IS THE SOUTH AFRICAN PUBLIC SERVICE READY TO EMBRACE GLOBALIZATION: OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH(5)

RESEARCH(5)

The Significance of Human Resource Development and Globalisation

The competitive advantage of a company depends on five basic factors: technology, the degree of protection, a particular way to enjoy access to financial resources, economies of scale, and the nature and composition of the work force. Countries can no longer rely on a secure place in the market simply on account of possessing a technological edge. As the life cycles of products shorten, companies can no longer count on economies of scale, success depends on being able to profit from short product runs.

According to Coetzee (2001:527), in the South African context, which pressures are particularly accentuated, as organisations face the immediate challenge of moving beyond the comfortable practices of the past engendered by closed market and an overly interventionist state. The current crisis of competitiveness has resulted in South African organisations to be more aware of the need to experiment with more flexible techniques of work organisation. South African managers often under rate the pressures of globalisation and are reluctant to invest too much on employee development.

Countries have embarked on a thorough re-evaluation of the role, structure and functions of the state in general and human resource management and development in particular. This has been in response to a number of factors including the growing impact of global markets and competition, the trend towards “knowledge workers”, multi-skilling and multi-tasking and the growing pressure for equal opportunities in employment (du Toit, Knipe, van Niekerk, van der Waldt and Doyle, 2002:165).

In order to survive in the harsh global environment, organisations have to use all the resources at their disposal in an effective manner. The need for affirmative action, given both social and legislative pressures makes it critically important that organisations give particular attention to developing their internal human capacities through both skills and development and stable employment policies. Countries can enhance its competitiveness and ensure success in the global realities. The development of human resource is seen as equipping those whose existing skills are surplus, redundant or lacking in the first place. Training should be part of an ongoing process in order to maintain an effective workforce. There has been a global trend towards the integration of employment and training. Training has often tended to be job specific with limited transferability between employers (Coetzee, 2001:528).

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