Survey attacks HR’s lack of academic knowledge

HR professionals have come under fire for their lack of knowledge in a
report by a professor from University College London.

The study An HR Survey by Professor Adrian Furnham, criticises HR managers for
doing little academic reading beyond the trade press and for their lack of
knowledge about academic models and psychometric tests.

The research, commissioned by London-based recruitment company Strategic
Dimensions, took 18 months to complete and is based on a three-page
questionnaire given out to 120 HR professionals.

Respondents were asked what they read, what academic models they followed
and which psychometric tests they are aware of.

Furnham concludes that HR professionals are not confident about their
knowledge of models on corporate change or corporate culture.

The study shows that although respondents had some knowledge of certain
psychometric tests they were not aware of evidence on psychometric validity.

Most of the 84 HR professionals who responded reveal that when they need
advice they ask their peer group, a major HR consultancy, the CIPD or the
company solicitor.

"Friends and lawyers seem to be the first port of call for these HR
specialists. It says a lot about what they do," said Furnham.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe HR directors should have
operational experience in another function before appointment. A similar
proportion think the HR profession is low paid compared to other business
functions.

Furnham commented: "One could be forgiven as an outsider for thinking
that HR managers are, or should be, depressed by the [pay] situation and are
eager to leave the speciality, but this is clearly not the case.

"Some would see this self-centred stance as both realistic and helpful
as it motivates this group to change their reputation."

– Three-quarters of the HR professionals surveyed rely on Personnel Today
to remain up to date with the profession.

By Quentin Reade

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