Posted on: September 13, 2013
Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies recently welcomed Prof. Rachana Sharma into its fold. Prof. Sharma, who is pursuing a PhD in Management, is working as Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management at the institute. Having already worked as Assistant Professor in the past, she has brought her experience to the institute, along with the zeal and enthusiasm of her youth. But what was it that attracted her to KIAMS? “It is a premier management institution, which has made a mark through its contribution not only in India, but internationally as well. The institute has set very high standards for education and offers brilliant infrastructure that creates an excellent learning environment,” she says with conviction.
At the same time, Prof. Sharma was impressed with the fact that the institute encourages faculty members to keep working on challenging R&D problems that focus on management development. It goes well with her own passion for research, especially on “spirituality”, an area she has already made an impression in. Of the several research papers she has worked on, the one on “Space, Time and Matter (We are all one)” stands out. “I have been in love with Physics since childhood and keep exploring this area with the intellectual support of my dad, who is a scientist. This paper was based on Einstein’s scientific concept about the theory of relativity,” she says.
Human Resources, the area of her work is another passion for Prof. Sharma, who believes that it holds major responsibilities in any organisation. “The HR professional has moved from being a compliance specialist to talent manager, due to major expansion in the flow of knowledge. There will be many changes in the workplace in the coming years. HR managers have to play a crucial role in organisational adaptation for a changing workforce,” says Prof. Sharma excitedly.
While it might be evolving, HR is still said to be gender biased, where women are considered to be better managers than men. Does that work in favour of women? “There are gender biases in every discipline,” says Prof. Sharma rationally. “There are studies that reveal that women are more likely to use leadership styles than men. They can be better transformational leaders, can mentor and empower employees a lot better.” However, Prof. Sharma has a more balanced approach to the theory, as she says, “Each gender comes with its unique strengths and weaknesses. No specific gender can claim a monopoly on good management.”
As Prof. Sharma stated quite clearly, the responsibilities of HR managers are bound to grow. But are B-Schools updating their curricula to train students for these roles that might change in the future? “The HR field is highly susceptible to change and requires constant updating, as well as the development of a social conscience,” says Prof. Sharma, looking at the broader picture. “Introducing new courses, updating existing ones and employing ‘out-of-classroom’ methods in learning are ways in which Indian B-schools are adapting to stay relevant and competitive,” she says of the efforts taken by B-schools.
Prof. Sharma tries to keep a participatory approach in her classroom to ensure engagement from her students. She strives to make sure each one of them is involved in classroom proceedings. By focussing on case discussions, group discussions, outdoor activities and presentations, she has already done her best to keep up with innovative learning methods for the benefit of her students.
She also has sound advice for students who wish to pursue a career in HR. “HR makes the strongest organisational contribution by being a strategic partner, optimising total rewards and achieving flawless execution in employee transactions,” says Prof. Sharma. “HR issues will always exist and there will always be place for talented people who understand business and organisational dynamics,” she ends on a promising note.