Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – March 2013

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

March 2013   



In This Issue

  1. Decision Making and the Limits of Rationality
  2. Integrating Organizational Change: Scholarship and Work Practice
  3. An Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada in 2013
  Queen's University - Winter  

Decision Making and the Limits of Rationality
Brenda Barker Scott

Decision making is a central activity in organizational life. Independent of one's role or profession, the ability to make effective decisions is a core competence that must be practiced daily. Despite its importance, evidence suggests that we're not particularly skilled at making decisions, especially the complex, strategic ones. According to Professor Paul Nutt (1999, 2010), approximately half of the decisions made in organizations fail. In his exploration of hundreds of strategic decisions made in North American and European organizations, Nutt found that upwards of fifty percent of decisions are abandoned, judged by those charged with implementing them as unworthy. Why the high failure rate? Perhaps the answer lies in our understanding of what decision making actually is. In other words, perhaps the assumptions we hold around decision making, how it is best facilitated, and our cognitive abilities have a strong influence on how we practice it. Perhaps those assumptions are guiding us to faulty practices.

If the way that we practice decision making is based on our assumptions around effective decision making, how might our preferred models and modes shift as we adopt alternative perspectives? Decision making has been explored from many points of view and those views have evolved, in part, with the dominant worldviews of the day. Below I explore a sampling of those perspectives with the purpose of uncovering the contributions and limitations of each. Based on the insights gained, I offer suggestions for how we might tip the balance toward more fruitful decision making in our fast-paced, contemporary workplaces.

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Integrating Organizational Change: Scholarship and Work Practice
Kathy Cowan Sahadath

Forming a rich and integrated understanding of the phenomena of organizational change can provide valuable insights for the organizational change practitioner. I examine the role of research and the application of research findings in this area of study, of one Canadian utility company's experience in this area, and present the need for a more integrated conceptual framework between scholarly knowledge and practitioner experience in working with organizational change. In this paper, I discuss a growing awareness of the role of integrating research and practice, the theory and debate around managing change in organizations, and a framework for assessing change management program success in organizations. A review of the multidisciplinary literature on change management models is presented in conjunction with this framework. The framework is then applied as a basis for deriving the effectiveness of the change management implementation during one organization's business transformation initiative, examining the role of scholarship and practice.

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An Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada in 2013
Paul Juniper

In 2011, Queen's IRC began a longitudinal, practitioner-focused research project that explores the state of the HR profession in Canada. Now, as part of this on-going project, we are following up with a second survey.

Our online survey probes the role of the HR function in Canadian organizations, including the skills and knowledge that are deemed essential for practitioners, and the priorities and challenges for the profession. The purpose of the survey is to better understand and describe the current and perceived future state of the human resources profession in Canada.

The survey is divided into two sections. In the first section, we ask demographic questions that will help us to better understand the varied roles and responsibilities of Canada's HR practitioners. In the second section, we seek perspectives on the HR profession.

We invite you to participate in our survey and share your insights on the HR profession in Canada. Our survey will close on April 5, 2013.

The Executive Summary of our 2011 Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada is available on our website. Should you have any questions regarding our practitioner-focused research, please contact Alison Hill.

>>Begin Survey



Spring 2013 Programs

Organizational Design
March 19-21, 2013

Advanced Human Resources
St. John's:
March 25-27, 2013

Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation
April 9-12, 2013 

Negotiation Skills
April 14-19, 2013

NEW! Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy
April 16-18, 2013

Change Management
April 23-26, 2013

Dispute Resolution Skills
April 28-May 2, 2013

Strategic Grievance Handling
April 30-May 3, 2013

Managing Unionized Environments
May 14-16, 2013

Labour Relations Foundations
May 27-31, 2013

Labour Arbitration Skills
June 2-6, 2013

2013 Program Planner

Fall dates are now available in our
2013 Program Planner















Copyright 2013 Queen's University IRC | Call 1-888-858-7838 | Email IRC@QueensU.ca| Visit us online at irc.queensu.ca

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