New human resources mag is all about making connections

As York Professor Len Karakowsky says in his editorial for the inaugural issue of HR Edge, it’s all about the connections – connecting the academic side of human resources management to the practical side of working in the field.

Making connections is also the theme of the magazine’s first issue, put out by the University’s Master in Human Resources Management (MHRM) program and available through the program’s Web site.

“The idea was to let more people know about what is going on in the field and to create a discussion forum for both academics and practitioners,” says Karakowsky, HR Edge editor.

A glossy, stylish magazine, HR Edge is just now wending its way into print at a healthy 24 pages of articles, career tips, faculty and alumni notes and profiles. The content is varied, touching topics of interest to HR professionals, students, faculty and even those outside of the field. An article by Jelena Zikic, York professor of human resources management and associate editor of HR Edge, discusses the new priority of human resource professionals to cultivate cultural intelligence and the need for businesses to embrace diversity in light of the large influx to Canada of highly-educated professionals.

In her article, York management Professor Julia Richardson delves into the challenges of flexible work practices and how little is known about the phenomenon. MHRM alumnus Chris Kirkpatrick discusses how to navigate a career path in human resources through creativity, determination and a little risk-taking.

There is a Q & A with best-selling authors Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster about their book, Working with You Is Killing Me (2006) and another with University of Toronto HR Professor Gary Latham about the scholarly field of human resources management.

“It’s not an academic journal, but neither is it a newsletter. It’s something in between that is accessible to both scholars and practitioners working in HR,” says Karakowsky. “This publication is intended to help bridge the gap between the academic and the practical. It’s a niche I don’t think is being very well served right now in this rapidly growing field.”

The MHRM program, a unique program in Canada that started just over four years ago at York, strives to integrate a scholarly approach to the discipline of HR with issues that HR professionals find relevant and useful in their work. Similarly, HR Edge tackles issues that have a practical relevancy while often challenging traditional thinking through the presentation of cutting-edge research.

York’s HR graduate student body is composed of a diverse range of professionals – there are HR practitioners from almost every sector including health care, business, military and non-profit. “Already, we’ve been able to tap into a lot of professionals, inside and outside of York, as contributors to the magazine. It’s wonderfully enriching for everyone,” says Karakowsky. “It will also benefit students in the HR undergraduate program at York. It will give them a nice sense of what’s out there.”

Karakowsky says the HR field is becoming increasingly strategic. “It’s grown from its very modest beginnings as almost purely clerical in nature to being a central part of the leadership component of the organization.” And that’s just one of the issues the MHRM program and the magazine will be exploring.

“Workplaces are undergoing rapid change stemming from such factors as globalization, technology and demographic changes," says Karakowsky. There is little doubt that the ability to manage people has never been a greater challenge – nor a more urgent one to address. York’s MHRM program, along with its HR Edge publication, hope to provide guidance to managers and HR professionals to meet these challenges.

Right now, the magazine is expected to be published annually, but Karakowsky hopes to see it grow over time. HR Edge is also available in electronic form. It has the support of Rhonda Lenton, dean of Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, and Ken McBey, director of the Graduate Program in Human Resources Management.

For more information, contact Len Karakowsky at