Managerial Competency Levels in New Zealand


This presentation analyzes the competency levels of the New Zealand managers by summarizing research conducted by Du Plessis et al. (2012) to investigate the mentioned topic. The authors analyze numerous literature materials to come up with the hypothesis for the presentation. The materials reviewed by the authors include works that touch on change management, recruitment and retention, work-life balance, diversity management, and the strategic role of HR practitioners (Du Plessis et al., 2012).

The study is based on the view that there exists a gap in research pertaining to the competency of the New Zealand managers. In other words, the authors claim that the previous researchers only focused on the importance of human capital management while ignoring the managers’ competencies that may influence the effective management of their respective workforces. The principal purpose of the research was to investigate the degree to which the prevailing capacity levels of human resource agents in New Zealand organizations correspond to the challenges, opportunities, and the drift of their existing tasks.

The study was valuable since the modern business environment requires managers to have the right skills to propel their respective organizations to success. In summarizing the said study, the presentation will start by explaining the meaning of quantitative research. This definition will be achieved through a synopsis of the article ‘Introduction to Quantitative Research’. After the short summary of the article, the presentation will follow the following format: literature review, methodology, results, and a conclusion.

Literature Review

Van Buren, Greenwood, and Sheehan (2011) identify strategic human resource management as one of the effective ways of achieving current and long-term goals. The authors argue that strategic management is important in a competitive business environment such as the global market. The contemporary global business environment is characterized by stiff competition between firms where each institution focuses on maximizing its net gains. The stiff competition has led to the adoption of the strategic human resource management techniques by the multinational firms in an attempt to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

Strategic human resource management involves the hiring and retention of the best employees through competitive compensation of the workforce, employee training, and diversity management among others (Little & Nel, 2008). In the recent past, a rivalry has intensified as more and more companies penetrate the global market with the view of increasing their total profitability. To retain the competitive advantage, businesses have resulted in embracing the concepts of strategic human resource management to align employee management tactics with the firm’s long-term goals.

Following the stiffening competition among firms, contemporary global organizations are focusing on increasing employees’ overall productivity. One of the ways that the multinational companies are achieving the stated objective is by implementing educational programs aimed at imparting the right skills in the workforce (Nel & Little, 2015). The importance of staff training and development has become increasingly important in the recent past owing to the stiffening rivalry in the global market. Although organizations emphasize recruiting the best-qualified employees to certain jobs in the organization, it is essential for them to embrace the training of such employees.

The contemporary business environment is characterized by rapid changes in business operations. Such changes necessitate the need for an ongoing training program in the firm. Training should be matched with better pay and promotion to encourage employees to train further. Training equips employees with the appropriate skills to handle organizational changes. Bratton and Gold (2012) argue that firms need to develop training programs that fit the specific organization to avert job mobility. Minimizing job mobility will guarantee a firm of its competitive advantage against the backdrop of the stiffening competition

Thill, Venegas, and Groblschegg (2014) explore the changing role of human resource managers in the contemporary business environment. Traditionally, the role of managers was limited to the recruitment and assigning of jobs to employees. However, in the contemporary business environment, the roles range from the recruitment of the best staff to the development of future leaders.

The stiffening antagonism between multinational firms has pushed companies to exploit every opportunity available to maximize their position in the market. One way of achieving the stated objective is by empowering such employees and promoting them from within. Managers are now promoted from within the organization as opposed to outsourcing. Leaders who are promoted from within the company are highly competent since they are well versed in the organization’s culture and procedures.


The researchers deployed the quantitative study method whereby they used online surveys to collect the relevant data. A questionnaire containing structured closed questions was specifically used for this study. The study sought to gather information regarding the competencies of practicing managers in New Zealand. To achieve the stated purpose, the researchers recruited a sample size of 179 managers drawn from a cross-section of practicing managers in the NZ firms.

Initially, 364 managers were contacted and requested to participate in the research. However, only 179 participants responded positively to the request. Therefore, they were recruited for the study. To qualify for inclusion for this study, the participant had to be a practicing manager at either the public or the private sector. Besides, he or she had to be a registered member of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ). The participants were drawn from different sized enterprises, namely, small organizations with fewer than 100 employees (0-99), medium with 100 to 499 employees, and large firms that had 500 or more employees.

As mentioned previously in this presentation, this study used a quantitative method to collect the relevant data from the targeted population. An online survey was specifically used to solicit the data whereby a questionnaire was prepared based on the specific purpose of this research. The questionnaire contained closed-ended questions that limited the participants’ ability to give their answers. The questionnaire was divided into six sections. It had 40 closed-ended questions. The questions were based on “the five HR themes researched in this study, namely, change management, recruitment and retention, work-life balance, diversity management, and strategic role of HR practitioners” (Du Plessis et al., 2012, p. 19).


Change Management

This section contained five questions based on the Likert scale. The results indicated that 86.1% of the respondents had the ability to effectively manage change as evidenced by the positive responses given for all the questions. Overall, the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that they were conversant with the elements of change management. The majority of the respondents gave positive responses to all the questions.

