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Book Reviews

 

Book Reviews

 


Books listed on this page were profiled, or quoted from, in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
The most recent appears at the top, while the index is sorted in alphabetical order according to the authors.
Appreciation to all who reviewed, proofread and contributed to the content on this page.


Featured books in Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007


Alphabetical list according to authors

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Michael Armstrong
A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice: 10thEdition (International Student Edition)

[Armstrong, Michael, A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice: 10thEdition (International Student Edition), Kogan Page Limited, London, 2006, ISBN: 0-7494-4831-8]

For a book that started out in 1977 as A Handbook of Personnel Management Practice, this handbook is a comprehensive and inclusive look at the environment of what has come to be known as Human Resource Management today.

Michael Armstrong has included many new ideas and concepts that have developed since the 1970s, even thosethat have come into fashion as recently as the last few years. The book deals with, for example, talent management, computerised human resources information systems and strategic human resources management. 

Written in easily understood English, the text in large print, illustrated with diagrams and proving ideas with research and statistics, this book becomes a useful tool of reference for students, academics and professionals alike. There are detailed discussions on various important terms, theories and structures. 

The careful planning that went into creating this book is visible from the outset. Already in the Introduction, the author supplies the readers with a flow chart or “Route Map” that explains the layout and interrelatedness between the various chapters of the book. As the author states in the Introduction, much of the book’s content was revised and updated to incorporate new thinking in organisations regarding development, management and strategy. The ideas that follow have clarity of thought and clearly defined concepts and explanations. 

Michael Armstrong distinguishes between terms such as “human resource management” (HRM) and “human capital management” (HCM), explaining their origin and subsequent history and use. He defines each term and follows it with a brief but in-depth discussion of their pros and cons, quoting generously from thought leaders, academics and research. The extensive bibliography and index at the back of the book is effective in encouraging both further research and in functioning as a quick reference guide. 

People who have just recently been recruited and/or selected into human resources, who come from other professional backgrounds, would benefit from reading this book. It introduces the main ideas of HRM and would supply such readers with a good grasp of concepts. Of course, students and professionals would also find it an invaluable and handy reference tool for important trends and ideas.

The odd references to labour legislation in the USA, such as the discussion on Industrial Relations (from page 762) and the Data Protection Act (from page 869) undermines the claim that this book is aimed at “international students” especially from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.  

It does not, however, detract from the value of this considerable voluminous book (nearly 1000 pages) as an authoritative reference to HRM practice. It is, in my opinion, invaluable as source of reference and as an overview and introduction to effective human resource management.

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007.) 
Read more and/or order a copy
Order a copy from the Book Promotions Group

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Lauron Buys 
Management by Coaching: 7 Basic Keys

[Buys, Lauron, Management by Coaching: 7 Basic Keys, Knowres Publishing, Randburg, 2007, ISBN:978-1-86922-150-8]

What an inspiring book to read! If there is one book that managers would be wise to treat themselves to as a gift, it is this book. It would not matter whether they are low of rank or CEOs, in government, private sector, entrepreneurial or parastatal. All managers have to interact with their employees, colleagues and superiors, and this book shows some of the most effective ways in which to do so.

Why am I waxing lyrical about this book when there are so many books out there telling managers howand when and why? 

Because the author, Lauron Buys, clearly and without any fuss shares the lessons he has learnt in management and coaching. He knows what pressures managers are experiencing, “Of course, our challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that most of our organizations have downsized, right-sized, restructured, re-engineered and managed our efficiencies to the point where we feel like we are running on a treadmill, questioning in fact whether we are getting anywhere. The result: we have half the number of people doing three times more work with fewer resources! And this is supposed to be sustainable! …Our [managers] responsibility for achieving results has risen enormously and the results required seem to grow exponentially each year – or at least that’s how it feels. The only way to achieve this superior performance is through team members who seek to achieve these results … because they are personally committed to doing so” (page 5).

This is where you groan and think to yourself, “Been there, tried that, don’t have the time to get into more distractions from really getting the work done here.”  

But he makes a convincing argument, and goes on to prove it. This is not a “7 quick and easy steps to Nirvana” kind of promise, and managers would have to commit to small changes over time. “[The] coaching process inculcates a style of thinking that raises the quality of problem solving and decision making and enables participants to start ‘self-coaching’” (Oliviera, Bane & Kopelman 1997:vol 26) (page 3) “… The truth is that leaders, at every level and in every organization, do not have the time or capacity to control any more. We have to empower and delegate to create a culture of responsibility and initiative. If we don’t get this right, we will increasingly feel stressed and ineffectual as more and more responsibility is heaped on our already overburdened shoulders. … Coaching is not a technique. It is not an add-on. It is a way of being – the way we see the world, relationships and the organistion.” (Pages 5 and 6)  

He defines coaching and differentiates between that and therapy, counselling, training, consulting, and mentoring; listing the characteristics of a coach. He distinguishes between consultative and participative decision-making, and makes it clear that many of us do not know the difference. 

“Coaching is not another tool in the manager’s toolbox – it is the toolbox and the manager uses different skills from this toolbox in order to obtain his or her people’s collective and individual commitment to the superior performance being asked of them.” (Page 17) 

He continues to discuss these skills, orthodox and unorthodox, careful to point out that taken to the extreme would be counterproductive. The skills include using the ability to read body language, creating and maintaining rapport, trust, understanding, goal-setting, planning, team coaching, and understanding other people’s subconscious feelings. The art of listening, questioning, using intuition, confronting, and giving feedback are most important, and this part of the book makes it already worth the while reading.

He discusses the importance of having respect, trust and a mutual freedom of expression, of setting out ground rules from the start, but keeping a balance between performance, learning and enjoyment.

For me this is the ultimate book on coaching as a style of managing, and how it can help managers get employees to take responsibility and ownership of their own development and performance. It discriminates between the manager as doer and the manager coach – a manager that coaches rather than controls and demands.

After all, “When we treat our team members as equals, we are also able to give them a safe space to think … which, in turn, gives them the opportunity to improve the quality of their thinking. This thinking is actually an ability to self-coach – to self-diagnose, to self-generate – which improves with the quality of thinking. This is perhaps the most empowering and librating thing we can give our team members. And it has benefits for us as managers as well! As team members learn to self-coach, their dependence on us for answers diminishes and so too do the interruptions. … And it all starts with our creating a safe thinking environment of equal minds.” (Page 115).

