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Alfred Anate Mayaki

In Staunch Advocacy of 'Favourable' Migration Policy

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Thursday, 4 July 2024, 00:52
Jobs numbers are out this Friday and as a left-leaning economist, I can't help but appreciate the level of certainty around migration policy and its consequences and effects. Its precision is almost always unwaveringly irrational; either too conservative or too laissez-faire. The issue economists are having is deciding if an election process makes this scenario all the more complex. As Charles and Stephen Jr. (2013) so eloquently put it in their paper on the topic: “The possibility that poorly informed people are more likely to abstain has been adduced as a possible explanation for well-known voting regularities”.

My question here is: How else do election manifestos affect immigration policy and wage growth?

One well-researched answer has been given by my academic advisor while at Essex Economics Department, who is now teaching at Warwick Economics Department, Prof. Francesco Squintani. He agrees with the above, and in an outstanding theoretical economics paper that focuses on the micro-theory of pandering in elections, he and 2 co-authors argue that politicians overindulge in scrupulous policy announcements, to the detrimental welfare of the electorate.

This got me thinking about the task of comparing election promises (manifestos and wider announcements) in US. UK and to a lesser extent, French incumbent electoral campaigns. In his paper, Prof. Squintani argues that a politician’s motive is essentially viewed as a singular outcome - to be elected by voters - which poses an obstacle to precise information gathering and complete information because both politicians along a Hotelling location model (which is explained in the paper) pander around policies and create informational asymmetries.

I wrote in the original draft of “Pareto-Nash Reversion Strategies” (Mayaki, 2024) that burden of ascertaining skilled immigration demand must rest in the hands of institutional employers and not left at the doorstep of central government. The figures from this report by Pierce and Selee (2017) highlight the enormity of the task at hand when identifying precise immigration policy. 

Pierce and Selee (2017) argue that in the U.S. seven executive orders signed by newly elected President Donald Trump which restricted immigration policy and led to a 3.9% reduction in tourism to the United States in the first six months of 2017, a 9% reduction in newly arriving international students, and a decline in H-1B visa applications by employers’ with only 199,000 applications received that year – the lowest number since the Great Recession. These are not mercantilist numbers. If anything, they represent exactly that which won Trump’s election against H. Clinton. Promises of this sort are usually not credible, but what makes them credible is swift action immediately after an election victory as opposed to delayed implementation.

In that sense, I am completely fascinated by the discussion surrounding this WSJ / US Bureau of Labor Statistics chart, posted by Jason Furman on X (formerly known as Twitter). As Furman's argument goes, based on this chart, foreign-born workers have been and are more likely to be in post-pandemic employment (albeit at a much lower wage) than US-born workers. Furman (Former Chief Economic Adviser to President Barack Obama) says it reflects the work ethic of immigrant labor and by extension, the positive sentiment toward favorable migration policy in the United States.

My only response as a left-leaning economist is to highlight that because of an absence of a notable contribution in the form of structural unemployment shortages in the US-born population, the consensus around the debate fails to acknowledge that the wage at which workers enter the US labor market is not only directly affected by the level of legal migration, as my latest arXiv paper outlines but this threshold is often set arbitrarily and may be interrelated to the overall price level, particularly in the most populous states in America.

References

Charles, K. K., and Stephens Jr, M. (2013). Employment, wages, and voter turnout. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics5(4), 111-143, Available at https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w17270/w17270.pdf (Accessed on 03 July 2024)

Kartik, N., Squintani, F. and Tann, K. (2024) “Pandering and Elections: Information Revelation and Pandering in Elections”, University of Warwick Working Paper Series, Available at https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/fsquintani/research/pandering.pdf (Accessed on 03 July 2024)

Mayaki, A (2024) “Pareto-Nash Reversion Strategies: Three Period Dynamic Co-operative Signaling with Sticky Efficiency Wages”, SSRN: Optimisation & Control e-Journal, pp. 1-12, Available at https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4858795 (Accessed on 27 June 2024)

Pierce, S. and Selee, A. (2017) “Immigration under Trump: A Review of Policy Shifts in the Year Since the Election”, Migration Policy Brief, December 2017, Available at https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/TrumpatOne_FINAL.pdf (Accessed on 03 July 2024)


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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Congestion Externality in Search and Matching - A Theoretical Critique of Gertler-Trigari

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Friday, 21 June 2024, 22:11
I'm thrilled to share that my review article is now available as an open-access resource, thanks to SSRN's esteemed repository. This milestone reflects the collaborative spirit of the academic community and the commitment to knowledge sharing. The Open University Business School has been instrumental in this journey, fostering an environment where research and inquiry thrive. Thank you to Nicola Dowson from OU Library for your advice and guidance.

The main discussion related to the paper is based on this critique by a Warwick Economics Professor.

As I used a bootstrapped method and began with an identity that resembles the Pissarides/Mortensen matching function, some criticism of my paper I shall agree with concerns the relevance of the baseline 'Gertler-Trigari' model where 'congestion externality' creates some interesting rigidity.

The piece by Warwick Economics Dept's Professor, Thijs Van Rens argues there is zero 'congestion externality' in the identity I propose and in all 'GT' matching functions. I accept this claim. Most modern search and matching models operate with much of what he argues (the congestion rigidity created by firms competing for a narrow worker volume) as internalized components, usually referred to as rigidity or often as 'friction'.

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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Annual Symposium in Labour Economics 2024 (20th - 21st June)

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 00:20

Event Description

This symposium provides a forum for high-quality work in labour economics and brings together economists in the field from across Europe as well as key researchers from outside the region.

The event also provides an opportunity for researchers from different universities and countries to discuss their work in a relaxed atmosphere and to develop long-term collaborative relationships; and for young researchers to meet and discuss their work with senior economists.

Download programme.

Registration

  • This event is free and open to all, to register please email Jemila Benchikh.

Organisers

  • Alan Manning, CEPR and CEP, LSE
  • Guy Michaels, CEPR and CEP, LSE
  • Barbara Petrongolo, University of Oxford, CEPR and CEP, LSE

Venue

  • SAL 1.04, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH

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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Open Invitation to Centre for Economic Performance Event (29th - 30th May)

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Workshop on the economics of crime for junior scholars. With support from the Royal Economic Society and Arnold Ventures

The Workshop on the Economics of Crime for Junior Scholars aims to bring together graduate students and junior researchers to present their research on topics related to the economics of crime and criminal justice.

The first edition of the workshop took place online in November 2021, the second one was hosted at Northeastern University in Boston in March 2023, and the third will take place at the London School of Economics in May 2024.

Download the programme here.

Keynote speaker

Anna Bindler (University of Cologne)

Organisers

Magdalena Dominguez (CEP, London School of Economics), Aria Golestani (Northeastern University) and Adam Soliman (CEP, London School of Economics)

For more information, visit cep.lse.ac.uk.


Registration

This event is free and open to all to attend in person. Register here.


CEP Crime Week

This event is part of CEP's Crime Week 2024, which also includes:


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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Encountering New Modules, and Negotiating 'New' Perspectives

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Thursday, 2 May 2024, 19:18

Much of the peer-reviewed literature I’ve read up on since my final year happens to be focused on the topics of Christian thought according to André du Toit and Irving Hexham. This blog was originally written in 2009 as a research proposal for one of my lecturers, H. M. Hopfl (Essex), and a potential supervisor, Dr. Ruth Watson (Cambridge). In the following blog, I engage briefly with the theme of polity from the perspective of Hexham and Du Toit in preparation for B813, which commences on 04 May 2024.

Did the Socio-Politics of Reformed Thinking Influence Social Outcomes in South Africa?

Many an author on Afrikaner Calvinism has gone to great lengths to structure books on aspects of Calvinism in the sixteenth century. Irving Hexham is an interesting contributor to Calvin’s biographical oeuvre and an inspiration when writing about the history of the Dutch Reformed Church (henceforth "DRC") and when attempting to interpret the complex ambiguities that exist in The Cape. I plan to use the debate between Hexham and Andre de Toit as the groundwork for a central discussion (which is arguably unresolved). From there it should prove possible to lay hold of some more concrete lines of discussion such as the question of worker ethic, racial discrimination, and religious separatism in the seventeenth-century age of enlightenment[1].

The groundwork of Hexham (1975) cites many authors in its critique of the Afrikaners, among them Susan Ritner (1967) who explains categorically that a decision by the 1857 Synod of the DRC to condone separate worship in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa shows “evidence of racial discrimination”. Hexham makes such claims as “to this day Calvinists are a small group in the DRC and their real power Is probably far less than many commentators would like to believe (1975:202). The impression given by Hexham here is one of unsavory disillusionment in the epistemology of the DRC and its relationship with Calvin’s original sixteenth-century philosophy and that of his followers in Europe.

Hexham leads us to a very interesting place in the literature, stating:

“du Toit (1847-1911) did not pretend to be an author or a television celebrity. All he claimed to do was to uphold the ideas of Dutch Calvinism in South Africa, or rather, as he would have put it, to propagate “true” Calvinism in South Africa. He admitted freely that Calvinism which he advocated originated in the Netherlands and he made no pretence about the fact that his political philosophy was based upon the views of Abraham Kuyper in the Netherlands”

Hexham writes, “It may be possible to trace back to Calvin’s theology some of the terms used by Afrikaner Nationalists as part of their political vocabulary, but most important ‘Calvinist’ theories and attitudes are ones connected with Christian-Nationialism. Yet these cannot be traced back to Calvin.”

André De Toit has published literature in direct response to the issues raised by Hexham (de Toit, 1983[2]), where he refers to “the cluster of construct that has been used to justify racial inequality and repression in latter-day Afrikaner societies” as a “historical myth” referred to as the “Calvinist paradigm of Afrikaner history”. In a latter text, de Toit (1985[3]) supports this view concerning what apartheid meant through the lens of Calvinist history by stating that “very little of this purported historical explanation will stand up to scrutiny”. Here, de Toit is referring to the central thesis of the “Calvinist paradigm of Afrikaner history; the ideology of a Chosen People functioned to legitimate racial inequality and oppression”.

