The Editors have great pleasure in presenting this December issue of the Research and Practice in Human Resource Management journal. This issue contains eight papers covering a very broad range of human resource management topics, some of which are related, and others which are quite disparate, but all are united in their presentation of new and pertinent research findings within and beyond the Asia Pacific region. In this issue, in line with the philosophy to incorporate both academic and HRM professional papers, the content encompasses five academic and two Practitioner articles, together with a Research Note.

In spite of the first three articles focusing on the healthcare industry in different country contexts, they differ in respect to their human resource management emphases. Tzafrir and Gur explore employee perceptions of service quality in the Israeli healthcare sector, and the role of trust as a mediating variable in the relationships between HRM and service quality, finding positive relationships. Maley and Kramar, on the other hand, use Australian subsidiaries of multinational healthcare organisations as the context for their study of performance appraisal policies, practices and processes. Their focus is on the review of host country managers’ performance, finding that more than 80 per cent of the appraisals are regarded as ineffective, or are not well integrated with subsequent career development opportunities. The third article in this set, by Martin, Gray and Adam, also concerns the healthcare industry, with an emphasis on the verbal abuse of nurses in the hospital sector. The authors surveyed a sample of hospital nurses and found a significant amount of verbal abuse by both colleagues and doctors, concluding both that its occurrence was more prevalent in non emergency than emergency situations, and that assertiveness training for nurses can be an effective HRM strategy for preventing or ameliorating verbal abuse.

The abuse of employees has become a prominent research topic in recent years, and is reflected in a different way in a subsequent article by Murray and Powell in the fourth article in this issue. Murray and Powell explore the roles of Australian workplaces as ‘sites for intervention and prevention’ in the social campaign against family violence, using a series of conceptual models supported by a series of practical case studies. Support for these programmes is from employer groups who are becoming increasingly aware of the impacts of family violence on workers and workplaces.

The following article by Ho presents a conceptual framework to aid understanding of the theories of diversity management in the workplace. A salient conclusion is that there are four common themes in all such theories – namely, salience, self concept, positive social identity, and familiarity – and that these themes have relevant practical applications for HRM professionals in the Asia Pacific region.

Two Practitioner Perspectives report on some of the most contemporary aspects of HRM and its contextual issues in India and in Singapore. The first, by Samir Chatterjee analyses the ‘demographic dividend’ which has enabled India’s rise to global economic prominence within the context of its enduring historical and cultural traditions. He regales the reader with India’s impressive progress in economic development and increased productivity. The article is a an extended version of a speech given at the Singapore Human Resource Institute (SHRI) Roundtable in December 2006.

The second Practitioner Perspective reports on two empirical research studies conducted by SHRI in 2006. The first study analysed the key characteristics of the contemporary Singaporean workforce, and the second explored employees’ opinions of ‘what makes a good leader’’ in Singaporean workplaces. The findings indicate that Singaporean employees are generally highly educated, have well developed work ethics and behaviours, and like their counterparts in many other regional countries, are enthusiastic and ambitious. The concurrent leadership study reveals that whilst their managers possess effective competencies and generally perform well themselves, many lack the skills necessary to motivate and inspire their staff, to give adequate performance feedback or to recognise them appropriately. Ho Geok Choo, who is the author of this article, is also the President of SHRI, and both she and David Ang (SHRI Executive Director) commissioned these studies.

This issue’s Research Note explains a mechanistic approach to employee absenteeism in an African manufacturing context. Whilst it may not seem appropriate to many Asia Pacific organisations due to its somewhat contentious nature, the Research Note contributes to our overall knowledge about the breadth of HRM practices.

The Editors hope that you will draw inspiration from this issue of Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, and that it will encourage you to submit your own manuscripts for subsequent issues.

Dr Alan Nankervis
Dr Cecil Pearson
December 2007