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007.) 
Read more and/or order a copy

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Dr Susan Steinman 
Don't take SHIT from Hyenas in the Workplace: Reclaim your dignity - be hyena-wise

[Steinman, Susan, Dr,  Don't take SHIT from Hyenas in the Workplace: Reclaim your dignity - be hyena-wise, The People Bottomline, Roodepoort, 2007, ISBN: 9 780980 2671 36] 

In spite of the seemingly unfortunate title, the analogy to hyenas in the wild is most apt when describing the behaviour and characteristics of “hyenas” in the workplace. The book, by Dr Susan Steinman also provides sound advice on how to deal with them effectively. 

The subject matter is deadly serious (pun intended) regardless ofthe cartoons scattered throughout the book and the naming of hyenas on page 73 – such as the Makhulu Hyena and the Mampara Hyena.  

The book is all too relevant in today’s workplace. Among other circumstances, “perpetual restructuring, downsizing and unhealthy accounting practices …” (page 12) create a work environment that is no longer stable and predictable. Lack of communication, insecurity, nobody taking responsibility for change or confronting workplace problems, lack of leadership, lack of caring, and lack of support are characteristics of a fertile breeding ground for hyena-like behaviour.  

Not only can violence be perpetrated by people, but also by systems and structures; even by legislation, especially in South Africa where the delicate balance between the rights of minorities are not balanced with the rights of people previously disadvantaged. 

Responsibility in making the workplace free of hyena-like behaviour lies equally with employees and management. Management is urged “… to implement policies to prevent and respond to physical and psychological violence in the workplace” (page 45) Front-line management in human resources, industrial relations and finances are encouraged to resist unethical behaviour by management. Performance appraisals systems, for instance, can easily become a tool for Workplace Hyenas if not carefully monitored.  

In addition, none of us is exempt from hyena-like behaviour, “When exploring the soul of the hyena, one needs to be reminded that every single person has the propensity to bully and abuse others. “If you spot it, you got it,”… Hyena Behavior is, to a large extent, a form of survival behavior.” (Page 36) 

However, the author is quick to point out that not all behaviour can be construed as workplace violence. Neither are “victims” always victims; “…we need to examine all the circumstances surrounding a case and can never take anything at face value. Sometimes the perpetrator can be a victim too.”(Page 16) 

She does not understate the impact on people being undermined by Workplace Hyenas. This book represents a realistic, if not daunting, picture, especially as the person under “attack” is usually seen as the “problem”.  

“The likelihood of a person being bullied out of a job finding fairness in a labor tribunal is remote, since bullying is underhanded, difficult to prove, perpetrated within the grey areas of law….” (Pages 107-108) “Disciplinary hearings are not aimed at dealing with bullying or establishing whether bullying had in fact taken place. It is possible that the Workplace Hyena will drag you to a disciplinary hearing. At this point you should already have consulted a labor law advisor or attorney and have this legal professional assist you at the hearing, if necessary.” (Page 144) “Understand that it will be difficult. While we would all like to see justice being done, these cases tend to go the way of the best legal representation and the strongest evidence. Your case must be absolutely waterproof. Do your homework and don’t take risks” she advises on page 145.

Throughout the book, she identifies hyena-like behaviour, describing the various categories of Workplace Hyenas, and their characteristics, drawing on numerous case studies as proof. These studies plainly demonstrate the various ways in which such behaviour can undermine work performance and corporate culture.  

The book provides tips on how to avoid becoming part of the HPE and how to survive it if avoiding it had not been possible. It also provides pointers on how to protect an organization against recruiting possible Workplace Hyenas.  

At the end of the book is the Service Charter for the Victims of Workplace Violence, which HR professionals are encouraged to use in drafting their own workplace violence polices. A list of resources, including websites that provide more information, are listed at the back.

For me, the ultimate value of this book lies in the encouragement it would provide people who are experiencing the nightmarish world of the Hyena Positive Enterprise (HPE).  

The mistake most victims make is to deny their reality when dealing with a Workplace Hyena. Don’t try and explain Hyena Behavior in logical terms, because it is neither logical, nor decent. It has a vague resemblance to schoolyard bullying but it is a different ball game altogether. The silence, shame and denial associated with workplace bullying are exactly what the hyena needs to succeed. 

You are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect at all times and believe it or not, you are entitled to happiness at work. It is time to stop the silent epidemic in the workplace environment! (Page 133) 

The biggest mistake … is to avoid confrontations with the bully. …. But this doesn’t mean that you can confront the Workplace Hyena at any time. Your timing must be impeccable and you should be in a position of strength when attempting to do this. (Page 138) 

To conclude in the words of Dr Steinman, “A golden rule is that the ego of the most senior employee is not worth the dignity of the person lowest in the hierarchy.” (Page 68) Being “hyena-wise” is about “wisdom, wholeness and protecting your happiness and the corporate culture you nurture in your organization … a sense of dignity and respect for the rights of others and a willingness to protect that right in the workplace” (page 3), “…because it is ultimately a human rights issue” (page 26).

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007.) 
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Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

[Goldsmith, Marshall, What got you here, won't get you there, Hyperion, New York, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-4013-0130-9]

Once published, this book shot to the bestseller list of the New York Times and became number one business book in both America in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today and in Germany (FT). Not only that, it ranked as the number five best selling business book on amazon.com for 2007 as well as number twenty two bestseller for all books published on that website in 2007. Presently it is being translated into 15 different languages.

So what is all the fuss about?

It is about change, for the better. Readers of this book wax lyrical about the truth described in it and the accuracy of the little vignettes which he uses to demonstrate ideas. Marshall Goldsmith, with the help of Mark Reiter, not only describes the things that keep us stuck, and explains why we get stuck and then stay stuck, but goes on to help the reader understand how to change.

He writes about emotions and actions and how emotions impact on actions. What we feel and do, and our subordinates feel and experience as result, often look very different from each end.

This book is an excellent gift to ourselves, and should our managers, for example, pick it up, if may only benefit them and us. What it teaches is as applicable to our social and private relationships as it is in our work environment. To listen without judging, for example, will be as much appreciated by our colleagues as by our children, partners and friends.

It is about feedback, or rather 'feedforward" and getting in touch with reality. Feedforward is the tool we can use to effectively get in touch with reality, and reality is the map we can use to achieve our goals. It is about people who have already achieved success, and yet cannot get any further. They know that there is more to get, and yet they fail to achieve what their ambition spurs them on to achieve. People who find themselves wanting to inspire commitment and ownership, and never get it from their employees, colleagues or partners, can stop wondering why and find answers in this book.

