The new HR and Organizational Consultant: From numerical to organizational flexibility
The paper analyses the morphogenesis of the HR and Organizational Consultant role, in the light of the great changes experienced by SMEs in the last few years, both on the organizational and productive level (ICT, globalization and organizational knowledge) and on the flexibility of labour contracts (i.e. atypical work). Two clusters of the HR and Organizational Consultant's functions are considered: a more traditional set, defining the task of a personnel administrator, and a more innovative group, which is typically applicable to a human resources manager. Both are analysed in relation to the challenges that HR and Organizational Consultants are facing with the changed and changeable needs of their client firms. The second cluster is successively structured into a "closed role", where the consultant acts as an optimizer of human resources, that is as an analyst of the costs and benefits connected with human resources utilization, and an "open role", where the consultant is a partner of the client company, driving organizational development and knowledge management, i.e. acting as the builder of an internally flexible and versatile organization. It is argued that the interaction between the role required by the demand side and the role supplied by the HR and Organizational Consultant can result in a "high" structural development of intangible assets in Italian SMEs.
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