Tyranny of served market and Human Resource Department

idea 1

Madan Routray was tense. He was continuously calling his team member Gyani Mhais to see if presentation was ready. He had to show it to CEO and take his approval before presenting it to board of directors in remuneration committee meeting ( Remcom meeting). It was one of the rare occasions when Madan has chance to present HR initiatives to Board. HR head was almost never called in meetings of board of directors.Gyani Mhais had some ideas of how HR can improve, so had worked hard on this presentation.

Next day, in meeting, HR presentation was last on agenda. By the time HR’s turn came the members were already tired. Some excused themselves as they “had to take” some important call while Chairman was busy checking mails on ipad. Hardly anyone was interested in presentation. Finally Chairman said that it was nice presentation, but due to lack of funds, any new project will be taken only in next financial year, meanwhile HR should concentrate on improving existing processes and engagement level of employees.

EPSON scanner image

In many organisations HR suffers from what is called as the “tyranny of served market”. The stake holders i.e. the leadership team wants HR to continue doing what they are already doing; it discourages any radical changes/innovations. Many have fear that radical change might threaten their position or privileges that they have been enjoying ex. cost efficiency measures, outsourcing of processes, stringent performance management process etc. can make many managers redundant.

idea 2

Along with tyranny of served market, there is also tyranny of dead ideas. Some outdated HR practices are continued to protect status quo.

idea 3

Secondly, leadership team is victim of group think when it comes to defining role of HR. Since all have same views, there are no deviant views. Hence innovations in HR are unlikely to come from such leadership teams.


All this makes it difficult for HR to introduce innovative HR practices. Maintaining existing practices can only bring about incremental changes, for radical change to occur, HR should break free from tyranny of served markets/dead ideas.


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