Working in construction teaches you a good deal of generalist versus specialist management. It is often understood that general managers are what hold the projects together; however, the specialists are who get the job done. Similar to this functionality, human resource management also struggles to decipher the value of both types of managers. Whether it is in construction, accounting, finance, business administration, health care, law, etc., there are always individuals who obtain knowledge on different levels. Having less knowledge of a particular specialty doesn’t make them less valuable. In my professional opinion, I believe the value of a generalist and a specialist are more often based on the volume of the project or organization. Timothy Bartram and his fellow colleagues discuss these relationships in their article titled “Editors’ Note: Specialist Versus Generalist Managerial Roles in HRM.” Bartram collects a few articles by various authors to convey what happens in the corporate world between these positions. From my understanding, the authors of this article are advocating for the HR specialists of the world.
They find that the specialists often get bullied by the general managers because of their perfectionism. According to the authors, human resource generalists focus more on the rate of productions while HR specialists focus on protecting the organization from legal liability (Bartram, 2013). Since in most case, the specialists report to the general manager, it is common for the general manager to feel superior; however, Bartram and his colleagues beg to differ. Although they seem to be the voice of the HR specialists, they are in no way undermining the work of HR generalists. In the second article I read the authors Steven J. Cesare and Coleen Thornton discuss the importance of both managerial positions and their responsibilities. Though they may not have intended to, they’re article seems to suggest that generalists are more anxious to climb the corporate ladder while specialists work to achieve their own goal and recognition from their peer specialists.
This is an interesting argument and relatively true in many cases. I, also, have come to learn that generalists more often seek the approval and applause of their superior while specialists are more interested in being innovative and furthering their knowledge. Cesare and Thornton mention how individuals evaluate themselves as either position according to their education versus their profession. For example, if an individual obtains a degree in engineering and works as a project manager, they consider themselves an engineer which is the specialty while a project manager is more general. Vice versa, people also identify themselves as their profession over their academic degree.
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Topic: HR Generalists vs. Specialist
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