To interpret fully the role of Dutch Calvinism, one must spend time researching the origins of its reform (that of the Netherlands), unlike towns in France and Scotland, Calvinism did not settle in the same manner during the fifteenth century. Also, the major work of Cornelius Van Til as well as other leading Dutch neo-Calvinists (such as Meow, Waltershtorf, and Plantinga) require one to appreciate the history of ‘presuppositional’ apologetics and its conflict with ‘classical’ apologetics within the Afrikaner tradition.

There exists a self-evidential concern relating to the principle of ‘common grace’ and the ‘covenant common grace’ which maintains controversy due to its revered conflict with both ‘prevenient’ and ‘special’ grace for its self-justification of divine potestas within Presbyterian establishments which in itself would cause a series of social phenomenon to perpetuate themselves, such as discipline and order. Furthermore, the more intellectually stimulating area of research will undoubtedly also constitute an interesting theoretical aspect; i.e. an inquisition that shall involve analyzing the doctrines that underpin Lapsariaism and Antelapsarianism concerning the Supralapsarianism advocated by Kuyper. We know the historical context of this debate goes as far back as the 1618 Synod of Dordrecht, where the confessional unity of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands[4] and South Africa can be traced to and where the departure from traditional Calvinism was arguably initially conceived. It is therefore important to distinguish the “elements of disparity” and help continue and contribute to this outstanding literature.


[1] Hexman, Irving (1975) “Dutch Calvinism and the Development of Afrikaner Nationalism”, African Affairs 79:315 (April 1980), pp. 195-208 - Available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/722119 (Accessed on 02 May 2024)

[2] De Toit, A. (1983) “No Chosen People: The Myth of the Calvinist Origins of Africaner Nationalism and Racial Ideology”, The American Historical Review, 89(4), pp. 920-952 - Available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/1874025 (Accessed on 02 May 2024)

[3] De Toit, A. (1985) “Puritans in Africa? Afrikaner “Calvinism” and Kuyperian Neo-Calvinism in Late Nineteenth-Century South Africa”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 27(2) pp. 209-240 - Available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/178492 (Accessed on 02 May 2024)

[4] Wright, A.D. and Schilling, H. (1993) “Civic Calvinism in North-Western Germany & Netherlands: Sixteen to Nineteenth Century”, Kirksville, Mo: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers - Available at https://www.proquest.com/openview/7afcd1e312f928a0378293d739009945/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1817079 (Accessed on 02 May 2024)

References

1.     Meara, D. O. (1978) “Analysing Afrikaner Nationalism: The ‘Christian-National’ Assault on White Trade Unionism in South Africa”, 1934–1948. African Affairs (London). [Online] 77(306), pp. 45–72 – Available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/721347 (Accessed on 02 May 2024)


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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Scoping Review: Bayesian Inference in R

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Friday, 15 Mar 2024, 16:16

This one is focused on Bayesian inference. Bayes’ Theorem in combination with dynamic stochastic general equilibrium theory is really popular as a tool for monetary policy (where I first encountered its use) but also has applications in other areas such as biology and, in this case, people analytics.

Now, there are three R packages of interest. The first is a package oriented around the Markov Chain - MCMCpack (Martin, 2006), the second is deBInfer (Boersch-Supen, 2016), and most recently, there is INLA (Gomez-Rubio, 2020).

More on these later.

References

Boersch-Supen, P. H., Ryan, S. J. and Johnson, Leah, R. (2016) “deBInfer: Bayesian Inference of dynamical models of biological systems in R”, Special Feature: Technological Advances at the Interface between Ecology and Statistics, 8(4), pp. 511-518, Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12679 (Accessed on 15 March 2024)

Gomez-Rubio, V. (2020) ‘Bayesian inference with INLA’, 1st Edition, New York: Chapman and Hall, Available at https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315175584 (Accessed on 15 March 2024)

Martin, A. D. and Quinn, Kevin. M. (2006) “Applied Bayesian Inference in R using MCMCpack”, R News, 6(1), pp. 2-7 – Available at: https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/116223/rnews06.pdf?sequence=1 (Accessed on 15 March 2024)

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM. It was inspired by an Economic Issues article by Sarah Brown and John Sessions entitled “Absenteeism, Presenteeism, and Shirking”.


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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Started from the Bottom: Bayesian SPNE and Probability in HRM

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Wednesday, 13 Mar 2024, 11:08

Bayes’ application to HRM is limited to event probability but is a topic that is mentioned in passing in a paper on shirking and presenteeism by S. Brown (2004) recommended by Dr. Andrew Bryce (Sheffield), which was written over 20 years ago this year.

Brown (2004) reads as follows:

“Such ‘shirking’ is potentially costly to firms and may incite them to undertake monitoring. BST** envisage a monitoring technology in which there is some probability, α < 1, of each absentee’s true state of health being revealed to the firm.”

After deciding to initiate a brief scoping review for the B812 literature topic of choice (‘Wellbeing’). I thought I would check in with the blog and provide some justification and background for this choice of theme.

This spurious love affair with Bayes’ theorem has loomed over my educational learnings but only in its form as sub-game perfect in non-cooperative game theory. Big thanks to Melvyn Coles, Pierre Regibeau, and Franco Squintani for their lectures and classes from our days in Colchester on Economics. 

I started the HRM course in Nov 2023 and while I am still somewhat aware of some concepts surrounding Bayes, things have changed. Nowadays, Bayes’ theorem (10+ years on) is being used in combination with what we call supervised learning and algorithmic techniques such as neural networks.

So, how do we proceed? Perhaps, it is wise to proceed with caution. A brief scoping review will get me up to speed and updated with new research as much as is feasibly possible.

References

Brown, S. and Sessions, John (2004) “Absenteeism, Presenteeism and Shirking”, Economic Issues, 9(1), pp. 15-22 – Available at: https://econpapers.repec.org/article/eisarticl/104brown.htm (Accessed on 13 March 2024)

**Barmby, T. A., Sessions, J. G. and Treble, J. G. (1994) “Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking”, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 94(4), pp. 561-566 – Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3440797 (Accessed on 13 March 2024)

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the author's previous learnings and experiences.


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ExCo, The Focus on Effectiveness, B812 Day School & Wigwe University's Founder Passes Away

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Monday, 11 Mar 2024, 00:11
It is a very important time to be a Nigerian business leader not just because of the challenge of AI and sustainability but because of seismic shifts in the meaning of leadership and effectiveness. I recently attended the B812 Day School and learned from leaders from other sectors, locations, and seniority (such as health, education, and the wider private sector) who felt the same about the role leadership plays at all levels, especially during COVID-19.

Time and time again, what was mentioned was the concept of follow-through - that is, how do we get our employees to act persuasively (and authentically) after a decision has been taken? I told a funny story about my experience researching my father's career who is the chairman of Thomas Wyatt Plc in Nigeria.

I pointed also to the amazing story of the late Herbert Wigwe and how I was watching motivational videos of him and D'Banj back in the day. Herbert was an example to us all and a dedicated nation builder, who led as a transformational MD. Not only in the financing of critical infrastructure across the Federal Republic in his day job but also as a man. Wigwe University, as an example of Herbert's influence, is set to be an outstanding success story. Herbert was an exceptional example of such leadership and I pay my respects.

Literature Topics

What resonated with many of us on B812's Day School was when we were asked what two unit topics we valued most from the Evidence-Based Value in People Management module. Most people cited the hierarchy of evidence or Analytics, but what I found most interesting was neither the aforementioned nor the obvious attraction presented by the apex of Gifford's hierarchy. What was it then? Easy - in hindsight, I found learning through qualitative methods such as semi-structured interviewing and surveying as containing the most to offer.

Andy (a B812 Tutor) asked us to select
one of our blogs to present as a discussion topic on the Day School. I chose an extract from this page, where I have posted a total of 23 course-related blogs. For the EMA, I have chosen Wellbeing as a theme for the part 1 literature review and the part 2 critically reflective account. I decided to choose Wellbeing as a theme based on personal experience. I did some prior research into Recruitment as a theme for the EMA however, I decided against it because I want to continue to read more into the role of evidence, data, and analytics in people management. Herein lies an excellent opportunity for me to do so.

My chosen topic for the part 1 lit review within Wellbeing is Presenteeism, which is mentioned a few times in the B812 module in tutorials and the TGFs. One of the earliest references is in December (Week 6). I have since been learning by using various sources (OU’s Library, Google Scholar, JSTOR, etc.) which provide journal articles that explain a diversity of views on why presenteeism is so excessively costly in comparison to a theory known to many in the field as ‘shirking’. Dr Andrew Bryce (Sheffield) wrote in one of my other blog posts that the two aspects of productivity, that is, shirking and presenteeism, are similar but distinct. However, are both the responsibility of HR to ascertain the impact of therein?


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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Predicting Dysfunctional Presenteeism: The Value of Bayesian Inference and Cognitive Load Theory

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Fox, Park and Lang (2007) famously wrote about secondary task reaction times (STRTs) in the context of psychology and communications - a sector I'm very familiar with. In the intervening period, further studies have been conducted on the workplace learning environment as a contextualised example of STRT research (Sewell, Santhosh, and O’Sullivan, 2020). Now, according to Kinman and Grant (2021), there is an estimated cost of approximately £4,000 per UK employee lost due to time spent at work whilst being clinically unwell (Patel, et. al., 2023). This is also known as what we refer to as presenteeism. This blog post hypothesizes that a highly significant correlated relationship exists between low STRTs and a type of presenteeism known as therapeutic presence. In my blog, I build on this theme of research by suggesting that it may be possible to alleviate the 'sunk' cost of low productivity in work which is lost due to the inefficiencies of working while being unproductive. I assume we have access to quality data, which isn't always the case. The blog considers the use of Bayesian inference to predict therapeutic presence (or what many refer to as ‘dysfunctional presenteeism’). 