By providing a list of seemingly insignificant little actions, the author shows us what we need to eliminate from our behaviour and belief systems. These actions are what make us seem overbearing and obnoxious, or controlling, or lazy; the list goes on. An action such as the need to win at all costs is related to the desire to add our two cents' worth to every discussion, another action that almost certainly makes our co-workers become less than co-operative.

Others examples are the need to rate others and impose our standards on them and using sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think will make us sound eloquent and witty. Of course they make us sound sharp - murderously so, and they breed a culture and environment of distrust and wariness.

Goldsmith writes in the same style as he does in his articles. It is like having a conversation that instructs the reader without conscious effort or intent; the ideas, however, bring much food for thought. Humour permeates the book. For example, when describing a CEO he writes, "Like many creative people, he is also hyperactive, with the metabolism and attention span of a hummingbird" (page 4).

In my opinion this is a book that all would do well to read. It brings to mind the humble humour of a wise person, venerated for enjoying the little ironies of life and yet being able to see clearly, gently and wisely, what lessons to teach those who need it. Indeed, it teaches many lessons that packs a punch, devoid of both sugarcoating and overbearing omniscience.

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007.) 
Read more and/or order a copy
Read what others had to say and see why they give it 5 stars

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Danie Joubert
Talent Management: Deliberate practice for success

[Joubert, Danie, Talent Management: Deliberate practice for success, Knowres Publishing, Randburg, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-8692 -2149-2]

This book provides the architecture for a talent management regime and culture that inspires achievers and leaders, thus promoting talent identification and mentoring for sustained exceptional performance in the workplace. Poor talent management practices that manifest in absenteeism, job hopping, productivity loss and stress cost South African institutions en excess R40 billion a year.

Talent management is both a craft and a virtue that must be practices in a personal capacity and as a deliberate institutional management best practice. It enables and empowers people to gain personal mastery in those skills and crafts that nourish their truest interest and feeling of personal fulfillment. The deliberate practice of talent management invariably leads to success and frees people to pursue and experience life as a rainbow of parallel streams with exiting intermittent contests, in which talent provides the amazing ability and leverage to conquer any number and variety of life’s contests.

This excerpt was taken from the back cover page of a soft cover copy of the book, with permission of Knowledge Resources.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 11, 2007.) 

“Success comes to those who master the discipline of success and succeed in structuring, calibrating and aligning their talent to the requirements of an industry” (page 7). These are the words of Danie Joubert, author of Talent Management: deliberate practice for success. This philosophy forms the foundation of the book. To understand something means one can apply the means to measure and structure it; to understand the factors that determine it would make it possible to influence it and align it to objectives and goals.

With employee productivity peaking at sixty percent and many employees delivering less than fifty percent (page 12), he justifiably questions whether employers can ignore talent management. With only ten percent of people in society meeting their self-actualisation needs (quoting Maslow, page 12) imagine what South African organisations and South Africa as a whole can achieve when talent is properly calibrated, cultivated and managed.

I found the book clear in its vision, layout and purpose, following a game plan such as employers and individuals are advised to use for the managing of their (own) talent.

It describes the psychology behind self-actualisation, achievement and performance. The chapters deal with the various aspects of deliberate talent management: creating, calibrating, cultivating, and activating and leveraging talent. Then it continues to discuss how to care and preserve talent, and finally how to “maximise it for greatness” (Part Seven).

Various methods and approaches are discussed, even a contentious issue such as forced ranking. The author discusses in detail how it can be used effectively in managing talent. But, as the author later concludes quoting from a well-known State of Performance Management study, “... the impact of performance management is less about the technique used and more about leadership support, execution and the overall performance culture” (page 130). As he stated earlier, “Managers retain one employee at a time” (page 26).

“Breakout achievement”, a concept by Herbert Benson (Harvard medical School) is another concept discussed in detail, supported with examples of people such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, and organizations such as Toyota; a typical example of breakout achievement talent management in action. “Breakout achievements are phenomena that derive their distinction from their arousal of public attention and interest and perceived public benefit (fulfilled aspirations). Breakout achievements excite and inspire people” (page 80). In the case of “service breakout”, “achievements reflect unique, relentless and consistent commitment to talent, skills, discipline and focus on the client.” (page 84).

He uses concepts such as “clarity of purpose”, “inspirational dream” and the “greatest imaginable challenge” to describe the intellectual, inspirational and emotive aspects of talent management. This is followed by breaking the bigger picture down to smaller, manageable ones so that “Focus clarifies priorities and aligns everyday tasks” (page 90).

The book focuses on integrating the “hard” skills of management with the “soft” skills needed in management. One such example is “talent caring” or “the deliberate practice of preserving talent”. The author divides it into three sections dealing with “personal wellness”, “inspiration” and “building a vital inner circle” (Part Six). It is aimed at “preserving the talent of people and making sure they are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually at their peak when working and competing. … When we understand the realms of wellness, we can apply the means to measure wellness, and, when we understand the factors that determine wellness we can influence it” (page 98).

This is a book to inspire those who have the responsibility to inspire others. However, it is equally effective in inspiring people who want to manage their own talent, with an Addendum at the end of the book to help the reader calibrate his or her own talent.

“Deliberately practicing self-development has the following results: The person’s truest interest becomes clearer. The person’s potency develops thrust, skills intelligences gain productive acuteness and the person’s virtue intelligences exude wisdom. Anyone who has evolved in this way arouses emotion with his or her presence and instills excitement with every deed of goodwill. That is the nature and power of mastery” (page 130).

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007.) 
Read more and/or order a copy from Knowledge Resources. 

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Ken Kamoche, Yaw Debrah, Frank Horwitz and Gerry Nkombo Muuka (Editors)
Managing Human Resources in Africa

[Kamoche, Ken, Debrah, Yaw, Horwitz, Frank, and Muuka, Gerry Nkombo (Editors), Managing Human Resources in Africa, Routledge, London & New York, 2004, ISBN: 0-415-36949-5]

As rival economies such as Asia mature, attention is now shifting to new frontiers like Africa. But academic debate too often neglects the complexities and diversity of this continent, and the challenges faced by both multinational companies working across Africa and domestic African companies, particularly in the human resource (HR) field.

Managing Human Resources in Africa is a refreshing new book that boldly tackles the HR challenges in countries right across the African continent, examining the impact of contextual factors on the development of HR practices in Africa.

This excerpt was taken from the back cover page of the paperback copy of the book, with permission of the South African distributor, the Book Promotions Group.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 11, 2007.) 

