Encouraging managers to activate their best sustainable advantage – their people.
In most organisations, people are easily the highest expenditure. They can also be the greatest asset. In fact, an effective team of people is the best sustainable advantage an organisation can have.
However, there is an enormous gap between theory and research in the field of human resources, and how the theory is implemented in practice. This is leaving many organisations in a position where their teams are not operating to their full potential.
After spending 40 years working in the field of human resources, Lecturer Simon Fishwick has turned his attention to educating students how to close the research to practice gap effectively. By preparing students to navigate issues like workplace bullying, recruitment, increasing women in senior positions, and organisational change and development, he feels he will make the most difference in the field.
He aims to contribute to better management of people and organisations by preparing students to go out into the world armed with the principles of effective people management, and the capability to apply those principles to practical situations.
“I want to educate students so they can manage people better. In five or ten years, I hope to see that they are out there making a real difference.”
Facilitating people working in teams
Dr Fishwick says that what distinguishes high performing organisations from others is how their people work together.
“Products and ideas can be copied, but the combined capability of an organisation's people will take another organisation a generation to replicate,” he says.
“However, most organisations could greatly improve the strategic management of their people.”
Dr Fishwick says that facilitating people working in teams is critical to both the organisation and the people that work within the organisation.
“We spend more time with the people that we work with than anyone else in our lives. And very few of us achieve what we need to achieve by ourselves,” he says.
“Organisations need high-quality people with individual capability, a positive group culture, and effective processes.”
The research to practice gap
While Dr Fishwick says there is a large body of research in the field, very little of the theory makes it into practice. The problem, he says, lies with its implementation.
“For example, the research to practice gap is most evident in the area of recruitment. Instead of hiring the best person for the job, organisations need to consider the broader context of teams.
“Best practice recruitment now selects the right person for the job, the broader team and the organisation as a whole. That will not necessarily be the person with the strongest skill set. Relying primarily on an interview is therefore not the best way to determine a candidate fit for the organisation.”
Educating students to bridge the gap
With all human resources problems or opportunities, Dr Fishwick encourages his students to start by applying their principles and values and then considering the context that they are applying them within.
“Humans are pretty simple creatures. As we age, we don’t change much in how we operate. If you provide individuals with a framework, boundaries, expectations, rewards, and consequences, they are likely to behave more consistently with behaviours expected by organisations.
“What I want students to leave my classroom with is both the knowledge derived from research in the field of human resource management and critically, an understanding and confidence in how to apply it.”
Dr Fishwick says that the problems organisations deal with are generally the same and similar principles that can be applied to resolving issues. It is the context that changes.
According to Dr Fishwick, HR practitioners and managers need to understand:
- Why an organisation should have a particular policy in an area
- What the policy should be
- How to implement the policy
- How to articulate these aspects to managers, so the strategy will be funded and implemented
Research that makes a difference
Simon Fishwick is a lecturer in Management in the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, a position he has held 2012.
Simon had more than 20 years professional experience as a HR professional, manager and consultant prior to commencing a full-time academic role at the University of Tasmania in 2001. His work experience focussed on strategic aspects of HR and leadership with a particular interest in effective implementation. His major areas were selection, employee performance and employment relations.
Simon has been a member of the Australia Human Resources Institute since 1983 and has played an active role on the Tasmanian State Council since 1997.
Prior to joining the University of Tasmania, Simon was the sole director of a consulting firm that specialised in workplace relations, performance management, training and strategic planning. Before this he held positions in the Commonwealth Public Services, private enterprise, South Australia Institute for Technology and the South Australian Public Sector.
|Degree||Title of Thesis||University||Country||Awarded|
|PhD||Putting Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) into practice; an Australian case study||University of Tasmania||Australia||2011|
|MSc||Women in Science & Technology||University of London||Australia||1983|
|GradDip||Business Administration||SA Institute of Technology||Australia||1987|
|BEc||Industrial Relations||University of Western Australia||Australia||1976|
CAHRI (Certified Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute) since 1983. Tasmanian State President, AHRI 2000-2004; Immediate Past President, 2005-2007. I was a Member of the Tasmania State Council over the period 1997-2008 and re-joined the Professional Development Committee in 2011.
Simon has experience in Managing a medium sized rehabilitation department, teams of HR professionals as well as chairing professional committees and voluntary boards of management.
Leadership & Change Management, Organisational Development & Change, Managing People at Work, Work and Organisation
- Developed and coordinated postgraduate units Contemporary Leadership in an Australian Context (BMA701) and Human Resource Management (BMA583
- Developed and coordinated undergraduate units Strategic Issues in HRM (BMA330), Selection & Retention (BMA226) and Management of Human Resources (BMA121).
- Coordinator for the major Human Resource Management, and the Corporate Internship Coordinator (2006-present). Coordinator Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in Hospitality Management and in Tourism Management (2002-2011)
Strategic Implementation of HR
Recruitment and Selection
Linking HR theory and HR Practice
Simon's research aligns with the University's research theme of Data, Knowledge and Decisions and Creativity, Culture and Society. The central theme is bridging the research-practice gap and facilitating effective implementation of evidence-based people management strategies. Simon's PhD developed a framework to assess and inform strategic implementation of HR strategy and policies.