What is ‘Dysfunctional’ Presenteeism?

Dysfunctional presenteeism can be defined as a type of presenteeism which can occur when an employee remains actively at work despite being clinically unwell (Bryan, Bryce, and Roberts, 2022; Henderson, and Smith, 2022). What we know about presenteeism is very little, particularly in instances of remote work (Schmitz, Bauer, and Niehaus, 2023). Dysfunctional presenteeism can vary in motive and context, but a recent survey estimated that UK employees spend roughly 2 weeks per annum actively working whilst being clinically unwell, which is quite a significant amount of time. Notably, what I have learned today is that presenteeism is frequently framed through the lens of ‘surface acting’ (Correia Leal, et. al., 2023; Patel, et. al., 2023:842).

STRTs and Cognitive Load Theory

How does STRT fit in to this? Well, my thinking is that low secondary responses are a clear indicator of the risk of presenteeism at work. Now, although the predominant focus of much of the literature on cognitive load emerges as research that is based on secondary task responses (Lang, et. al., 2006, Sewell, Santhosh, and O’Sullivan, 2020:1133), the significance of STRTs to cognitive load is insurmountable. As with Lang et. al., 2006:370), we know that when participants perform primary and secondary tasks within what we refer to as the STRT ‘paradigm’, the primary and secondary tasks are clearly defined[1].

Applying Bayes’ Theorem on Inference

Woolridge (2013) and as demonstrated recently in a paper by Saramago and Claxton (2020). Currently working on this in an essay.

Predictive Analytics in the Workplace

Now, Analytics is not necessarily ethical, especially when applied based on Ford’s principles. It is seemingly often pitted against the self-governance of employees by their peers[2], Analytics through surveillance is thus touted as the means of managerial control least appropriate for the digital age. In one instance, the UK's Low Carbon Contracts Company and the Electricity Settlement Company, a publicly owned renewable energy intermediary owned by the Secretary of State for Business, demonstrate through its management organizational chart, a distinctively unique feature (See Appendix Figure 1). Data Analytics is housed separately from People and Strategy. What does this tell us?

Conclusion

With quality data on both the threshold of secondary tasks and length of productive work for individual workers, this blog suggests that statistical inference techniques such as those based on Bayesian estimation, can predict the reduced work productivity of an individual employee (who may or may not be working remotely) instances of increased levels of stress, cognitive overload and eventual presenteeism?

[1] In this context, primary tasks involve the simultaneous observation and recollection of a media source such as television or film, whilst the secondary task involves a recordable activity. The idea is (the hypothesis, so to speak) that response times for the second task reduce as the primary task increases in difficulty (Lang, et.al., 2006).

[2] Including approaches such as self-evaluation of work performance.

References

1.     Byran, M. L., Bryce, A. M. and Roberts, J. (2022) “Dysfunctional presenteeism: Effects of physical and mental health on work performance”, The Manchester School, 90(4), pp. 409-438 – Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/manc.12402 (Accessed on 23 November 2023)

2.     Correia Leal, C., Ferreria, A. I. and Carvalho, H. (2023) “Hide your sickness and put on a happy face: The effects of supervision distrust, surface acting, and sickness surface acting on hotel employees’ emotional exhaustion”, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 44(1), pp. 871-887 – Available at https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2676 (Accessed on 27 February 2023)

3.     Fox, J. R., Park, B., and Lang, A. (2007) “When Available Resources Become Negative Resources: The Effects of Cognitive Overload on Memory Sensitivity and Criterion Bias”, Communication Research, 34(3), pp. 277-296. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650207300429 (Accessed on 23 February 2024)

4.     Henderson, A.A. and Smith, C.E. (2022) “When does presenteeism harm productivity the most? Employee motives as a key moderator of the presenteeism–productivity relationship,” Journal of Managerial Psychology, 37(6), pp. 513–526. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-08-2020-0446 (Accessed on 26 February 2024)

5.     Kinman, G. and Clements, A. J. (2023) “Presenteeism: the case or action”, Occupational Medicine, 73(4), pp. 181-182 – Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqad033 (Accessed on 26 February 2024)

6.     Kinman, G. and Grant, C. (2021) “Presenteeism during the COVID-19 pandemic: Risk factors and solutions for employers”, Society of Occupational Medicine, Available at: https://www.som.org.uk/Presenteeism_during_the_COVID-19_pandemic_May_2021.pdf (Accessed on 26 February 2024)

7.     Lang, A., Bradley, S. D., Park, B., Shin, M. and Chung, Y. (2006) “Parsing the Resource Pie: Using STRTs to Measure Attention to Mediated Messages”, Media Psychology, 8, pp. 369-394 – Available at: https://doi-org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/10.1207/s1532785xmep0804_3 (Accessed on 26 February 2024)

8.     Patel, C., Biron, M., Sir Cooper, C. and Budhwar, P. S. (2023) “Sick and Working: Current challenges and emerging directions for future presenteeism research”, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 44(1), pp. 839-852 – Available at https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2727 (Accessed on 27 February)

9.     Saramago, P., Claxton, K., Welton, N. J. and Soares, M. (2020) “Bayesian econometric modelling of observational data for cost‐effectiveness analysis: establishing the value of negative pressure wound therapy in the healing of open surgical wounds,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A, Statistics in society, 183(4), pp. 1575–1593. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/rssa.12596 (Accessed on 27 February)

10.   Schmitz, H., Bauer, J. F. and Niehaus, M. (2023). Working Anytime and Anywhere - Even When Feeling Ill? A Cross-sectional Study on Presenteeism in Remote Work. Safety and Health at Work14(4), 375–383 – Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shaw.2023.11.001 (Accessed on 26 February 2024)

11.   Sewell, J.L., Santhosh, L. and O’Sullivan, P.S. (2020) “How do attending physicians describe cognitive overload among their workplace learners?” Medical education, 54(12), pp. 1129-. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.14289 (Accessed on 26 February 2024)

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the author's previous learnings and experiences.


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Alfred Anate Mayaki

Exploring Democratic Approaches to Leadership and Management

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Sunday, 4 Feb 2024, 16:11

According to Dr. Teresa Bejan of Oxford’s Department of International Relations, in Ancient Greek democracy, Isegoria (Bejan, 2017is often used to describe the equal rights of citizens to participate in public debate in the democratic assembly. Why is the concept of Isegoria important to an HR academic? It is important because it is a critical attribute in democratic forms of leadership. Furthermore, in what Revd. Dr. William Lamb (2021) also of Oxford University refers to as a ‘spiritual exercise’ as opposed to a ‘rhetorical device’ another form of free speech is mentioned. Parrhesia or ‘expressive freedom’ is witnessed most visibly during Jesus's spoken interaction with the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Gospel according to Matthew. How does this famous instance affect our view of democratic forms of leadership?

In the words of Collinson et. al (2018), where the Raelinian notion of Leadership-as-Practice (L-A-P) or ‘Leaderful’ practice is referenced to define the norms of ‘democratic tradition’ as enshrined and embedded in practice, or demokratia per se[1], Collinson explains that Raelin is referring to ‘participatory’ and ‘deliberative’ process. In this view, leadership is democratic and "holds an inherently positive connotation associated with certain democratic norms of equality and freedom to participate”. These are the 4C’s that constitute Raelin’s model of L-A-P: Compassion, Collaboration, Collectiveness and Concurrency.

What we refer to as leadership, in theory, can be impacted in a variety of ways by team dynamics. According to a 2023 article published online by management consultancy firm, Bain & Company, entitled, “At the Top, It’s All About Teamwork”, there is a notion that “effective teams” exhibit what the article refers to as ‘collective behaviours. As an example of the application of this form of leadership to teamwork, Benjamin Higgens, MD of Human Resources at Société Générale Group, one of France’s largest corporate and investment banking institutions by AUM, featured in a 2023 article published by The People Space, demonstrating how the bank’s collaboration with a leading workplace culture and behaviour consultancy led to a 'participatory engagement' which included 89% of its current workforce in London. 

The article demonstrates how through authentic inclusion, potential agents of change, senior leaders, and other employees, were able to acquire knowledge on effective decision-making and behaviours. How does this link back to the democratic concepts of Isegoria and Parrhesia? I may go into that linkage in more depth later in another Open blog. But for now, I thought I'd share these references and articles on the topic as a formal introduction.

References

1.       Bejan, T. M. (2017) ‘Dr Teresa Bejan writes about the two clashing meanings of freedom of speech‘, University of Oxford – Available at https://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/news/dr-teresa-bejan-writes-about-two-clashing-meanings-free-speech (Accessed on 26 January 2024)

2.       Collinson, D., Jones, O. S. and Grint, K. (2018) ''No More Heroes’: Critical Theories on Leadership Romanticism’, Organisational Studies, 39(11). pp. 1625-1647 [Online] (Accessed on 26 January 2024)

3.       Foucault, M. (1983) ‘Lecture 6: Discourse and Truth: The Problemitization of Parrhesia’, University of California at Berkeley

4.       Gan, X., Jia, J., and Le, Y. (2023) ‘Transforming Vertical Leadership into Shared Leadership in Infrastructure Project Teams: A Dual-Pathway Perspective’, Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management [Online] (Accessed on 26 January 2024)

5.       Raelin, J. A. (2003) ‘Creating Leaderful Organisations: How to bring out leadership in everyone‘, Berret Koehler Publishers [Online] (Accessed on 26 January 2024)

6.       Revd. Lamb, W. (2021) ‘Parrhesia, Openness, Boldness and Accountability’, Vacation Term for Biblical Studies 2021 [Online] (Accessed on 26 January 2024)

7.       Womack, K. (2020) ‘A Study of Leaderful Practice in Church Organizations’, University of New Hampshire Scholar’s Repository – Available via https://scholars.unh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1052&context=ms_leadership (Accessed on 26 January 2024)


[1] 'Demokratia' is the Grecian concept analogous to modern Western democracy

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by an Organisational Studies article written by Collinson et.al. (2018) entitled 'No More Heroes’: Critical Theories on Leadership Romanticism

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Concerning Sustainable HRM, Ethics and Stakeholder Theory

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Sunday, 3 Dec 2023, 08:32

Annotating a moderately cited but relevant paper on the above topic by Greenwood and Freeman (2011), the authors point to HRM research as being seen increasingly through the lens of positivism. Positivism encompasses scientific methods of research that are underpinned predominantly by what is quantifiable and what is more measurable. These research approaches are what Greenwood and Freeman refer to as the prevailing epistemological, and theoretical context through which HRM is characterised (2011:271) and a lens which it is consistently framed through, primarily as “explicitly normative”. Furthermore, Dieronitou (2014) argues that the consequences here are that HRM’s positivist approach is “top-down” (in terms of knowledge creation) and “deductive in nature” (2014:6). By top-down, the author implies an emphasis on “ontology” which is prioritised in the author's figurative research “hierarchy” at the expense of what Dieronitou (2014) refers to as research "methodology”. 