Any person interested in the challenges and history of HRM (Human Resources Management) in Africa, would do well to read Managing Human Resources in Africa. This book forms part of a series that investigates “a deeper and broader understanding of the role and importance of human resources management in companies as they operate throughout the world” (page xiii).

It is a significant book which underscores the rich diversity of Africa. The book was written as a combined effort by experienced authors from ten countries on the continent. Each chapter is dedicated to a country, which include (from the south to the north) South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Libya.  

It discusses the cultures, histories, religious backgrounds and political structures; and how all of these influence HRM in each country. Each chapter introduces the socio-political background, lists Acts and legislation pertaining to HR and IR practice in that country, problems encountered in the business, HR and state policies and the current challenges of the workplace. 

Business in Africa, according to the editors, has special forms, because in “the majority of cases, the State still plays a predominant role in driving industrial and economic development” (page xv). In many cases, because of historical influences (colonization, social structures, despotism, nepotism and religion) countries “failed to engender a broad-based and thriving private sector.”  

Placing HRM practices and challenges in the context of each country’s historical development and current contextual circumstances, enables the reader to compare the differences between various countries. For readers out of Africa, it enables them to form an understanding of the challenges faced within their own countries in relation to their neighbouring countries and others in Africa.  

What most African countries have in common is a period of colonialism followed by self-rule, often by an autocratic leadership characterized by despotism, nepotism, military coups and less often by democracy. Financial systems influence the business outlook, from free market to socialistic systems.  

The book makes it obvious that focus needs to be on transforming personnel management into strategic human resources management. The challenges that face HRM in Africa range from the brain drain (obvious in some countries) to AIDS (managed to varying degrees of success, but nevertheless a major concern everywhere for the future of the workforce). 

What becomes clear is that HRM cannot simply be transplanted from the West (the perception is that it originated from the US) into Africa, where different structures prevail that are much more conscious of social networks as opposed to performance networks.  

Even so, Africa at present finds expression of its HRM policies in the words of the West, and thereby discovers the differences. Dorothy Mpabanga, for example, quotes T. Jackson when writing about the systems active in Botswana; “post-colonial systems which are control-oriented, post-instrumental systems which are results-oriented, [are changing] to African Renaissance systems which are people-oriented” (page 25). This is further explained by a discussion on HRM in Ghana by Samuel Aryee: “When a party benefits from another’s action, it engenders a feeling of obligation to reciprocate the favor. From an organization’s perspective, this entails the consideration of employees’ well-being and investment in their long-term employability. These beneficial actions create an obligation on the part of the employees to reciprocate with attitudes and behaviors that promote organizational effectiveness” (page 131). 

This social structure of HRM in Africa takes on an ominous outlook in terms of AIDS. Gerry Nkombo Muuka and Kenneth Kaoma Mwenda writing about Zambia comments the following, “The AIDS problem in Africa is real. It is massive, and it is no laughing matter” (page 45). 

Often, the sentiment expressed by these African writers, could apply equally to the rest of the globe, as some HRM issues are obviously a worldwide occurrence. Ken N. Kamoche, Stephen M. Nyambegera, and Munyae M. Mulinge writing about Kenya and the brain drain state that frustrated employees “ultimately vote with their feet” (page 97).  

Also writing on the brain drain, but from Ethiopia, Semaw Mekonnen and Aminu Mamman underline the African influence on the issue. They notice that “the impact … took time to manifest”. Shinn (quoted by them) advises: to stop the brain drain, African countries need to “strengthen [their] economy…, improve governance, and increase political freedom” (page 109). 

Constant D. Beugré writing about the Ivory Coast points out, “As in any change effort, top management support is crucial for the success of the system.” In some of the countries discussed in this book, that “top management” is the State or the ruling party. Often, however, “as in most sub-Saharan countries, innovation, entrepreneurship, risk taking, and individualism are not valued or rewarded” as M.N. Kiggundu suggests (page 147). 

It is a challenge to summarise the depth of research and information of this 196 page book in a book review. At most, I could only succeed in highlighting those issues that caught my eye because they were so similar, or so different, from their nominal cousins in countries the world over. This book is highly recommended for readers who are interested in planning a lasting human resource strategy for their organization and/or country in Africa.

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007.)
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Stephanie Vermeulen
EQ: emotional intelligence for everyone, with foreword by John Kehoe 

[Vermeulen, Stephanie, EQ: emotional intelligence for everyone, with foreword by John Kehoe Zebra Press, Cape Town: 1999, ISBN: 1 86872 331 3]

How do we know we are “emotionally intelligent”? What does it mean? And how do I become emotionally intelligent?

These are the questions that Stephanie Vermeulen addresses in her book, EQ: emotional intelligence for everyone. Emotional Quotient (EQ) has replaced Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as the defining factor for a successful and fulfilling life and “although our feelings are so important, we live in a world that dismisses the vital role that they play” (p.40).

She then sets out to help readers understand the importance of emotions and how they collaborate with the other energy fields of our lives – our physical, mental and spiritual well-being - to make life worth living. A life in balance enables us to be “appropriate” (p.42) in our actions and interactions with other people. None of us can afford to be out of touch with ourselves and our emotional motivation, and eventually be out of touch with everyone else around us, family, friends, colleagues, clients, customers, management. By “… nature we’re social and having relationships is one of our most central needs. People are business, people are fun and people are life.” (p.158).

The book is written with a supportive and understanding wry sense of humour. It is also an accessible reference guide, with a dictionary of emotions at the back. The dictionary explains what messages emotions could give us and what possible actions would be appropriate to react to those emotions. There are also exercises to guide the reader, a questionnaire and a test. Chapters follow the progress people would make. “Learning and growing from our experiences moves us into maturity in our adult lives. It is the essence of becoming emotionally intelligent. People with healthy levels of EQ make a habit of addressing life’s lessons as they graduate through the various stages of emotional development. They’ve learnt to become emotionally fit. Now they are robust people.” (92)

Ultimately, the “… place to begin building good-quality relationships is inside ourselves” (p.166). This book explains what we need to find and would look out for to enable this vital development to happen. “Unfortunately, you can’t take a pill to become emotionally mature…..” she writes (p.60) And “… along with this unreasonable pressure for a ‘quick-fix’, another issue that many people grapple with is that they think a healthy EQ means being positive all of the time. It doesn’t. We’re dealing with life, not making the movie Pollyanna.” (178). “A healthy level of EQ is about allowing yourself to experience all of your emotions. … it’s about feeling the emotion to understand what it’s telling you. It’s a private personal experience, one where you’re working towards making sense of your own feelings.” (179)

What would a reader want to get from reading this book? A balanced definition of success, of understanding and experiencing how to become more energetic, “…being stimulated to achieve your goals, feeling excited about the benefits and taking action.” (140). The book is aimed at enabling people to change; after all, “… if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same response” (162).

