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Risk management and people management: a critical reflection on how risk management can be incorporated into current HR practices

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The aim of this thesis is to use qualitative research to investigate and analyse how human resource risks are understood and managed in practice and how to efficiently manage HR risk in a cost effective way. The research – adding to a very limited corpus in the literature – was conducted in public sector organisations in the UK. The author argues that HR risk management should be conducted in a systematic way. The Managing HR risk framework proposed in this thesis could be used as a practical guide to enable HR practitioners to manage HR risk more effectively.

The thesis finds that, in order to effectively manage HR risk, a culture change is required at both HR department and organisational level; the prevailing risk averse culture should change to a more flexible, strategically-focused and less formalised process. From the analysis of case studies, the author notes that HR practitioners should be aware of their position in a HR conflict; they need to be neutral, fair, and supportive during the process of managing HR risks. It is concluded that qualitative factors will influence the process of managing HR risk such as power, organisational culture, management style and skills/competencies…

It further suggested that organisational isomorphism learning enables organisations to learn from past experiences, and to improve HR risk management. It also recommended that simulations offer an excellent vehicle for improving the process of managing HR risk by equipping HR practitioners with the right skills and experience.

Through the analysis of the results of interviews, two valuable case studies, and simulation, this thesis offers new directions for the future research of human resource risk management: Simulation could be used to help HR practitioners to improve the ways of managing HR risk, simulation use real-life cases for training to improve players’ or decision makers’ understanding of holistic events, and apply new skills, attitudes in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award dateSep 2014

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