HRM is seen by many as both normative and positivist. Positivist frameworks have however been linked to ethics, both in financial ethics (Aragon, 2010) and more so contemporarily through contributions to stakeholder theory and HRM (Greenwood, 2002).

Stakeholder theory when compared by Greenwood and Freeman (2011) to the pluralist industrial relations school (2011:275), is said to have grown in eminence in recent years, which is true. As Ferrary, (2009) argues, HR’s stakeholders are “parties” who possess “resources” that are required by the organisation to exist. Ferrary writes, “the framework of stakeholder analysis enables escape from a purely instrumental approach to HRM and avoids reducing our understanding of conflicts within companies to mere antagonism between employees and employers” (2009:31). It should be noted that Ferrary later cites Durkheim’s century-old text on value creation in the context of organisational studies.

Lastly, I will end on this revelation. In the paragraph entitled “Sustainable HRM: Is it a potential solution?” the CIPD (2019) according to a factsheet defines sustainable HRM as an ethical form of practice and delivery focused overarchingly on internal relationships, employee development, and cooperation. The author argues that sustainable HRM “recognises performance outcomes, that are broader than financial outcomes”. The CIPD’s eleven bullet point definition in this factsheet is surely a small make-peace to what may be a widespread belief that the normative and positivist approaches to HRM research in the literature are pervasive.

Enjoy your weekends.

References

1.     Aragon, G. A. (2010) ‘Normative and Positive Approaches to Financial Ethics’, in Financial Ethics. [Online]. United States: Oxford University Press

2.     Dieronitou, I. (2014) “The Ontological and Epistemological Foundations of Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Research”, International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management, 2(10), pp. 1-17

3.     Ferrary, M. (2009) “A Stakeholder’s perspective on Human Resource Management”, Journal of Business Ethics, 87(1), pp. 31-43 [Online] Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40294903

4.     Greenwood, M. R. (2002) “Ethics and HRM: A Review and Conceptual Analysis”, Journal of Business Ethics. [Online] 36(3), pp. 261–278

5.     Greenwood, M. and Freeman, R. E. (2011) “Ethics and HRM: The Contribution of Stakeholder Theory”, Business & Professional Ethics Journal, 30(3/4), pp. 269-292

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of the CIPD's Ed Houghton (2019) in a factsheet entitled "Sustainable HR: A 'green' fad, or a realistic model for change?"


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Notes on Public Value and Selective Hiring

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Friday, 1 Dec 2023, 08:49

As a postgraduate on the MSc in HRM at the Open University Business School, in a 2-part blog post, I took the liberty to summarise the basic premise of EBP with respect to Gifford’s hierarchy and the four types of evidence (Open University 1a, 2023). In my summary of Gifford’s hierarchy, I also critiqued the perspective of academic and practitioner involvement in EBP citing the work of Dr. Carol Gill, an Associate Professor of HRM at Melbourne Business School. In speaking with Dr. Gill, whose work on evidence-based knowledge and management outlines various flaws in practitioner involvement, I was interested to observe the pluralist[1] foundations in existence with respect to HRM.

Because HR’s function is primarily non-client facing, in other words, because its role is fundamentally to operationalise other departments in a manner that optimises outlay and adds value, there are added pressures internally to continuously improve[2] its core offering as a budgeted expense. The setting for this pressure is increasingly a contested showdown between staunch advocates and unwary dissenters to the implementation of EBP. The pluralist debate concerning HR’s value in this respect is principled upon the idea that both quantitative and qualitative research practices can only denigrate HR’s value (Hughes and Hughes, et. al. 2021).

Now, the case for implementing EBP into people management is a relatively recent one, so much so that as recently as October this year an online article was published in People Management (Elder and Nikodem, 2023) which agrees with my blog post on Gill (1998) and her work concerning this thing called an awareness deficit. Elder and Nikodem (2023) state, “there is [perhaps] less awareness of academic evidence” that supports the argument in favour of implementation into HR, stating this lack exists with respect to employee empowerment programs and unconscious bias training initiatives. It should be noted that a perceived lack of awareness is one of the central arguments put forward by Gill (1998).

Discovering the CIPD Professional Map and the value of selective hiring

Vandenabeele and co-authors (2013) build on the work of Moore (1995) who writes on the topic of creating value in the public sector. Their paper states that the concept of strategy as it relates to HRM should be conceptualised more robustly than Moore’s case-study orientation. In the work of Moore, he essentially argues for something referred to as “public-sector production” (1995:53) which Moore explains is a type of public value that is not associated with a “physical good” or “consumed service” but rather created in the mind of the public executive to improve the lives of “particular clients and beneficiaries”. To implement this, Moore notes, in the case of strategic implementation[3] in diversified conglomerates, that because of a nuanced business context, key personnel could develop into, what he calls a “strategic asset” (1995:68).

How does this extract from Moore relate to evidence-based practice and recruitment? Well, firstly, Moore is resonated by Leisink and Steijn (2008) who regard “selective hiring” as part of a bundle of best HR practices (2008:118). Secondly, it supports the case for selective hiring, which is regarded by several labour economists as the artistic translation for Pissarides (2000) and his search and matching formulae (Merkl and van Rens, 2019). Vandenabeele et. al. (2013) point out in their paper what Moore fails to achieve; to define a structural framework that outlines the findings of his extensive study for application in the conglomerate context. Regarding the strategic advantage of key personnel in a conglomerate, the work of Vandenabeele and co-authors is resolved by the CIPD Profession Map (Elder and Nikodem, 2023). The Professional Map sets out what the CIPD call the “international benchmark”.

References

1.     Elder, S.R. and Nikodem, M. (2023) “Considering the application and relevance of evidence-based HR”, People Management, Available at: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1845833/considering-application-relevance-evidence-based-hr [Online] (Accessed on 30 November 2023)

2.     Gill, C. (1998) “Don’t know, don’t care: An exploration of evidence-based knowledge and practice in human resource management”, Human Resource Management Review, 28(2), pp. 013-115

3.     Hughes, J., Hughes, K., Sykes, G., Wright, K. (2021) “Moving from what data are to what researchers do with them: a response to Martyn Hammersley”, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 24(3), pp. 399-400

4.     Learmonth, M. (2008) “Speaking Out: Evidence-Based Management: A Backlash Against Pluralism in Organisational Studies?”, Organization, 15(2), pp. 283-291

5.     Leisink, P. and Steijn, B. (2008) “Recruitment, Attraction and Selection”, chapter in Perry, J. and Hondeghem, A. (eds) ‘Motivation in Public Management: Call of Public Service’, Norfolk: Oxford University Press

6.     Malloch, H. (1997) Strategic and HRM Aspects of Kaizen: A Case Study. New Technology, Work, and Employment. [Online] 12 (2), pp. 108–122.

7.     Merkl, C. and van Rens, T. (2019) “Selective Hiring and Welfare Analysis in Labour Market Models”, Labour Economics, 57(1), pp.117-130

8.     Moore, M. H. (1995) ‘Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government’, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press

9.     Open University 1a (2023) “Gifford’s Hierarchy and Carol Gill on the “Knowing and Belief” Gap”, [Online] Available at https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=279019 (Accessed on 24 November 2023)

10.  Pfeffer, J. and Sutton, R. I. (2006) ‘Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management’, Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press

11.  Pissarides, C. (2000) ‘Equilibrium Unemployment Theory’, Second Edition, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press

12.  Vandenabeele, W., Leisink, P. and Knies, E. (2013) ‘Public value cation and strategic human resource management: public service motivation as a linking mechanism’, chapter in Leisink, P., Boslie, P., van Bottenburg, M. and Marie Hosking, D. ‘Managing Social Issues: A Public Values Perspective’, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 37 – 54 [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.4337/9781781006962.00010 (Accessed on 30 November 2023)



[1] Here, practitioners should be weary of what some are calling “evidence-based misbehaviour” (Learmonth, 2008) that is, insubordination with good intentions (Pfeffer and Sutton, 2006).

[2] This has been studied extensively in the UK and can be attributed directly to the Japanese management concept known as Kaizen (Malloch, 1997) which has brought forth the modern principles of Lean and Six Sigma as applied to Human Resource Management. One of the most important of these principles is of course, ‘improvement’.

[3] There is also a compelling case for operative implementation.

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by a book by Mark H. Moore entitled "Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government"

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Ulrich’s Model of HR and Alison Barber on Extensive Search

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Tuesday, 28 Nov 2023, 17:57

Have a look at Ulrich’s model of HR (see Fig 1.3). Now, even with a background in what we tend to bracket as the subject of ‘business strategy’ in the business school world, I used to be somewhat bewildered by the account of Ted Bauer on X (formerly known as Twitter). Bauer stipulated this satirical yet seemingly quasi-amusing observation that ‘strategy’ itself as a word is such a powerfully convoluted term, that it has no place in HR let alone in a recruitment operations context. I always used to reject the opinion (Ted and I were mutual followers) put forward in his often lengthy journalistic articles until one day I decided to part ways and unfollow the account. Now, a few years later, as part of the B810 class of 2023/24, the team behind the module has been speaking with us for some time now about the very real possibility of HR evolving into a business function that conducts high-level strategy in the wake of the emergence of AI in functions such as recruitment. Now, we’re not just talking about a bunch of flashy, dashboard-waving, posh-sounding recruitment advisers who re-train as strategy consultants and flood you with insights about organisational data, I mean to speak of real trustworthy strategy.

