Benchmarking human resource development: an emerging area of practice

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/01435120610702396
Pages401-410
Publication Date01 Jul 2006
AuthorIan Smith
SubjectLibrary & information science
Benchmarking human resource
development: an emerging area of
practice
Ian Smith
La Trobe University Library, Bundoora, Australia
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential for the application of benchmarking
to human resource development (HRD) practice in the LIS sector.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper outlines the principles of benchmarking, examines
dimensions which may be useful in benchmarking HRD and focuses in particular on the potential for
the application of benchmarking principles to HRD activity in the library and information services
(LIS) sector. Several examples of emergent HRD benchmarking practice in the LIS sector are used to
illustrate the application of benchmarking principles and methodologies.
Findings – The paper finds that HRD benchmarking has significant potential to become a powerful
tool in ensuring good and improving HRD practice in the LIS sector.
Practical implications The paper offers practical information and advice to those considering the
application of benchmarking principles and practices to HRD.
Originality/value – The paper examines an emergent area of professional practice in the LIS sector.
As such it has particular relevance and applicability to those responsible for planning and managing
in that sector.
Keywords Human resourcedevelopment, Benchmarking, Libraries, Informationservices
Paper type Research paper
Benchmarking is a process of evaluating products, services, and work processes of
organisations that are recognised as representing best practices, for the purpose of
organisational improvement (Spendolini, 1992). The process of undertaking systematic
comparison between organisations, and making improvements based on those
comparisons is generally regarded as originating in the Xerox Corporation’s efforts, in
the late 1970s, to reinvent itself in the face of competition in a market segment that it
had hitherto dominated (see for example: Elmuti and Kathawala, 1997; Ford, 1993).
Other influences cited as significant in the development of the concept of
benchmarking include the quality assurance movement and just-in-time
manufacturing methods (Longbottom, 2000).
This paper briefly examines the core concepts of benchmarking and the
applicability of benchmarking to human resource development (HRD) practice.
Several examples of HRD benchmarking initiatives in the library and information
services sector serve to illustrate the application of this emergent performance
measurement/assessment practice.
Benchmarking – what and why
Benchmarking is essentially concerned with understanding how processes work
through observing and studying work methods and practices and then identifying
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/0143-5124.htm
Benchmarking
human resource
development
401
Received 29 May 2006
Revised 7 June 2006
Accepted 7 June 2006
Library Management
Vol. 27 No. 6/7, 2006
pp. 401-410
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
0143-5124
DOI 10.1108/01435120610702396

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