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    Is HR Dead? - The Reading List

    Thursday night October 29 at 8pm EDT the HR Happy Hour show will take on the topic, 'Is HR Dead?'.

    There is nothing like a little in-depth analysis and self-examination of the HR function to rile up the community and this topic certainly has been poked and prodded for the last several weeks.

    Since the instructor in me wants to be sure everyone is well-prepared and ready to jump in to the conversation I thought I would assign some pre-reading, to get us all on the same page prior to the show. Flickr - KiltBear

    In the blogosphere as far as I can tell, the most recent 'Is HR Dead?' conversation started with this post:

    'Is Human Resources Fatally Flawed' - Lance Haun at Rehaul

    It was followed by numerous responses (or rebuttals if you prefer), a few of which are listed here:

    'HR is Dying: Yes? No?' - Laurie Ruettimann at Punk Rock HR.

    'HR - Not Dead Yet' - Mike VanDervort at Human Race Horses

    'to HR, on news of your death' - Fran Melmed at free-range communication

    'HR is Dead: Some Mourn, Some Celebrate, and Others Say "What?"' - Mike Haberman at HR Observations

    'HR is Obsolete! Isn't It?' - Joel White at Joel's Views

    'Human Resources Departments: I've never understood the point of them' - Sathnam Sanghera at the UK Times Online

    And in the last week or so:

    The Future of HR - Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Point

    'Slow Dancing in a Burning Room' - Maren Hogan on 'Marenated'

    Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series Again, Nietzsche, and Other HR Thoughts - Frank Roche at Know HR

    The HR Profession, Business Leaders and the Future of Work - Sharlyn Lauby at HR Bartender

    But if you think this is somehow a 'new' discussion, it really isn't, the top Google result (at least at the time of this writing) for the phrase 'Is HR Dead' was this piece from 2003 on Workforce.com.

    And of course we should not forget this gem from March 2009 - Memo to CFOs: Don't Trust HR - David McCann writing on remarks from Professor Beatty for CFO Magazine.


    So you have your assignments, catch up on your reading and join the discussion on the HR Happy Hour Show, Thursday October 29, 2009 8PM EDT, call in 646-378-1086. Frank Roche and Mike VanDervort are set to appear, and perhaps another special guest or two as well.

    What do you think, is HR Dead? In need of revival?  Need to be scrapped and re-built from the ground up?

    It should be a great show!

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    Reader Comments (12)

    Excellent reading list / prework assignment for HR Happy Hour, Steve! You should have a pop quiz (that's what you subject your students to, right? :-)

    I might have missed it, but I didn't see "Why We Hate HR" listed from FastCompany:



    October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark Bennett

    Holy crap, that's a big list. I never worked this hard when I worked in HR.

    October 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaurie ruettimann

    Mark - Thanks that is another good article for some more background on the discussion.

    Laurie - Don't worry, most students don't do the pre-reading anyway, you just have to watch out in case there is a pop quiz.

    October 27, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve


    We can never forget the FAST COMPANY article "Why we Hate HR" from 2007. Still a big discussion topic!


    October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChuck Gillespie

    You need to go real old school and include the Thomas Stewart 1996 article in Fortune titled "Taking on the Last Bureaucracy."


    This debate has been going on for 13 years....

    There is the theory of the Moebius, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop. When we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again.

    October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterakaBruno

    @Craig - Thanks for adding that article to the list.

    @akaBruno - Good point, this debate is raging after 13 years, so why are we still having it?

    October 28, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Hi Steve, great stuff again. Got me blogging on HPA about the subject, www.hpa-group.com/blog/14-human-capital/50-im-stupid-because-im-dead-im-dead-because-im-stupid.html Who knows, might spark something over here in the UK. By the way, our new site HubCap Digital - a few weeks later than planned - is up now, so feel free to come on, register and if you have any articles you want to publish, more the merrier. It's early Alpha days of a long road, but if you have any comments I'd welcome them.

    October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStuart Shaw

    Stuart - thanks very much for stopping by. I will check out your new site for sure. We will have a really interesting and lively show tomorrow I expect.

    October 28, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve


    Looking forward to getting down on #HRHAppyHour tonight. See you tonight!

    October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael VanDervort

    No doubt the role of HR will continually evolve but can it really ever die as long as employee can still sue employers?

    October 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterworking girl

    @Michael - Thanks very much for agreeing to come on!

    @working girl - I suppose not, but I don't think that is much comfort to folks in HR!

    October 29, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

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