ISSN 1175-5407

NZJHRM 2009 Second Special Issue Volume 9(2): HRM & Performance

Welcome to the second of our set of Special Editions of the New Zealand Journal of Human Resource Management (NZJHRM). The idea behind the current set of Special Issue’s was trying to promote emerging research and researchers from New Zealand and Australasia undertaking research of interest to Human Resource Management professionals, academics, and researchers.

As with the first issue, a number of these papers were presented at the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Conference in Auckland 2008 and again, I would like to thank the reviewers for their initial work with the conference.

This Special Issue focuses heavily on Australia as well as exploring China and Asia. Another common theme in this Special issue is the focus on employee retention, which is a key HRM focus especially towards skilled labour, irrespective of the type of labour market. Overall, I see the lessons found here as providing lessons for New Zealand employers and HRM professionals, and should provide greater understanding of commonalities in HRM within our Australasian region.

This Special Issue is focused upon papers with a link to performance – an obvious area of interest for HRM professionals. The first paper by John Chelliah, Natalia Nikolova and Doug Davis is a theoretical piece looking at outsourcing and the ways that organizations and outsourcing providers can improve the relationship for mutual benefits.

They identify key factors for building success from both the academic and practitioner literature, and build a conceptual model which will benefit both outsourcing consultants and the organizations that use them. The growth of the contingent worker means that HRM professionals may have to deal with ever increasing complexities in managing these relationships, and as such, understanding key success factors will be invaluable for those dealing with such issues.

The second paper by Megan Paull, Maryam Omari and April Beeton looks at the booming natural resources sector in Australia, and how employers in this sector might boost employee retention.
Using a case study of a large Australian warehouse, the authors found a number of factors were important for retaining staff including the enjoyment of working in teams, as well as the pay and hours. Further, a number of detrimental factors were found and importantly, the organization at the centre of the case study has already sought to adopt strategies to meet the identified concerns, highlighting the important role that research can have on practice.

The third paper by Ying Zhang and Michelle Wallace focuses on the chronic skill shortages amongst key employees in the construction industry in China.
A survey of 400 managers and technical staff identified a number of factors towards retention including fair treatment, training opportunities, and challenging and interesting work. The authors also identified some aspects relating to Chinese workplace culture and make recommendations regarding implementing retention strategies adapted from the western context in China.

The next paper by Val Siemionow looks at Senior Executives in the Australian Public Service and the performance impact of contract employment.
Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, the author found that despite the change being promoted as enhancing performance, there was little support for such benefits. Respondents noted the disassociation between the performance appraisal and the terms and conditions of employment. This resulted in perceptions of limited sanctions for poor performance and little incentive for superior performance. NZJHRM 2009 Special Issue: HRM & Performance Editorial Page | 71 NZJHRM 9(2), 70-71.

The fifth paper by Jacqui Larkin and Ruth Neumann explores the role of academia towards career management for older employees.
Given the ever increasing age of the global workforce, such studies provide insight into an area of increasing importance. The study explored publically available resources on careers amongst 16 Australian universities and found limited evidence of retirement preparation and succession planning documents. This study is timely given the current climate of a ‘war for talent’ amongst academics in the entire Australasian region. They suggest retention issues could be addressed through innovative and flexible HRM strategies including reward and recognition, work-life balance, career development and the re-conceptualisation of academic work.

Our final paper by Swe Swe Than, Linda Trenberth and Neil Conway uses structural equation modeling to test the influence of management development systems on firm performance through a number of Asian companies and comparing this with European data.
Findings show the management development system is significantly linked with HR outcomes, which in turn influences the performance of the firm. Importantly, differences were found in location (specifically Asia versus Europe) and firm size (i.e., SMEs and Large), which provides useful insight into the potential effects here in New Zealand.

In addition to the five papers, we also have for the first time two book reviews, both courtesy of Kristen Cooper.
This feature is intended to provide our readers with some guide to the latest book releases that might be of interest and benefit to our readers. Both reviews are crisp and succinct and should provide you with some direction to whether these are worth adding to your bookshelf at work.

I hope you enjoy this second Special Issue for 2009 and its international breadth and particular focus on performance. While our nearest neighbor dominates this issue, there is enough transferability between our countries to provide strong insight to the New Zealand HR professional. As the economy begins to show signs of recovery, HR professionals will still be required to recruit and retain top talent, while managers seek to leverage their firm’s HR to greater performance.

I hope this Special Issue will provide some insights, tips and directions about how retaining and leveraging employees can be beneficial for both firm and worker. Again, my thanks to those who reviewed for this set of Special Issues and the editorial team at NZJHRM. Thank you!

Associate Professor Jarrod Haar, University of Waikato

September 2009

NZJHRM 2009 Special Issue: HRM and Performance

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