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  • Writer's pictureSherry

SBCo Newsletter- August 2007

  Catching up with David Finegold, Dean of School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

David Finegold is a friend and accomplished academic leader with in-depth experiences with some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. He agreed to speak with me about his transition from Southern California, where he worked at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations and the newest of the Claremont Colleges, the Keck Graduate Institute to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is now Dean of the School of Management and Labor Relations working with prominent thought leaders in the Strategic Human Resources arena.

David recently led a team of education and industry leaders that secured a $5 million “WIRED” (Workforce Innovation and Regional Economic Development) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create a high-skill bioscience ecosystem in Central New Jersey. David led the creation of the consortia that will use these new resources to transform existing training, education and economic development initiatives into an organized platform for new capabilities for the bioscience industry in the region. This is the catalyst that has multiple constituents talking about workforce and training needs in the community.

This fascinating and successful grant demonstrates how innovative David’s role is within Rutgers. He is bringing together industry leaders, government decision makers, and organizations to look at new ways to train talent and grow jobs in the New Jersey region. This will also enhance the university’s ability to have first hand knowledge of what corporations need in talent and how best to prepare for those needs. There is a particular focus on working with CEO’s and HR leaders in the bioscience sector (stay tuned for updates on this innovative model in upcoming newsletters).

David what made you decide to leave Southern California and your role at Claremont and the Keck Graduate School?

“I had not been looking to make a change when I was at Keck. My initial thought, when presented this opportunity at Rutgers, was to remain in California to continue pursuing the teaching, research and consulting that I thoroughly enjoyed. However, once I learned more, it was hard to pass this up as an exploration. Rutgers has a world-class concentration of talent in the Strategic Human Resource and Labor Relations arenas. “

How is Rutgers addressing the challenge of developing future HR Strategic leader capability?

“There are several ways we are dealing with this in response to a changing global community. First, we have created the “Executive Masters Program” to grow strategic leaders. It is a full Masters program with a significant global experience (i.e., two weeks in Prague, two weeks in Mumbai, two weeks in Shanghai and a final two weeks in New York). Each week is devoted to a strategic HR leadership capability within a global context, which we see as critically important. Our target is Senior HR leaders or high potential business leaders who are dealing with international and complex human issues.

Secondly, we are exploring distance learning options and coordinated partnerships with other prestigious academic institutions. Alone, we only touch and mentor a few Ph.D.’s as an example. If we combine resources through partnership, a new “suite of learning opportunities” emerges in order to leverage the expertise of thought leaders and develop new HR leaders across the globe.”

We know there is still a shortage of business minded and strategic HR leadership – probably the most troubling gap given our focus on this over the past 15 – 20 years. What is your thought on the “NEXT generation” of HR strategic talent?

“I believe the traditional ways of developing HR talent are fundamentally changing and we must alter how we assess and grow this leadership going forward. With all the changes in how we deliver HR services today in corporations, the traditional career path or stepping stones for growing this capability are not available any longer. Many of the more transactional and different functional roles through which people acquired their HR expertise do not exist today given the automating and outsourcing of more routine HR work.

People will learn through various assignments. We see more individuals leaving companies to go to consulting or outsourced partner relationships, acquiring master’s degrees, and then returning to companies with broader skills. The next generation of HR talent will be developed in entirely new ways, and individuals will need to be equipped to manage the development of their own HR careers.”

David, I know from our recent discussions that one area of keen interest for you was researching companies who “do well by doing good” or in other words corporate social consciousness. Is this something you are pursuing at this time?

“The trigger for my interest in this area was observing what happened after Katrina, as the US struggled to take care of its own. I began to look for alternatives to the prevailing model of global capitalism, identifying different models of for-profit companies that were taking on roles traditionally associated with government or non-profit organizations, while at the same time, non-profits are more using social venture capital models focusing on innovative approaches in an entrepreneurial manner. We see a lot of entrepreneurs embracing, what I coined several years ago as, “Compassionate Capitalism.” Many midstream organizations have not figured out how to address this yet. However, there is pressure for us all to act on these initiatives if we want to engage and retain the young, second or third career Baby Boomers. It already is seen as a critical element to socially responsible consumers, employees and investors. Now, it will be important to track results in this area and recognize who is taking this seriously and how ‘doing well is also doing good’ for financially successful companies with engaged employees.”

Prior to joining Rutgers, Dr. Finegold was a professor at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, CA and at USC’s Marshall School of Business. He is the author of more than 90 articles, book chapters and policy reports, and has written or edited six books, including Corporate Boards: Adding Value at the Top (with Jay Conger and Ed Lawler) and BioIndustry Ethics (Elsevier Academic Press, 2005).   He consults and provides executive education and coaching to public and private sector organizations on issues about talent management and employee development, corporate governance, integrating ethics into strategic decision-making, and designing effective organizations.

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