Dr Sutherland, a senior lecturer in Human Resources (HR) at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), has made a valuable and substantial contribution to the need for a change in a BusinessDay article on 24 June 2009 entitled “Human resource management in treacherous times“.

He is correct in his contention that “HR needs to play the role of gatekeeper in ensuring the organisation reacts, but does not overreact, to the recession. To ensure sustainability, HR needs to assist the organisation to excise the fat but not the muscle, keep the DNA intact, protect the stem cells and build the immune system”.

He concludes by stating “In the course of my career, HR have called themselves manpower, resourcing, personnel, human resources, human capital, and, in the past few years, talent management (very much a flavour of the month fad, with no discernable new contribution to HR practices).  So what’s next?  Hopefully ‘organisational sustainability activists’”.