Check out Landed.fm for an interview with Keith Hammonds, Executive Editor of Fast Company, who wrote the August 2005 cover story "Why We Hate HR". That article generated a tremendous amount of buzz in the HR world, enough to even surprise Hammonds.
He certainly makes some valid points in his interview—particularly that HR should play a strategic role in any company—but I’m not sure he’s ever had to sit though discovery in a discrimination case. It’s nice to suggest that HR should “make less rules and more exceptions”, but can you imagine the kind of record keeping system you would need to handle that approach? I’m not talking about statistics on people hired or trained, but documenting the decision-making process for each broken rule or exception.
I guess it’s not impossible to do, but it’s certainly not a matter of just “thinking outside the box”.