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1.0 Corporate strategy and values
I think it is vital that we define corporate strategy and value in order to gain a clearer understanding of what it is.
corporate strategy may be viewed as the way in which a company seeks to create a competitive advantage by coordinating its resources so as to make the best fit between the company and the considerations of the external environment (Johnson et al 2008). Values on the other hand represent the fundamental beliefs an organisation as a whole holds which distinguishes one organisation from another (Robbins and Judge 2007).
It becomes obvious from the case study that the company has had to adapt and change strategie over time in order to maximize productivity and profitability and remain relevant in the environment witch it operates in. In the past Harley Davidson relied on a relatively small number of big customers such as the US military for its sales, who during world war two purchased over 90,000 motor cycles, when it came to the consumer market the organisation followed a strategy witch was greatly influenced by the firms tradition as they marketed there product with national heritage branding i.e they marketed themselves as a real prawed to be American company in reality however they were relying heavily on the lack of competaters in the moter cycle industry. Due to sudden changes in the market such as the introduction of highly aggressive competitors from the Far East Harley Davidson eventually had to adjust its strategy and can now be seen as having a strategy which is both very technological and inovationaly based both in its products and in its manufacturing processes.
However it was not only the companys strategy which has changed it becomes evident from the case study that the organisations values have also changed over the years . when the company was first set up it could be said that the firms values were based around short term profitability with a autocratic management style. However as the firms strategy has changed over the years it has become obvious that the beliefs of the organisation have also changed. for example Harly Davidson now look for employee engagement and feed back and concider there employees as the most valuable asset to the company this represent a move away from the classical autocratic management styles to more democratic approach and the introduction of the Harly Davidson learning centre meant that employees were up to date on the latest technologies in the industry but it also improved employees personal development and growth witch is an indication that the firm were looking towards the future not just the present.Such dramatic changes prove that the company belief in addressing and fixing any manufacturing issues as opposed to hiding there problem with high levels of inventory which can often be the case in large organisations and which may have been the previous practise at Harley Davison.
From the above it can be concluded that overall the strategy implemented by Harley Davison and the values of the organisation represent a good model for success however it must be taken into account that both the companys strategy and values have evolved over time and that perhaps the failure of either of these elements to have improved may have ended in a poor fit between the two and hypothetically speaking lead in the overall failure of the organisation. This would support Mintzberg theory that strategy is generally an emergent process rather than a planed process. (Johnson et al 2008)
2.0 Strategic HRM theory and practise
Strategic human resorce management has had a huge role to play in Harly Davidsons success. First however I think it vital we define strategic Human resource management there are a couple of definitions one of which includes . Strategic Human Resorce Management refers to “all those activities associated with the management of work and people in firms and in other formal organisations”(P Boxall & J Purcell 2008) but I think the most valid definition to be from CIPD who defines strategic human resource management as as the way in which an organisation attempts to manage its human resources in a way which contributes to the wider strategic considerations and future direction of the organisation (CIPD 2009). From this definition the importance of considering the fundamentals of strategic HRM and the strategy and that the values of the organisation should compliment each other. The CIPD continues in its definition and highlight a number of key areas of Human resource management which can be seen as relevant factors of Strategic human resorce management these includeDelivery of fair and equitable rewards finding strategies to improve performance and finaly strategies to streamline the structures of the organisation. However while these are all relevant factors of strategic human resorce management individually they do not make up strategic human resource management but that together they are the overall framework of the concept. (CIPD 2009). Torrinton et al (2008 p46) highlights three theories he finds relevent in relation to SHRM which are the universal approach the resource based approach and the best fit approach
The most relevant of these in relation to Harley Davidson is the resource based approach. This approach to Strategic resorce management states that human resources do not form a cost to a business (Handy 1999) but that thay are a key resource in gaining a competitive advantage. In considering Harley Davidson from the case study from the viewpoint of the resources based approach and the relevant points of the case study it becomes obvious that Harley Davidsonin have gained a competitive advantage through placing emphasis on there human resources and the policys that implemented.
Harley Davidson are proof of the general view that a companys human resources represent one of the key assets of abusiness a nd that the continues success of a business requires one hunfred percent commitment of the organisations employees. This becomes evident from the case study firstly from the point of a cultural level as it is the belief of the organisation that in order to survive the firm must become one of constant learning and development in which every employee understands their roles and the relavence of there roles. As such this would be conventional of a culture defined as a shared set of values and beliefs (Robbins and Judge 2007) by which human resources are viewed as an asset to the company rather than a cost .
when taking into account the success of Harley Davidson the case study point out a number of relevent company policies which may not in there entirely be considered as HR policies, such as the program of continuous improvement policy and constent employee involvement Despite the fact that the the programm for continuas improvement policy in particular may be seen as not entirely as a HR policie it should be highlighted that both have had a huge degree of input from what could easily be seen as a HR function and both with out a doubt have a high degree of significance with HR issues. Due to this such you may consider that all HR has contributed hugely towards the success of Harley Davidson from the resource based approach.
