Modelling The role of Human Resource Management in the Innovation Chain

International Employment Relations Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Employment Relations Review, 2011, 17 (2), pp. 1 - 20
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Standard learning tools may fall short of achieving desired organisational outcomes. Defective learning means staff learning and competencies may be compromised, hence important organisational activities such as innovation. The primary role of Human Resources Management (HRM) in innovative organisations is to create a climate for innovation. This means HRM and the innovation leaders should be aware of any deficiencies in the learning processes. This is necessary because learning and creativity are essential foundations for innovation. The paper highlights the role of HRM in modern organisations, and that innovation activities are part of the evolutionary chain. The innovation chain begins with transformation into knowledge based, then into a learning organisation and finally into innovative enterprises. The paper also shows that during this evolutionary process, both HRM and transformational leaders have significant and critical roles to ensure that their organisations proceed with innovation by avoiding or addressing two types of organisational defects; namely learning defects (Learning Gaps) and also innovation defects (Innovation Gaps). In addition, the paper highlights the relationship between learning gaps and innovation gaps. Furthermore, the paper also shows that both learning and innovation gaps are also related to knowledge gaps. The learning gaps are shown to comprise of five types of gaps, namely: problem solving gaps, experimentation gaps, learning from past experience gaps, learning from others' experiences gaps, and transferring knowledge gaps. Similarly, innovation gaps are shown to be one or all of the three types of innovation gaps, namely: product innovation gaps, process innovation gaps and organisational innovation gaps. Further work is required to analyse the importance of each type of gap on organisational performance and the process of innovation. The role of an innovation leader is shown to be overlapping with HRM's role in areas such as coaching, motivating and rewarding.
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