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HR management theories not all snake oil: Forster

WHILE some organisations still perceive human resource management theories to be little more than snake oil, others view them as the key for securing the long-term success of a company.

University of WA organisational behaviour and leadership senior lecturer Nick Forster seems to be situated somewhere in between.

“At the end of the day, it’s often all about exploitation – HR is a nice gloss over the top,” Dr Forster said.

“The goal of the HR department can be simply described as getting more out of people in exchange for less. Its practices can be part of an ethos of getting leaner and meaner.

“Much of HR theory are age-old wisdoms that any intelligent leader would deduce themselves.”

Dr Forster said, however, there was vast evidence a comprehensive HR strategy had a great influence on the success of a company.

“As an exercise in empowering the worker and making them feel more valued, the effect on the bottom line can be felt,” he said.

“The UK’s Work Employment Institute researched the effect of the HR department and it does work.”

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