Cornell HR Review

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The Cornell HR Review is a graduate student organization whose primary purpose is to publish a body of human resources (HR) scholarship. It is published periodically throughout the year and is available exclusively online. The volunteer staff comprises professional and doctoral students at both the ILR School and the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, with student editors making all editorial and organizational decisions. The organization is formally registered with Cornell University as an independent organization.

All articles within this series are copyright © by the Cornell HR Review, and are reproduced here by special permission.


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Now showing 1 - 20 of 97
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    The NLRB’s Social Media Guidelines a Lose-Lose: Why the NLRB’s Stance on Social Media Fails to Fully Address Employer’s Concerns and Dilutes Employee Protections
    Schlag, Chris (2013-12-05)
    [Excerpt] The expanding use of both personal and professional social media sites has resulted in its growing impact in the workplace. Recently, many examples have emerged where an individual’s use of social media for communicating frustrations or sharing personal information resulted in significant conflict between the individual and their employer. Employment actions arising from an employee’s social media use have become so contentious that a number of employers have been charged with unfair labor practices for overly broad social media policies or implementation of unfair policies. Following several important Board decisions the NLRB issued guidelines, identifying acceptable employer-initiated social media policies. As social media’s popularity will likely only continue to grow, it is important to understand how employer policies impact employees’ social media use and the potential invasion these policies may have on employees’ rights. This article concludes that the NLRB’s issued guidance fails to adequately address social media concerns raised by employers and dilutes employees’ rights to communicate workplace concerns. This is because even though the guidance permits employer developed social media policies, the NLRB’s stance permits employers to monitor and analyze employees’ social media use and does not clarify when an employer can act on social media information.
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    The Future of Human Resources: A Shift to a Network Driven Approach
    Kwan, Winnie (2013-01-04)
    [Excerpt] As companies continue to thrive in a global context, the nature of work and organizational relationships will grow increasingly complex. Initiatives will span across traditional functional and geographical boundaries, heightening the need for greater knowledge sharing and collaboration. With a higher premium placed on achieving flexibility and agility, organizations that rely on strong internal networks have been more successful at coordinating efficiency and innovation. From a talent management perspective, organizations will need to adopt a more network-centric approach to foster leadership effectiveness within this new context. Just as the human resources arena has recently evolved from an individual-focused, personnel-service mindset to a team-oriented framework, the next decade may require human capital strategies to further shift to a network-driven mentality.
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    Workplace Violence: Why Every State Must Adopt a Comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Law
    Haynes, Mark I. (2013-04-13)
    [Excerpt] On August 24, 2012, a fired clothing designer gunned down a former co-worker outside the Empire State Building in New York City. The violent act was the culmination of built up tension between two former co-workers. Their anger towards one another had already resulted in at least one physical confrontation at work that led to both men filing police reports against each other. This case is an extreme example of workplace violence; however, workplace violence takes many forms and occurs with great regularity. Nearly 2 million employees are victims of workplace violence annually. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSH Act”) is not well-enforced and therefore fails to provide protection to employees subjected to workplace violence. This article explores what can be done to better protect workers at the state level. Part I of this article reviews the phenomenon of workplace violence. Part II discusses the lack of enforcement of the OSH Act as it relates to workplace violence. Part III of this article describes how some states choose to supplement the OSH Act with their own workplace violence laws. Finally, Part IV proposes that state legislatures should adopt a law in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) promulgated suggestions to provide legal protections for workers against workplace violence. Since Congress has yet to enact federal legislation that provides comprehensive workplace violence prevention, all states must enact legislation beyond the OSH Act to protect their workers.
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    Where’s the Remote? Face Time, Remote Work, and Implications for Performance Management
    Calvo, Alec J. (2013-08-18)
    [Excerpt] Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s ban on telecommuting and the subsequent uproar over that decision highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the impact of remote work. Although it would prove comforting to assert that the peer-reviewed findings of the social and managerial sciences are in accord as to the benefits of telework in the face of the discord among organizational leaders, the reality is that little such agreement exists. Consequently, the proponents of remote work in management and HR are given little support in defense of such potentially large-scale initiatives or interventions. To that end, what follows is a discussion of the relative merits of remote work, as compared to the traditional conception of work, and an exploration of the practical implications for HR practitioners in performance management and employee evaluation.
