Public Lecture Unpacks Why HR Needs Disruptive Innovation
The Discipline of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations (HRM/IR) in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (SMIG) hosted a public lecture on the theme Shift: Why HR Needs Disruptive Innovation delivered by eminent international scholar Professor Steve McKenna of Curtin Business School, Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
The lecture which was facilitated by Discipline academic leader, Dr Ashika Maharaj, was the first of its kind for HRM/IR. ‘The aim was to provoke conversation about people, work, working practices and workplaces and promote high quality research in the field of HRM /IR and cognate Disciplines,’ said Maharaj. It also aimed to facilitate knowledge interchange and collaboration among researchers and institutions, inform curriculum reform through high quality research in HRM, and provide a theoretical and empirical platform upon which faculty and student research projects could be predicated.
In his welcome address, Acting Dean and Head of the School, Professor Stephen Mutula said, ‘This public lecture is important and timely in the greater plan of things for SMIG and UKZN, particularly for scholars in the Discipline of HRM/IR, as it comes hot on the heels of the onslaught of i4.0 and University 4.0 revolutions and the repositioning of HRM/IR in the global knowledge architecture. Aspects of this lecture will be harnessed towards the realisation of UKZN’s strategic goals.’
McKenna observed that HRM was largely a creation of the “Anglo” world over the past 40+ years and argued for its fundamental transformation.
He began by posing fundamental questions about what HRM was, how it has changed over the years and the different elements of operating in the field of people management. He emphasised that HRM policies and ideas have changed in response to the changing world. However, he asserted that ‘Human Resource Management does not, currently, seem well-suited to the new digital age or rapidly changing contexts. The world of work is changing due to remote working, gig working and the increasing use of technology. While the future of work is uncertain, it will be undeniably different from how it is now. This calls for a new HRM that fits this changing environment. Organisations need to be innovative and disruptive in the practices of people management and work design.’
The session ended with an interactive Q&A session.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga