RESEARCH NOTE 2 HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES AS PERCEIVED ...
RESEARCH NOTE 2
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES AS PERCEIVED
BY SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY
K.B. AKILESH AND P.K. SUBRAMANYA SWAMY
The present study is an attempt to assess and compare the perception of research personnel about the
practices of human resource development. A questionnaire was used to collect the data from 140
scientists and engineers belonging to three organisations. The results indicate that the R&D group of the
private sector had better perception of human resource development practices compared to their
counterparts in the public sector undertakings.
Dr. K.B. Akilesh is Chairman, Dept. of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Mr. P.K. Subramanya Swamy is Manager, Corporate Personnel Office and Research Scholar, Depart-
ment of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Introduction
Research studies indicate that the management of scientists and engineers needs
a different approach, because they tend to identify with their profession rather than
with the organisations they belong to (Jauch, Gluick and Osborn, 1978; Arvey and
Neel, 1978). Studies have indicated that the cost of the human resource varies from
40 to 90 per cent of the recurring expenditure of R&D (Central Board of Irrigation
and Power, 1988). Being professionals, scientists and engineers demand special
treatment and cannot be managed like ordinary labourers (Badawy, 1988). Lack of
integrating efforts, need for role clarity, failure to develop meaningful tasks, tradi-
tional methods of evaluating scientific output are some of the factors demotivating
the scientists and engineers in R&D setups. (Dalton and Thompson, 1986; Badawy,
1988; Anand, 1990).
Objectives
The present study is an attempt to assess and compare the perception of scientists
and engineers about the practices of human resource development in their organi-
sations. The study involved three phases:
(1) Defining the variables and developing appropriate measures.
(2) Conducting unit level investigations.
(3) Attempting a comparative analysis.
Method
In the absence of standard measures, 36 items were developed to measure the
effectiveness of six variables of human resource development practices, namely,
manpower planning, recruitment and selection, induction, job design, performance
appraisal, and training and development. A Likert type scale was developed
by checking the Content validity, and internal consistency (Cronbach alpha).

274 K.B. Akilesh and P.K. Subramanya Swamy
Sample
To meet the objectives of the present study, R&D units of three engineering
industries engaged in technology absorption, indigenisation, and product develop-
ment were used. All the three units had foreign collaboration for their product
technology. Two units were owned by the Government and the other one was under
private management. Among the two public sector units, one was a state public
sector manufacturing heavy electricals and the other, a central public sector unit
manufacturing earth moving equipment. The private sector unit produced two
wheelers. The questionnaire was administered to 140 scientists and engineers
belonging to these organisations.
Analysis and Findings
Table 1 shows the results of manpower planning practices, as perceived by
scientists and engineers belonging to the three organisations.
Table 1
COMPARISON OF MANPOWER PLANNING BETWEEN R&D ORGANISATIONS
State
Central
Private
Public
Public
Sector
t1,2
t2,3
t3,1
Sector
Sector
(n = 27)
(n = 79)
(n = 34)
Manpower planning
4.5
4.3
5.0
1.4
"4.4
*2.6
(0.70)
(0.80)
(0.56)
1. Utilisation
5.1
4.4
5.1
"2.9
"3.1
0.0
(0.80)
(1.18)
(0.94)
2. Timely supply
4.4
4.5
5.4
0.0
*2.2
*2.4
(1.60)
(1.90)
(1.43)
3. Adequacy
4.7
4.5
5.3
0.4
*2.5
1.9
(1.20)
(1.59)
(1.18)
4. Resilience
3.8
3.5
4.1
0.7
*2.0
1.0
(1.10)
(1.34)
(1.28)
5. Work load
4.6
3.8
4.4
"3.4
*2.5
1.0
(1.10)
(1.04)
(0.87)
6. Flexibility
5.0
5.2
5.5
0.0
0.9
1.4
(1.20)
(1.44)
(1.45)
7. Career planning
4.0
3.8
4.9
0.7
"4.3
*2.6
(1.20)
(1.17)
(1.18)
() Standard Deviations
* Significance at 0.05 level
" Significance at 0.01 level
The overall mean values of the manpower planning practices were 4.5, 4.3 and 5.0
for the state public sector, the central public sector and the private sector organisa-
tions respectively. There was no significant difference in perception of manpower
