Conceptualising the “personnel professional”: a critical analysis of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's professional qualification scheme

Steve Williams, Sarah Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to analyse the extent to which the CIPD’s professional project can be successfully realised.
Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a two-fold literature review that analyses the professional project with reference to nascent professions. This review is then applied to the CIPD’s qualification scheme through a documentary analysis of four key components of it.
Findings – Analysis suggests that whilst a high degree of professional closure has been achieved, the concomitant rise in professional and organisational status sought by the CIPD has not and is unlikely to do so in the future.
Research limitations/implications – Whilst the arguments presented need further empirical study, our analysis suggests that the policy aims and initiatives advanced by the CIPD do not eradicate the tensions and ambiguities that have long characterised personnel roles.
Practical implications – This analysis questions whether the CIPD’s professional standards are yielding the business skills and knowledge needed to be an effective business partner; seeing the advent of individual chartered status as an implicit recognition of the standards inadequacies in equipping its students appropriately.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to knowledge in two areas: firstly, the difficulties faced by emergent professions in a wider political economy that has witnessed the erosion of professional power. Secondly, that the ambiguities faced when managing people in a capitalist market economy will not be resolved by recourse to the unitarist and managerial approaches seen in the CIPD’s professional programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-414
Number of pages17
JournalPersonnel Review
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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