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International Conference on Knowledge Management 2005 PWTC, Kuala Lumpur

DEVELOPING HRM STUDENTS MANAGERIAL POTENTIAL: UUMS APPROACH TO KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

Dr Faridahwati Mohd Shamsudin Tel.: 04-9283866; Fax: 04-9283663 e-mail: faridah@uum.edu.my Assoc Prof Dr Mohmad Yazam Sharif Tel.: 04-9283871; Fax: 04-9283663 e-mail: yazam533@uum.edu.my Abdullah Omar Tel.: 04-9283858; Fax: 04-9283663 e-mail: Abdullah@uum.edu.my Human Resource Management Department Faculty of Human & Social Development 06010 Sintok, Kedah

Developing HRM Students Managerial Potential: UUMs Approach to Knowledge Management Dr Faridahwati Mohd. Shamsudin Associate Professor Dr Mohmad Yazam Sharif Abdullah Omar Human Resource Management Department Faculty of Human & Social Development Universiti Utara Malaysia

Abstract UUM has among the largest grouping of Human Resource Management (HRM) academics in Asia, if not the whole world. These academics are based in the HRM department of the Faculty of Human and Social Development, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). They comprise seasoned experts from the private and public sectors as well as pure academics that are homegrown products of UUMs human resource development (HRD) programme since 1990. UUM has been designated by the government as a specialized management university. This paper aims to highlight some findings on how UUM has been able to assemble this group of HRM academics and subsequently manage the knowledge of HRM to benefit UUMs customers the undergraduate, post-graduate students and the public. Developing graduates to meet the market needs has always been the focus of the group since the early 1990s. As such, the students have been exposed to various activities to ensure that they acquire specific skills that can help them in their job search or start businesses. Before the students could be developed, UUMs top management had realized since the beginning that the academics in HRM with the right experience or attitude need to be carefully selected in order for them to play effective roles in developing future managerial potentials, i.e. the students. These academics have contributed in teaching academic courses using relevant techniques as well as acting as facilitators to two of UUMs academic consulting centres Institute for Entrepreneurial Development and Institute of Quality Management. In addition, they have also acted as valuable supervisors to UUMs undergraduate students who undergo industrial training or practicum. Keywords: human resource development (HRD), human resource management (HRM), knowledge management, practicum, UUM

INTRODUCTION Our people are our biggest asset. This phrase underlies the thinking and

philosophy of many contemporary businesses (Jackson & Schuler, 2003; Mondy & Noe, 2005). It underscores the importance of proper and effective management and

administration of human resources in business organizations since it influences the survival or demise of a business organization. A business organization can hardly

survive on its products and services alone; it has to have energetic and enthusiastic group of marketers and sales people to market the products and services. Similarly, advanced technology adopted by the business organization categorically needs people to handle and manage it. In short, regardless of the nature of business, the common denominator for survival rests on its human resources. Because human resources are an important asset to the organization, managers need to learn and know how to manage this asset carefully and effectively, from the day before they enter the organization until they day they retire from the organization. In addition to these aspects of management, managers need also concern that the people they hire are able to help the organization achieve its mission and objectives. All these call for the need for managers (and human resource managers) to play a strategic role in the organization (Mondy & Noe, 2005). Theoretically the management and administration of human resource

management is the purview of human resource managers. Whilst this is theoretically true, in strategic human resource management (SHRM), line managers are also managing and administering their own people on the respective unit or department (Mondy & Noe, 2005). In other words, they also act as human resource managers since they are also involve in planning for their staff members, recruit them, suggest their names for promotion (and demotion), development etc. Because all managers are

directly and/or indirectly involved in the functions of human resource management, it is imperative that future managers are properly trained in this area. And this is where UUM comes in. This paper seeks to discuss the role of UUM in developing future HR managers, using knowledge management approach. It also attempts to answer the major question:

How does UUM acquire and develop its knowledge, and how it uses this knowledge to develop its students potential? To answer this question, a combination of a case-study and historical analysis techniques are used. In essence, by using this method, readers are shown the

trajectory of development UUM has undergone in achieving students HRM potential. In other words, the method will help readers appreciate how UUM uses the knowledge and also understand the importance of human resource management in developing students managerial potential in this area.

