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Over the past few years, human resource management (HRM) practices in Australasia have undergone significant changes. Several factors have contributed to these changes. Government policy has played a major role in freeing up the labour market. The shift towards enterprise bargaining has highlighted the need for effective management of human resources at the plant level. In the face of increasing global competition, organizations in Australia and New Zealand have realized that effective management of human resources can provide a firm with sustained competitive advantage.

This special issue on human resources management in Australasia deals with some of the current issues which organizations in these two countries are dealing with, and the change management strategies which have been adopted. The first four articles in this issue are based on data collected in Australia while the last two articles refer specifically to New Zealand.

The first article examines the role of strategic human resources management. Using responses from a sample of human resources managers, Bob Kane and Ian Palmer found that several factors other than HR strategy had an impact on human resource management practices within the organization. They argue in favour of a broader employment relations view of the field.

The second article, by Vince C. Smith, Amrik S. Sohal and Brian D'Netto, describes how successful HRM and general management practices were implemented in the public transit system in New South Wales. The article discusses how this large public sector organization, making an operational loss of more than $70 million, became a profitable concern within just five years.

The third article looks at the implications of Australia's ageing population for future HRM practice. Margaret Patrickson and Linley Hartmann discuss the challenges that result when dealing with an ageing workforce. The article also discusses the reforms which will be needed in all key human resource functions to improve equity and enhance employee contribution.

The fourth article by Patrick Dawson focuses on Mobil's Adelaide Refinery to examine the general shift in HR strategy away from the more adversarial tightly controlled work regimes towards work structures which will allow career development, skill enhancement and facilitate greater employee involvement. The importance of the consultative process in employee relations and the resultant benefits to both management and the workforce are emphasized.

The fifth article uses LISREL (linear structural relationships) to build a commitment-performance model which links effort and continuance commitment with employee expertise and behaviour. Martin S. Putterill and Thomas C. Rohrer use data from a large garment manufacturer in New Zealand to test the model. The benefits of this model in enhancing employee commitment and reducing voluntary withdrawal are explained.

The sixth article by John Brocklesby is based on research conducted in one of New Zealand's largest social and market research companies. This article shows how Checkland's soft systems methodology (SSM) may be used as a vehicle for developing competence profiles in HRM. The article describes how SSM can be exploited to produce information superior to that obtained through using conventional methods.

The articles included in this issue illustrate some of the effective HRM practices which particular organizations in Australia and New Zealand have adopted. Currently, several organizations in Australasia are using similar HRM strategies to enhance organizational performance. We believe that the HRM concepts and strategies discussed in this issue are not country specific. We hope that organizations all over the world can benefit by adopting similar strategies.
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Title Annotation:human resource management in Australasia
Author:D'Netto, Brian; Sohal, Amrik S.
Publication:International Journal of Manpower
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 1, 1995
Previous Article:Migration equilibria/disequilibria and the natural rate of unemployment in a regional context.
Next Article:Strategic HRM or managing the employment relationship?

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