Ulrich’s quadrant is amazing for several reasons, but the main reason for me is that it provides context. The organisational settings in which these roles play out are just as important as the roles themselves. I’ve become particularly fond of Ulrich’s three-legged stool, which is essentially the canvas to his entire work of art.


Figure 1.3: Ulrich's Human Resource Champions: The Next Agenda

Strategic Partner

Change Agent

Administrative Expert

Employee Champion

Source: Ulrich (1997)


At the moment, I am currently reading the work of Alison E. Barber. Barber (1998) draws attention to two important actors, and their activities, that are integral to the performance of recruitment’s function, namely, the role of internal and external organisational agents in this respect, both in terms of attracting and matching high-quality skillsets to the organisation (1998:8). Selection is seen as different to recruitment by Barber, but particularly, suppositions are made on the point of recruitment strategy. Barber states in reference to the concept of extensive search in recruitment that, “…actions taken during this stage of recruitment [extensive search] can also be related to post-hire outcomes such as performance and turnover” (1998:18). Barber argues in favour of this in the context of Ulrich’s wider proposals on the strategic involvement of HR, which she mentions in passing in the introduction.

Fascinating insights.


References

1.     Barber, A.E. (1998) ‘Recruiting Employees: Individual and Organizational Perspectives’, SAGE Publications, Incorporated, Thousand Oaks. Available from: ProQuest e-book Central. [28 November 2023].

2.     Ulrich, D. (1997) ‘Human resource champions: The next agenda for adding value and delivering results’. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing [28 November 2023].


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Gifford's Hierarchy and Carol Gill on the "Knowing and Belief" Gap

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Friday, 24 Nov 2023, 05:25

Explaining Evidence-Based Practice in People Management

The academic literature on evidence-based practice is seemingly split into two distinct yet important themes of research. These themes are 1) real-world studies that apply evidence-based methods and 2) what we will call the theory and critique of evidence-based knowledge, and management, indeed as their own nascent domains. As we will now come to see, and as Barends, Rousseau, and Briner (2014) explain, the fundamentals of evidence-based practice can be simply described as the “conscientious”, “explicit” and “judicious” use of the best available evidence from multiple sources by Asking, Acquiring, Appraising, Aggregating, Applying, and Assessing to increase the likelihood of what Briner (2019) calls a "favourable outcome". 

The six A's he cites can be elaborated as follows:

  1. Asking: involves converting real-world circumstances into answerable questions
  2. Acquiring: involves systematically gathering evidence to answer such questions
  3. Appraising: involves thinking critically about the trustworthiness of the evidence
  4. Aggregating: involves pulling together the best bits from each source of data
  5. Applying: involves deriving a decision-making process using the evidence selected
  6. Assessing: involves evaluating the outcome of the decision taken

Source: Briner (2019)

There are generally also 4 types of evidence:

Figure 1.1: Types of Evidence

Scientific

Organisational

Experiential

Stakeholder

The findings of published academic research

Data we own ourselves as an organisation

Evidence generated through experience (with practitioners)

Valuable inputs and concerns from stakeholder groups

 Source: Barends, Rousseau and Briner (2014) 

1.2: The Hierarchy of Evidence

Evidence-Based Practice

Source: Gifford (2016)

Carol Gill's Critique of Evidence-Based Practice in Human Resource Management (HRM)

We already know that evidence-based practice in HRM is a contested territory, but the question is, do HR practitioners and academics alike understand why there is this contested arena? 

Gill (2018:103) suggests three perspectives for understanding this question. 

The first perspective is what Gill calls a lack of awareness of such a duality. In essence, here, Gill describes a situation where there are “sides” who “care” or in this case, who may not care, about the interests of the other. Gill illustrates this through evidence-based practices such as high-performance work. Generally speaking, in the view of Gill, the two “sides” are pitted against one another. Here, HRM ultimately to its own detriment, suffers from an awareness deficit that engulfs the empirical research side and the real-world practice side, respectively.

Practitioners are labeled “Machiavellian” in their intent to avoid research, which leads to the second perspective: a lack of belief from both sides or what Gill calls a “knowing and belief gap”. Gill (2018:112) states using the research content on university courses as an example, that evidence-based practice is often vacuous once students depart from university courses in HRM, which leaves practitioners vulnerable to “unreliable” sources of information further permeated by a great divide between these two respective “sides” (academics and practitioners). Gill then reiterates in proposition 1a that precariously unfavourable “attitudes” are formed from managerial beliefs about a lack of evidence-based knowledge.

The third perspective that defines Gill’s critique of evidence-based practice is what, in the backdrop of a decline in managerialism, is known through her paper as a lack of implementation. Throughout the paper, the author proposes an abbreviation known as “HPWP” otherwise known as ‘high-performance work practices. These work practices are what the Institute of Directors (2023) in a recent article published in August concedes can be a “challenging and complex process” to implement. Gill’s findings are that lack of implementation occurs once again because of a lack of belief in the link between investment in human resources and “financial performance”. Here, evidence-based knowledge must compete with what one paper interprets as its role as the organisation’s “handmaiden of efficiency”.

References

1.     Barens, E. Rousseau, D.M. and Briner, R.B. (2014) ‘Evidence-Based Management: The Basic Principles’, Amsterdam: Centre for Evidence-Based Management – Available at https://cebma.org/assets/Uploads/Evidence-Based-Practice-The-Basic-Principles.pdf (Accessed 24 November 2023)

2.     Briner, R.B. (2019) ‘The Basics of Evidence-Based Practice‘, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)  - Available at: https://www.shrm.org/executive/resources/people-strategy-journal/winter2019/pages/ebp-briner.aspx (Accessed on 24 November 2023)

3.     Gifford, J. (2016) “In search of the best available evidence”, CIPD positioning paper. London: CIPD. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/in-search-of-the-best-available-evidence_tcm18-16904.pdf (Accessed: 24 November 2023)

4.     Gill, C. (2018) “Don’t know, don’t care: An exploration of evidence-based knowledge and practice in human resource management”, Human resource management review, [Online] 28 (2), 103–115 – Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2017.06.001

5.     Institute of Directors (2023) ‘High-Performance Work Practices: A Beginners Guide’, IOD Resources Blog – Available at: https://www.iod.com/resources/blog/business-advice/high-performance-work-practices-beginners-guide/ (Accessed on 24 November 2023)

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM and was inspired by an Academy of Management Perspectives article by Rob Briner, Denise Rousseau and David Denyer (2009) entitled: “Evidence-Based Management: Concept Clean Up Time?


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Royal Economic Society (RES) Event on Inclusive Recruitment in Economics

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Monday, 29 Jan 2024, 13:55

The experiences I have had when applying for entry-level roles as an Economist in the past have not been the best, which is why I try to work ten times harder to ensure my work in recruitment is all the more exceptional for the candidates that I engage with professionally. All the more reason why I felt the need to attend the Royal Economic Society’s online Zoom event today, entitled: “Rethinking Inclusive Recruitment” which took place this morning. The Zoom event took an insightful look at the landscape for pathways into academia for female and Black Economists. We also discussed how to improve the application processes, recruitment practices, and the inclusive culture of practitioners in industry when advertising jobs associated with higher education and private-sector policy research in the field of Economics.

I did feel a sense of pride in listening to RES academics describing their respective experiences either with respect to recruitment successes in their own careers or in their respective companies. I took a lot of notes, as you do at such events. Conclusively, among the points that were delivered, the slides on female and ethnic minority recruitment in the field of Economics (by Lisa-Dionne Morris), HR’s involvement in creating a culture of inclusivity (by Faith), and strategies for increasing diversity in Economics (by Kieran) were notable.

I am thankful that RES speakers and delegates took the time to exchange ideas on the importance of social mobility, the value of the university careers centre (and its resources) in communicating career options to future Economists, and the role of student-focused charitable organisations in promoting the ethnic-minority employment gap. I very much valued the mention of the view that more needs to be done to minimise unconscious bias in recruitment - which is true. But the highlight of the event was undoubtedly when Elaine spoke on the value of workforce projections, and the landscape for health economics in research and policy.

A quick thank you to Sam from the RES and Ann for allowing us all to learn more about pathways for student recruitment - Check out SEO and Discover Economics. The next installment of the Rethinking Inclusive Recruitment events will be in person on 24 April 2024 (between 12:00 and 16:00) at the University of Westminster’s Marylebone Campus. I look forward to seeing everyone there.

 

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On The Value of Telecommuting and Flexible Work

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Monday, 20 Nov 2023, 13:50
Over the weekend, I informed one of my tutors that Société Générale once came out with a company report produced by a working committee of influential multi-departmental actors across the Group, which measured approaches to workforce planning at the start of 2020 when the lockdown began which noted that the average number of remote working days in the UK was 11 days per year. The report also noted that from 1 June 2020 – 30 June 2020, “the working group focused on listening to employees and reporting their input in an open and flexible way to enable everyone to express their feelings freely.”

Now, outside of Investment Banking, more generally, I have been impressed by the approach to institutional critique on white privilege, which Prof. Kalwant Bhopal from the University of Birmingham has been influential in sharing. This has inspired me to read the article by Abedi et. al. (2021) where the authors suggest poverty, and in particular Medicaid eligibility, had a strong correlation with the COVID-19 mortality rate in various US states. I was surprised because the health consequences of COVID-19 for those in certain parts of the United States were clear to observe from the article.

Accordingly, for many front-line professions (nursing, ride-hailing, and public sector work) critical race theory is useful in encountering the experience of both black working-class workers and low-income immigrants, particularly caregivers. This is of significant interest to the informed strategies of management through crisis, or what I discovered is referred to by Collings (2021) as “work context” (i.e. hybrid or flexible forms of work).

