Publication Date

August 1995


[ Excerpt] There is unprecedented recognition among top managers throughout the world that people make the difference. Reading the professional business press, one would think that the battle for measuring the impact of human resources has already been won. Emerging "flexible organizations" are seen as requiring increased attention to vision, style, cooperation and teamwork (Ghoshal & Mintzberg, 1994; Halal, 1993). Business writers tout the essential role of "world-class training" that values "people skills" and fosters "entrepreneurship" (Dumaine, 1995; Rau, 1994). We even see the latest pair of best-selling authors, Michael Hammer and James Champy chiding managers that "the biggest lie told by most organizations is that 'people are our most important assets"', and calling for dramatically "increased investments in people" (Lancaster, 1995). It is also apparent that some of the most admired managers say managing people as their most important role. Jack Welch, of General Electric Corporation is quoted as saying "Anybody who gets this [CEO] job has got to believe in the gut that people are the key to everything" (Tichy, 1993). There is also growing evidence that organizational success is correlated with the existence of combinations of "high-performance" work designs and "highperformance" human resource practices (MacDuffie, 1995; Arthur, 1994; Huselid, in press).


Suggested Citation
Boudreau, J. W. (1995). "So what?”: HR measurement as a change catalyst (CAHRS Working Paper #95-34). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.