Clear Definitions of Human Resource Management

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According to Sims, Fineman and Gabriel (1993), human resource management is nothing but a disturbingly distant phrase for 'people'. It is not necessarily innocent jargon: it may be that any one can treat 'human resource' differently from the way any one treat 'people'. If any one talks about any one's requirement for human resources, it sounds as if a rational economic decision is being made, without moral or personal overtones. It may be easier for a manager to release human resources than it is to sack people. If any one is the human resource in question, than he or she would not be able to detect the difference. Human resource Management (or HRM) is the phrase which turns this dehumanizing language into an academic subject, covering the areas previously known management and industrial relations.

Definition of SHRM:

"Strategic human resource management can be defined as the linking of human resources with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and develop organizational culture that foster innovation, flexibility and competitive advantage. In an organization SHRM means accepting and involving the HR function as a strategic partner in the formulation and implementation of the company's strategies through HR activities such as recruiting, selecting, training and rewarding personnel".

Objectives of Human Resource Management:

There are many objectives of human resource management, those are given below:

• To help the organization reach its goals.

• To ensure effective utilization and maximum development of human resources.

• To ensure respect for human beings. To identify and satisfy the needs of individuals.

• To ensure reconciliation of individual goals with those of the organization.

• To achieve and maintain high morale among employees.

• To provide the organization with well-trained and well-motivated employees.

• To increase to the fullest the employee's job satisfaction and self-actualization.

• To develop and maintain a quality of work life.

• To be ethically and socially responsive to the needs of society.

• To develop overall personality of each employee in its multidimensional aspect.

• To enhance employee's capabilities to perform the present job.

• To equip the employees with precision and clarity in transaction of business.

• To inculcate the sense of team spirit, team work and inter-team collaboration.


Human Resource Management - Model:



Job Description

Person Specification

Employment Legislation

Equal Opportunities





Union Recognition


Health and Safety

EU Directives


Grievance Procedures


External Agencies - ACAS, Tribunals, EU




Personal Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Rewards Systems




New skills

New systems

Improve efficiency

Trade Unions


Necessity of consultation


Output per worker per period of time

Measuring performance




Short listing



In-Tray Exercises

Psychometric Testing

Aptitude Testing

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Key Features of Strategic Human Resource Management:

The key features of SHRM are:

There is an explicit linkage between HR policy and practices and overall organizational strategic aims and the organizational environment

There is some organizing schema linking individual HR interventions so that they are mutually supportive

Much of the responsibility for the management of human resources is devolved down the line

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How SHRM differs from HRM:

"In the last two decades there has been an increasing awareness that HR functions were like an island unto itself with softer people-centered values far away from the hard world of real business. In order to justify its own existence HR functions had to be seen as more intimately connected with the strategy and day to day running of the business side of the enterprise. Many writers in the late 1980s, started clamoring for a more strategic approach to the management of people than the standard practices of traditional management of people or industrial relations models. Strategic human resource management focuses on human resource programs with long-term objectives. Instead of focusing on internal human resource issues, the focus is on addressing and solving problems that effect people management programs in the long run and often globally. Therefore the primary goal of strategic human resources is to increase employee productivity by focusing on business obstacles that occur outside of human resources. The primary actions of a strategic human resource manager are to identify key HR areas where strategies can be implemented in the long run to improve the overall employee motivation and productivity. Communication between HR and top management of the company is vital as without active participation no cooperation is possible".

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Trends in Strategic Human Resource Management:

Human Resource Management professionals are increasingly faced with the issues of employee participation, human resource flow, performance management, reward systems and high commitment work systems in the context of globalization. Older solutions and recipes that worked in a local context do not work in an international context. Cross-cultural issues play a major role here. These are some of the major issues that HR professionals and top management involved in SHRM are grappling with in the first decade of the 21st century:

Internationalization of market integration.

Increased competition, which may not be local or even national through free market ideology

Rapid technological change.

New concepts of line and general management.

Constantly changing ownership and resultant corporate climates.

Cross-cultural issues

The economic gravity shifting from 'developed' to 'developing' countries

SHRM also reflects some of the main contemporary challenges faced by Human Resource Management: Aligning HR with core business strategy, demographic trends on employment and the labour market, integrating soft skills in HRD and finally Knowledge Management.

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The Strategic Management Process includes:

- Determining what needs to be done to achieve corporate objectives, often over 3 - 5 years

- Examining organization and competitive environment

- Establishing optimal fit between organization and its environment

- Reviewing and revising strategic plan

The Stage in the Process of Strategic Management:

Mission statement- Business definition and future plan for success.

Environmental analysis- OT analysis and preparing to meet environmental pressures.

Organizational self-assessment- SW analysis and chalking road map for attaining goals.

Establishing goals and objectives- Laying concrete figures that will help in benchmarking the performance. These benchmarks will lead to the development of strategy that will decide how the company intends to meets its environmental challenges with given environmental and resource constraints in the time to come.

Benefits of a Strategic Approach to HR:

* Facilitates development of high-quality workforce through focus on types of people and skills needed

* Facilitates cost-effective utilization of labor, particularly in service industries where labor is generally greatest cost

* Facilitates planning and assessment of environmental uncertainty, and adaptation of organization to external forces

* Successful SHRM efforts begin with identification of strategic needs

* Employee participation is critical to linking strategy and HR practices

* Strategic HR depends on systematic and analytical mindset

* Corporate HR departments can have impact on organization's efforts to launch strategic initiatives

Factor Linkages of HR Plans and Strategies:

Given diagram presents various factors that have an impact on HR plans and Strategy and how are they interlinked with each other. Their interactions and impact on each element and the resulting change in HR Plan and policy is also indicated clearly.

The table given above takes into consideration two of the generic strategies and the strategic focus required to generate each of these competitive advantages along with HR strategy and activities needed to be done by HR Department to help the organization in generating these strategic advantages and to move successfully towards desired goals and objectives.

To understand these linkages we can look at them as tasks and steps needed to be taken in order to complete the tasks. The selected strategic focus should be very clear and well integrated into organizational policy and clearly communicated to HR Department to help in drafting suitable HR strategy and last in carrying out all activities.


Conclusion :

To conclude Human Resource Management should be linked with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and develop organizational cultures that foster innovation and flexibility. All the above futuristic visions coupled with strategic goals and objectives should be based on 3 H's of Heart, Head and Hand i.e., we should feel by Heart, think by Head and implement by Hand.


Armstrong, M (ed.) 192a) Strategies for Human Resource Management: A Total Business Approach. London:Kogan Page

Beer, M and Spector,B (eds) (1985) Readings in Human Resource Management. New York: Free Press

Boxall, P (1992) 'Strategic Human Resource Management: Beginnings of a New Theoretical Sophistication?' Human Resource Management Journal, Vol.2 No.3 Spring.

Fombrun, C.J., Tichy, N,M, and Devanna, M.A. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management. New York:Wiley

Mintzberg, H, Quinn, J B, Ghoshal, S (198) The Strategy Process, Prentice Hall.

Truss, C and Gratton, L (1994) 'Strategic Human Resource Management: A Conceptual Approach', International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol.5 No.3