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 10, 2007.) 
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Drikus Kriek
Teambuilding activities for South African organisations

[Kriek, Drikus,  Teambuilding activities for South African organisations, Knowres Publishing, Randburg, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-86922-151-5]

Teambuilding activities for South African organisations is a useful book by author Drikus Kriek, and a worthy addition to the range of books focused on application from Knowres Publishing. It is aimed at team leaders and professionals responsible for effective teamwork and would also be effective in “training and development intervention” (p.vii). Although the book is aimed at professionals, I found myself wanting to try out several of the activities for the sheer fun of it.

The introduction sets the tone for the book: short and concise writing giving the necessary information for effective results.

In the first part of the book it explains the different kinds of teambuilding activities and the benefits of experiential learning and “activity-based teambuilding” (p. 11). The book provides a valuable guide and definition of a team and explains how interventions would best be implemented to be in line with organisational objectives, as focus would be on the “needs of the team and effective outcomes” (p.7).

The second part of the book lists and describes fifty different activities and what learning objectives they are aiming to achieve. This list includes activities for interpersonal issues and group dynamics to task-based or work-related issues. The last would form part of any effective teambuilding intervention activity.

It is a reader-friendly book with short and to the point writing in large print and clearly defined sections and headings. Most of the activities are described on less than two pages, giving information on what would be needed, and what the aims of the activity are.

There are several aspects of the book that I enjoyed. The background information on activities that was not familiar to me introduced me to other indigenous and popular games played by children of other cultural groups, such as “marabaraba” and “diketo”. Precious to me on a personal level, was recalling childhood memories while reading about “jukskei” and “kleilat” inspired activities. I can imagine that people with different cultural backgrounds would find other activities bringing back fond memories.

The tips for the teamwork facilitators, which enable them to stay aware of various influences that might affect team members’ participation to specific activities, are useful additions to each activity described.

This book focuses on practicality and user-friendly outcomes-based results without prescribing, and I imagine, would take the hassle out of trying to find creative teambuilding activities when there are so many other distractions for teambuilding facilitators in today’s workplace.

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 10, 2007.) 
Read more and/or order a copy from Knowledge Resources. 

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John W. Boudreau and Peter M. Ramstad
Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital

[Boudreau, John W. and Ramstad, Peter M., Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4221-0415-6]

Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital is the book I have been waiting for ever since I attended a business seminar where the value of people in an organisation was put under “expenses” (remuneration) in the balance sheet and decidedly not part of the assets column. Instinct told me that that was a too simplistic point of view, even short-sighted, and now this book proves it. Business schools would do well to sit up and take notice.

On the other hand, HR professionals are not let off easily either. Now is the time to brush up on business skills and to focus in particular on business strategy and how talent management can enhance it.

With this book, the authors have created a “decision science for talent” (page 4) called “talentship” – a wider application of studying the role of talent in an organisation than merely its expense value on the balance sheet at financial yearend. It provides “a logic,” a science (page 19) to understanding and planning for talent following the structure of their proposed HC BRidge framework. This structure shows the bridges between Human Capital and other business processes that would support strategy and sustainable development.

Talent, according to the authors, is one of the pivot points in business strategy in a market where competitors provide the same products to the same markets in the same way. Many variables in a business strategy are no longer variables that will enable one organisation to rise above competition. For example, advertising and customer service have become such acceptable business strategies that an organisation no longer dares to ignore them in its planning. The same evolution needs to happen in terms of talent, argues the authors, and “talentship” will make a significant difference for those who take the time and care to consider and understand its significance.

Locking up talent, for example, rather than merely filling recruitment requirements should be the focus of all the business leaders in an organisation. HR strategy would be focused on identifying and developing pivotal jobs, and aligning and integrating those employees' focus into business strategy should become automatic.

An undisputable value of this book lies in its ability to show how talent and talent strategy can be managed as are other business processes, such as production and budget. It provides HR managers, and business strategists (usually not interested in HR processes) valuable information on what to look for and which questions to ask.

Written in an English even non-business educated readers would understand, using clear examples, simple diagrams and studies of internationally known companies the authors explain and describe the different aspects of talent strategy. They explain how these aspects run parallel to other business processes, complementing them in aligning the organisation goals and sustaining growth and profit. They indicate how business leaders in their fields rise above their competitors by applying talent strategy, which is, after all, a very shrewd and reliable business tool, when applied effectively.

To me the value of this book is the development of ‘a deep and shared language to create unique and specific functional strategies” (page 95). HR management gets an opportunity to understand business processes and learn new ways of looking at and measuring talent in terms of these business processes and business language. General management learns that talent can be measured and managed according to business strategy and aligned and assimilated in these processes in a way that will make a lasting and real impact on the organisation’s performance and sustainability. Both sides learn the shared language of HR in terms of business.

This enables focus to shift from a product-based strategy, “What gives us a better product/employee?” to a solution-based strategy, “What do we need in terms of talent to meet our business strategy?”

They provide examples on how employees can be directed to understand their own function in the organisation in terms of the business strategy; how pivot roles can be protected and sourced effectively, how it will change the way general management views the HR function in an organisation, no longer employing low-key people to produce low-level results. “In a well-run organization, everyone contributes to the mission in different ways. The key is to understand those differences systematically. The question that reveals these differences is often ‘What’s most pivotal where improving talent and organization matters most?’” (Refer to page 5)

The proposed HC BRidge framework is a valuable tool in organisations that struggle to identify the structures that link HR policy, processes and procedures to their organisation's business strategy. Usually, as result of misidentification HR practitioners struggle to identify effective and sustainable solutions to resource problems.

Furthermore, the authors convincingly prove their point that the lack of a systematic or logical strategy involving HR can undermine an organisation’s ability to differentiate itself from others. What is essential in strategy is not always what is unique; what is important is not always pivotal. And it is the pivotal and unique that propels businesses ahead of others in their field.

This book provides surprising answers to probing questions. It strives to help readers find their own answers, and not just identify problems but find solutions to them. “Our experience has shown that organizations need to analyze strategy this thoroughly if they hope to identify talent and organizational pivot-points. An advantage of such deep analysis is that strategy itself will be improved. … In fact, we increasingly find that these strategy analysis techniques and strategic lenses become a valued part of the strategy process.” (page 93)

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 9, 2007.) 
Read more and/or order a copy from Knowledge Resources. 
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Stephanie Vermeulen
Stitched-up: Who fashions women's lives?

