This inaugural lecture analyses the identity and nature of personnel management
as a so-called scientific discipline. The mythological figure of Janus is used as
a metaphor to describe the characteristics of personnel management. It would appear
that there is much uncertainty and confusion about the concept of personnel
management, its naming and the implication of the name.
Among other things this lecture shows that personnel management has two faces
of which account must be given in the training of students in this discipline. There
is both the imparting of a deep scientific grounding and the development of practical
skills for effective professional practice.
Further this lecture evaluates the subject as an applied science. It finds that personnel
management is not a science in the fullest academic sense, because it is
multidisciplinary in nature and is built on the knowledge created by other disciplines
such as industrial psychology and business economics. To ensure a greater
congruence between the content of the subject and its naming it is proposed that
the name personnel management be changed to industrial psychology. This was
in fact originally approved by the Council of the University of Pretoria on 18 June