Rob Goffee, Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the School, co-delivered the opening address at the CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester.
He combined management theory with philosophy in a presentation that included examples of good practice at professional services firm Arup and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
He discussed criticisms of HR and its importance to the overall business agenda, plus the notion of "radical honesty" when it comes to bad news and talking up the plus points of companies.
Goffee said time lags between business actions and their results, division of labour and the sheer size of some organisations can make workers stressed and alienated in the workplace.
Although Goffee admitted HR is often seen as the "Department of Rules", he cast light on its ability to build a "strong social architecture" in companies by "doing the right thing".