The politics of election

by 20 Mar 2007

Election years are always great for editorial. Behind the din of name calling and constant questioning of credibility, a more interesting debate has been going on and it’s of relevance to HR practitioners.

John Howard and his colleagues had a carefully crafted plan of undermining the electorate’s confidence in the economy. Many political observers have identified complacency within the general populous as a threat to the Coalition regaining power when an election is called at some stage this year.

So it’s probably little surprise then that the Coalition will try to use its economic record as a means of destabilising the Opposition’s apparently inevitable march to victory.

The question, of course, then flows back to credibility – which can be questioned on two fronts. Is Australia really as prosperous as the headlines would have us believe? Housing affordability is terrible, for instance. Similarly, while we are enjoying record levels of employment, there are demographics with massive levels of unemployment. There’s a further widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. Public transport, water, health and education across the country are in tatters.

The second credibility question is how much influence the Government really has on the state of the economy. Some argue the bureaucracy has a lot more to do with the running of the country than any elected officials.

Similarities that can be drawn from those claiming responsibility for success within organisations. HR would do well to be mindful of blowing their trumpets too hard.

Is organisational success measured in any meaningful way beyond the bottom line? Has the great profit results we have seen recorded in recent years been the result of carefully laid plans by those who control an organisation’s human capital? Similarly, while shareholders may hail the profits as a success, do employees feel they are winning as well? We’ve officially been recognised as one of the most industrious countries in the world with the poorest record among OECD countries for striking a healthy balance between work and personal life. Are we getting any closer to self actualisation or are we just working harder?