Featured What did Dave Ulrich ever do for us?

Published on May 16th, 2014 | by Allan Boroughs


What did Dave Ulrich ever do for us?

The impact of 18 years of the Ulrich model on HR – Orion’s 2014 research programme results

2014 marks the 18th anniversary of the publication of Human Resource Champions, the ground breaking book by David Ulrich that influenced a generation of thinkers in HR. It was as a direct consequence of Ulrich’s theories that many organisations chose to move to a new model for HR services, comprising shared service centres; business partners and centres of expertise. Although Ulrich never claimed to have invented this model, it has become synonymous with his name and there can be few in HR who have not encountered the ‘Ulrich model’ in some form.

Now that Ulrich’s theories are old enough to vote we wanted to know what impact they have had on HR in the last 18 years. For our 2014 research programme we asked questions on how organisations had responded to the opportunities and challenges offered by the model; how had they gone about it and whether the model delivered on the promised benefits.

Orion_InfographicDocument_WEBWe also wanted to know what role technology had played in the HR transformation process, what was left to be done and, with the benefit of hindsight, what would they have done differently.

To carry out the study we talked with over 40 organisations and their HR functions. The majority were in complex global organisations with over 10,000 employees – the heartland of transformational change in HR over the last 10 years. The answers they gave were, in parts, challenging and counter-intuitive and provided some clear indicators as to where organisations should place future priorities for a modern HR function.

The key findings of our survey are published in a summary report click  to download here . A detailed report is available on request by contacting allanboroughs@orion-partners.com and we will be discussing the implications of the survey on this site and in the HR press in the coming weeks.

I hope you will follow our blogs and articles and join in the discussion as we answer the question “what did Dave Ulrich ever do for us”?



About the Author

Allan is one of our founding partners, in charge of our HR technology practice. Over the past ten years he’s designed, developed and delivered people management systems, talent solutions and enterprise applications all over the world. There’s not much he doesn’t know about the subject.

Before founding Orion, Allan held senior positions in consulting, industry and the public sector. He’s a member of the CIPD. He’s co-written four books on HR. And he’s got some pretty strong views on how HR should be expecting more from technology.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