A Case Study Of Print Media Firms In London Business Essay

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Proposed Working Title

"Gaining Competitive Advantages through HRM Practices: A Case Study of Print Media Firms in London"


"Human resource management (HRM) refers to the policies, practices and systems that influence employees' behaviour, attitudes and performance"

- De Cieri et al., 2008

According to De Cieri et al., (2008) the HRM (Human Resource Management) practices not only include determination of human resource needs, training, screening and recruiting but also rewarding and appraising as well. Dessler, (2007) opine that HRM practices also include fairness concerns, health and safety and attending to labour relations. The key source to attain competitive advantage in an organization is implementation of HRM practices effectively (Ordonez de Pablos and Lytras, 2008; Collins, 2007; Chew and Basu, 2005)

Figure 1: Gaining Competitive Advantage through HRM Practices

(Source: Khandekar, 2005)

As indicated by and presented by Kanadekar, (2005) in figure-1 it is evident that there exists a inter-relationship between organizational learning and HRM practices, which further leads to organizational performance and ultimately to gain competitive advantage.

"Many companies around the globe have realized that the way an organization learns is the key and a determining index for sustainable competitive advantage."

- Khandekar, (2005).

UK Media

"Globally the importance of HRM practices and effective policies to gain competitive advantage is embraced by different companies in different sectors. As such the media has no exceptions". - Collins, 2007

The United Kingdom's media with 270 media owners constitutes 1,971 magazines, 1,600 newspapers, 521 television channels and 827 radio stations (mediauk.com). The media industry is mostly dependent on its advertisement revenue which is about 40% of its revenue. Due to the recent global economic crisis this revenue has shown a downward trend. Thus lot of emphasis has been played to focus on cost effectiveness and sustainability (Robert, 2010).

Because of the changing landscape and emerging challenges; it became imperative for the media industry to stay focused on gaining competitive advantage. A strong focus on profitability is what that is being looked at (Robert, 2010). The media organisations are increasing their concentration on not only strengthening their existing operations and processes but also on cost optimization, talent and human capital management as well (Ordonez de Pablos and Lytras, 2008). For effective human capital management the companies HR department plays a major role; this becomes important because of the quest for innovation and assessing options for growth through consolidation (Collins, 2007). Other influential factors include Convergence of new media; regionalisation, digitisation, etc. These trends are anticipated to facilitate the industry to drive growth going forward. Apart from these factors in the recent years 'Institutionalisation of HR function has been considered as one of the most important factor (Chew and Basu, 2005).

According to (Khandekar, 2005) Institutionalisation of HR practices and functions has lot of variations; and suggest that HR practices of media need organizational design and development.

The concept of globalisation, formation of multinational companies and joint ventures has brought with them drastic changes in HR practices (Butler and Lee, 2003). For the locally owned media firms, survival through this trend (Ordonez de Pablos and Lytras, 2008 ) because of the attractive nature of global players in grabbing talented people (Collins, 2007) it has become the most challenging task (Chew and Basu, 2005). This is more imperative because of exposure to the global competitions (Butler and Lee, 2003). As such it is imperative for the locally owned media firms to find ways to not only manage but also to retain their core employees (Butler and Lee, 2003). This trend has once again given rise to re-examine the importance of HRM to help local media players to navigate through such challenging times (Khandekar, 2009).

Dowling, (2011) state that organizations scan the media to find what is being said about them and find that the reports are accompanied by only a minimal explanation and keep on wondering what this means, and what can be done with the reported information; and the top management before ignoring scribe down ''seen and noted''. "If this is what organizations perceive, what is the perspective of the people working for media" questions Dowling?

Based on discussion as stated above; the researcher is of the opinion that further inquiry to identify the HRM policies, adapted and followed by media organisations in general and print media in particular. The researcher also proposes to inquire into whether implementation of HR practices can give any positive results and further show any impact on firm performance to gain competitive advantage.

"To gain sustainable competitive advantage the media organisations must draw a theoretical insight of strategic human resource management (HRM)"

- (Haslina, 2009)

Research Aims, Objectives and questions:

With the stated purpose, scope of the study the researcher intends to conduct a research with the following stated aim, objectives and research questions:


The focal aim of the proposed research will be to study and identify the role the HRM can play for gaining competitive advantage for the representing media organisation in general and print media in particular.


The key objectives of the proposed research are:

To examine the extent to which the HRM practices can contribute for gaining competitive advantage.

To investigate the relationship between HRM practices and firm performance in the UK media in general and a selected few print Medias in London.

To study the impact of globalisation and internationalisation on print media in London.

Research Questions

With the stated aim and the derived objectives the proposed research furthers its inquiry with the following set of 'Research Questions'

What are the strategies adapted by the HRM in print media sector?

What is the penetration scope of the local print media in the United Kingdom in the light of the global players entering the local market?

What contributions can the HRM make for the firm to gain competitive advantage?

Proposed Research methodology

Research methodology requires a systematic collection of data to make a research methodology project (Saunders et al 2009), as the data will serve as a practical or theoretical research after gathering all the required information (Blackburn, 2005). A good example: research in management will be strategically collected with change management plus the plan of the operation methods. Method that is followed up is forming research questions followed up by measurements scaling and surveys. Finally data analyses are taken into consideration. Research is actually the thinking process which involves skills not thus it is more than skills (Saunders et al 2009). The main aim of this is to look for answers for the required questions as what is being done. This research has been carefully complied and dealt with in order to understand the behavioural pattern of a person within certain experiences (Gill and Johnson, 1997). For the proposed research the researcher intends to follow the methodology as suggested by Saunders et al (2009). However some of the paradigms added in figure-1 are not from the actual figure, this has been done by the researcher to devise a conceptual framework of the methodology.

Figure 2: Research Design

Source: Saunders et al., (2009)

As suggested and presented in figure-1 the proposed research studies the following methods and adapts an appropriate method (along with appropriate rationale for adoption of the same) as indicated in the following table:


Study of Methods

Adapted Method

Research Philosophy




Research Method (Approach)




Research Approach





Research Strategy

Case Study


Action Research

Case Study: A selected few Print Media firms in London

Data Collection

Primary Data

Secondary Data

While the Secondary Data will be collected through various literary sources for evidences; the primary data will be collected through semi-structured in-depth interview

Samples and Sampling

Statistical Sampling

Non-statistical Sampling

Samples would be from the HR departments of the selected few Print Media firms and Non-statistical qualitative Judgmental Sampling would be adapted.

Data Analytical Tools

Thematic Analysis

Cause and Effect

While the secondary data will be used to analyse the primary data to derive themes, and further analysis will be done using 'Qualitative Thematic Analysis' after sorting and presenting in tabular format with derived themes. The results of the analysis would be presented in fish-bone cause-and-effect diagrams

In the above table only an outline of the method and methodology is presented. However whilst actual research is carried out all the above mentioned paradigms and methods will be appropriately studied, analysed and presented with literary evidences for a better understanding and building a conceptual framework for furtherance of the proposed research.