planning practices between the research personnel of the two public sectors, but
there was a significant difference (0.01 level and 0.05 level) in the perception of
manpower planning practices between the scientists and engineers of the private
sector and the two public sectors. Scientists and engineers of the private sector
perceived they had better manpower planning practices compared to those of the

HRD Practices as Perceived by Scientists and Engineers 275
two public sectors. The mean score of utilisation of the manpower was 4.4 in the
case of the central public sector and 5.1 in the case of both the state public sector
and the private sector. The scientists and engineers of the state public sector and
the private sector perceived better utilisation of their capabilities (0.01 level),
compared to the research personnel of the central public sector. The mean scores
of timely supply of the manpower were 4.4, 4.5 and 5.4. The scientists and engineers
in the state public sector and the central public sector felt that the people were
employed with little or no delay. Their counterparts in the private sector perceived
(0.05 level) that the people were employed in advance to meet the requirements of
projects. The mean scores of adequacy of the manpower varied from 4.5 to 5.3. The
research personnel of the private sector felt that their R&D division was adequately
staffed when compared to that of the central public sector (0.05 level). The mean
scores of ability to cope with the situations due to turnover of key personnel varied
from 3.5 to 4.1. This indicates that the existing manpower practices were effective
to a certain extent in tackling the situations due to turnover of key personnel. There
was a significant difference (0.05 level) between the central public sector and the
private sector regarding their rating of resilience. The scientists and engineers of
the private sector felt that their division had more resilience compared to the central
public sector. The mean values of the dimension work load were 4.6, 3.8 and 4.4.
The results indicate that the scientists and engineers often had to work beyond
normal working hours to complete the assigned tasks. The mean scores of flexibility
in assigning the jobs in case of completion of projects were 5.0, 5.2, 5.5. The
scientists and engineers involved in the study perceived that there was a greater
flexibility in assigning jobs and the people had to stay idle for a short while, when a
project was completed. Career planning practices perceived by the private sector
personnel, was better than that of the state public sector and the central public sector.
Table 2 shows the means and standard deviations of recruitment and selection
practices among the three R&D organisations.
Table 2
COMPARISON OF RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION BETWEEN R&D ORGANISATIONS
State
Central
Private
Public
Public
Sector
t1,2
t2,3
t3.1
Sector
Sector
(n = 27)
(n = 79)
(n = 34)
Recruitment and
4.2
3.8
4.8
1.5
**4.1
*2.0
selection
(1.00)
(1.08)
(0.93)
1. Job descriptions
4.5
4.0
4.5
1.4
1.3
0.0
(1.50)
(1.59)
(1.50)
2. Organisational
4.8
4.1
5.2
*2.0
**3.6
1.2
involvement
(1.30)
(1.52)
(1.18)
3. Structural support
4.1
3.6
4.6
1.6
**3.6
1.2
(1.40)
(1.30)
(1.24)
4. Capability of attracting
3.4
3.6
4.8
0.0
" 4 . 1
**4.5
the right candidates
(1.10)
(1.35)
(1.13)
() Standard Deviations
* Significant at 0.05 level
** Significant at 0.01 level

276 K B . Akilesh and P.K. Subramanya Swamy
The overall mean values of recruitment and selection practices were 4.2, 3.8 and
4.8. There was no significant difference in the perception of recruitment practices
between the scientists and engineers of the two public sector organisations.
However, but the research people of the private sector had high scores (0.01 level).
The results indicate that the organisational involvement and the support extended
by the existing policies and procedures for selecting the right candidates was rated
as somewhat low in the case of the central public sector as compared to the other
two organisations. The scientists and engineers of the private sector had better
perception of their organisational polices and capability of attracting right candidates
as compared to their other counterparts in the two public sector organisations.
Table 3 presents the means and standard deviations of induction practices among
the three R&D organisations.
