This study investigated whether graduates, because of their HR masters level coursework, felt prepared to perform the key competencies needed by HR professionals. Graduates of two curriculum types, externalist, represented by a MBA with HR specialization (MBAHR), and internalist, represented by a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management (MHRM), were compared to see if there was any difference between the groups in perception of personal preparedness. The study used a questionnaire developed based on the competencies identified in the Human Resource Competency Study (HRSC), strategic contribution, personal credibility, HR delivery, business knowledge, and HR technology. Demographic questions about gender, age, industry, company size, job role, and grade point were asked to see if there were differences between the two groups. The questionnaire was distributed to members of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Results of the study suggest that graduates from MBAHR programs felt more prepared to perform the competencies of strategic contribution, business knowledge, and HR technology than MHRM graduates. Within these three competency domains, strategic decision-making, market-driven connectivity, value chain knowledge, value proposition knowledge, and strategic HR technology were key factors contributing to the difference between groups. No difference between groups existed in the competency domains of HR delivery and personal credibility.
There were no significant differences between the two groups relative to five of the six demographic factors, age, gender, industry, company size, and job role indicating no degree preference based on these factors. The demographic factor grade point average did show a significant difference between the two groups with the MHRM graduates having a higher grade point average than the MBAHR students.
This study has implications for potential students, university faculty and employers. Universities should review their curriculum to incorporate factors associated with the strategic contribution, business knowledge, and HR technology domains. Specific competency areas that are suggested for inclusion are strategic decision making, market driven connectivity, strategic HR technology, HR measurement, value proposition knowledge and value chain knowledge. Potential students and employers should consider the results when selecting degree programs and recruiting for HR employees.
|Subjects||Management; Occupational psychology; Business education|
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