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HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT IN CRISIS: A CASE OF A UNIVERSITY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Bethuel Sibongiseni Ngcamu

DOI: 10.22495/cbv10i3art2

Abstract

Human Resources (HR) departments in previously disadvantaged higher education institutions (HEI) in South Africa have contributed to the crisis that has led them to be governed by appointed Administrators assigned by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training. The malfunctioning of HR departments persists even in the post-Administrator’s era, with a prevalence of personal, interpersonal and operational challenges. This study aimed at interrogating challenges faced by the HR Department of the university concerned post the appointed Administrator era and its negative effects. This study adopted a qualitative research approach whereby in-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 10 HR Department staff members. Focus group discussions were also carried out with 20 academic and non-academic university leaders. Further data was also collected through ethnographic observation and secondary data was also used. The non-probability purposive sampling was used for qualitative analysis and NVivo was used for organizing and analyzing data gleaned from the in-depth interviews. The study findings consistently revealed unclear roles and responsibilities, outmoded recruitment and selection processes and poor interpersonal relations amongst the HR department staff members as some of the challenges that still persist post the Administrator’s era, all of which have contributed to the paralysis of organizational culture. University leaders can use the study findings as a tool to devise and implement radical change management interventions aiming at re-engineering HR departments that are operating abnormally, as well as for designing a responsive HR Strategic Architect. This study will contribute to the body of knowledge in the HR fraternity as there is a dearth of published studies on the internal challenges faces by HR Departments (both interpersonal and operational), which have the potential to hamper smooth operations of higher education institutions.

Keywords: Human Resources Department; Administrator; Higher Education; Ethnographic Observation

How to cite this paper: Ngcamu, B. S. (2014). Human resources department in crisis: A case of a university in South Africa. Corporate Board: role, duties and composition, 10(3), 19-27. http://doi.org/10.22495/cbv10i3art2

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