Many managers and organizations now recognize that a critical source of competitive advantage often comes not from having the most ingenious product design, the best marketing strategy, or the most state-of-the-art production technology, but rather from having an effective system for obtaining and managing the organization’s human assets. A number of developments, including firms’ shifts to knowledge workers, rapid technological change, increased global competition, tight labor markets in some sectors, and experiments with new organizational arrangements, are making the firm’s internal organizational strategy increasingly important for senior managers and for entrepreneurs. Some commentators contend that in today’s economy, with such open access to information, technology, capital, and other resources, adroit human resource management may be one of the few remaining sources of competitive advantage.
The course focuses on the implementation of policies that enable the organization to achieve competitive advantage through people. The specific topics covered are recruitment and selection, the challenges and opportunities in using individual and team-based incentives to motivate and reward employees, the use of non-monetary incentives, objective and subjective performance evaluation, investments in human capital, job design and organizational structure, and executive span of control.
The course relies heavily on cases and examines a large number of companies in a diverse group of industries, including the not-for-profit sector. We will examine the organizational strategy decisions made by these companies and draw lessons from their experiences that can be applied to other companies.
Merrill Lynch Professor of Workforce Transformation
Professor Bartel is the Merrill Lynch Professor of Workforce Transformation at Columbia Business School and the Director of Columbia Business School's Workforce Transformation Initiative. She is an expert in the fields of labor economics and human resource management and has published numerous articles on employee training, human capital investments, job mobility, and the impact of technological change on productivity, worker skills, and outsourcing...