THE CONCEPT OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT `Before discussing UUMs efforts in developing HRM academics, it is only appropriate to elaborate further the meaning of knowledge management as it is the foundation of UUMs strategic approach. It is acknowledged by many that future managers (including HR managers) should be groomed while they are still undergraduates (Connor & Pollard, 1996; Hawkins & Winter, 1996; Jameson & Holden, 2000). To this end, competent HRM academics are required to impart relevant knowledge and exposure to potential HR managers. Consequently competent HR managers would play effective roles in managing organizational employees. Over time as employees are seen to be the most important assets of organizations by many employers, the need to manage the knowledge (or knowledge management) of people management becomes important (Evans, 2003). It is thus argued that knowledge management should be on the human resource agenda. Several researchers (Davenport, 1997; Housel & Bell, 2001) have tried to explain the meaning of knowledge management. Sayed and Cheng (2004), for example, define knowledge management as a series of processes that manage the creation, dissemination and utilization of knowledge as well as measurement of performance.

They add that the aim of knowledge management is to put together and organize knowledge to create a substance of value in knowledge. Bukowitz and Williams (1999) further add that knowledge management is the process by which the organization generates wealth from its intellectual or knowledge-based assets. Both definitions bring forward the contention that managing people is the foundation of managing a business. Efforts put on finding out the best ways of managing people would further develop the business. Authors had agreed that knowledge management comprised at least six components: knowledge management concept, knowledge acquisition, knowledge codification, knowledge dissemination, knowledge sharing and knowledge application (Davenport, 1997; Evans, 2003; Housel & Bell, 2001). The concept of knowledge management has been interpreted in two ways the managerial perspective and the technical perspective (Horibe, 1999). The first perspective interprets knowledge management as the task undertaken by managers (especially human resource professionals) to manage some useful knowledge for the benefit of their organizations while the second perspective interprets knowledge management as the process of using technical or information communication technology (ICT) tools to manage knowledge of something. Next is knowledge acquisition. This is an important part of knowledge management process. Any useful knowledge to an organization has been to be acquired mainly by sending employees for external training or purchasing technology from external source. Following that is knowledge codification. In this phase, the acquired knowledge is codified so that others within the organization can have access to the data. After the knowledge has been codified, the organization can publicize the availability of the knowledge concerned to all levels of employees who are in need of it to perform their duties. The next phase is knowledge sharing. Those who are well-versed

with the knowledge which has been codified and practised can share the knowledge with those who are lagging behind. Lastly is knowledge application. Initially, the codified knowledge may just be used in certain limited functions. For instance, in employee training. In this phase, the codified knowledge is applied to other functions within specific department or across departments in an organization.

UNIVERSITI UTARA MALAYSIA (UUM) UUMs Administration: Then and Now UUM was established on 16th February 1984 and was located temporarily in Jitra, Kedah, until it moved to its permanent campus in Sintok, a town on the Malaysian - Thai border in late 1990 (www.uum.edu.my). Initially, the academic affairs in UUM were run

using a school system. Under this system, each school that is established would be interdependent and would service each others needs. One of the bigger schools was the School of Management through which many business-related degree programmes were offered such the Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) and the Bachelors of Human Resource Management (BHRM). However with effect from November 2003, UUMs management decided to adopt the faculty system in place of the school system. Some departments were relocated into the new faculties. For example, the Human Resource Management Department, which was previously located in the School of Management, was shifted to the Faculty of Human and Social Development.

UUMs Development of HRM Academics: The History and Vision Since the mid 1980s, UUM was designated as a management university. Thus the development of management-based programmes was high on the list of UUMs management especially in early 1990s. This focus had inadvertently pushed the School

of Management to the forefront as the centre of UUMs future expansion plans. The School was ordered by UUMs top management to develop deeper specialisations within the BBA such as HRM, international business, tourism, marketing, finance, banking, production/operations management and law. Later these specialisations were to be upgraded to full-fledged individual degrees. These were continuously to be reviewed so as to be relevant with the times. But rapid changes were and are occurring in the environment within Malaysia as well as outside Malaysia. As a management-based university, UUM also took cognisant of the changes that were taking place in Malaysia and worldwide and incorporated changes to the various degree structures over tiime. Over time, students were given opportunities to specialise in specific areas of business, such as marketing, finance, and human resource management. It should be noted here that the early plans for

expanding and developing a full-fledged HRM bachelors degree was made entirely in the School of Management by academic staff members who had general managementrelated background and those with human resource management (then personnel management) related experience and skill. In its earnest, perhaps it is appropriate to say that these people were the so-called champions in the HRM academic developmental efforts. To recap, as a management university, UUM management realises that it has an important role to play in furnishing the country with talented and qualified managers, including human resource managers, since it is generally acknowledged by the state that effective administration of the economy requires that good managers are produced. To help achieve this national objective, UUMs top management understands that relevant academic programmes (such as the Bachelors of HRM) need to be developed to produce the required graduates for the job market. It is within this realisation that it needs to be staffed with qualified knowledge workers, i.e. academics. What follows next

is discussion on how UUM managed to acquire such knowledge workers that are able to help realise UUMs objective of developing its students managerial potential.

