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Organizations Need Character and Value

Do organizations need Character and Value ? Should its only aim be PROFITS?? Can an Organization’s success be measured only by its economic success and/or how it has grown from what it was and in how many countries it has its business operations??? Questions are many. HR has to play a role in answering these questions. It assumes importance especially when the economy is opening up and there is ingression of many MNCs to our soil.

In my opinion HR in India is maturing with lot many qualified HR people entering the field. I also find opening up of the economy has also given us an opportunity to know, understand and objectively assess HR practices of other than Indian companies, relate it to their success or otherwise, place it with our own practices and psychological bench-marking, and then accept of reject it.

We always say and it is well accepted fact that:

(a) Organization is a legal entity and
(b) a social member.

Law recognizes it as a citizen of India – i.e. it has legal entity and legal personality. We also recognize it as a member of Society. We, therefore, talk about Legal responsibility of an Organization (some of those came to light in Reliance case) and also Social Responsibility of an Organization.

I also find that HR is investigating itself. Questions like:

• Does HR has a future in view of onslaught of Outsourcing ?
• Has HR its own identity, if so can we define or redefine it; and/or can we nomenclature it to give and express its proper identity ?
• Can an HR professional become a CEO ?

All these confusions and questions, in my opinion, are due to the fact that the type and variety of activities we handle, issues we address and involve in and absence or presence of it in an Organization. In some of the Organizations there is only recruitment, in some only administration and time-office functions and in some only welfare so on and so forth and most of the time you are not part of Organizational strategic planning exercise (which has its own aura and status attached to it). We forget to recognize that we are dealing with PEOPLE and, therefore, everything concerning him – all pervading and his existence itself. It is like one getting associated with life itself – organizational and individual – and being part of it as long as there is life.

Organization is (a) By the People (b) Of the People and (c) For the People and HR is all in it. Organization’s identity is HR’s identity. You are in it through the expressions of human beings.

Human beings give personality to an Organization and HR shapes those human beings associated with the Organization.

It is in this context, I feel, that each Organization assumes collective Character and Values and expresses it as its Values and Characters. Since it is administered through the existing leader – call him CEO – it is identified with him. At the bottom organization assumes CEO’s personality and at a evolved stage an Organization by itself assumes a personality – therefore character and values - which are held independent of CEO and administered accordingly by all including by CEO.

Organizations therefore need their own Character, Value system, culture which HR needs to help evolve and establish. It can not be just an expression of people it holds including its CEO at a given moment of time; on the contrary it should be other way round.

It also should be noted, since an Organization is a member of a society it can not have distinctly independent culture, value systems and practices which can not co-exist and resonate with that of society of which it is a member or opts to be a member.

Note : This is an exercise in loud thinking and one may find a disjoint in the way thoughts are presented. The purpose is served if members on the circle start thinking on these lines and relate the issues to those bothering HR. 

Contributed by V Kamat 

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