An empirical study of human resource management strategies and practices in Australian just-in-time environments

2017-06-05T06:11:19Z (GMT) by Power, Damien Sohal, Amrik S.
Since the emergence of Just-In-Time and lean manufacturing methodologies generally, there has been a lot of research carried out into their operation and implementation. Much of the research over this time has focused on the technical and functional aspects. In recent times there has been more emphasis on researching the role of the human variable and the importance of getting the correct strategy mix in operation for the management of human resources in JIT environments. This study seeks to further examine the extent and emphasis of particular human resource management strategies in Australian JIT companies through an empirical analysis of survey data. The results indicate that the management of the human variable in Australian JIT environments can be characterised by a stronger emphasis on: l)Change management. 2)Participative decision making. 3)Flexibility and multi-ski 11 ing. 4)Open and effective communication processes. 5)Empowerment of many different levels of the organisation. 6)Employee development and training. 7)Working in teams. 8)Developing and fostering a "continuous improvement" culture. 9)Elimination of inter-departmental barriers. What was particularly striking from this analysis was the evidence gained not only of the added emphasis on these issues in the JIT companies, but of the potential for "adding value" through combining management strategies. It is evident that the companies identified as being more heavily involved in JIT practices appear to be more focused on particular human resource management strategies, and as a result see the management of the human variable as critical to the success of their operation. It could perhaps be further hypothesised as a result that there is a process of organisational learning going on in these companies creating conditions enabling thes e organisations to more completely and effectively tap into and develop their human potential.