ACQUIRING THE KNOWLEDGE According to systems theory, in order to produce the necessary outputs, proper inputs should be put in place (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 1995). Knowing that developing students HRM managerial potential is important, UUM had planned and considered the necessary inputs that need to be put in. In the context of UUM, the main concern was acquiring the soft type of inputs. The soft input involves developing proper skills,

knowledge and competencies of the people (i.e. academics) who will deliver the educational and teaching materials to potential (HRM) managers (i.e. students). But, in addition to the soft/knowledge input, it was realised that future expansion required proper space. It is within this understanding that a proposal was put forward to UUMs top management to establish a new school called the School of Human Resource Development. We call the latter input as the hard input, which is to be discussed first, before we move on to deliberate on the knowledge/soft input.

The Hard Input The plan to establish the School of Human Resource Development (SHRD) was mooted in 1989 by UUMs Academic Affairs Department. It was to be one of the new schools to be set up when UUM moved to Sintok campus. At the time it was anticipated that more academic programmes relating to HRM would be developed over time. In addition to the bachelors degree in HRM, post-graduate programmes were also considered as part of UUMs future expansion plans. The plan for the new school also signified the conviction and belief that the issue of human resources would continue to be an important agenda in a business community in Malaysia, especially in the era of

globalisation. Because of this, there were huge expansion possibilities for the HRM academic studies. As a result, it was thought that a new school would be an appropriate platform. Unfortunately, the plan to establish the School of Human Resource Development (HRD) did not materialise in the 1990s. A new proposal for the school was reactivated in 2002 and it was referred to a Board of Advisors on the establishment of the School for comments. The Board which comprised representatives from the Public Service Department, the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM), the Ministry of Human Resources, prominent firms and the deans of various public universities business schools fully endorsed the proposal. However, UUMs new top management at that time turned down the idea as it was seen as not cost-effective. Furthermore, the new management had decided to abolish the school system to make way for a faculty system. The HRM academics were relocated into the Faculty of

Human and Social Development. The relocation exercise and the abandonment of the School of Human Resource Development were both major hiccups in the future academic development and expansion plans of HRM academics in UUM. But despite this shortfall, earlier plans to develop HRM and HRM-related postgraduate degrees are still intact. In fact, the HRM group members may be said to be as aggressive as ever in coming up with new academic plans now that a Department of Human Resource Management was finally formalised within the Faculty of Human and Social Development. With such formalisation, the HRM group has more autonomy in deciding its future developmental plans since all HRM academics are now based in one single department. And since the HRM group comprises 37 academics, its

smallness may be considered a strength in itself because it creates solidarity and cohesion amongst its members. According to Robbins (2005), cohesion is important for

group effectiveness, and in the context of HRM group, cohesion is partly the factor that makes the group more committed in moving forward in their future undertakings.

The Soft/Knowledge Input To develop an HRM academic programme that could produce students with marketable HRM skills and talents requires qualified and dedicated knowledge workers, i.e. teaching manpower. But, as we shall see below, recruiting the qualified manpower was initially not without problems. This prompted UUM to consider various ways in developing its own knowledge workers. In general, two main sources of recruitment were (and are) used by UUMs top management toward this end: its own talents, and talents recruited from outside. The use of both recruitment sources is not perculiar to UUM only. In fact, a study conducted by Munauwar Mustafa et al. (2001) amongst manufacturing companies in Malaysia found that many companies in Malaysia used various sources of recruitment to attract potential candidates.