Collings (2021) cite Wright and McMahon (1992) early on in their paper stating that “They argued that the domain of strategic HRM encompassed ‘the determinants of decisions about HR practices, the composition of human capital resource pools, the specification of the required human resource behaviours, and the effectiveness of these decisions given various business strategies and/or competitive situations'" (Wright and McMahon, 1992, p. 298). Société Générale’s report demonstrates to a degree how important HRM was as a factor during COVID-19’s lockdown, but also how management through crisis is an interdepartmental responsibility, not just that of Human Resources.

As I mentioned earlier in my blog, there is a necessary component called ‘context’, that adds insight into the value of interdepartmental collaboration. Context allows us to see the bigger picture. I am not saying academia seems to misunderstand HR and its function in practice, rather, I am saying context is such a necessary term that I often find it has a plurality of consequences and interpretations in the literature (Johns, 2006) which can be used to critique the conclusion to Collings et. al. (2021) in rhetoric at least, if not in an obscure reality.

References

1.     Abedi, V., Olulana, O., Avula, V., Chaudhary, D., Khan, A., Shahjouei, S., Li., J. and Zand, R. (2021) “Racial, economic, and health inequality and COVID-19 infection in the United States”, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 8(3), pp. 732–42.

2.     Collings, D.G., McMackin, J., Nyberg, A.J. and Wright, P.M. (2021) ‘Strategic human resource management and COVID‐19: Emerging challenges and research opportunities’, Journal of Management Studies. Available at: https://doi-org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/10.1111/joms.12695 (Accessed: 19 November 2023)

3.     Johns, G. (2006) "The Essential Impact of Context on Organizational Behaviour", The Academy of Management Review, 31(2), pp. 386–408

4.     Société Générale Report: Future of Work: ‘Building a new work experience together at Société Générale’, July 2020 – Available at https://www.societegenerale.com/sites/default/files/documents/2020-10/future_of_work_livre_blanc_va.pdf

5.     Stuart, M., Spencer, D. A., McLachlan, C. J., Forde, C. (2021) “COVID-19 and the uncertain future of HRM: Furlough, job retention and reform”, Human Resource Management Journal, 31(4), pp. 904-917

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM and was inspired by a Forbes article entitled: "Companies with flexible remote work policies outperform on revenue growth: report"


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The Joys and Complexities for Book Hunting and OpenAI's Solitary Succession Gaff

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Monday, 20 Nov 2023, 11:24

This International Mens' Day inspired me to do some much-needed searching for one of Hilary Scarlett's Neuroscience textbooks - directly from the Open University Library. I also have to commend the Medium Editorial team for sharing a post about the Neuroscience of Flow via e-mail this weekend.

As it turns out, according to our Library team here, when a book is not in stock or available via an e-resource, Open students can gain complimentary access to the resources of other Libraries. I jumped at the opportunity to join SCONUL access to Universities such as the London School of Economics and Birbeck. But while I skimmed the list of Libraries I could access, I noticed that Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) seemed to be outside of the SCONUL scheme's remit - which is completely understandable. 

I had to contact Oxford's Bodleian Libraries on Friday, separately in order to enquire into the possibility of engaging with specific reading materials from their collections as part of their service to Non-Oxford taught postgraduates during the summer and vacation periods. The response thus far has been positive, across the board.

Now, for the other reason for this post, bear with me.

Someone anonymously shared something in the Open University's Discord channel that made me think about HR's role in contract termination (again). The share was related to the dismissal of OpenAI's former top cat, Sam Altman. Now, I have reported on hundreds if not thousands of executive appointments, and as an HR postgraduate, there are several aspects I would like to comment on here.

1) Within a well-functioning company, the Chief Executive's performance should always be subject to review. In my opinion, if a termination is to take place, it should not be as abrupt, messy, and public as the case of Mr. Altman. However, this all depends on what has been agreed in the contract of employment.

2) Was Mr. Altman unfairly dismissed? Mr. Altman is an American. But even if he were British, this would still not be an aspect I personally would be able to comment on, without a considerable set of reasons available for making him walk. Mr. Altman does appear to have an argument though. It does seem like a rather knee-jerk decision, even with his performance review taken into account.

3) What now for OpenAI and its leadership? Well, with the rise of generative artificial intelligence, OpenAI is fast becoming a popular and systemically important organisation. The company, within a matter of a few days, has moved to announce Emmett Shear as a successor to Mr. Altman. In terms of succession planning, this is an unusual set of affairs and probably not the best way to proceed if a competent board wishes to enact an orderly transition of leadership - for various reasons.


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Hilary Scarlett and the Neuroscience of Organisational Change (pt.2)

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Monday, 20 Nov 2023, 07:32

Thank you to Hilary Scarlett for taking the time out of your schedule to speak to me about your amazing journey towards your current aspirations (for all but 20 minutes) and thank you for sharing with me how we can help answer important questions with your book on the subject of change.

It was great meeting up with cognitive neuroscientist, author, and scholar Hilary Scarlett yesterday on Zoom. I told her how I used to work opposite two very capable project consultants who each led on change. I also sat beside a very well-paid BA. As I introduced my questions, I noted that what impressed me about these respective roles was the fact that they were concerned with change concurrently with operative business; these people worked on endlessly whilst the business of the department trotted alongside. So, I sort of got the impression that the business was constantly moving and always evolving. Jiras were being filed seamlessly, and Pega requests were being signed off, without interruption.

Now, as you guys know, I recently wrote in an OU blog post that stated “in the postmodern literature on organisational change, the subject is often thought of as an ontology" (Tsoukas and Chia, 2002). I asked Hilary if she would agree that neuroscience is at the forefront of the multi-disciplinary movement to help better understand organisational thought? I didn't quite get the reply I was looking for.

I then told Hilary that one of my main influences was the work of Cambridge University's Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Barbara Sahakian in a study she pioneered alongside co-author, CfEL's Professor Shai Vyakarnam entitled: "The Innovative Brain", which was published in Nature (Sahakian, et. al., 2008). Hilary's response was amazing. She gave me insight into a few prominent perspectives on change and explained that in her time as a Languages undergrad and Psychology graduate, she herself was introduced to a paper on neuroscience which convinced her that was the industry she wanted to pursue. We ended our brief conversation shortly after. 

Now, there is a widely cited academic article that focuses on the role of “context” in OB discourse (Gary Johns, 2006). Succinctly put, "context" is seen by Johns as: “the surroundings associated with phenomena which help to illuminate [sic] phenomenon, typically factors associated with units of analysis above those expressly under investigation” (Capelli and Sherer, 1991:56). Alongside this widely cited article are several other articles which reference the work of Gary Johns (2006), and which present the influence of this nature of “context” on the field of HRM. 

I shall leave us all with a question based on this premise: How relevant are cognitive models of analysis such as the Maslows and the McGregors on the emergence of HRM as an interdisciplinary field or as its own research domain? More or less important than our respective realities? 

References

1.      Cappelli, P. and Sherer, P. D. (1991) "The missing role of context in OB: The need for a meso-level approach",  Research in Organizational Behaviour, 13: pp. 55–110

2.      Chia, R. (1995) "From Modern to Postmodern Organizational Analysis", Organization Studies, 16(4), pp. 579-604

3.      Johns, G. (2006) "The Essential Impact of Context on Organizational Behaviour", The Academy of Management Review, 31(2), pp. 386–408

4.      Tsoukas, H. and Chia, R. (2002) “On organizational becoming: rethinking organizational change”, Organization Science, 13(5), pp. 567+

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of Barbara Sahakian (2008) in a Nature article entitled: "The Innovative Brain".

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Hilary Scarlett and the Neuroscience of Organisational Change (pt.1)

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Friday, 17 Nov 2023, 06:42

I have two important meetings this week. The first is an AGM with the Peckham Branch of the Constituency Labour Party, where I hope to learn more about the elected role of Trade Union Liaison Officer, and the second is a meeting with scholar and author, Hilary Scarlett, whose recently published Kogan Page textbook: "Neuroscience for Organisational Change: An Evidence-based Practical Guide to Managing Change" (2019) is all the rage. I remember our first encounter almost like it was yesterday. We were first introduced to ourselves in mid-2016 when I managed to find the time to go to an in-person annual HRM conference event at Westminster Business School, where Hilary spoke very impressively to a packed audience in one of Westminster's many lecture theatres on the topic of the intersection between organisational change, neuroscience, and the subject of post-merger integration alongside Ted Smith of the Wellcome Trust. Hilary's work on change has been very well summarised by Julie Lister from Westminster in the literature available in the Library. I am hopefully going to get the opportunity to ask Hilary a lot of questions about the influence of neuroscience on change. She's probably the world's foremost authority on the subject.

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Loughborough's Peter Ackers, Cranfield's Emma Parry and Zeno's Paradox

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Thursday, 11 Jan 2024, 03:16

Last Wednesday, I wrote a brief e-mail to Peter Ackers asking the prolific Industrial Relations academic to interpret which book or article or indeed which critical perspective he would decide holds the most influence in Alan Fox's extended oeuvre. 

"Is it Unitarism, Pluralism, or Marxist / Radical? " I asked Prof. Ackers, hoping for enlightenment.

Fast forward an academic week and I finally got that long-awaited reply from Peter Ackers yesterday:

"Hello Alfred, Good to hear from you & pleased you found the idea of neo-pluralism interesting. As you'll see from the bottom reference below, I'm still developing this. The old Industrial Relations Pluralism was fairly narrowly based on conflict between trade unions and employers within the IR system. My 1st IRJ piece in 2002 tried to expand this for contemporary society, where unions are weaker, there are other forms of 'voice' & there are tensions between work & family life. Your blog & question are interesting. All 3 frames are still in play, but within academic Employment Relations the main debate is between neo-pluralism & a radical- pluralism based on Fox's later writing. At the same time, much of management thought is unitarist, assuming simple shared interests between management & employees."

