This site is devoted to understanding the human side of organizations. I created this site to provide resources for practitioners, researchers, and students who are interested in understanding how to optimize human resources to benefit employees and their organizations. I teach and do research on organizations and on the organizational research methods we use to study them. That work spans a number of disciplines, including business management, industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology, and the health sciences.
Human Side of Organizations
The most important resource for any organization is its people. Human resources are essential in order for any organization to fulfill its mission, whether it is to provide products, services, or both. However, managing human resources can be the most difficult part of running an organization. There are some critical issues that need to be addressed, including:
- Determining what sorts of people you need–what do you need for people to be able to do?
- Finding the right people–how to you hire people who are able to accomplish what you need done?
- Managing people. This includes developing, leading, motivating, rewarding, and taking care of talent.
- Supporting people so they can fulfill their roles.
Addressing these issues and more takes an understanding of how to lead people.
Evidence Based Management
The analytical approach to managing organizations relies on evidence-based approaches. This means basing decisions and practices on data that can show whether or not something you do or wish to do is, or is likely to be effective. The expanding areas of analytics and data science are revolutionizing how organizations make decisions about people. Data can be quantitative or qualitative, but the main idea is that decisions are based, not on belief and hope, but on evidence for effectiveness. Sometimes decisions are based on the best available information, which might come from academic literature. Other times decisions are supported by data collected to inform a future action or evaluate a past action.
Organizational Research Methods
Organizational research on people requires the application of organizational research methods. Much of that research is quantitative, which means measurements are taken on people, reducing their characteristics to numbers. It requires a great deal of methodological expertise to conduct such research. There are many different approaches to conducting research. Three major areas that are involved in such research.
- Assessment of people. The characteristics of people, such as their job performance, skills, and stress levels must be measured. For example, if you want to evaluate whether a new policy has the intended effect, you will need to measure the outcome in question, such as sales. A section of this website is devoted to finding assessments.
- Research design. The structure of an investigation is its design. A simple design might be just to assess sales before and after a training program to see if that program was successful. My book on research designs provides a simple overview.
- Statistical analysis. Studies produce data that needs to be analyzed. Sometimes analyses are very simple, such as the percentage of monthly sales quota achieved. Other times analyses are complex, involving a large number of variables.
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