Original Research

Perspectives of human resource practitioners in two urban local authorities in Zimbabwe

Anoziva C. Gumbie, Nelesh Dhanpat, Renjini M. Joseph
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 21 | a2188 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2188 | © 2023 Anoziva C. Gumbie, Nelesh Dhanpat, Renjini M. Joseph | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 November 2022 | Published: 04 May 2023

About the author(s)

Anoziva C. Gumbie, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nelesh Dhanpat, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Renjini M. Joseph, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: This study examines the experiences of human resource (HR) practitioners in two urban local authorities (ULAs) in Zimbabwe.

Research purpose: The research aimed to understand the human resource management (HRM)-oriented strategies and the extent to which HR practitioners’ experiences could enable effective implementation.

Motivation for the study: There is a need to understand the challenges HR practitioners in ULAs in Zimbabwe face in delivering effective HRM.

Research approach/design and method: The study adopted a qualitative research approach using semi-structured interviews with 17 purposively selected HR practitioners. Thematic analysis was used to extract themes from the interviews.

Main findings: The findings revealed five themes of HRM challenges in Zimbabwean ULAs, including political interference, resource constraints, bureaucracy and the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Human resource management delivery is hindered by stakeholder involvement, performance management gaps, technology gaps and limited interaction with line management. Additionally, traditional HRM approaches committee-focused procedures, and inadequate investment in employee education limit HRM capabilities and procedures.

Practical/managerial implications: The study suggests that policymakers and HR practitioners in ULAs in Zimbabwe should pay attention to the identified HRM challenges and proposed solutions to enhance HRM delivery and HR performance. The proposed conceptual model can serve as a guide to overcoming HRM challenges.

Contribution/value-add: This study adds to the limited research on public sector HRM in Africa, and stakeholders and HR practitioners can benefit from the conceptual model and recommendations for streamlining HRM procedures in ULAs in Zimbabwe.


Keywords

urban local authority; human resource management; HR practitioners; lived experience; public sector; Zimbabwe

JEL Codes

M12: Personnel Management • Executives; Executive Compensation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Metrics

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