Interesting response from Peter Ackers. More here.

Let's get started!

Today's blog post focuses on a critical perspective of HR in what I will argue is HR's gradual excursion into Zeno's paradox of motion. To illustrate, I will begin with an anecdote. When I first joined Société Générale as a Data Analyst intern in May 2014, I was invited to a social event at an illustrious venue in the City - 1 America Square - by the Head of Human Resources, Benjamin Higgens. This was the first informal encounter I had with colleagues from other departments in the bank. By the time I departed from the role in the following year, I had learned enough about the corporate banking industry to move on; I informed my manager of my intent to leave, and a letter of termination was issued by a HR clerk in the following days. Upon reflection, it is easy to see that HR was indeed the first and last form of representation that I had engaged with. Although, HR is arguably an integral part of any successful business operating model, its strategic role in practice is perhaps not as well understood as it could potentially be.

There is a philosophy borrowed from Ancient Greece that may very well have inspired the thinking behind how modern sports analysts observe the reasons behind why some sprinters are so much more exceptional in comparison to other athletes, particularly across generations. Zeno’s paradox of motion states that “the fast runner Achilles can never overtake the slow-moving tortoise” (Wesley, 1980; Tsoukas and Chia, 2002). What has this got to do with changes in HR’s function? Well, likewise, in the field of research, it is often worthwhile to occasionally take a step back and evaluate the successes and shortcomings of change in organisations. Why? Because as academics and practitioners, change does not necessarily signal progression. This blog post will argue that the evolving role of human resource management (HRM) is suffering from a gradual excursion into Zeno’s paradox.

As this blog post explains, using a three-part framework with real-world examples, there are notable ‘drivers’ of change that have influenced comparatively less ethical consideration in the workplace, particularly in HR. This three-part framework corresponds to the ‘TOP’ framework found in the work of Parry and Bondarouk, where a significant driver of change is the concept of Technology or e-HRM (Bondarouk et. al., 2017; Fernandez and Gallardo-Gallardo, 2021; Shipton, et. al., 2017; Tansley et. al., 2014; Poba-Nzaou, et al., 2020). According to Parry and Bondarouk, much of the change in HR’s function has come as the result of web or cloud-based innovations that have emerged within the last 15-20 years. We already know that changes in HR tech over time can be understood in many ways, for example, through ‘rates of adoption’ (Marler and Parry, 2016; Poba-Nzaou et al., 2020). Questions of relevance are important to consider. Has the uptake of HR tech been universal? Through the prism of impact, or ‘degrees of automation’. Has the uptake of HR tech been competitive or transformational (Diaz-Fernandez et. al., 2017; Tansley et. al., 2014)? How do we better understand the impact of changes in HR’s function through tech innovation?

The second significant driver of change is Organisational. HR’s function is already a delicate one. It involves coercive and rhetorical enforcement of the employee-employer relationship with a view to protecting against the possibility of overt breaches and instances of vicarious liability, especially in the world of infrastructure finance. The foresight of any repudiation of a binding contract is a necessary function of HR in the modern workplace. Such rhetorical enforcement is indicative of a shift to the ‘human resource’ professional approach beyond the realm where formal procedures are merely followed, as opposed to a ‘personnel’ management approach, increasingly as large corporates seek to guard themselves against expensive litigation. Take repudiation as one such instance (Cabrelli and Zahn, 2012; Cabrelli and Zahn, 2013) or as in ‘Société Générale vs Raphael Geys (2012)’, where the ‘automatic’ and ‘elective’ theories of repudiation are annotated by the Rt. Hon. Justice, Lord Sumption.

In the postmodern literature on organisational change, the subject is often thought of as an ontology (Tsoukas and Chia, 2002). There are weak ontologies and strong ontologies of becoming in what Chia (1995) emphasises is a transient reality. But it is how the organisation is philosophically viewed that is of the essence. Surveillance, particularly ‘hierarchal surveillance’, has been noted by some HRM academics as an externality that is all too perceivable in modern HR (Kamoche and Newenham-Kahindi, 2012).

Finally, the third driver of change is what the TOP framework references as People. This is akin to shifts in the modes and practices of work (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004; Nwachukwu, 2016).

The TOP framework suggests that HR’s function is adoptive towards digitisation (Fernandez and Gallardo-Gallardo, 2021). However, is this sort of adoption ethical? In a series of qualitative interviews with over 40 respondents from HR, the evidence that one academic presents suggests that HR actively engages in what this blog post will refer to as the 3D’s of unethical HRM - distancing, depersonalising, and dissembling. The respondents achieved the 3D’s in their workplace relationships by neutralising any moral imputes to the role of HR (De Gama et. al., 2012). What does this tell us? Well, it corroborates the view that the rhetoric of digitisation is not always ethical (Legge, 2005). As such, concerns with workforce mobility (Bader et. al., 2023; Harzing et. al., 2020) and imbalances in cross-cultural talent identification (McDonnell et. al., 2023) as an inherent responsibility of the multi-stakeholder model have possibly led to more contested outcomes in the present day.

Aside from the ethicality of the changes I have highlighted in the TOP framework, research on the acquisition by HR professionals of new competencies coincides quite well with Zeno’s paradox. According to the interviews which inform Arthur Yueng’s rendition of the HR competency model (Yueng et. al., 1996), only 10-15% of HR professionals possess the necessary competencies for a transition into a new reinvented business function.

This blog post has shown how HR follows the pattern of Zeno’s paradox. Philosophical and rhetorical changes in HR’s function are an evolving, and multi-faceted concept but in a multi-stakeholder model, these changes are usually unaligned to more rapid changes in business strategy. Using a three-part framework, I have shown how driving factors in the form of the Parry and Bondarouk framework continue to affect the evolving role of HR in practice.

Practitioners should embrace the concept of change in HR’s function, but practice should be informed by evidence founded in relevant areas of empirical research. Developing strategies of competitive advantage with respect to wider operating models.

References

1.        Bader, B., Bucher, J. and Sarabi, A. (2023) “Female expatriates on the move? Gender diversity management in global mobility”, Human Resource Management Journal, [Preprint] – Available at https://doi.org/10.1111/1748-8583.12529

2.        Bondarouk, T., Parry, E. and Furtmueller, E. (2017) “Electronic HRM: four decades of research on adoption and consequences”, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), pp. 98-131 - Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2016.1245672

3.        Bowen, D.E. and Ostroff, C. (2004) “Understanding HRM–Firm Performance Linkages: The Role of the “Strength” of the HRM System”, The Academy of Management review, 29(2), pp. 203–221. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2004.12736076.

4.        Cabrelli, D. & Zahn, R. (2012) “The Elective and Automatic Theories of Termination at Common Law: Resolving the Conundrum?”, Industrial Law Journal (London). [Online] 41 (3), 346–357

5.        Cabrelli, D. & Zahn, R. (2013) “The Elective and Automatic Theories of Termination in the Common Law of the Contract of Employment: Conundrum Resolved?”, Modern Law Review. [Online] 76 (6), 1106–1119

6.        Cooke, F. L., Xiao, Q. and Xiao, M. (2020) “Extending the frontier of research on (strategic) human resources in China: A review of David Lepak and colleagues’ influence and future research direction”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(1), pp.183-224 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2020.1803949

7.        Chia, R. (1995). From Modern to Postmodern Organizational Analysis. Organization Studies, 16(4), 579-604 – Available at https://doi.org/10.1177/017084069501600406

8.        De Gama, N., McKenna, S. and Peticca-Harris, A. (2012) “Ethics and HRM: Theoretical and Conceptual Analysis: An Alternative Approach to Ethical HRM Through the Discourse and Lived Experiences of HR Professionals”, Journal of Business Ethics, 111(1), pp. 97–145 - Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1479-z

9.        Diaz-Fernandez, M., Bornay-Barrachina, M. and Lopez-Cabrales, A. (2017) HRM practices and innovation performance: a panel-data approach. International Journal of Manpower. [Online] 38 (3), 354–372.

10.     Fernandez, V. & Gallardo-Gallardo, E. (2021) “Tackling the HR digitalization challenge: key factors and barriers to HR analytics adoption”. Competitiveness Review. [Online] 31 (1), 162–187

11.     Harzing, A., Shea . X. and Kohler, T. (2020) “How you see me, how you don’t: ethnic identity self-verification in interactions between local subsidiary employees and ethnically similar expatriates”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(19), pp. 2407-2433 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2018.1448294

12.     Kamoche, K. and Newenham-Kahindi, A. (2012) “Knowledge appropriation and HRM: the MNC experience in Tanzania”, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(14), pp. 2854-2873 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2012.671507

13.     Kochan, T. A. and Barocci, T. A. (1995) ‘Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations: Text, Readings and Cases’, Scott Foresman, and Company

14.     Legge, Karen. (2005) ‘Human Resource Management : Rhetorics and Realities’, Anniversary ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

15.     Marler, J. H. and Parry, E. (2016) “Human Resource Management, Strategic Involvement and e-HRM Technology”, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(19), pp. 2233-2253 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2015.1091980

16.     McDonnell, A., Skuza, A., Jooss, S. and Scullion, H. (2023) “Tensions in talent identification: a multi-stakeholder perspective”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 34(6), pp. 1132-1156 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2021.1976245

17.     Morrow, T. (2000) “Integrating human resource management and business strategy in the Northern Ireland clothing industry: A case of oil and water?”, IBAR, 21(1), pp. 131-146

18.     Nwachukwu, C. (2016) “Investigating the linkage between competitive strategy and human resource management practices in Nigeria medium-sized enterprises”, Liverpool John Moores University – Doctor of Philosophy - Available at http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4198/1/2016NwachukwuCelestinephd.pdf

19.     Nwachukwu, C. and Akwei, C. (2023) “An exploration of contextual factors affecting the nexus of competitive strategy and human resource management practices in Nigeria emerging market context”, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 34(16), pp. 3079-3122 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2022.2104128

20.     Poba-Nzaou, P. et al. (2020) ‘Taxonomy of business value underlying motivations for e-HRM adoption: An empirical investigation based on HR processes’, Business process management journal, 26(6), pp. 1661–1685. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-06-2018-0150

21.     Shipton, H., Sparrow, P., Budhwar, P. and Brown, A. (2017) “HRM and innovation: Looking across levels”, Human Resource Management Journal, 27(2), pp. 246-263 - Available at https://doi.org/10.1111/1748-8583.12102

22.     Société Générale London Branch v. Raphael Geys (2012), UK Supreme Court, UKSC 63 - Available at https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2011-0110-judgment.pdf

23.     Tansley, C., Kirk, S., Williams, H., Barton, H., Parry, E. and Strohmeier, S. (2014) “Tipping the scales: ambidexterity practices on e-HRM projects”, Employee relations. [Online] 36 (4), 398–414.

