Human Resource Excellence
An Assessment of Strategies and Trends
Edward E. Lawler III and John W. Boudreau


Preface and Acknowledgments

This book is based on the results of the eighth study of the human resources (HR) function in large corporations by the Center for Effective Organizations. Like the previous studies, it measures how the HR function and organizations are changing and what makes HR an effective strategic partner. This study also analyzes how organizations can more effectively manage their human capital. It gathered data on many of the same topics and the same companies that we studied in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013, and we have compared data from our earlier studies to data we collected in 2016 in order to measure changes. For the third time, in 2016 we collected data from multiple countries so that we can determine how corporations in the United States differ from those of other countries. Information on how the data for this study were collected are in appendix B, which also presents information on the characteristics of the sample. A copy of the questionnaire used in the study and the responses for the U.S. sample are in appendix C.

A number of individuals and organizations helped us with data collection. We offer special thanks to our research partners who helped us with data collection; we list them in appendix A.

We also thank Vivian Jimenez for her help in preparing the manuscript. Alice Yee Mark, Aaron Griffith, and Nora Hilton helped with the data collection and did a terrific job analyzing the data.

The Marshall School of Business in the University of Southern California deserves special thanks and recognition for its continuing support of the activities of the Center for Effective Organizations. In addition, we thank the corporate sponsors of the center for their support of the center and its mission; their support is vital to the overall success of the center and is directly responsible for enabling us to do the kind of research reported here. The center, which will celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2018, has been and continues to be focused on doing research that improves organizational effectiveness.

Special thanks go to Susan Mohrman, who has made many contributions to this research effort. She and Ed did the first three surveys, and she worked with us on the fourth.