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    Hiring and Firing the Mentally and Psychiatrically Disabled: Advice for HR Professionals
    Vroman, Margaret (2013-09-16)
    [Excerpt] According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans aged eighteen and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Contrary to what most people assume, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in both the U.S. and Canada. Thus, the effect of mental disorders on the American workplace is significant. In an effort to ensure that physically and mentally disabled persons were not discriminated against in employment situations Congress passed the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Persons entitled to its protection include those with physical disabilities and mental disorders such as anxiety disorder, depression, manic depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychological disorders. Almost immediately courts began interpreting the statute to make it difficult for those with disabilities, especially psychiatric disabilities, to prevail in cases claiming discrimination under the Act. As a result, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) in 2008 with the express intent that courts should expand the definition of disabled individuals entitled to accommodation. In this article I will discuss the ramifications of the 2008 amendments on human resource professionals who are tasked with following its mandates when interviewing job applicants and managing employees who allege, or are suspected of having, a psychiatric disability.
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    The Benefits of Corporately Funded Childcare
    Soluk, Andrew (2015-11-02)
    [Excerpt] If there is a lack of qualified workers to fill openings, the problem lies in the pipeline. Although it is possible to retrain employees and potential candidates to have the necessary skills that a business requires, this can often be costly and cumbersome. To reliably find workers who are qualified for any job, companies will need to start earlier in the education system. And by early, I mean preschool. America is one of the few advanced industrialized countries in the world that does not have subsidized, government funded, or widely available child care for working parents. This creates a strain on families who often struggle to care for a child when both parents are working.
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    A Comparative Analysis of the Uses of Mediation in the Entertainment Industry
    Ostrander, Tim (2013-03-03)
    [Excerpt] This paper will provide a broad, and by no means exhaustive, overview of some of the unique ways that mediation is, or could be, used in some of the principal fields of entertainment while, identifying the similarities among them and also noting how they differ. The primary focus will be on film, television, and commercial theater and how mediation has been or could be used in situations specific to these disciplines.
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    Sieving Through the Data to Find the Person: HR’s Imperative for Balancing Big Data with People Centricity
    Lipkin, John (2015-09-04)
    [Excerpt] With “big data” and “analytics” atop human resources (HR) professionals’ dictionaries, it is no wonder that some are calling it time to think of employees as data points and to scientifically make people decisions. These beget horrific images of what many employees already believe HR promotes: incessant change and downsizing solely for profit maximization. Yet, for HR to genuinely transition into the world of data-driven people solutions, it must leverage its roots in employee advocacy, understanding, and development. To best do this, HR must undertake three actions. First, HR can ease into people analytics, using the necessary time and effort to gain employee buy-in. Second, HR should stress the objectivity of data-driven decision making. Third, HR practitioners must exhibit empathy for those affected by such decisions.
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    Women in Male-Dominated Careers
    Gaines, Janelle (2017-05-03)
    [Excerpt] There are many areas of opportunity regarding gender fairness that can be crucial in defining a workplace. Some workplaces tend to be male-dominated due to women employees’ awareness, past experiences, and priorities. Male majority organizations give men the most power and influence over decisions, which in turn could affect women dramatically. Although the past discrimination women have faced has been changing, women may still face a variety of challenges in their male-dominated roles today. Those women who jump feet first into roles predominately held by males seek support from their colleagues while facing challenges of feeling incompetent, mistreatment, and lack of a voice in their workplaces. This article intends to explore these challenges and provide some possible solutions in creating an equal workplace for all employees.
