Business Question

Learning Goal: I’m working on a business writing question and need guidance to help me learn.

Reflection Paper “When Theory and Practice Go Astray”

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.”

Albert Einstein (also attributed to Yogi Berra)

Every HR manager has a list of “best practices” regarding personnel policies, but does the knowledge of these ideal practices always translate into their successful implementation? Unfortunately, there is often a discrepancy between an ideal practice (what you learn about in a textbook) and the way this practice is implemented in an organization.

Think of any HR practice (e.g., related to recruitment, selection, training, performance appraisal, etc.) in YOUR organization that does not run the way the theory (your HR textbook and articles you read in the course) suggests it should. Then do the following:

  1. Describe the discrepancy juxtaposing the theory and practice
  2. Describe any consequences (current or potential) of this discrepancy
  3. Suggest solutions (REALISTIC and SPECIFIC) to fix the discrepancy

(by realistic I mean the solutions that can be implemented, given your company’s environment; by specific I mean a detailed description how you suggest the discrepancy can be eliminated). For example, if the theory states that HR departments and managers should work together to develop and implement successful HR practices, and your company is very small and does not have an HR department, the suggestion to hire several HR specialists and launch an HR department is not feasible and will never be implemented immediately (it can be a long-term solution if the company grows). Meanwhile, you can suggest that a manager and employees (or team leaders) can work together to assure synergy. For example, monthly meetings should be held in which managers and team leaders discuss organizational issues, propose a plan of action and oversee its implementation. Additionally, a manager should have a face-to-face meeting with each employee (it is possible because the company is very small) to discuss problems and ask for employees’ feedback. Finally, drafts of the strategic organizational plan should be discussed at the overall company meeting where each employee can express s/he voice and make a contribution.

The length of your reflection paper should be 1-3 pages, Times New Roman, double-spaced. References are optional.

Examples of discrepancies:

Example 1: Transfer of training knowledge is critical and has to be put in place on a regular basis, however, in Company ABC individuals are required to go through training semi-annually, yet their job requirements remain unchanged and call for no implementation of the new knowledge.

Example 2: An interview should be typically conducted by 2-3 people to prevent perception biases and obtain the most objective information. However, only one manager in Company ABC conducts all the interviews.

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