Teaching Interest

Managing Human Capital: Keeping Hope Alive in Organizations (Not offered 2013-2014)

by Michel Anteby

Description

Managing Human Capital has been specifically designed to teach practical skills for the general manager who seeks to manage both other people and his or her own career with optimal effectiveness. Any and all students who believe they will need to effectively manage other people to produce superior business results should take this course. In the Managing Others' Human Capital (MOHC) segment, during the first part of the semester, we will cover best practices in the design of recruiting, performance-evaluation, and compensation systems; how to develop people, manage workforce reductions, and have difficult conversations; and how to manage corporate culture and change. In the Managing Your Own Human Capital (MYHC) segment, students will learn how to develop as a professional, navigate the transition to general manager, and evaluate career transitions and choices strategically.

The management of human capital has the potential to be the source of competitive advantage in high-performance organizations. Due to rapidly changing demographics, technologies, mergers, alliances, and increased global competition, the processes of managing human capital are becoming more central to effective organization practices and outcomes. It is obvious that companies that want to succeed need excellent people. But companies need cultures and systems in which individuals can use their talents. More importantly, general managers must be aware of their own assumptions about people and why individuals come to work. While virtually all leaders in organizations say they are committed to their people, many do not apply this belief.

The course takes the point of view of the general manager (not just the human resource practitioner) attempting to leverage the human capital of an organization in ways that create not only revenues, profits, and growth, but also create a unique place to work and employees and customers who are apostles of the enterprise (Heskett, Schlesinger, and Sasser, 1997). We want future general managers to be clear about how people are motivated, and how managers’ assumptions drive the kind of processes, structures and strategies they create. The desired outcome is to have students’ assumptions questioned, and to create high expectations of self and others not only within the class but also within the organizations students will join after Harvard Business School.

This course is based on four themes: (1) as the general manager, how do you think about leveraging your people in strategic and systematic ways; (2) what specifically needs to transpire in order to act on those beliefs, assumptions, policies, and levers to achieve competitive advantage in talent management; (3) what are the specific skills required for a general manager to operate those levers to achieve the desired results; and (4) as the professional and/or general manager, how should you think about managing your own human capital?

The course is integrative in that it builds on material addressed in the first-year courses Strategy, Economics, Organizations and Markets, and Leadership and Organizational Behavior. It is more practice-based than LEAD, highlighting how to create and adjust basic levers in the organization. Our protagonists will provide additional insights during class visits. 

See Fall 2012 Syllabus at left.