[Vermeulen, Stephanie, Stitched-up: Who fashions women’s lives? Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd,  Johannesburg, 2004, ISBN 1-77009-029-0]

What do women need to wake up to their potential and power; to live fulfilled and deeply satisfying lives? 

For one, they need authors like Stephanie Vermeulen who wittily writes, to the point and with assurance, on subjects that matters most (or should matter most) to women: feminism or the power of being female. Women need to listen to themselves and their emotions, take responsibility for their choices and courage for making changes that will enhance their creative powers and lives. To enable this process, the reader finds an emotional dictionary as an appendix. “Our starting point is to question our own motives …” (page 22); women will not take up their rightful places in society unless they take on the responsibility to empower themselves and change their behaviour.  

In lives where we juggle different roles (not to mention different emotions and expectations) she dares to ask, “Why does it always have to be a woman” (page 24) who is nice and looks after everyone? By bending over backwards to accommodate everyone else (think spouses, children, colleagues, bosses, parents, cultures … ) women not only undermine their own power, but subtly undermine the power the very people they thus ‘support’ have in helping themselves.  

But, she is quick to point out, there are structures that undermine women’s rights so severely in certain societies that women have merely become crime statistics. And this book reveals how complacent we have become in accepting the status quo. 

This is the impact of Stitched-up; not having knowledge makes it easier to remain ignorant and passive. Becoming aware of myths makes it difficult to deny the fallacies and easier to reject belief in them. The author has done extensive research, investigating our beliefs in religion, social structures, politics, economics and emotional patterns,and connects these issues neatly and convincingly. She did not shy away from working hard to unearth (un)truths, and calling a spade a spade, as the well-researched bibliography attests. In the words of Cheryl Carolus, in the foreword and quoted on the front cover, “If empowerment is what you’re after, don’t put this book down until you’ve read it through to the final word.” Keep returning to it when you discover another self-undermining pattern in your own behaviour. The index would be of great help here. 

One aspect of the book I find contentious is the consistent use of statistics from the USA. I wondered whether this had anything to do with the fact that Stephanie Vermeulen is launching this book in the USA in October. (She is most likely the only South African non-fiction author writing on women’s issues to achieve this, as the few other South African female authors are all fiction writers. It will be published in the USA under the title: Kill the Princess: Why Women Still Aren’t Free from the Quest for a Fairy-tale Life.)   

Her response to my query is:  

The main reason for the predominance of statistics from the US is because they do more research into women’s issues than any other country. South African statistics are hard to come by and the ones I could lay my hands on (at the time) are in the book – we do very little research here (although this is improving … slowly). But certainly our views are coloured by those in the US and although we are further ahead than the US on women in positions of power (especially in politics), South African women’s organisations have not historically tended to focus their efforts on research issues. The same applies to much of Europe. 

It seems appropriate then that we heed the messages that the statistics from the US reveal to us. Would South African women take note of our unique situation in the world, statistics from our experience would become a powerful instrument toward global change. 

Whatever our belief system, our background, our culture, this book confronts our conformist tendencies to accept without questioning. Whether we agree or not, it focuses on our beliefs and strengthens them or shows up hidden motives. It provides some serious medicine for the flailing female psyche in both genders. It reveals the very frail and biased structures on which we endeavour to build ever-lasting peace. In the words of Stephanie Vermeulen, “To rise above the stereotypes we need to accept that prejudice exists, and live the way we choose regardless of the role society keeps dictating to us” (page 126). “In reality nothing would be more powerful in bringing about social change than the ripple effect of millions of women hell-bent on their own development,” (page 238). 

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 9, 2007.) 
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Johann Coetzee
Beroepsbekering: Konfrontasie, Krisis en Kentering!

[Coetzee, Johann (samesteller), Beroepsbekering: Konfrontasie, Krisis en Kentering!, Knowres Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-1-86922-146-1]

‘n Groep vriende het bymekaar gekom en besluit om elkeen ‘n hoofstuk van ‘n boek te skryf wat handel oor die verkillende aspekte van werk en die individu, en die balans tussen dié twee kante van die lewe. Die gevolg is Beroepsbekering: Konfrontasie, krisis en kentering!, wat vrae vra wat nie maklik beantwoord word nie. 

In vandag se kultuur van kitsantwoorde, kitskursusse en kitsformules, is hierdie boek ‘n welkome verandering. Die twyfel waarmee elke persoon op een of ander tydstip in sy of haar beroepslewe moet wroeg word in hierdie teks bewoord, en dit laat die leser besef ander is ook deur sulke krisismomente. 

Saamgestel deur Johann Coetzee en met bydraes deur hom en ander bekende sakefigure, fokus die boek op die waarde van werk opgeweeg teenoor die waarde van onder andere etiek, familie, ambisie, roem, mag, rykdom en ouderdom. Dit spreek die Afrikaners aan wat hulself midde-in die “Nuwe Suid-Afrika” bevind en moet rekening hou met nuwe arbeidswetgewing wat die blanke man ontsien. So ook die beroepsvrou wat bottels, doeke, manlief en bevordering met mekaar moet balanseer in die nogsteeds hoofsaaklik manswêreld van bestuurwese.  

Vooraf bevestig die skrywers dat hulle uit hulle eie oogpunt en uit hulle persoonlike ervarings skryf en nie as die norm of antwoord op ander se vrae moet dien nie. En tog word hulle skepping ’n rigtingwyser vir ander wat hulle ook in sulke situasies bevind, die jonger geslag wat so pas die middernagdril begin het met doeke, babas en bottels; die ouer geslag wat nie vandag se werkskultuur kan verstaan nie; die jeug wat voor hulle eie beroepslewe staan en die wat reeds terugkyk oor ‘n wye werkservaring, maar nog nie reg is vir aftree of uittree nie. Juis omdat dit uit die hart, eerlik en oop geskryf is, word die boek ‘n ervaring van unieke aard. 

Verantwoordelikheid is ‘n hooftema van die boek, met advies vir werknemer sowel as werkverskaffer. As die boek voorskrywend voorkom word dit getemper met ‘n filosofie van “Dis wat ek gedoen het; dis wat ander gedoen het; kyk na die keuses wat jy het, en besluit dan self.” 

‘n Vraag wat kort-kort voorkom, “Watter waarde gee jy aan ...?” konfronteer die leser om nie ligweg oor die boek te lees nie, maar heeltyd eie hand aan eie boesem te slaan. 