It is vital we now look at the key Human resorce policies which have been adopted by harly Davidson which have contributed towards there success
The huge cultural changes within Harley Davison at an overall strategic level could easily be seen as a key Human Resorce policy which has enabled Harley Davidson to make huge changes and has helped the company to implement its strategic plan into a reality and has theoretically resulted in the organisation becoming so successful. The overall strategic Human Resource concern with cultural change can be broken down into precise sub areas which will be identified under the following headings employee involvement and continuous improvement.
One of the key driving HR policies which Harley Davidson have implemented over the past number of years can be seen in its employee involvement program. The basis behind employee involvement is relatively simple, by involving and consulting employees, management are able to gain a superior level of knowledge in particularly at the operational level which in turn will lead to improved organisational decision making (Adair 1989). As a result of this there is a double benefit of this firstly from the superiour organisational decision making throughout the company and secondly it improves employee work ethics and performance because they will feel like a valued employee as a result of the level of involvement that they get. (Bratton and Gold2007). In implementing employee involvement in decision making Harley Davidson has implemented nine key principals .
Within the nine guideline for success another key element seems to be the drive for continas improvement through the continuas improvement program that HR have developed this has lead to improvements in quality and efficiany and innovation. This can be seen not just on the shop floor but it is encoraget throughout the organisation. This could range from anything from new product development, improved production techniques through to more efficient training and development for all levels of staff right down to the change in how employees are rewarded in order to create a greater level of cohesiveness between the organisation and its employees. This has lead to the organisation creating profit sharing schemes and bonuses which act as incentives for employees that undertake new training and development while the above is more floor related there has been innovative HR changes structualy thoughout the firm such as the introduction of self regulating work teams wich encourages development in employee motivation because they feel more responsible and it improves quality which are both key factors in Harly Davidsons success.
Philosophical approach - Harly Davidson through there words and actions have created this idea that they are constently striving to improve the quality and service of the company not just in the boardroom at the AGM but all the time it is a way of life for the organisation. Secondly that management must value all employees and encourage them to have an input as there opinion counts in order for them to develop and remain motivated and thirdly through the EI program develop a mutual trust between management and employees i.e they are on the same team and have the same goals. It is these ideas that are grinded into all levels of staff which may be considered a philosophical approach the result being the general belief that it is the employees that form the basis of the of the firm success.
Many of the key principles that harly have aopted all come down to developing a positive relationship between management and employees which is quite often not the case in a lot of organisations this creates an almost team work like environment the idea that they help and rely on eachother and have one goal to improve quality and efficiency to the best of there ability and when they reach a barrier they must overcome it together rather then point the blame at eachother.
Another key HR practice within there nine principles is responsibility rather then employees feeling responsible for just there individual job which may leed to negative competition Harly Davidson have implement the idea that all levels of staff are responsible for all the activities within the organisation from small specific problems right through to the ongoing high level of quality wich is implemented.
Another key element that may be seen as a HR policy is the way the Harley Davidson have maintained a positive relationship with the union throughout the different period of changes that the organisation has gone through . Unions may often be seen as forming one of the key barriers to change and employees generally feer change with in an organisation (Lommerud et al 2003) however through the organisations effective human resorce management and the unique way in which Harley Davidson have managed there relationship with the union as a whole has lead to the organisation benefiting from greater than instead of less flexibility with in its work force as adirect result of this.
4.0 Recommendation for Strategic HRM changes
Finally this assignment will now look at some recommendations for the potential growth of the organisations strategic HRM policies. Firstly however we should identify the fact that the motor industry as a whole has been badly weekened by consumers having less spending power due to the recession wich we are in at the moment this has effected nearly all consumer markets and has lead to most if not all industrys and companys having to adapt or change there strategies in order to remain competitive Due to this the strategic element of human resorce management requires that the HR function plays a vital role in the implementation of changes in strategy. As a result the following recommendations are being made:
In the first case much of Harley Davidson ability to adapt to the changing economic environment over the last fifty years or so has come from a bond or trust and commitment between the employees managers and the organisation as a whole. This has been very successful thus far as a result of this Harley Davidson should try to continue this positive relationship by minimising staff reductions (keeping everything in house and not outsourcing ) were possible and secondly by keeping that trust between employees and management by being upfront and honest when cut backs have to be made.
Many of the huge and significant changes which have taken place over the years such as seeking for constent and continuous improvement and the level of employee involvement may be seen as decisions which have delivered significant benefits to the organisation. The company should seek to enforce these policies in the company's long term and overall culture and beliefs. Not only this but Harley Davidson should use the current economic decline as a time to inspire employees to engage these principals even more in order to innovate and differentiate themselves from there competitors even further
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