People come in contact with a plethora of organisations on a daily basis. But how can organisations achieve and sustain excellence through their people and practices? For many organisations, it is an increasingly elusive goal.
The reasons are not hard to find. A global economy has created challenges for organisations along with opportunities. Mobile technology means a workplace can be anywhere, anytime. And the accelerating pace of change renders old management methods obsolete. Today’s competitive intensity, ageing population, shortage of qualified talent and demands for greater work flexibility combine to make workplace issues as numerous as they are varied. Effectively meeting these challenges requires continual improvement and innovation throughout the organisation. Developing new products or services only goes so far; employees also need to be inspired, motivated and engaged.
Our cutting-edge, applied research explores how to develop organisational cultures, strong leadership and a coherent set of human-resource management practices that foster employees’ best contributions.
Four themes motivate our research. Together, they represent the elements for achieving workplace excellence through people and practices.
1) PEOPLE: Diversity, Engagement and Employee Wellbeing
People are an organisation’s greatest assets; they are also the most complex to motivate, manage and maintain. Our researchers, therefore, delve into everything from gender equity to the work-life interface. We investigate the array of practices that are most effective for attracting, engaging and retaining employees from a range of backgrounds, recognising that diversity is a key to increasing creative decision-making, boosting morale, overcoming skill shortages and improving an organisation’s overall effectiveness. We aim to understand how to best manage a diverse labour force to create an engaging workplace that attends to an employee’s needs.
2) CONTEXT: Organisational Culture, Climate and Change
We live in an era of constant change: from technological innovations, to increasing economic, structural and social pressures, and a 24/7 global marketplace. If organisations – as well as people – are to survive and thrive, they must constantly evolve. Our researchers investigate the elements of organisational culture and climate that are the most valuable drivers for making organisation and employees more effective during periods of stability and periods of change. An important piece of this is understanding how change initiatives can best be implemented.
3) LEADERSHIP AND EFFECTIVENESS
A leader’s influence works in many subtle and unexpected ways, beyond working with and through others to achieve organisational goals. But the workplace is changing. Increasingly, teams are becoming the building blocks in organisations. As a result, we need to think in new and imaginative ways about how leadership affects the dynamics of these networks and interpersonal relationships, and how their efforts should be coordinated. Our researchers analyse all manner of leadership strategies and how they influence employee, team and organisational effectiveness. We delve into the notions of shared leadership, humility, power and status hierarchies, and the gaps in understanding between leaders and followers.
4) HR PRACTICES: Pay, Performance and People Management
Attracting the right people is difficult. But retaining, developing, coordinating and engaging good people takes far greater effort. Organisations need to master the mix of HRM strategies, practices and processes that allows them to reach and sustain a competitive advantage. When employees share an understanding of the work process, employees can act in concert to achieve the organisation’s goals. Our researchers not only investigate these strategies, systems and practices and how they influence the success of both the organisation and its people, we are also uncovering which are more effective for specific industries and organisations.