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Role of HR Case Study THE ROLE OF HR AT INTERNATIONAL AID The case

International Aid is a charity that operates as a NGO (non-governmental organization) providing aid in the form of development projects in developing countries, especially Africa. The projects may be educational, advice on healthcare, agricultural development or constructional, eg schools or wells. They are funded by international organizations such as the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the British Government but it is also necessary for International Aid to raise funds itself to finance its headquarters operations and some projects in their early stages. Projects are run by a leader from International Aid with other International Aid specialists in the larger projects, although the maximum use is made of local nationals as members of the team. Currently there are 96 projects in 10 African countries and two in a South American country. The total number of International Aid staff working overseas is about 350. The headquarters of International Aid is in Cambridge and employs about 200 staff in operations development and management, marketing and fundraising, public affairs, finance and personnel management. International Aid has run into some difficulties in recent years. It has had problems in raising sufficient funds itself and it has been more difficult to get funding from the international organizations and the UK Government. It has also been criticized for having too high an expense ratio arising from inadequate financial control and, possibly, over-staffing. Consequently, a new chair of Trustees has been appointed and about half the other Trustees have been replaced with a heavier emphasis on business and management expertise. The Chief Executive of International Aid took early retirement and a new one was appointed. He was previously the Group HR Director of a large property development firm with extensive overseas interests and his previous career had been in financial management. The new Chief Executive was instructed by the Trustees to take a very hard look at the existing organization structure and the capabilities of the directors of each of the major functions and report back with his proposals in three months time. The present organization was as follows.

Chief Executive

Director of International Operations

Director of Operational Planning

Director of Marketing and Public Affairs

Director of Finance

Director of Administration

Head of International project directors Fundraising Financial Accountant Head of IT

Head of Public Affairs

Head of Personnel

Head of Administrative Services

The Chief Executive summarized his survey of the organization as follows:


the Director of Operations was a very efficient manager but had neglected her responsibilities for ensuring that overseas staff were properly selected, briefed and trained possibly because in an ill-defined way the Director of Planning was involved in staffing the distinction between the two roles was unclear, which led to confusion and overlap;

the Director of Finance was technically good but had allowed the department to be overstaffed and needed the support of a qualified management accountant rather than an unqualified accounting administrator who was a glorified clerk;

the Director of Fundraising and Public Affairs did not have enough to do and was in any case hampered by an inadequate Head of Fundraising;

the Head of Public Affairs was good at her job but was given little scope by her Director, who was essentially a fundraiser, with the result that the organization was not presenting itself adequately to the Government, the international funding organizations or the public at large;

the Director of Administration did not have enough to do to justify his position and the administrative side of his department was grossly over-staffed; the heads of IT and personnel were quite capable of carrying out their roles without him;

the Head of IT was effective and could contribute much more given better leadership; the Personnel Manager was perfectly adequate in her primarily administrative role but was given no scope or encouragement to contribute more, although it was unlikely that even given that scope she could do so;

the quality of some overseas staff was inadequate, which has led to questions from funders about the ability of International Aid to deliver on its project obligations;

the rate of turnover of overseas staff was far too high; it seemed that they were inadequately trained or prepared for their duties (the responsibility, oddly enough. of the Director of Operational Planning).

To deal with these problems the Chief Executive proposed the following new organization to the Trustees (only posts affected by the reorganization shown):

Chief Executive

Director of Operations

Director of Finance

Director of Fundraising

Director of Public Affairs

Director of HR*

Head of Operations Planning*

Financial Accountant

Head of HR Services*

Head of Organizational Learning*

Management Accountant*

Head of Administrative Services

(*new post, previously Head of Personnel)


Head of IT

The reaction of the Trustees to this proposal was on the whole favourable. They grumbled that there seemed to be a lot of new posts but the Chief Executive made a persuasive business case to the effect that they would provide added value. They also questioned the creation of a Director of HR responsible to the Chief Executive. A number of Trustees objected strongly to the term human resources on the grounds that it was a demeaning concept which treated people as merely resources to be exploited by the organization. Others asked if this post was significant enough to justify its position as a member of the senior management team, while others wondered what a Head of Organizational Learning was when she or he was at home. The Chief Executive was therefore asked to report back to the Trustees with a further justification for this proposal. They wanted to know what added value would be provided by it, i.e what, specifically, an HR function would contribute.

The task
Q1.Prepare this justification for the Trustees. Q2. Prepare another organization structure best suited in your view for this organization and give its justification.