Table 3
COMPARISON OF INDUCTION BETWEEN R&D ORGANISATIONS
State
Central
Private
Public
Public
Sector
h,2
h,3
t3.1
Sector
Sector
(n = 27)
(n = 79)
(n = 34)
Induction practices
4.1
3.8
4.4
1.5
"2.7
0.9
(0.80)
(1.00)
(0.85)
1. Incubation
3.3
3.9
3.9
*2.0
0.00
1.6
(1.00)
(1.18)
(1.11)
2. Role clarity
4.5
3.9
4.7
1.9
*2.3
0.2
(1.30)
(1.59)
(1.63)
3. Satisfaction
4.5
3.6
4.6
"3.1
"3.6
0.2
(0.80)
(1.38)
(0.84)
() Standard Deviations
* Significant at 0.05 level
** Significant at 0.01 level
The private sector R&D group perceived their induction practices to be better (0.01
level) as compared to that of the central public sector. There was no significant
difference in the perception of the effectiveness of induction practices between the
two public sector organisations and also between the private sector and the state
public sector.
The period of incubation was more (0.05 level) in the state public sector compared
to the other two organisations. The private sector provided greater role clarity
compared to the two public sector organisations. There was no significant difference
in the perception of role clarity provided between the two public sector organisations.
The research personnel of the private sector and the state public sector were more
satisfied (0.01 level) compared to their counterparts in the central public sector.
Table 4 indicates the means and standard deviations of performance appraisal
practices.

HRD Practices as Perceived by Scientists and Engineers 277
Table 4
COMPARISON OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL BETWEEN DIFFERENT R&D
ORGANISATIONS
State
Central
Private
Public
Public
Sector
t1,2
t2,3
t3,1
Sector
Sector
(n = 27)
(n = 79)
(n = 34)
Performance
4.0
3.4
4.7
**3.1
" 6 . 5
" 2 . 7
(0.80)
(0.95)
(0.80)
1. Satisfaction
4.4
4.1
4.9
0.8
*2.7
1.6
(0.90)
(1.37)
(1.29)
2. Utilisation for
3.8
3.6
5.4
0.4
" 5 . 7
" 4 . 7
(a) Rewarding
(1.30)
(1.50)
(1.09)
4.1
3.9
5.0
0.5
" 3 . 5
" 2 . 9
(b) Capabilities
(1.00)
(1.51)
(1.18)
3.7
3.4
4.6
0.8
**3.6
*2.2
(c) Training and development (1.60)
(1.64)
(1.45)
3.9
3.0
4.4
**2.9
" 4 . 7
1.2
(d) Corrective measures
(1.40)
(1.35)
(1.46)
5.0
2.0
5.4
" 8 . 6
"10.02
1.3
(e) Routine procedures
(1.10)
(1.68)
(1.21)
3.3
3.7
3.20
0.0
1.22
0.0
(f) Victimisation
(1.80)
(2.00)
(1.98)
4.1
3.5
4.4
*2.1
" 3 . 0
0.6
3. Scope for better understanding (1.30)
(1.41)
(1.53)
() Standard Deviations
* Significant at 0.05 level
** Significant at 0.01 level
The private sector R&D group perceived (0.01 level) better appraisal practices
compared to the other two organisations. The R&D group of the private sector were
more satisfied (0.05 level) compared to their counterparts in the central public sector
and there was no difference between the two public sector organisations. The
scientists and engineers of the private sector said that the appraisal feedback was
used to a great extent for rewarding the research personnel compared to those in
the public sectors. However there was no significant difference between the two
public sector organisations. A similar trend was observed with reference to utilisation
of appraisal feedbacks for harnessing the capabilities and training and development
among the organisations.
The mean scores of utilisation of feedback for corrective measures, for example
counselling, for routine procedures like sanctioning of annual increment showed
similar trends. In both the casses no difference was observed between private and
state public sector, and a significant difference was observed between the central
public sector, and the other two organisations. The mean scores of utilisation of
appraisal feedback for victimisation showed that there was no significant difference
in perception among the research groups and the scores were low in all the cases.

278 K.B. Akilesh and P.K. Subramanya Swamy
The appraisal process contributed to a moderate extent for better understanding in
the private sector and the state public sector, compared to the central public sector.
Table 5 shows the comparison of mean scores of the training and development
practices of the R&D.organisations.