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    The Front Lines: Employer Provided Paid Parental Leave in the United States
    Clark, Daniela (2017-06-22)
    [Excerpt] Parental leave has largely remained undiscussed in the United States since the late 1980s to early 1990s. The enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which gave parents twelve weeks of unpaid parental leave, seemed to satiate scholarly writers. Encouragingly, the topic of parental leave has had a resurgence within the last election cycle. This article discusses the advances that employers are making to privately provide paid parental leave to their employees, the impact that makes on the employees, and explores the possibility of expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to a paid parental leave policy. The United States has historically lagged behind other countries when it comes to parental leave policies, considering other countries began creating parental leave policies in the 1940s and 1950s after World War II. The United States continues to lag behind, as it is the only developed country that relies entirely on the private sector to provide paid parental leave.
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    People and Technology: Reflections from the 2016 Human Capital Association Symposium
    Cornell HR Review Editorial Board Members (2016-10-29)
    [Excerpt] From time to time, the Cornell HR Review staff contributes summaries of HR-related events that take place on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. The intent is to disseminate the content of these events to the wider HR community of practitioners and researchers. In September 2016, the Human Capital Association (HCA) hosted its 14th Annual Symposium. HCA is a student-run organization within the Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. The HCA strives to drive the future of the HR profession through education and professional development opportunities across the Cornell community. Its annual symposium provides a forum for students, faculty, and corporate executives to come together and explore the various human capital issues prevalent in global business.
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    The Theoretical Implications of HR on a Growing Corporation
    Getzoff, Marc (2015-09-04)
    [Excerpt] There seems to always be the issue of business size versus business agility. Time and time again businesses have fallen behind due to their sheer size, along with their inflated bureaucracies and their inability to further innovate. However, that does not necessarily have to be the case. Through strong human resource management, the corporation can grow and remain capable of advancing and innovating. Stronger worker coordination, creating entertaining competitions, and forming measures of inclusion for those who are added to the workforce allow an organization to be agile while growing.
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    A New Role for Human Resource Managers: Social Engineering Defense
    Seidenberger, Scott (2016-09-20)
    [Excerpt] The general risk of social engineering attacks to organizations has increased with the rise of digital computing and communications, while for an attacker the risk has decreased. In order to counter the increased risk, organizations should recognize that human resources (HR) professionals have just as much responsibility and capability in preventing this risk as information technology (IT) professionals. Part I of this paper begins by defining social engineering in context and with a brief history pre-digital age attacks. It concludes by showing the intersection of HR and IT through examples of operational attack vectors. In part II, the discussion moves to a series of measures that can be taken to help prevent social engineering attacks.
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    2016 CAHRS Partner Day Summary
    Kanbergs, Mara (2017-02-24)
    [Excerpt] Looking back upon the Fall 2016 semester, the Cornell HR Review would like to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the seminars and activities that our executive team attended. One highlight was the Center for Advanced Human Resources (CAHRS) Partner Day, with “HR Innovations” as the theme. The CAHRS partnership connects leading companies, ranging from American Express to Shell, to Cornell University, the ILR School, and intellectual leaders to advance global human resources management.
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    Talent Acquisition vs Development: With a Focus on Leadership Development Programs
    Gusain, Nikita (2017-01-25)
    [Excerpt] Global competition and an evolved business landscape has led organizations to take measures to learn and grow at an accelerated pace. With developed economies moving towards the service industry, human capital and its development have become key business prerogatives. Businesses are constantly competing for talent. “Since high potential talent is in high demand, companies who are unable to readily buy talent are turning to growing their own talent in-house.” Leadership development and developing a pipeline of leaders are consistently the number one or two priorities for HR leaders globally. A SHRM report shows ‘improving leadership development’ as the number one priority of HR in 2007 and this is expected to be the number two priority in 2015
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    How to Continue to Innovate with Fewer “Water Cooler” Conversations
    Kuzdeba, Nicole DeMarco (2016-04-26)
    [Excerpt] As companies continue to grow globally, learning how to innovate across geographic lines has become even more important as “water cooler” conversations become less of the norm. This challenge is even more pertinent for the tech industry, where innovation is at its core. I sought to answer the following question: As tech companies continue to expand globally and open offices in more locations, the employee population becomes more decentralized, resulting in fewer organic, “water cooler” conversations. These “water cooler” conversations, or unintentional run-ins with one another which typically result in work conversation, can lead to innovative thinking or ideas. As companies expand globally, teams grow across various sites and more employees work at remote sites (not at the company’s headquarters), fewer of these organic conversations occur. So how can we continue to innovate without these “water cooler” conversations?
