Hrm Case Study

Chapter 11 – Case study:The role of HR in re-engineering and change at Siemens Rolm, Textbook page 277 Answers to case study questions in textbook, page 277 1. How can HR practices help Siemens Rolm become a learning organisation? A learning organisation is an organisation in which everyone is engaged in identifying and solving problems, enabling the organisation to continuously experiment, improve on and increase its capability. This approach involves a shift in an organisational paradigm because employees are expected to continuously learn as they produce – something essential for Siemens Rolm.

Learning can occur on at least three different levels: 1)single-loop learning which emphasises the identification of problems and then taking corrective action; 2) double-loop learning which stresses the understanding of basic assumptions and core values that led to a particular problem, and a willingness to change them; and 3) deuterolearning (learning to be a better learner) which is directed at the learning process by improving the way in which the organisation performs single- and double-loop learning; the proof of deuterolearning is in the demonstrable improvement in learning pay-off for equal effort.

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Researchers and practitioners have an array of notions of what fosters learning in organisations.

They have identified at least five different organisational dimensions of a learning organisation: structure, information systems, HRM practices, organisational culture and leadership. Since the focus of the first question of the case study is on HRM practices, we will look more closely at this factor. A number of human resource management practices are necessary to support a learning organisation.

For example, as indicated in the case study, performance appraisal and reward systems that reinforce long-term performance and the development and sharing of new skills and knowledge are particularly important. In addition, the HRD function in a learning organisation may be radically changed to keep the emphasis on continuous learning. In a learning organisation, every employee must take the responsibility for acquiring and transferring knowledge.

Formal training programmes, developed in advance and delivered according to a preset schedule are insufficient to address shifting training needs and encourage timely information sharing.

Instead, HRD professionals must become learning facilitators. Their role should be to assist, consult and advise teams on how best to approach learning. They must be able to develop new mechanisms for cross-training peer-team members and new systems for capturing and sharing information. To this end, HRD professionals must be able to think systematically and understand how to foster learning within groups and across the organisation. 2.

What other methods might help the HR organisation develop the competencies it needs?

In addition to change mastery, business mastery and personal credibility, Siemens Rolm HR managers should also remember that their technical mastery (functional skills) is vital to the success of the company. Tearing down the walls that separate functions and creating teams are both steps in the right direction. Removing bureaucracy is especially important for organisational learning and flexibility. Cross-training and job rotations are two other approaches that may prove beneficial.

Communication systems (technology and discussions) will help integrate these areas and improve learning. 3.

What problems, if any, do you see in the Siemens Rolm change strategy? As far as the case suggests, the change strategy may be too self-contained within the HR function. There should be a close connection between the strategy of the company and the change initiatives. Ultimately, change has to be led by top executives and implemented by line managers. Here the role of the leader is critical to a learning organisation.

A leader in a learning organisation is viewed as someone who can move the organisation towards the kinds of culture, systems and practices that are needed to support this philosophy.

This kind of leadership is required not only at the top of the learning organisation but at every level. Three essential types of leaders are needed: (a)Executive leaders are top managers who must create a vision that embraces organisational learning principles, creates a new culture and provide support to local line leaders. These individuals are also the transformational leaders who teach, guide and continually reinforce the organisational vision. b)Local line leaders, or change managers, usually heads of divisions or major departments, provide the impetus for change by experimenting with new learning capabilities that may produce the desired results. It is critical that they become actively involved in developing learning linkages throughout their unit to provide access to new information.

(c)The internal networkers or community builders, or change agents, are seed carriers who assist local line leaders in experimenting with and diffusing new ideas.