April 28, 2020
The course designed to make you AND your organisation better!
CIPD Level 7 blended Human Resource Management is a very different kind of program to some of the others that we offer. It provides a strategic insight into how organisations work and how they can be developed further. Whether you specialise in human resource development or human resource management you can work with DPG to achieve a qualification that enables you and your organization to develop and remain competitive in increasingly uncertain times. One of the unique features of the DPG CIPD level 7 HRM program is the ability to study a module where you investigate a business issue and create a management research report. This may sound like a dissertation, which is common to most Masters degrees but there are important differences, and those differences make the CIPD programme uniquely valuable to organisations and individuals.
It was 20 years ago today..
(give or take a few years) when I first started helping students work on management research projects, mainly in local government. I started doing it, on the employer’s side but later was invited to work for the local University, delivering on the academic side. Over the years I have helped hundreds of students, on MScs, MAs, and even executive MBAs, in the UK and around the world, to design, develop, and deliver a project that looks at their own organization. It involves them identifying something that can be improved, and recommending strategic changes to their senior management team. Some of these are purely aspirational, reflecting the learner’s interests or work area; others represent a very real business need, and quite often the research has been commissioned by a senior figure in the company who may be championing their project.
On a Masters degree you’re writing 12 to 20,000 words, much of which is about a review of the literature that has been written on the topic, and the methods that you could have used, and might have used, and some that you did use, as well as describing what is often complicated statistical analysis in order to show that you can do research. That research can be important so you can build on what has gone before; however, for a lot of our learners, they appreciate the academic component being supported so that it is seen as good practice and useful, rather than a chore, and this is where the CIPD level 7 program that DPG offer comes in. A level 7 management research report is only 7000 words long. That’s longer than your average report, but much shorter than many dissertations; many students say that they need more! The basic structure is similar to a dissertation. We need a rationale for why we are going to investigate this, we need to understand the concepts involved and have some idea of what past and current research is saying about this; exploring what is happening in practice in world class organisations that can help the learner identify ways in which their organization can improve. Yes, there is still a need for a clear methodology, yes, there is a need for academic rigour, but it is condensed, it is refined, it is focused, so that in the end, it is robust, and it is credible, but it is also practical enough to meet the very real needs of organisations.
So, what kind of person does it take?
I work with a lot of students at DPG, based across the UK and beyond, developing projects in multinational companies, small businesses, and a whole range of employers from the public, private, and social sectors. Some of these have been more successful than others. Some of them have simply confirmed that nobody knows what is going on in their organisations, others have made recommendations that have been well-received and implemented, and a few have made a real and significant difference: both to the individual, and to the organization. Probably the most academically gifted student I have ever worked with was a DPG learner in one of my first cohorts, and he managed to secure a policy job with his national government on the basis of the work he did on his management research report. Another discovered a depth of character that she didn’t believe she possessed; working her way through the office politics that she hadn’t even known existed until she started looking at how well her organisation managed stress. This experience helped her cope with exiting the employment role, and a move into consultancy work, applying both the skills she had developed, and the self-awareness that increased her self-confidence.
So, what’s in it for me (and you)?
In this module, people learn a lot. For some it is the challenge of writing 7000 words (especially for someone who hadn’t been at university at all, let alone 20 years ago). For others, it is can be the value of getting access to and increasing their visibility with senior managers. Some persevere through personal health issues, family crises, bereavement, marital break-up, and career change. In the end, they manage to achieve a very credible and very valuable result for their organization. I enjoy being able to help them to clarify their questions, expand the range of techniques they can use, deal with problems as they arise, and challenge their findings and recommendations. At the same time, I learn through them about the different challenges in different environments, and the changing nature of the workplace and workforce. It is this that makes my work-life interesting and allows me to help others further down the line.
Who do I thank?
Well start with CIPD who have created a programme that helps you learn how to ask great questions and generate great answers to real world problems. Next, DPG deserve applause for getting experienced practitioners (including me!), who can provide academic supervision, and personal coaching to support learners on the Level 7 journey. Their systems enable us to help our learners remotely or face to face, within 24 hours of them asking.
By Peter Hammond – DPG Facilitator