Acquiring External Talents Within the context of UUM, external talents here refer to potential candidates or knowledge workers that are not currently employed by UUM, and they can be further categorised into two groups: those with substantial working experience, and those who have little or no working experience. Hiring external talents with substantial working experience seems the best choice to acquire the knowledge workers required. But solely depending on this particular

group of potential candidate was not practically effective since it is rather difficult to persuade these people to join UUM. The main reason is due to UUMs location. By comparison to the previous location of Jitra, Sintok is located farther up north. Its close proximity to the Malaysian-Thailand border (Sintok is approximately 10-minute drive to

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the border) suggests the remoteness of its location. Unlike other universities, such as UKM, UM or UPM, that are located within the reach of activities and facilities in city towns, UUM is very much pale in comparison. Being located in the very north of the country, UUM finds itself, at times, lacking behind other universities in terms of current technology and facilities. Although UUMs location may be advantageous because it is conducive for students learning, it is perhaps unattractive to potential academics with urban lifestyles. Because of this difficulty in hiring the required and talented knowledge workers, an alternative plan was devised. Instead of relying fully on potential academics with business-related experience, UUM management also considered hiring those with little or no previous working experience provided they were committed. This alternative had increased UUMs chances of getting potential candidates since it was then possible for UUM to harness the talents of fresh graduates with related degree (e.g. business administration or human resource development) from other universities to join UUM as academic tutors. In UUM, the position of tutors is created to prepare the candidates to pursue post-graduate degrees. Once hired, they have to secure a place in any staterecognised university, whether local or abroad, to undergo their Masters degree, and have to start their post-graduate degree programme within one year of employment, failing which, their employment could be terminated. From UUMs point of view, in comparing both sources of recruitment, hiring external talents with appropriate talents is preferable to hiring fresh graduates. This is because the former can immediately teach academic courses, since experienced candidates accepted as lecturers should at least possess recognized Masters degrees.

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Acquiring Internal Talents In addition to acquiring talented knowledge workers externally, UUM also acquires talented potentials from its own institution. Its top graduating final year

students in business administration or human resource management are encouraged to join the universitys tutorship (or fellowship) programme, a programme that prepares these potential candidates to pursue postgraduate studies in HRM-related areas. It

should be noted that regardless of whether the fresh graduates were UUM trained or trained by other universities, it is common practise for UUMs management to dictate the area of specialisation in Human Resource Management that the tutors need to pursue. This is important to ensure that the HRM group is composed of knowledge workers that have expertise in various functional areas, such as in HR planning, recruitment, training and development, occupational safety and health, human resource information systems, industrial relations, performance appraisal, etc. Having a steady supply of knowledge workers with these skills is also important for UUM to make further academic expansion and development. Furthermore, in the long term, the variety of expertise is beneficial to UUM in developing its own niche in the (educational) market. Although criticisms were made on the grounds of inbreeding, such training programme was nonetheless useful in providing UUM with sufficient academic manpower or human resources, who were academically trained in specific field of study needed by the institution. In addition to the training of fresh graduates, UUM also embarked on staff upgrading exercise, which gives administrative staff the opportunities to develop themselves academically. Once they have acquired the necessary academic Their previous experience as

qualifications, they can apply for an academic job.

administrators virtually gives them a certain advantage over the other fresh academics since they possess knowledge about how the UUM systems work and thus could readily apply this experience in their academic work.

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Todays Academics The dual-recruitment strategies adopted by UUM have yielded fruits, as expected. Academic experts in related areas of human resource management are able to be gathered within a single department of human resource management. Today, the

Department of Human Resource Management, within the Faculty of Human and Social Development, boasts to have a substantial number of qualified academic staff members with expertise in various areas of human resource management, such as human resource planning, recruitment, training and development, compensation and

remuneration, industrial relations, and human resource information systems, to name a few. With 37 HRM academics, it is perhaps of no exaggeration to say that today UUM has the biggest number of HRM academic staff ever assembled in a single department at any single time. In terms of seniority, the breakdown of the HRM group can be seen in Table 1. Table 1 HRM Group of UUM by Seniority Level of Seniority Professor Associate Professor Senior Lecturers Lecturers Total Frequency 2 4 3 28 ----------37 -----------Percentage (%) 5.4 10.8 8.1 76.0 ---------100.0 -----------

In terms of the level of academic training received by the HRM academic staff, readers are to refer to Table 2. In terms of the first degree qualification, Table 2.0 indicates that

