HR Management Gurus; Fact or Fad?

“Predictive programming is the idea that society embeds messages into pop culture media and other modes of transmission in order to psychologically prepare and incubate the general population for certain events.”
It is, of course, a conspiracy theory.

If you already suspected that ‘the man‘ was attempting to control your mind, then your pre-theoretical view would have been confirmed by the above analysis, and you will be feeling pleased with your natural insight. If you thought otherwise, I suspect you will be seeking to look for holes and weaknesses in the theory. 

The majority of works in Human Resource is derived from theories, a significant amount of it from ‘gurus’ in the field, these are practitioners with vast amount of experience. These include Elton Mayo who taught us how to build effective teams; Henry Mintzberg who told us about the different structures of an organization; and F.W Taylor who revolutionized workflows and how they can aid efficiency.

The strength of these theories largely stems from the fact that those who have experience are often the best placed to explain and discuss what works and what does not work. They provide practical guidelines based on real life experience as opposed to pseudo-scientifically laboratory tested theories with no practical basis. As anyone who has had to apply theory to real-life situations that involve human beings will quickly realize, they complicate things!  Thus, having the wise counsel of those who have come before is beneficial.

The weakness of theories from gurus is that the research base is not rigorously collated, they mainly focus on providing ideas about getting results in practice rather than debating the academic merits of competing ideas. They, are largely prescriptive and are not usually based on robust research, evidence and valid argumentation. They tend to be based on one person’s experience, but this is no basis for a scientific and generalisable conclusions. Thus, what might have worked in one situation may not work in another as variables such as organisational size, culture, social-economic status, poverty levels, and management styles differ.

With great respect as always, I’m of the opinion that insights from various gurus and their theories ought to assist you in developing a frame of mind for perceiving and evaluating your H.R needs. These insights should be utilized for developing an independent and critical intelligence so that you can interpret the various cases you encounter as you aid people to put out their best work.

So for the initial question of  ‘H.R Gurus fact or fad?’, I guess the jury is still out.

What do you think?


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