Original Research

The future and the role of human resource management in South Africa during the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Cecilia M. Schultz
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1624 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1624 | © 2021 Cecilia M. Schultz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 April 2021 | Published: 17 December 2021

About the author(s)

Cecilia M. Schultz, Department of People Management and Development, Faculty of Management Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The world of work is evolving at an alarming rate, and human resource (HR) practitioners need to familiarise themselves with the future of human resource management (HRM) in order to add value to their organisations.

Research purpose: This article presents South African HR practitioners’ views about the future and the role of HRM in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) from a qualitative perspective.

Motivation for the study: Human resource practitioners play a central role in the 4IR, but theories on how their role is enacted remain insufficient.

Research approach/design and method: A qualitative survey design was used to study the views of 105 HR practitioners affiliated with the South African Board of People Practices. Three open-ended questions were sent to participants by means of a SurveyMonkey link. Deductive and inductive coding were used to thematically analyse the data.

Main findings: The following themes were identified: technology-driven, data-driven, ethically driven, change driven, business-driven, human–machine collaboration and presilience.

Practical/managerial implications: South African HR practitioners should be prepared for the future world of work. If these HR practitioners are not technology-driven, data-driven, ethically driven, change driven, business-driven, human–machine collaboration and presilient, they may have difficulty to add value to the organisation in the 4IR.

Contribution/value-add: This study extends the body of knowledge about the future world of work and the role of HRM in South Africa by founding that HR practitioners must have presilience and respect ubuntu. The study also extends contemporary scholarship by using an open-ended qualitative review design to investigate the future of HRM in South Africa during the 4IR.


Keywords

future human resource management; role of human resource management; Fourth Industrial Revolution; qualitative survey; South Africa

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