Over the last month I set up two social networks. This has been a tremendous learning experience for me as I had previously never really been involved in one. The first social network is for the journal for which I am editor-in-chief (HRM, the Journal). It has been about four weeks since we started the group, and we now have over 600 people on the network. The second one is for friends of the Leadership Pulse, which is a study of leaders I've been running since 2003 (www.leadershippulse.com). This one has less participants (over 70) due to the fact that it 'younger.'
One of the most interesting learnings for me has come from the groups set up by the HRM social network. These groups sprouted up from the interests of the members. There is not one group on what I would call "traditional HRM." No one set up a group to study selection, training, compensation, or benefits.
Some of the topics are: HRM and sustainability, HR in China, in India, in Arab/Islam countries; Iberoamerican HRM, HR and OD convergence, HR and social networks, qualitative research and meta analysis in HRM, HRM in high tech and knowledge-intensive industries, and the list goes on.
This, to me, is good news. From this social network, I see emerging more excitement in where HRM is going than in all of my reading in the journals or in magazines, newspapers, etc. The people working in HRM are not breaking it down into pieces and studying the various tactical components; instead, they are looking at how HRM works in the dynamically changing, global world in which we live and work. They are not arguing over whether their work is micro, macro or somewhere in between, but they are doing work that will have high impact in the real world, looking at HRM as an overall system or process and how it can work better in new environments or to solve bigger problems.
These two networks were not set up to be 'social' really; my goal was for them to be learning networks. I thought they would be a great source for connecting people from around the world to share best practices, exchange ideas, and more. That does seem to be happening.
Maybe even more important, however, the networks seem to be an incredible source of research data. We are learning what's really important by 'listening.'
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