24.     Tsoukas, H. and Chia, R. (2002) “On organizational becoming: rethinking organizational change”, Organization Science, 13(5), pp. 567+

25.     Walsh, C., Glendinning, S., Dawson, R. J., O’Brien, P., Heidrich, O., Rogers, Christopher, D. F., Bryson, J. R. and Purnell, P. (2022) “A Systems Framework for Infrastructure Business Models for Resilient and Sustainable Urban Areas”, Frontiers in Sustainable Cities (Open Access) 4(1) - Available at https://doi.org/10.3389/frsc.2022.825801

26.     Wesley C. S, (1980) ‘Space, Time, and Motion’, Minneapolis: the University of Minnesota Press – Available at https://personal.lse.ac.uk/ROBERT49/teaching/ph103/2013-2014/pdf/Salmon-Zeno.pdf

27.     Yueng, A., Woolcock, P., and Sullivan, J. (1995) “Identifying and developing HR competencies for the future: Keys to sustaining the transformation of HR functions”, The California Strategic Human Resource Partnership, 19(4), pp. 48-58


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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of Peter Ackers in an International Journal of Human Resource Management article entitled: “Neo-pluralism as a theoretical framework for understanding HRM in sub-Saharan Africa

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Kolb on Managerial Learning Styles

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Sunday, 19 Nov 2023, 01:14

I booked a long overdue break from my studies yesterday in order to reflect on some of my recent learnings both in academia and in practice this week. My B810 tutor was adamant that reflective learning (and by extension, experiential learning) were models we should embrace. One of the main conclusions I picked up from the tutorial was that there are two different types of learning styles with respect to middle managers. The first type I discovered was accommodative. This is largely an experiential approach to learning reliant upon intuition rather than logic. The second important type is assimilative. This type of learning is more concerned with concepts and what David Kolb (1976) called reflective observation. 

As Kolb explains, middle managers solve problems in one of two ways using these learning styles. The first of these problem-solving strategies is referred to as successive scanning and the second of which is referred to as simultaneous scanning. Kolb uses these intricate differences to inform his conclusion, which stipulates that learning should be pursued in the same way that productivity or profit is pursued.

Luckily, I didn’t spend the whole day reading into the literature, I did manage to do other things.

1. I joined the People Geek community – which is an online community dedicated to promoting the growth of over 35,000 HR professionals across the globe. The community is managed by the brilliant DeMario Bell who I am indebted to for extending an invitation.

2. I found a bit of time in the morning to reach out to Prof. Peter Ackers at Loughborough University to discuss his article on HRM in sub-Saharan Africa.

3. I asked a few online friends where the best place to study is in London, and the consensus seems to be - The British Library reading room.

What did I learn about myself whilst I was on my reflective break? Well, I came to the realisation that fundamentally, my learning style is as equally as assimilative as it is accommodative.

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of David A. Kolb (1976) in a California Management Review article entitled “Management and the Learning Process”.


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Fox’s Frames of Reference

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Monday, 13 Nov 2023, 07:05

Had a fascinating B812 tutorial today. Whilst attempting to form an opinion on the differences between Pluralism and Unitarism, guided by the direction provided by Dr Gill. I kept seeing the work of the late Alan Fox (an author who is undoubtedly a popularly cited authority in the field) on Pluralism.

An interesting read I found refers to a discussion that I would like to share. The e-book defines the term “Employment Relations” as possessing a context which internalises the conflict between institutional groups, (mainly managers and unions), which is typically considered distinct from the focus of what we refer to as “Human Resource Management (HRM)”. The latter is often viewed as a way of describing the critical perspectives on managerial business functions such as appraisal, recruitment, and interviewing.

So, as the title of the post alludes to the e-book introduces a term coined by Alan Fox referred to as “frames of reference”. We are then introduced to Pluralism in the following paragraphs. Fox’s 1966 paper: “A Note on Industrial-Relations Pluralism” is a good primer on this. 

As a peer mediator in my school days, I was certainly intrigued by the practical balance that may be achieved through approaches founded on unitarism, but inherently I was drawn toward the middle ground. I reluctantly chose to fence sit. Somewhere between Fox's unitarian perspective and Fox's radical perspective.

Neo-pluralism.

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of Peter Ackers in an International Journal of Human Resource Management article entitled: “Neo-pluralism as a theoretical framework for understanding HRM in sub-Saharan Africa”.


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A Message from Dr. Carol Gill

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Wednesday, 8 Nov 2023, 17:43

Yesterday was a busy day. I attended my first B810 lecture and wrote to Dr. Carol Gill, from the University of Melbourne, whom I mentioned in a previous OU Blog post. This was what I wrote:

"I came across a point you made regarding developmental humanism, which prompted me to ask - what kind of philosophy are you an advocate for with respect to the spectrum between developmental humanism and harder forms of HRM?"

To my surprise, Dr. Gill sent me this email reply last night:

"There is a debate between Pluralism and Unitarianism with the latter suggesting they are not mutually exclusive I.e. if you go for developmental humanism you will achieve organisation productivity through commitment and engagement of the workforce that use their discretionary effort towards organisation goals and values. I hold this view - it is also the ethical path. However, instrumentalism may work if discretionary effort is not required.

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of Carol Gill in a Human Resource Management Review article entitled: “Don't know, don't care: An exploration of evidence-based knowledge and practice in human resource management


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Encountering Gill on Evidence-Based Practice

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Tuesday, 21 Nov 2023, 18:58

Short post today. 

There exists a gem of an article, that I suspect many are attuned to, so I will be very brief with my own interpretation. The article is by Dr. Carol Gill of Melbourne Business School. Dr. Gill’s article is interesting in that it establishes the argument that the HR profession has not really changed much in the last 25 – 30 years (which is a very long time horizon and somewhat of an odd claim to have made if not only due to advances we've all experienced in digital technology).

But, the more important fact is that the human resource profession seemingly, according to Gill, exudes itself through a pellucid vortex of insufficient academic oversight. Central to Gill’s position in this article is the view that current industry approaches (and more so, by extension, its rhetorical domain) are not siphoned enough to contemporary models of practice through informed research.

An interesting view.

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of Carol Gill in a Human Resource Management Review article entitled: “Don't know, don't care: An exploration of evidence-based knowledge and practice in human resource management

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On the Supposed Truth Behind the Uptake of Corporate Wellness Programs

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Edited by Alfred Anate Mayaki, Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023, 12:13

For today’s post, I decided to use a text from a famous author in 20th-century post-structuralist philosophy to critique a flaw in the thinking behind perceptions of corporate wellbeing. As HRM students, we already know that uptake into wellness programs, which are typically designed to coerce seemingly unproductive employees into adopting “healthy habits”, is not always 100% across the board – but also, we know that there are different ways of measuring the power dynamics (referred to as “health nannyism” by one author) and the ultimate success of such programs.

These two points are arguably dependent on a number of broader factors one of which is the conceptualisation of absenteeism. In Ronald J. Ozminkowski’s analysis, the view of absenteeism (a subject that I touched upon in a previous post) serves a particular purpose. What is the intended outcome? Well, because absenteeism is not defined holistically by Ozminkowski, absenteeism could feasibly be due to a very wide selection of causes - little attempt is made to distinguish differences between reasons for employee absence and indeed absence is taken as a given. A troubling view.

Another view here is found in the work of Hull and Pasquale (2017:207) in their article, “Towards a Critical Theory of Corporate Wellness”, which is worthy of discussion. Very rarely do I see the work of French poststructuralist philosopher Michael Foucault cited in conjunction with concepts found in dense non-epistemological topics, but Hull and Pasquale have attempted this. In The Truth of Wellness, Hull, and Pasquale promote the idea that there is a predominant, complete, and resonating “truth”, one which explains the how and why behind corporate wellness programs (and by extension, its causes) to the practice of delivering on corporate wellbeing. This is one that I find to be somewhat denigrating to the idea and definition of universal truth, in and of itself.

Having first been introduced to Michel Foucault by Dr. Sam Mansell (now of the University of St. Andrews) in a presentation Dr. Mansell gave during his time as a Lecturer at the University of Essex, I recalled a paper ResearchGate once suggested, authored by Lemke entitled: “Critique and Experience in Foucault” as being one of the first real excursions into pure philosophy that I was blessed enough to have read as a student.

Lemke (2011) famously translates the work of Foucault in Rarity: Problemization as a History of Truth where he supposes the question: “How do I have to be, in order to be"? Now, if we consider the nature of the question, there are any number of suppositions that could make the above argument concerning the truth of wellness programs by Hull and Pasquale (2017) seem contestable. Truth is something that resonates with us all and is something that we all identify with. So, it is not just a feat of epistemologically unquantifiable proportions to suggest that corporate wellness exists in isolation as a complete perception, but also it is very troubling that a human perception of this should be rendered as evidentially complete.

Just thought I would land that point.

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This post was written by Alfred Anate Mayaki, a student on the MSc in HRM, and was inspired by the work of Gordon Hull and Frank Pasquale (2017) in an article entitled “Towards A Critical Theory of Corporate Wellness” and the work of Ronald J. Ozminkowski as found in an e-book edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen (2014) entitled "Corporate Wellness Programs"

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