive perceptions
• Mutual additional income seeking
• Creative expression
• Socially positive relationships
• 360 degree qualitative developmental assessment
• Appreciation


The concepts of human exploitation (more negative) and raising returns to human capital (more positive) as over-arching models will be briefly summarised and their limitations discussed.

Table 1 is then discussed in terms of realities in which employer-employee relationships are complex mixes of these characteristics (most jobs contain some times, spaces and activities in which either more conflictual or more synergetic elements dominate). The role of Human Resource Development can be seen as seeking to change the mix towards more positive characteristics, though within cost and authority constraints set by the employer and the insecurity of the employee.

From this perspective, HRD interventions can be analysed and evaluated as to how far it connects to the international Human Development agenda and the general improvement of human well-being in which the economic dimension is important but not exclusive. This agenda has some of its roots in Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach which has been widely used to understand local level changes in well-being, though often neglecting the quality of employment experiences.

For the Capability Approach, it is important to take into account the potential impact of HRD on employees in their lives both inside and outside the confines of the organisation where the HRD was active and the specific tasks of the employees. How does the HRD intervention affect the agency (or power) of the employees receiving it and what potential impacts are produced: e.g.
• improving valued specific skills and competence in their current jobs
• providing a more general capability to gain promotion
• helping employability in other organisations or take up sustainable self-employment
• becoming a more effective agent in wider civil society or political processes

The Capability Approach can be seen as an umbrella framework that includes human exploitation and human capital will be shown in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1; THE CAPABILITY APPROACH AS AN INTEGRATING FRAMEWORK


The Capability Approach has developed a comprehensive conceptual framework which will be summarised in Figure 2. This framework appears very demanding in terms of a check-list of potential capability impacts that a HRD intervention could offer. But as a checklist, it does allow identification and prioritisation of areas of either real gains or actual damage to capability and can be used as an analytical and evaluative framework for HRD interventions.

FIGURE 2; SCOPING A CAPABILITIES’ DEVELOPMENT PROFILE – THE RANGE OF POTENTIAL CAPABILITIES PEOPLE NEED TO LIVE A WHOLE LIFE WITH GOOD QUALITY WELL-BEING AND LOW VULNERABILITY




The conclusion will include practical examples of the framework being used to analyse examples of HRD interventions


Indicative bibliography
Burke, R.J and C.L.Cooper (2005) ‘The Human Resource Evaluation, why putting people first matters” Reinventing Human Resource Management, Routledge, London and New York, pp 3-16 .
Mok, K and J.Tan (2004) ‘Introduction’ Globalization and Marketization in Education, Edward Elgar, pp 1-7 (read on to end of chapter in ISS library)
Nussbaum, M (2006) ‘Education for democratic citizenship’. Public lecture presented at ISS on 10 March 2006, Den Haag, ISS
Ozbilgin, M (2005)’Aspects of International Human Resource Management’, International Human Resource Management, Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York, pp 21-28.
Price, A (1997) ‘Researching Candidates’ Human Resource Management in a Business Context, International Thomson Business Press, Boston and London, pp 241-249 and 338-349.
Sen, Amartya (1997) “Human Capital and Human Capability.” World Development 25 (12), pp. 1959-1961.
Sen, Amartya (2000) “Work and Rights.” International Labour Review139 (2), pp. 119-128.
Sen, A (1999) Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press
Sparrow, P, C.Brewster, and H. Harris (2004) ‘Developing Global Themes” Globalizing Human Resource Management, Routledge, London and New York, pp 120-128.
Tayeb, M.H. (2005) ‘International of HRM Socio-cultural Contexts’ International Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 21-31.


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