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the majority of the HRM group consists of academics who were not of UUM bred (70.3%). This means that these academics received their first academic training in

either other local universities (apart from UUM) or were trained overseas. The rest of the staff members (29.7%) were, however, locally trained by UUM. They either received a bachelors degree in Human Resource Management or a bachelors degree in Business Administration. Although it cannot be specified who amongst these academic staff members were hired as tutors, it is able to highlight the diversity of basic degree qualifications the HRM group members have. The diversity in academic background is strength of the HRM group because of the various perspectives that these academics bring in to their academic work. As mentioned earlier, a minimum academic qualification required by UUM of academics to be considered a lecturing post is a Masters degree. Table 2 shows that the majority of the HRM group members received their Masters degree in other universities (86.5%) as compared to a small percentage of those who received their Masters degree offered by UUM (13.5%). As can be seen in Table 2, the number of HRM group members who have a doctoral degree is rather small. Out of 37 academics, only 6 have this qualification (16.2%). Recognising that a doctoral degree is the degree that is desirable in this profession as knowledge workers, UUM is actively encouraging its staff members to pursue this degree. Scholarships either by UUM itself or by outside institutions are available for academic staff members to receive the highest level of academic qualification. It should also worthy of note to indicate that out of the remaining 29 HRM group members without a PhD qualification, nine academic staff members (31%) are on study leave toward this end. To make sure that sufficient number of HRM academics is available in each semester to conduct classes, the Department of HRM has prepared a schedule of who needs to take his/her study leave and when. It is anticipated that by the

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year 2013 every member of the HRM group will be equipped with this degree, assuming that additional staff member is not taken in. Table 2 HRM Group of UUM by Academic Background Level of Education Bachelors Degree UUM BHRM UUM Non-BHRM Non-UUM degree Total Masters Degree UUM-trained Non-UUM trained Total PhD UUM-trained Non-UUM trained Total 1 5 ---------6 ---------16.7 83.3 ---------100.0 ----------Frequency Percentage (%)

6 5 26 -------37 -------5 32 ---------37 ----------

16.2 13.5 70.3 --------100.0 --------13.5 86.5 ----------100.0 -----------

As can be seen from Table 1 and Table 2 above, in short, it is perhaps not exaggeration to suggest that the HRM group is made up of members who, by and large, are academically sound and able in their knowledge and expertise of HRM functions. With talented and knowledgeable members, it is not difficult to fall prey to complacency. Therefore, as part of continuous learning programme, the HRM group members have the responsibility in keeping up-to-date with current trends and practices, and in developing important networks within the business community. To be able to do this,

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opportunities are available for them to present their ideas and research findings in seminars and conferences, within or without Malaysia. RESULTS OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: USING AND APPLYING KNOWLEDGE Once appropriate knowledge is acquired and developed, it needs to be used in such as way that it produces beneficial results (Housel & Bell, 2001). Here, knowledge needs to be disseminated, shared and applied in order for it to be useful. Once the academic staff members have gained the necessary knowledge required, it is expected of them to use the knowledge for the benefits of others. The following attempts to highlight the manner in which UUM made efforts in disseminating, sharing and applying the knowledge acquired and developed.

Students Development There are various ways the HRM group members have used and are using their knowledge for the benefits of other people. Since the main job of academics involves teaching, the immediate beneficiary of their knowledge is the students, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. At the undergraduate level, all HRM group members are involved in teaching HRM-related courses using relevant techniques to students who are either taking a business degree or who are taking an HRM degree. In addition to these students, the HRM academics also teach HRM-related courses to other students taking other degrees but who are interested in taking HRM subjects either as electives or part of their specialisation. Approximately 1500 students sign up for a course in basic human

resource management every academic year. The large number of students signing up

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for this course alone may suggest that students attach the importance of this subject to marketability of their degree. One important component of any bachelors degree programme in UUM is practical or industrial training. This training is normally taken up by students at the end of their final semester and which normally lasts several weeks. This training is important for students because it provides students with opportunities to learn firsthand the way organisations are being run and managed. To make sure that students could gain the necessary experience and knowledge, they are supervised by an academic staff of UUM and by a field supervisor in the organisation. It is during supervisory visits that the academic supervisors will check on the progress the students are making and will advice them accordingly on how to behave and act accordingly. These supervisory

experiences in a way add to the strength of the faculty members as they are now able to train better by applying the work-related experiences in their teaching duties. At the postgraduate levels, the HRM group members are also involved in teaching Masters courses for students undertaking a masters degree in Human Resource Management (MHRM), or for those doing an MBA programme, or for those undertaking Master of Science degree in Management (MSc. Management) in UUM. It should also be pointed out that the HRM group members will also be appointed, occasionally, to supervise a masters thesis, which is in partial fulfilment of a masters degree. In addition to masters students, some of the HRM group members with

relevant academic experience and expertise are also engaged in supervising doctoral students who register to undertake a PhD programme in Human Resource Management. In addition to teaching and academic supervising, the HRM group members are also assigned additional responsibility of providing mentoring services to students. Here, each member of the HRM group will be assigned a number of students, who are

