OBHR 428: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Instructor: Professor Chris Berger
Office Hours: After Class or by appointment
Administrative Assistant: Sherry Fisher
Office: Krannert 430
Course Objectives: The object of this course is to introduce you to, help you learn, and learn to apply modern Human Resource Management (HRM) policies and practices. As such, we are interested in how HRM can be used to create and implement competitive advantages in different types of firms, and how and to what degree Human Resources can increase the effectiveness of the firm. Based on the best available theory, empirical research, and organizational practice we will work to develop a sound understanding of the capabilities (and limits) of leading edge Human Resource Management. The course is taught from the perspective of the general manager, rather than an HRM specialist. As such it focuses on the application and effects of Human Resource Management, and how the HR System can increase the effectiveness of the firm.
The course is also designed to increase each student’s personal knowledge and skills needed to guide their own careers, and to play constructive roles as managers. Topics focusing on the nature of managerial work, recruiting, selection, performance measurement and feedback, compensation, employee benefits, and others are designed to help students understand how their own careers will be affected by each of these systems, and the roles they must play as managers responsible for executing each of these systems. “You are responsible for your own career”. The more knowledge you have the more successfully you will be able to manage your career.
Implicit in these objectives is my concern for each student’s professional and personal development. I would like to see each of you be very aware of your role in managing the firm’s human resources (whether your job is in the HR function or not), as well as being knowledgeable and skilled in various human resource issues that will affect you, your career, and the people with whom you work.
To be effective in this end, each student must play an active role in his/her own development. Many of the specific assignments and policies detailed below are designed to this end. At multiple points during the course, I will seek your input and feedback on a more formal basis. I also invite you to tell me about your concerns, interests and needs at any point during the course.
Chris Berger’s Teaching Philosophy
We need not listen to CEO’s, Boards of directors, Annual Reports for very long before we hear or see the (nearly obligatory) proclamation that “People are our most important asset.” Many managers and executives also argue, “people skills” are a matter of experience and “street smarts” and cannot be taught in the classroom. Rather, managing people well is simply a matter of keen intuition, experience, and common sense (and perhaps an ample dose of jargon and buzz words as well).
How would your manager react if you tried to justify an expensive marketing program or a large capital investment with only intuition and “common sense”? Marketing and Finance are important to business enterprises because they work—they allow us to accurately justify our Management decisions and to analyze their effectiveness. Should not managing individuals, teams, and the entire Human Resource System also draw on our systematic (and tested) knowledge and then evaluate subsequent effectiveness?
Indeed a great deal of empirically based knowledge about how best to manage the organization’s Human Resources currently exists, and continues to expand at a rapid pace. To ignore this knowledge is to pass up the opportunity to develop and advance a sustained...
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