HR Most Influential 2012 shortlist UK Thinkers

Below is the shortlist for the 2012 ranking of UK Thinkers. This is now at voting stage. To register your vote please click HR Most Influential: Your Vote Counts

When fully aligned with the business, HR has a significant impact - and that impact is growing as the nature of employment changes. For that reason, HR magazine runs its annual HR Most Influential ranking, recognising UK thinkers challenging assumptions and practice in the field.

This year, for the first time, we announce the names of those shortlisted and invite you, our readers, to help compile the ranking by taking a few minutes to fill in the survey. We want to know who you regard as influential and why. Please note, this is a peer-based ranking and only one vote per organisation will be counted.

This is the seventh year of our HR Most Influential list and it has grown to become the most credible ranking in the sector. We know not everyone will agree with the names below, so our methodology allows you to nominate other names you believe we should consider.

However, HR magazine has invested considerable time and money over the past seven years in trying to understand the nature of influence in HR. In 2008, we asked Henley Business School to prepare and validate a set of criteria against which the most influential people in HR could be measured and identified. Henley examined current ideas of leadership of and in the HR field through a literature review, including HR's role both within the business and leading outside the HR function; investigated concepts and measurements of influence both externally and internally; and looked at other popular magazine-published rankings of admiration, influence and leadership. From this, Henley developed draft criteria, which were examined and critiqued by a focus group from the school's leadership, change and HR faculty. Our list was measured against the final criteria.

In 2010, we partnered with Ashridge Business School to build on this work. We grew the sample size for ranking by adding executives responsible for HR at board level from Ashridge's database. We also added in qualitative interviews with CEOs, City analysts and media commentators, to establish an external view of HR's influence.

For 2012, we decided it was time to review the criteria of influence and brought together a panel at Ashridge Business School to discuss this and to sense-check all 120 names that had been nominated or previously appeared on the HR Most Influential list. We settled on criteria, including personal impact, both internally and externally - and particularly with the CEO and board, in the case of HR practitioners; applicability and effectiveness of ideas and practice; and commercial impact. 

There are two main changes to the shortlist this year. Firstly, we measured everyone against a 2011-2012 timeframe. Therefore, a number of significant thinkers do not appear on the list, as their influence has not been as wide during this period. For example, a thinker may be holed up writing a book or researching a paper.

Secondly, we decided to narrow the definition of thinkers to people whose work was grounded in academia and who had a cumulative body of work in the field. This removed a number of important management thinkers and writers, in both the UK and international lists. We still believe they are influential, particularly in terms of accessibility and real-world relevance to HR practitioners. However, we are emphasising academic research because of the impact that has on change, development and innovation in the field.

Choosing people for the UK thinkers list was not easy, a sign perhaps that more academic work in this field is coming from the US and other countries. We looked for new thinking and people influential in a particular part of HR, such as leadership or employee relations. There are some people outside this criteria worthy of inclusion in any particular year, for example, those who act as conduits for thinking to move into the legislative arena or who bring policymakers together, such as Dame Carol Black and Will Hutton.

So the panel has spoken. Now it is up to the HR industry - ie you - to decide who is the most influential of all.

We want to know who has an impact on you, who you look to when you want inspiration and who is moving HR forward. Please vote!

HR Most Influential 2012 shortlist UK Thinkers
Name, title and organisation
Nic Beech, professor of management, University of St Andrews
John Benington, emeritus professor at Warwick University
Dame Carol Black, national director for Health and Work
Chris Brewster, professor of international human resource management, Henley Business School, University of Reading
Rob Briner, professor of organisational psychology, Birkbeck, University of London
Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge, founder, Quality & Equality
David Clutterbuck, senior partner, Clutterbuck Associates
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health, Lancaster University Management School
David Denyer, professor of organisational change, Cranfield University School of Management
Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology, University College London
Rob Goffee, professor of organisational behaviour, London Business School
Jonathan Gosling, professor of leadership studies, University of Exeter
Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice, London Business School
David Guest, professor in organsational psychology and HRM, King’s College London
Veronica Hope-Hailey, professor of strategic HRM, Cass Business School, City University London
Wendy Hirsh, visiting professor and principal associate, Institute for Employment Studies
Nick Holley, director of Henley Centre of HR Excellence, University of Reading
Will Hutton, chair, Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation and principal of Hertford College, Oxford
Andrew Kakabadse, professor of international management development, Cranfield
Mick Marchington, professor department of HRM, University of Strathclyde Business School
Tim Morris, professor of management studies, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Mike Pedlar, professor, Henley Business School, University of Reading
Paul Sparrow, director of the Centre for Performance-led HR, Lancaster University Management School
Gillian Stamp, founder of Bioss International (Brunel Institute of Organisation and Social Studies)
Mike West, professor of organisational psychology, Lancaster University Management School