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Organisations That Are Into Caring And Sharing Will Flourish

Organisations That Are Into Caring And Sharing Will Flourish In 2013, UC Experts Says

Management that are into controlling and hoarding resources, including information, are likely to under-perform while organisations that are into caring and sharing will flourish in the New Year, a leading University of Canterbury (UC) management researcher says.

UC Associate Professor Venkataraman Nilakant says it is useful to reflect on lessons learnt by businesses in Christchurch over the last two years.

Professor Nilakant and Dr Bernard Walker have received a $600,000 government business research grant to look at how businesses can improve. They will be working on this project for three years.

Based on on-going research on organisational resilience following the earthquakes, Professor Nilakant has offered suggestions for business organisations that aim to be on the fast track in 2013.

He says middle management count. His research following the earthquakes clearly shows that the emotional intelligence of middle managers was a crucial factor in effective response and business recovery.

``If your business aims to compete in dynamic markets through innovation and creativity, middle management capabilities are absolutely vital. Recruitment and promotion to middle management positions must be based on emotional intelligence, particularly inter-personal sensitivity and empathy. World-class organisations like Google have recognised and their Search Inside Yourself leadership programme explicitly focuses on emotional intelligence.

``Teamwork and partnerships are important. Business response and recovery were found to be most effective when people were able to collaborate across departmental and organisational boundaries. This is an area where New Zealand organisations have not particularly excelled in the past. The way forward in 2013 is to smash organisational silos and create a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Leadership that is open and inclusive is essential for teamwork and partnerships.

``The most useful insight from research on organisational resilience is that the ability to adapt and learn is the foundation for success. Learning is neither easy nor always effective. Organisations can also learn wrong lessons from their experience.’’

More commonly, organisations failed to convert their lessons into policies, procedures and practices or they failed to diffuse the lessons to other parts of the organisation. In 2013, organisations that do not invest in learning are doomed to fail, he says.

`During periods of disaster, organisations learn the real worth of their employees. In normal times, employees are quite often under-valued.

``A surprising finding from research that still needs to be confirmed is that employees are not really attached to their organisation.

``They are attached to a person, place or profession. Measuring organisational engagement, therefore, may be a futile exercise. Next year, human resource management needs to re-invent itself.

``The focus should be on organisation development, not employee relations. Policies and practices need to be family-friendly.’’

Venkataraman Nilakant

Bernard Walker

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