Research set to reveal secrets of HR innovation18 February 2013

Upamali Amarakoon, PhD student, UQ Business School

Senior HR professionals in organisations with over 100 staff are being invited to take part in research on the role of innovation in HR. The project, which is being carried out at UQ Business School and led by PhD student Upamali Amarakoon, will be the first major study to examine how firms can use innovative HR practices to outperform competitors. It will seek to answer questions such as: What forms would HR innovation take? What sort of HR professionals would initiate it? How can it help firms to outperform competitors? And what is the role of top management? Upamali said: “We know that innovation enables organisations to compete better yet the main focus of practitioners and academics in the past has been on technical innovations and HR innovation has escaped their attention. This is surprising considering that many firms, big and small, claim their people are their biggest asset. What’s more, academics have for years said that competitive advantages built on human resources cannot be easily copied by competitors.“ Upamali has already reviewed past research and conducted in-depth interviews with a number of HR professionals to understand the finer issues involved. The findings so far suggest that Australian firms actively pursue a wide range of HR innovations, and that driving factors include the firm’s competitive strategy and the presence of an entrepreneurial HR manager. The next phase will be a large-scale survey of Australian manufacturing and service firms. The research is supervised by Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena and Dr Martie Louise Verreynne. Professor Weerawardena said: “At a time when firms are looking for non-traditional sources of competitive advantage, HR innovation can be one of the most viable. This study will provide valuable insights for managers and government policy planners and could help make HR innovation a key thrust of the government’s effort to keep Australian firms at the cutting edge of innovation in the Asia-Pacific region.” Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact Upamali by email at u.amarakoon@business.uq.edu or telephone 04 3054 1044. Participants should be senior HR professionals of Australian manufacturing and service organisations with more than 100 employees. All data will be kept private and confidential. About UQ Business School The University of Queensland Business School is independently ranked as one of the top business schools in Australia and amongst the leading institutions worldwide. Based in Brisbane, it brings together over 130 subject experts with over 7,500 students and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs and executive education across the range of business disciplines. UQ Business School is renowned internationally for the quality of its research and also provides contract research and consultancy services to organisations throughout the world. The teaching – research – consultancy loop is central to its success, ensuring that the School maintains its position at the forefront of academic knowledge while staying closely attuned to modern business requirements. For further information see www.business.uq.edu.au. Fast facts UQ Business School was the first in Australia to meet the standards of the world’s two most influential accrediting bodies - the US-based AACSB International and Europe’s EQUIS. Has been ranked in the world’s top 50 universities for executive education by the Financial Times. Its MBA program has been rated in the top 30 worldwide by The Economist and in the top two in Australia by the AFR’s BOSS Magazine. The MBA course has been awarded the highest possible rating of five stars for eight years running by Australia’s most influential rating body, the GMAA.        The School was classed as above world standard in its four major fields of business research in the Australian government’s ERA assessment.

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