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    It’s Important To Keep Flexing
    Moheet, Saad (2016-05-10)
    [Excerpt] A recent study of more than 1,500 workers found that nearly a third considered flexibility to be the most important factor when considering employment offers. Surprisingly, employers are just as quick to sing praises of the benefits associated with accommodating their workforce. When asked in a survey, 91 percent of HR professionals agreed that flexible work arrangements positively influence employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. Although a few firms still contemplate whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs of increasing workplace flexibility accommodations, most organizations have already moved past these initial rounds of deliberation, and are beginning to calculate the implications. Eighty percent of all businesses surveyed by WorldatWork offered flexible work option arrangements to employees. However, only 37% of those surveyed report they have a formal, written philosophy or policy to support employee flexibility options. Currently, firms are faced with two real issues as they continue on the path of embracing workplace flexibility. First, how can an organization create a culture that maximizes as well as sustains the benefits of workplace flexibility? Secondly, what are some of the challenges an organization should be careful to avoid or mitigate when building out workplace flexibility?
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    Why Are Baby Boomers Staying Employed?
    Gaines, Janelle (2016-10-11)
    [Excerpt] The current generation of retirement eligible workers are staying in the workplace significantly longer than previous generations. As people live longer, they opt to remain in the workplace longer in order to continue earning income and stay engaged mentally. The current and projected future changes in eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits also contributes to the shifting of workplace demographics to much older than the past. Many are continuing to work well into their 60s and 70s. Some of these older workers are switching jobs hoping to be repositioned somewhere that offers new beginnings—perhaps less stress, more flexibility, or more personal fulfillment. Another trend is for older workers to “phase into retirement gradually” by remaining at work while enjoying more flexible work options and responsibilities. This means many are looking for flex work that enables them the option to work from home, preference in hours, and low accountability.
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    Physical Extensions of Corporate Culture
    DellaPelle, David (2016-08-15)
    [Excerpt] According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, “culture” was the most popular word of 2014. Corporate boardrooms have been facing a bit of a culture shock, not in the traditional sense of the term, but because of the emphasis currently being placed on initiatives to enhance company values and norms. Deloitte developed new research which explains that culture, engagement, and employee retention are not only the top "talent" issues confronting executives todays, but rather they are widely known to be some of the top overall strategic issues in present-day business. The standard 20th century career path of a college graduate starting his or her career at the same compnay he or she would retire from is simply no more - and the companies that are able to engage and retain their workforces are seen as innovators and industry leaders. While much of the talk about culture ties to workplace processes and initiatives to enhance corporate identity, strategic workspace design is of paramount importance. It is essential for office design to reflect the culture of the business in order to keep employees happy and engaged, which in turn motivates and increases productivity. In order to align and office with culture, there are three important factors a company must consider: integration with the company ethos, environment, and evidence-based design. This overview will discuss how these three factors are used, citing industry leaders as examples.
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    Telework is Work: Navigating the New Normal
    Brumma, Francesca (2016-05-10)
    [Excerpt] Over the past couple of decades, multiple factors have conspired to loosen the ties that once bound workers to their cubicles and 9-to-5 schedules. The practice of teleworking–also known as remote working or telecommuting–has been growing for years, with recent polls putting the proportion of teleworkers at 37% in the U.S. Telework isn’t so much a trend as it is the next stage in the evolution of the “normal” workplace. The standard style of teleworking has lately shifted from an after-hours supplement to the normal workday to a substitute for physically working at the office. Telework’s continued prevalence seems likely given recent polls showing that employees of all ages value flexibility above pay and promotion and younger workers in particular view work as a “thing” rather than a place. Telework is a difficult issue for HR to develop policies around because the impacts of teleworking on the organization and individual worker are not yet clearly defined. This article will explore key teleworking outcomes thus far and propose strategies for HR managers to use when evaluating and implementing telework policies.