The answers were mainly “agree” or “strongly agree”. Hence, the respondents perceived themselves as having the ability to live up to the expectations and challenges in the change management area. Ravand (2014) used a literature review method to find out whether managers should possess exemplary knowledge in their field. He argues that administrators need to have exceptional knowledge regarding change management to oversee the implementation of new strategies and policies without resistance from the stakeholders.

Recruitment and Retention

This section contained three questions that were developed to assess the managers’ ability to recruit and retain the best talents against the backdrop of the rising need to maintain a competitive workforce. The responses from the respondents were positive with a great percentage of the participants indicating that they could attract and retain the best employees. Du Plessis and Sukumaran (2015) adopted a quantitative method to investigate the mentioned hypothesis. They argue that strategic management in the current competitive business environment involves the recruitment and retention of the best talents (Du Plessis & Sukumaran, 2015).

Work-life Balance

There is an assumption that employees are only motivated by the gains accruing from the job. Hence, managers resort to paying their employee’s competitive salaries while ignoring other non-monetary motivational strategies. However, research indicates that employees tend to be more motivated when the monetary benefits are integrated with other non-monetary benefits such as paid offs (Salie & Schlechter, 2012).

Salie and Schlechter’s (2012) assessment “used a descriptive design where primary qualitative data was collected by means of structured interviews with the Human Resource Development (HRD) Facilitator and ten program participant” (p. 1). According to them, the employer must ensure that the workplace is flexible and more family-friendly. The respondents for this study indicated high competence regarding this aspect of management. A high percentage of the respondents indicated that they had the skills to ensure that employees’ personal welfare was prioritized.

Diversity Management

In the contemporary business environment, managers have to deal with diversity issues that come due to the diverse composition of workers. Globalization has contributed greatly to the recruitment of employees from different cultural and religious backgrounds hence increasing the need for managers to harmonize the different needs of the diverse classes of employees (Schutte, Barkhuizen, & van der Sluis, 2015).

The authors deployed a quantitative study technique with a sample of size 481. They interviewed several human resource agents and administrators (Schutte et al., 2015). Although workforce diversity may be a source of sustainable competitive advantage, the benefits can only be realized if the manager is competent enough to handle the diversity issues. The respondents of this study demonstrated high aptitude regarding diversity management. The majority of the participants believed that they had the necessary skills to mitigate issues that arise from such diversity.

Strategic Role of HR Practitioners

The concept of strategic human resource management has gained popularity over the past few decades owing to the increasing need to maximize employees’ output. To assess the respondents’ ability to implement the strategic HR management practices in their respective firms, six questions were asked. The responses were positive. Hence, the respondents strongly believed that they had the necessary capacity to overcome the challenges present in the business environment using the concepts of strategic HR management.


This presentation has summarized quantitative research conducted by Du Plessis et al. (2012) to investigate the ability and competence of the New Zealand managers to cope with the challenges and trends in the contemporary business environment. The results would be more accurate and reliable if the authors used a mixed approach. The study has identified shortfalls in the managers’ competencies in the area of work-life balance and diversity management.

It has given recommendations for improvement. Such recommendations, if implemented, will go a long way in improving the managers’ performance in the end. However, the authors acknowledge the limitation of the current study by recommending further research in the future. Future researchers should use the present study as a framework for more research using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Reference List

Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2012). Human resource management: theory and practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Du Plessis, A. J., Paine, M. S., & Botha, C. J. (2012). The role of human resource practitioners maintaining sustainability in organizations: Some empirical evidence of expectations, challenges and trends. Contemporary Business Studies, 5(7), 16-34.

Du Plessis, A., & Sukumaran, S. (2015). The role of HRM in leadership development, talent retention, knowledge management, and employee engagement, 6(2), 13-22.

Little, G., & Nel, P. S. (2008). 21st Century HR: An Integrated Model to Achieve Organization Objectives. Annual ANZAM Conference, Held at Auckland New Zealand, 3(8), 2-5.

Nel, P., & Little, G. (2015). The Future of Organizational Design. Future, 5(2), 34-41.

Ravand, M. (2014). Human Resource Professionalism: A Panacea for Public Organizations. Bloomington, Indiana: Author House.

Salie, S., & Schlechter, A. (2012). A formative evaluation of a staff reward and recognition program. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 10(3), 11-26.

Schutte, N., Barkhuizen, N., & van der Sluis, L. (2015). Exploring the current application of professional competencies in human resource management in the South African context. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(1), 9-15.

Thill, K., Venegas, B. C., & Groblschegg, S. (2014). HR roles and activities. Empirical results from the DACH region and implications for a future development of the HR profession. International Journal of Business and Management, 4(7), 97-109.

Van Buren, H. J., Greenwood, M., & Sheehan, C. (2011). Strategic human resource management and the decline of employee focus. Human Resource Management Review, 21(3), 209-219.