Table 5
COMPARISON OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT BETWEEN DIFFERENT R&D
ORGANISATIONS
State
Central
Private
Public
Public
Sector
t1,2
t2,3
t3,1
Sector
Sector
(n = 27)
(n = 79)
(n = 34)
Training and development
4.0
4.1
4.8
0.0
" 3 . 7
" 3 . 4
practices
(0.70)
(0.79)
(0.77)
1. Opportunity for attending
3.6
4.1
5.1
1.0
" 3 . 5
" 4 . 7
training programme
(1.30)
(1.31)
(1.02)
2. Scarcity of skills
4.4
3.9
4.3
*1.5
1.3
0.0
(1.20)
(1.38)
(1.62)
3. Encouragement for attending
3.3
3.6
4.0
0.0
**1.0
1.7
seminars and conferences
(1.20)
(1.59)
(1.40)
4. Encouragement to
3.5
3.8
4.3
0.0
1.1
1.9
publish papers
(1.30)
(1.89)
(1.62)
5. Professional growth
4.3
4.3
5.3
0.0
**4.2
" 3 . 4
(1.00)
(1.10)
(1.06)
6. Need to develop skills
5.2
5.0
5.6
0.8
*2.2
1.0
(1.30)
(1.36)
(1.32)
() Standard Deviations
* Significant at 0.05 level
** Significant at 0.01 level
The overall mean scores of the training and development practices varied from 4.0
to 4.8. The training and development practices seem to be better in the private sector
compared to the public sector organisations. The opportunities for attending training
programmes (item 1) and professional growth (item 5) were more in the private
sector as compared to the same in the central public sector or the state public sector.
The mean scores of scarcity of skills showed some difference (at 0.05 level) between
the two public sector organisations. The mean scores of encouragement for
attending seminars and conferences and paper publication indicate that to a
moderate extent, the scientists and engineers were encouraged in all the three
organisations. There was no significant difference in the perception among R&D
groups. The scientists and engineers involved in the study showed a great need to
develop their capabilities. This need was more (0.05 level) in the case of scientists
and engineers of the private sector compared to the two public sector organisations.
Discussion
The above analysis and findings indicate that the scientists and engineers of the
private sector R&D perceived better manpower planning practices compared to the

HRD Practices as Perceived by Scientists and Engineers 279
scientists and engineers in the public sector. The flexibility in assigning suitable job
assignments was above moderate level in all the three R&D organisations. The
mean values for the dimension resilience to withstand situations due to turnover of
key personnel was the least among other dimensions, for all the three R&D
organisations. This shows that preparing the second line of people, one of the
responsibilities of manpower planning practices, needs the attention of human
resources development practices.
The recruitment and selection practices of the private sector were comparatively
better than those of the public sector organisations. The organisational involvement
in recruitment and selection practices has emerged as a predominant dimension in
all the three organisations. The private sector had been comparatively successful
in attracting the right candidates for R&D.
The private sector was providing better socialisation (induction practices) to the
new recruits compared to the public sector organisations. The private sector and
the state public sector provided better role-clarity. The scientists and engineers of
the central public sector were less satisfied with the induction process compared
to the others.
The effectiveness of the performance appraisal of the private sector was superior
to that of the state public sector. However, the effectiveness of the state public sector
was superior to that of the central public sector. The 't' values were significant for
all the dimensions except for victimisation, between the private sector and the
central public sector. The appraisal feedback was mostly used for salary admini-
stration in the state public sector and in the private sector.
The effectiveness of the training and development practices was rated as average
to above average. The training and development practices of the private sector were
superior to those of the public sectors. All the scientists and engineers expressed
greater need to develop skills. The scientists and engineers of the private sectors
considered their professional growth as above average.
The results indicate that the human resources development practices were per-
ceived to be better by the scientists and engineers in the private sector compared
to those of the public sector organisations. However, there was sufficient scope for
improvement in the public sector organisations. Induction being the gateway to
career, organisations have to recognise the importance of induction practices and
work out to improve the current practices. The feedback on the performance of work
is a vital aspect for introspection and improvement, which needs considerable
attention in all the three organisations. Performance appraisal practices were
satisfactory in the private sector compared to the public sector organisations. The
training and development efforts in the private sector were satisfactory. The study
suggests that there is scope to improve upon the existing training and development
practices in the public sector organisations.
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