Die boek word uitgegee in sagteband met die teks in grootdruk en belangrike punte word duidelik uitgelig. Hier en daar word temas met spotprente belig. Die inhoud bevat ‘n kort bibliografie van elke outeur en ‘n voorwoord wat die doel en uitleg beskryf. Die indeks aan die einde noteer belangrike temas waarop die boek fokus.  

Persoonlik het ek myself voorgeneem om die boek in ‘n dag te lees, maar sommige hoofstukke was so uitdagend en diepsinnig dat ek veel meer dinktyd nodig gehad het. Aan die einde was ek baie bly dat ek die voorreg gehad het om hierdie boek te lees, en as gevolg daarvan my werk en beroepstoekoms met ander perspektiewe te bekyk as die geykte “studeer, werk, bevordering, aftree, rus” idee. 

Wie sou daarby baatvind om hierdie boek te lees? Myns insiens almal wat moet werk vir hulle behoud; wat vir ‘n verandering die “tameletjie vrae” in Afrikaans wil herkou en met skrywers wil omgaan wat kwelpunte omonwonde noem en aanspreek. 

Marita Botha is ‘n redaktrise  vir die Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(Die verslag verskyn in die Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 8, 2007.) 
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Samuel Njenga and Arnold Smit
Leading the way through CSI: A guidebook for Corporate Social Investment practitioners

[Njenga, Samuel and Smit, Arnold, Leading the way through CSI: A guidebook for Corporate Social Investment practitioners, Knowres Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-1-86922-152-2]

If ever there was a book that practitioners in Corporate Social Investment (CSI) should keep on their desks, and refer to frequently, it is this book: Leading the way through CSI: A guidebook for Corporate Social Investment practitioners.

It deals with the journey a CSI practitioner undertakes; from the motive for CSI; the challenges thereof; through the practicalities of the CSI project; to the ever-present “bottom-line” decisions made by management of the company; and ends with some perspectives on the future of CSI in South Africa.

Written by Samuel Njenga and Arnold Smit, who had been there, and still is there, and fully understand how lonely and isolated a CSI practitioner can become when there are no guidelines to follow, this book aims to be a “… guidebook for CSI leaders …” (page 8), rather than to be a model of a step-by-step programme. Even so, it carries the authority and experience of these two sincere and outcome-oriented professionals.

They explain and expand on the various aspects of CSI, and how it affects the individual CSI practitioner, the company undertaking the corporate social investment and the ultimate beneficiaries, the society which the corporate social investment aims to benefit.

In this regard, the personal letters by other CSI practitioners offer valuable insight into their experiences. My impression of this field was that it can become very isolated and lonely unless management drives the commitment and incentive programmes. For CSI practitioners who feel they are fighting a losing battle, this book will provide much encouragement, and many ideas to assist them and for incorporation in their projects.

This handsome book in large print, clearly defined chapters and headings, important phrases and personal letters separated from the text by special fonts and highlighted in blocks, is easy to read. However, the hundred and forty odd pages offer much food for thought and many practical ideas. The book has a no-nonsense approach and clarity.

It plainly explains the difference between “corporate social investment,” “corporate social responsibility” and “corporate citizenship.” The four main points repeatedly highlighted for practitioners, also describes the way the book was organized, “be aware of the whole,” “learn from what emerges,” “facilitate participation” and “stay on the journey.” It looks at benchmarks, pitfalls, aspects involving the self, the whole, and the detail; accountability, responsibility, accommodation and negotiation, communication, and the legal and social aspects of the South African context.

The book has a most valuable bibliography, listing Internet sites and valuable email addresses. Another helpful aspect of the book is a whole chapter dedicated to resources.

Who would benefit from reading this book? Clearly CSI practitioners, but I would sincerely recommend it to any role player who carries the interest of their society in their hearts: management of companies who invest in their societies, leaders from those societies, and current and future business leaders, to start with. In the words of the authors, “… to be in business is to be socially involved … it has become something that companies increasingly need to address systematically and strategically and need to make deliberate decisions about” (page 8).

Human Resource practitioners and departments in organisations developing employee commitment and retention, and social departments in government would benefit as well from reading this book.

Personally, I discovered that CSI is a vast field, open to development, study and incorporation. The leaders of the future cannot run their businesses blind to the benefits of CSI and their responsibility to contribute to it. Because there seems to be so few books written about it, and so few specialists writing about it, CSI seems to be on the brink of becoming the next buzz word for leadership in corporate identity, because “… being socially responsible is good business …” (page 134).

The list of unexpected benefits companies can reap from well-defined CSI programmes includes building goodwill and reputation. Although there seems to be little initial benefit in investing socially, in the long run companies have become more competitive as a result of their CSI, and are able to sustain growth, increase their staff morale and eventually have better retention and productivity rates.

Well done to Samuel Njenga, Arnold Smit and Knowres Publishing for creating a book which could become the definitive guidebook for practitioners and future-thinking leaders.

Marita Botha is a content editor for Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine.
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 8, 2007.) 
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Martyn Sloman  
The Changing World of the Trainer: Emerging Good Practice 

[Sloman, Martyn, The Changing World of the Trainer: Emerging Good Practice, Elsevier Ltd., 2007, ISBN-10:0-7506-8053-9; ISBN-13: 978-0-7506-8053-0]

This study of the changing world of training and learning practices comes in a handsome format – clearly defined and stated case studies in large print, questions, forms, tables and itemized lists. The book, structured around a central premise with nine points, was written by Martyn Sloman, CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) advisor, Learning, Training, and Development. The premise is the result of the combined efforts of an expert panel of practitioners assembled by the CIPD, and the consequent survey carried out on the CIPD website, to which over 1000 people involved in training and development responded.

This work looks at various aspects and models to learning, as well as emerging trends in the learning environment of employees, or “people development.” At the end, it concludes with certain assumptions regarding emerging global trends.

In the words of Mr Sloman, “... those responsible for supporting, accelerating and directing learning must be able to adjust round the context in which the learners operate” (p.253). Each case study interviews the person, director or manager of training/learning implementation. 

The reader enters the world in which the study was done, discovers the historical background as well as the future aspirations or goals for training and/or learning within that environment. Case studies are taken from developed as well as developing countries, including South Africa, and other emerging global markets such as India and China. 

Most of the research and case studies are from the last decade, making the information relevant and up-to-date. The book covers various industrial sectors, and professions, as well as different levels within organisations. It addresses diversity, one case study in particular looking at improving the skills development of disabled employees and how that impacts on their working environment. 

