Griffith University Professor of Employment Relations Adrian Wilkinson has been named on a prestigious shortlist of international HR Thinkers (first published, August 6, 2012)

HR Most Influential 2012 has unveiled the names of the top 20 global thinkers challenging assumptions and practice in the field of human resources, with Professor Wilkinson the only Australian academic listed.

The final ranking will be announced in September after voters of HR Magazine worldwide have registered their votes.

“These are the very best in the world. It’s a huge honour just to be on the same platform,” Professor Wilkinson, Director of Griffith’s Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, said.

The HR Most Influential International Thinker list is recognised as the most authoritative analysis of the impact and influence of HR as the employment landscape evolves.

The list includes stalwarts who have changed the face of HR generally whose thinking remains current and new entrants driving thinking forward in more specific areas, such as organisational development and wellbeing.

This year has seen an emphasis on academic research and its impact on change, development and innovation in the field.

“Academic ideas are important in changing HR’s effect, particularly in developing more efficient business performance and strategies to make business more competitive,” Professor Wilkinson said.

“Engagement is the buzzword in HR right now. It’s all about employment participation and giving a voice to employees.

“The economic strand says it makes sense to truly involve the workforce in the business and benefit from their contributions.”

Professor Wilkinson said there is substantial literature supporting initiatives like the promotion of the employee voice.

“Equally the employee voice is rooted in concepts of industrial citizenship, worker rights, and organisational democracy which are grounded in even more fundamental notions of free speech and human dignity for which supporting arguments are often expressed in political, moral and religious terms.

“It is often said that people are bright, committed and intelligent until they come to work. Too often their creativity, innovation and energy are part of their lives outside work, and when they come to work it is shackled and inhibited.

“The challenge is to develop HR practices that harness these skills and characteristics in the workplace.”

Professor Wilkinson’s research has focused on employment participation and promoting the voice of the employee for the past 20 years. Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) Professor Michael Powell said Professor Wilkinson’s nomination signalled an acknowledgement of how far his academic ideas had travelled into the public domain.

Griffith University Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor also paid tribute to Professor Wilkinson.

“This honour follows on from his being conferred the Award of Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences for his contributions to the Social Sciences in 2011, and his appointment as a British Academy of Management (BAM) Fellow in 2010,” he said.