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called mentees. The mentor-mentee programme, as it is called in UUM, is a programme devised to help and support students academically. The mentor is to see and check the progress of his/her mentee and provide necessary assistance and support when required. This programme is useful especially for the students as it allows them an authoritative channel for them to voice their legitimate concerns and anxieties about academic and non-academic matters. Similarly, the mentor is also able to provide and offer academic guidance and advice to students concerning academic and nonacademic matters. To some extent, this mentor-mentee programme enhances a

supportive and healthy relationship between academic staff members and students, which is expected to enhance the latters academic enthusiasm. In addition to the above duties, the HRM group members have also contributed in acting as facilitators to two of UUMs academic consulting centres Institute for Entrepreneurial Development and Institute of Quality Management for short courses offered by these institutes. The invocation of HRM academics to facilitate courses like these shows the recognition given by the university for the kinds of expertise and skills possessed by the faculty members, and the kinds of contributions they are ready to make. The above discussion has shown how the knowledge gained by the HRM group has been used (and is used) to contribute to develop students future potential. But developing the students future potential does not tell the whole story; more importantly is the issue of what does future potential mean to the students. It is when the students potential is translated to marketability that the knowledge management approach adopted by UUM can be considered a successful one. To this the discussion now turns.

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Marketability of Students Potential Unemployment amongst graduates in Malaysia is nothing new. With the number of unemployed graduates alarming, it is important for universities to offer academic programmes that are marketable and attractive. If this is assumed to be the measure of success for academic programmes offered by universities in Malaysia, then it seems that UUM is making the right effort in developing its knowledge workers, i.e. its academic members. A study to trace marketability of graduates of a bachelors degree in Human Resource Management (BHRM) was by Khulida Kirana Yahya and her colleagues in 2003. But the study was limited to graduates of 1998, 2001 and 2002, providing a response of 213 graduates. It was shown in their study that out of 215, a majority of 70.2 percent of the respondents affirmed that they were employed. Of those claimed to be employed, 60 percent were working in private organisations, 34.7 percent in public agencies, while 5.3 percent were self-employed. When asked whether the courses they took during their bachelors study were relevant and applicable to their present job, majority of the respondents reported that almost all courses offered in the BHRM programme were applicable to their job. In general, this study is able to demonstrate that the BHRM degree offered by UUM was moderately marketable, suggesting that the skills and knowledge imparted to these students were meeting the requirements of the market. Although more studies are needed to provide more validation to the above findings since the study did not look at all BHRM graduates, the study by Khulida Kirana Yahya et al. (2003) is nonetheless significant since it provides initial insight on the marketability of the degree programme.

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CONCLUSION

This short paper does not claim to be exhaustive in its deliberations of the milestones achieved by Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) as a designated management university. Being a management university, its two-pronged mission is to produce graduates who either can become entrepreneurs or corporate managers. This idea was crystallized in 1990 when UUM shifted its campus from Jitra to Sintok, Kedah. One important component of this grand plan was to develop a group of competent and skilful Human Resource academics to assist UUM to produce knowledgeable and marketable graduates (especially at the undergraduate level) in the field of human resource management (HRM). To that end, UUMs management has made the right decision by focussing on the development of HRM academics as they are seen to be the mentors to the future HRM managers in the country. Human resource managers or professionals of the future are expected to be conversant in business, management, finance, accounting, information technology, psychology, labour laws and economics apart from their own functional area. To achieve that goal, these future professionals must be groomed by the right people with the right skills and minds. UUM has been doing that for the last 15 years. It has been accumulating and developing experienced HR academics. These academics are to play important roles in the preparation of human resources for future market needs. In Malaysia, the soon to be released 9th Malaysia Plan has given its utmost priority to the development of human resources. At the organizational level whether in public or private organizations, the core people in charge of people development (like recruitment, training and compensation) are human resource professionals. Thus the ability to manage the knowledge of these people is one of the key factors in achieving future organizational and national success.

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