“Commitment does matter – a key characteristic for a good trainer is enthusiasm for the job” states Mr Sloman (p.279). He underlines the importance of putting focus on the learner, not the trainer. People interviewed and taking part in the studies quoted in the book, are considered to be thought leaders. Mr Sloman’s research indicated that their organisations tend to be leaders in their field, showing how proper learning facilitation can impact on the financial state and growth of an organisation.

In a world where the focus is leaning more and more towards production of “higher value added goods and services” as opposed to “higher volume output” the critical balance for learning lies between enhancing skills through learning and the management of such learning, and how that impacts on the community in which the service or products are delivered.

The book focuses on the roles of integration and collaboration within the learning and/or training environment. The development of personnel through learning implies active participation from both the employee and the employer/management. 

Not only does the book look at the benefit of integrated training and learning, but it also looks at problems that emerge, such as skilled and trained employees leaving companies for better employment opportunities that were not available to them while they were untrained. 

Who might benefit from reading this book? Individuals and institutions that deliver and facilitate skills development, training and learning programmes, and those responsible for “people learning” within their organisations, as well as regulatory authorities and governing bodies.

On a personal level, the most interesting part of reading this book was the intriguing case studies. It gave me much insight into the inner workings of the future of “people development.” 

By Marita Botha - a content editor for the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine. 
(The review is featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 7, 2007.) 
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Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck

[Heath, Chip and Heath, Dan, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck, Random House Books, 2007, ISBN: 9781905211579]

Entertaining and informative by turns, this is a fascinating account of a key area of human behaviour, and one that also has a direct practical application, offering a set of principles we can all adopt to make sure that we can get our own ideas across effectively.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 7, 2007.) 
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Barney Jordaan & Susan Stelzner
Labour Arbitration

[Jordaan, Barney and Stelzner, Susan,  What You Must Know About Labour Arbitration, South Africa Siber Ink, 2003, ISBN: 0-9584540-1-9]

A whole range and, in particular, the most common form of labour dispute - the unfair dismissal dispute - are required, in terms of the LRA, to be resolved by arbitration. Arbitration is no longer the exclusive preserve of the legally trained - individuals, company and union representatives and consultants find themselves engaged in presentation of cases. Even though the CCMA processes are relatively simple, there are still basic rules and procedures that any litigant hoping to succeed needs to know.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 6, 2007.) 
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Chris Todd
Collective Bargaining Law

[Todd, Chris, Collective Bargaining Law, South Africa Siber Ink, 2003, ISBN: 0-9584540-7-8]

South Africa's Labour Relations Act of 1995 ("LRA") regulates the relationship between trade unions and employers. It guarantees basic organizational rights to trade unions where they previously had none. It simplifies the procedures required for industrial action to be lawful. It delineates in what circumstances industrial action is and is not permitted.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 5, 2007 and on the Workinfo.com website.) 
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Joseph R. Folkman
The Power of Feedback: 35 Principles for Turning Feedback from Others Into Personal and Professional Change

[Folkman, Joseph R., The Power of Feedback: 35 Principles for Turning Feedback from Others Into Personal and Professional ChangeJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006, ISBN: 978-0-471-99820-4]

Many businesses rely on customer feedback to learn what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. But many companies don't know how to use that feedback to create positive change within the organization. This book presents simple principles and steps that intend to make it easy to move the company forward using feedback.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 4, 2007.) 
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André Van Niekerk & Kirsten Linström
Unfair Dismissal: Third Edition

[Van Niekerk, André & Linström, Kirsten,Unfair Dismissal: Third Edition, South Africa Siber Ink, 2006, ISBN: 9781920025076]

This guide to the law of unfair dismissal explains the law with authority and answers the following questions - who is an employee?; what is a dismissal?; what are the requirements for a fair dismissal?; what are employers' and employees' respective rights and obligations?; if I have been unfairly dismissed what procedures do I follow, and what are my remedies?
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 4, 2007.) 
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Terry Pratchett 
Going Postal

[Pratchett, Terry, Going Postal, Corgi Adult, 2005, ISBN: 9780552149433]

Moist von Lipwig was a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's alling postal service back on its feet. It was a tough decision. But he's got to see that the mail gets though, come rain, hall, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too. Maybe it'll take a criminal to succeed where honest men have failed, or maybe it's a death sentence either way. Or perhaps there's a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who's prepared to push the envelope...
(Quoted from in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3, 2007.) 
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Hilton Catt & Patricia Scudamore
Solving Skills Shortages: How to Recruit and Retain Skilled People 

[Catt, Hilton and Scudamore, Patricia, Solving Skills Shortages: How to Recruit and Retain Skilled People, Kogan Page Limited, London, 1997, ISBN: 0749420553]

A shortage of skilled workers in the traditional "blue collar" industries has become a particular problem. This text aims to advise HR managers how to ensure that once a job has been filled, it will stay filled. Covering reward strategies, recruitment techniques and sources of skilled people, this text aims to ensure that the best person not only gets the job, but wants to stay doing the job.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3, 2007.) 
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Richard Branson
Screw it, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life

[Branson, Richard, Screw it, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life, Virgin Books, 2006, ISBN: 9780753510995]

Global entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has built a business empire and made billions and is renowned for his approachability and ability to challenge and succeed against the odds. "Screw It, Let's Do It" reveals the lessons that have helped him through his business and personal life.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3, 2007.) 
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Stephen James Taylor
The Employee Retention Handbook

[Taylor, Stephen James, The Employee Retention Handbook, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2002, ISBN-10: 0852929633, ISBN-13: 978-0852929636]

Stephen Taylor explores the commonest causes of staff turnover and the most effective ways of measuring, costing and predicting it. Improve retention rates by looking at the crucial challenges of retaining retail workers, new graduates, sales people, call centre staff and IT professionals.
(Featured in the Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 2, 2007.) 
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Terry Pratchett 
Thief of Time

[Pratchett, Terry, Thief of Time, Corgi Adult, 2002, ISBN: 9780552148405]

Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. And on the Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it's wasted (like the underwater - how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there's never enough time. But the construction of the world's first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone's problems. THIEF OF TIME comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes, villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronnie, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous).
(Quoted from in Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Edition 1, 2007.)
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Michael Armstrong   
Employee Reward

[Armstrong, Michael, Employee Reward, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2002, ISBN: soft cover 9780852929384]

This text examines the many forces influencing decisions about pay and provides clear guidance on all remuneration issues, adopting an integrated approach.
(Featured in Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Edition 1, 2007.)
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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director

BA LLB

C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
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