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It has been an intriguing learning experience in the last two months and half month of this module with the aims and objectives of relating the study of Strategic human resource management.
Strategic human resource management has been defined as to develop the organisational culture that foster innovation and flexibility with the help of linking of human resources with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance. Strategic HR means accepting the HR function as a strategic partner in the formulation of the company’s strategies as well as in the implementation of those strategies through HR activities such as recruiting, selecting, training and rewarding personnel.
Strategic human resource management also link the human resource function with the strategic objectives of the organisation in order to improve performance.
Millmore Mike, Lewis Philip, Saunders Mark, Adrian Thornhill, Morrow and Trevor (2007) Strategic Human Resource Management Contemporary issues explained about the nature and significance of the human resource management (HRM) model and the link between HRM and strategic human resource management, or SHRM.
By a strategic approach to HRM, it is important to refer to a managerial process requiring human resource (HR) policies and practices to be linked with the strategic objectives of the organisation. Just as the term ‘human resource management’ has been contested, so too has the notion of SHRM. Bamberger & Meshoulam (2000).
What is Strategy?
I learned that from the management context, strategy can be define as long-term planning to denote a specific pattern of decisions and actions undertaken by the upper level of the organisation in order to accomplish performance goals. Wheelen and Hunger (1995) define strategic management as ‘that set of managerial decisions and actions that determines the long-run performance of a corporation’. Hill and Jones (2001, p. 4) take a similar view when they define strategy as ‘an action a company takes to attain superior performance’. Strategic management is considered to be a continuous activity that requires a constant adjustment of three major interdependent poles: the values of senior management, the environment, and the resources available.
The main emphasis of strategy is thus to enable an organisation to achieve competitive advantage with its unique capabilities by focusing on present and future direction of the business organisation (also see Miller, 1991; Kay 1993). (Mintzberg, 1987; 1994; Quinn et al., 1988; Ansoff, 1991 Whittington, 1993; 2001).
I learned that a strategic management process consists of a series of steps, starting from establishing a mission statement and key objectives for the organisation; analysing the external environment (to identify possible opportunities and threats); conducting an internal organisational analysis (to examine its strengths and weaknesses and the nature of current management systems, competencies and capabilities); setting specific goals; examining possible strategic choices / alternatives to achieve organisational objectives and goals; adoption / implementation of chosen choices; and regular evaluation of all the above (Mello, 2006).
The five steps mentioned above form part of strategic planning and the last two steps deal with the implementation of an ideal strategic management process.
Strategy and Strategy Making
I learned that it is better to conceive of business strategy as a systemically connected mix of strategic choices, incorporating competitive strategy and a variety of other strategies in such areas as HRM, structure, technology and finance.
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My learning experience also taught me about employment relations, the reason there should be compromise with worker rights and interests is overlooked. Why some organisations fail to take into account the widely observed tendency of firms to segment their workforces and adopt different HR strategies for each major segment and employ a core of ‘strategic employees’ on more favourable terms than other staff groups. Guest (1995).
Dimensions of Strategic Human Resource Management
I also learned about dimensions of strategic human resource management which include:
Human resource management practices and performance: an alignment between business strategy and HR strategy will improve organisational performance and competitiveness. I learned that bundles of HRM practices are positively associated with superior organisation performance (Guest, 1997).
Re-engineering and strategic human resource management: I learned that the core features of this approach to organisational design and management, including a ‘flattened’ hierarchy, decentralized decision-making to line managers or work teams, ‘enabling’ information technology, ‘strong’ leadership and a set of HR practices that make workers’ behaviour more consistent with the organisation’s culture and goals (Champy, 1996; Hammer, 1997; Hammer & Champy, 1993).
Leadership and strategic human resource management: a process whereby an individual exerts influence upon others in an organisational context; managers develop plans whereas leaders create a vision (Kotter, 1996). Managers are looking for a style of leadership that will develop the firm’s human endowment and cultivate commitment, flexibility, innovation and change. There is an explicit links between learning, leadership and organisational change. It would seem that a key constraint on the development of a resource-based SHRM model is leadership competencies.( Agashae & Bratton, 2001; Barney, 1991; Senge, 1990)
Workplace learning and strategic human resource management: Within most formulations of SHRM, formal and informal work-related learning has come to represent a key lever that can help managers to achieve the substantive HRM goals of commitment, flexibility and quality (Beer et al., 1984; Keep, 1989). From a managerial viewpoint, formal and informal learning strengthen business organisation’s ‘core competencies’ and thus act as a device to sustainable competitive advantage (Dixon, 1992; Kochan & Dyer, 1995) including ‘cultural control’ (Legge, 1995)
International and comparative strategic human resource management: I learned that International HRM has been defined as ‘HRM issues, functions and policies and practices that result from the strategic activities of multinational enterprises and that impact the international concerns and goals of those enterprises’ (Scullion, 1995, p. 356). International HRM tends to emphasize the subordination of national culture and national employment practices to corporate culture and HRM practices (Boxall, 1995).
As a result of this intriguing learning experience of the past three months, I have a clear understanding and reality view about SHRM Studies which include:
A high commitment model of labour management lays the basis for strategic implementation
Qualitative studies measuring the extent of strategic choice
SHRM process is successfully addressing the widespread failure to structure studies around the phenomenon of workforce segmentation.
SHRM believes that it is only when all questionnaires and/or interviews allow respondents to reply for each workforce segment will the surveys provide more accurate snapshot of human resource strategy.
In conclusion, in today’s business environment, the right approach and management of the business organisation’s employees can greatly affect the company’s overall performance. A strategic approach in Human Resource Management is vital especially in growing companies. Starting from right staffing to maintaining performing employees, HR management is vital in developing not only the employees, but the whole organisation itself.
I now fully understand the nature of organisational behaviour, the nature and context of organisations, approaches to organisational and some of the emerging trends in the management. I can identify an individual strengths and areas of development and indicate how such strengths may best be utilised, I am capable of revealing problems that may be restricting progress and causing inefficient work practices. I can easily monitor, coach and counsel others both in my personal, professional and academic life.
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