Simon's current projects include strategic implementation, a positive approach to employee selection, workplace strategies to combat bullying behaviour and improving people management practices.
Simon collaborates with A/Professor Angela Martin on workplace bullying which has included: Martin, A. & Fishwick, S, 2007, Employee opinion survey: Experiences of bullying, intimidation and harassment.Consultancy Report, Tasmanian Fire Service.
Fields of Research
- Human Resources Management (150305)
- Marketing Management (incl. Strategy and Customer Relations) (150503)
- Business Information Management (incl. Records, Knowledge and Information Management, and Intelligence) (150301)
- Organisational Behaviour (150311)
- Tourism Management (150603)
- Management (910402)
- Marketing (910403)
- Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services (970115)
- Work and Family Responsibilities (940504)
- Workplace Safety (940505)
- Tourism (900399)
- Human Capital Issues (910202)
- Industrial Relations (910401)
Simon is developing his publications in strategic HR and related topics. He has been reviewer for Australian Bulletin of Labour.
Journal Article(3 outputs)
|2014||Alshathry S, O'Donohue W, Wickham MD, Fishwick S, 'National culture as an influence on perceptions of employer attractiveness', Academy of Taiwan Business Management Review, 10, (1) Article 13. ISSN 1813-0534 (2014) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Wickham MD
|2012||Fishwick S, 'The research-practice gap in selection', New Zealand Journal of Human Resources Management, 12, (2) pp. 81-92. ISSN 1175-5407 (2012) [Refereed Article]|
|2008||Wickham MD, Fishwick S, 'Presenting a 'career-life balance' approach to the work-life balance issue', International Review of Business Research Papers, 4, (5) pp. 87-96. ISSN 1832-9543 (2008) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Wickham MD
Conference Publication(7 outputs)
|2013||Fishwick S, Street KD, 'A positive approach to employee selection', Proceedings of the 27th ANZAM Conference, 4-6 December 2013, Hobart, pp. 1-20. ISBN 978-0-9875968-1-9 (2013) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2012||Fishwick S, Martin A, 'Workplace bullying: Incidence and impacts', Proceedings of the 2012 ANZAM Conference, 5-7 December 2012, Perth, pp. 1-21. (2012) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
Co-authors: Martin A
|2011||Fishwick S, 'The Research-Practice gap in Australian graduate selection: a bridge too far?', Proceedings of the 2011 ANZAM Conference, 7-9 December 2011, Wellington, pp. 1-18. (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2010||Crispin SH, Dunn AM, Fishwick S, Franklin AS, Hanson DJ, et al., 'Proceedings of the 2010 CAUTHE Conference', CAUTHE, February 2010, Hobart, pp. 1. ISBN 978 1 86295 560 8 (2010) [Conference Edited]|
Co-authors: Crispin SH; Dunn AM; Franklin AS; Hanson DJ; Reiser D; Wells M; Baxter CW
|2008||Wickham MD, Fishwick S, 'Reconciling the divide between strategic HRM practices and Work-Life Balance: Conceptualising a Career-Life Balance Audit', Proceedings of the 2008 Annual London Conference of Money, Economy and Management, July 3-4 2008, London, pp. 1-11. (2008) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
Co-authors: Wickham MD
|2007||Fishwick S, 'Bridging the theory-practice gap: Performance management in an Australian setting', Conference proceedings of the 9th International Human Resource Management Conference, 12-15 June 2007, Estonia, pp. 1-24. ISBN 978-9985-9342-8-9 (2007) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2006||Wickham MD, Parker M, Fishwick S, 'Exploring a Work Life Impact Audit: An Aid to Informed Consensus?', Proceedings of the 20th ANZAM Conference, 6-8 December 2006, Queensland, pp. 1-12. ISBN 1 921047 34 8 (2006) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
Co-authors: Wickham MD; Parker M
Contract Report, Consultant's Report(1 outputs)
|2007||Martin A, Fishwick S, 'Employee opinion survey: Experiences of bullying, intimidation and harassment. ', Tasmanian Fire Service, 1 (2007) [Consultants Report]|
Co-authors: Martin A
Other Public Output(1 outputs)
|2013||Fishwick S, 'Media interview: Parental leave for Dads', Parental Leave for Fathers with Penny Terry, Australian Broadcasting Company, ABC Radio 8 April, 2013 (2013) [Media Interview]|
Grants & Funding
Number of grants
- WorkCover Tasmania ($19,775)
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Fishwick S; Martin A
- Tasmania Fire Service ($7,090)
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Martin A; Fishwick S
Simon welcomes expressions of interest from potential MA or PhD candidates interested in the following areas: Performance Management, Recruitment and Selection, Work/Life Balance, Linking HR theory and HR Practice.
Simon is part of HDR supervision panels:
Masters: Co-supervisor The Transfer, from Australian Universities to the Workplace, of Graduate Attributes/Skills/Outcomes
PhD: Co-supervisor Technical Innovation, Environment Protection and Education of Companies in China
PhD: Co-supervisor Understanding the shapers of uncivil workplace behaviours and equipping the workforce to proactively prevent them adversely impacting individual, workgroup, workforce performance and productivity
|PhD||Corporate Environmental Performance Determination in China||2013|