Harvard Framework For Human Resource Management Business Essay


One of the most important tasks that involve the personnel department in an organisation is human resources management (HRM). An organisation is only likely to achieve its objectives if their employees are used effectively. At the same time, planning how best to use human resources will help an organisation to achieve its objectives and goals. Human resources management has strategic implications. It means constantly looking for better ways of using employees to benefit the organisation. Strategic human resource management (SHRM) can be defined as a way of deciding on the plans and intentions of an organisation looking at the relationship between employment and the following human resource management processes and procedures within an organisation - development, recruitment, training, benefit and employee relations plans, performance management, strategies and procedures. It's an approach to human resource management that has the goal of using people most wisely with respect to the strategic needs of the organisation. It is strategic way of managing the organisation's most valued properties: the employees are individually and jointly contributing to the success and achievement of the organisation's objectives. There are several models and theories of strategic human resource management. Among these are best practice model and contingency model identified by Hope-Hailey et al (1998). According to Michael Armstrong in his book titled 'A handbook of Human Resource Management Practice'. Best practice model of strategic human resource management otherwise known as outcome model is a model that emphasise commitment rather than compliance and advocates processes of culture management to achieve cultural control of an organisation. It is universalist approach. This model explains that all organisations will record achievements in organisations performance provided they identify, gain commitment to and put in place a set of human resource management practice e.g. reward practice. (Guest, 1997) said and I quote, 'In this model, 'high commitment' aspect binds with human capital, because it must have a very good high level of commitment, put in place by the 'ideal set of practices''. This means that the best set of human resource practices have to be put in place for the improvement of work output and well-being of human capital, place priority on how human capital can be motivated, and an idea to accomplish the organisation's goals while contingency model concentrates on the achievement of fit between organisations/businesses and human resource strategies. It is a situation where definition of organisations aims, policies and strategies, lists of activities, and breaking down of roles of the department of human resource are updated and only if they are similar to the circumstances of the organisation. It is essentially about the need to achieve fit between what the organisation is and wants to become (its strategy, culture, goals, technology, the people it employs and its external environment) and what the organisation does (how it is structured, and the processes procedures, and practices it puts into effect).

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Human resource management entails developing an organisation that caters for all the activities it requires. The figure below describes generic functions that are performed by human resource managers in all organisations.


Performance management



Fig. 1 Human Resource Circle

The major reason for human resource management in an organisation is to contribute to the organisational effectiveness and productivity so that its objectives can be achieved. The following listed strategies must be looked into by human resource personnel to meet the organisational goals and objectives - employment relationship; resourcing; performance management; human resource development; reward management; employee relations; health and safety etc. Organisations have renewed interest in management of human capital in recent years and have come to realise the importance of employees and their knowledge and skills as an asset of organisation. Every employee is important to the management of any organisation most especially at the point when an organisation needs to take decisions which are normally used as an 'agenda for change' in the organisation. This does place greater emphasis on motivation, customer care and training. It helps any organisation to seek for the right set of people to fill the vacant positions - the quality, type and number of people to be employed. The reason for this can be illustrated by the following example which explains a situation where changes in employees' selection process contributed to improved organisation success. This is a company that try as much as possible to look for best employees when it comes to recruitment although, the company do recruit student to work for this particular job role. This created problem for the organisation. The job role required the employee to stand in the warehouse for hours in a day inspecting the quality of the goods in the warehouse. The working environment is not conducive in term of dirt or uncleanliness. Employees do quite within shortest time of starting the work. The simplest way a newly employed HR manager handled this situation is by assigning the job to individuals that are not aiming high in term of career wise and other expectations as such. He also suggested rotating the job assignment between lots of employees within shorter working hours.

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Human resource management framework of Harvard is practiced by solving the problems of historical personal management basically when general managers come-up with an idea of how they want to see employees' participant and how they are imparted with one knowledge or the other by the organisation, and of what policies and practices of HRM that may achieve the organisation's goals. Without either a fundamental idea and belief or a planned vision - which can be offered only by overall managers, Human resource managers are to remain group of independent activities; each is protected by their own practice or tradition. It is believed that lots of pressures are requesting a wider, more comprehensive and more strategic perspective with respect to the organisation's human resources management. These pressures have done so much in creating the need for a longer period in managing people and in taking people as active assets after consideration instead as only variable assets. They were the first to highlight the HRM principle and theory that HRM belongs to line managers. They also specified that HRM involves all management determinations and deeds that affect the kind of the organisation and its workers-Its human resources. Harvard suggested that HRM had two properties. Firstly, line managers admit more obligation for ensuring the position of competitive strategy and personnel policies and secondly, personnel has the mission of setting policies to administer how personnel events are established and effected in conducts that make them more equally reinforcing.

Stakeholder Interest



employee; etc

Long -term consequences:

individual well being;

organisational effectiveness; etc

HR outcomes



cost effectiveness; etc

Situational Factor:

work force characteristic;

labour market; etc

HRM policy choice

employee influence;

human resource flow; etc

Fig. 2 Harvard Framework for Human Resource Management

The process of human resource management started when personnel management was in charge of employee needs and wants, how employees are paid, monitoring and ensuring they were motivated. This changed with the introduction of HRM in the early 1990s and it has become the most widely used approach to the management of people in all organisations. HRM processes that contribute to or underpin the activities of any organisation are as follows - HR planning, recruitment, selection, directing, training and development, and performance appraisal. Above listed stages has to be in place for effective human resource management functions to be observed in an organisation. The development of policy can be explained as a procedure for forming and defining a sense of control. It has also been described as a systematic, step-by-step situation, the result of which is an official written statement that provides a final guide to the organisation's long term purpose. Strategy is an orderly process: first we contemplate, then we act on behalf of; we invent then we execute. But then we as well 'exploit in order to think'. In putting into practice, 'a realised strategy can come out in response to an developmental circumstances' and the tactical planner is frequently 'a sample organiser, a beginner if you like, who administers a procedure in which policies and ideas can materialise as well as be purposely invented.'

Every organisation exists to achieve a purpose. Strategic HRM practices are important for meeting the organisational objectives. The focus of the human resource policies and processes remain on the assessment of the roles and responsibilities, which are essential to be aligned for performing the duties optimally. It fosters the degree of transfer of knowledge among the diverse team members. When considering the roles of planned HRM, it is important to report the degree to which HR policy should take into consideration, the interest of all the stakeholders in the organisation, workers at large as well as owners and administrators. HR planning should objectives to encounter the requirements of the basic stakeholders group involved in people management in an organisation. Soft strategic HRM will place more importance on the human relations part of managing people, emphasising on security of employment, continuous development, communication, involvement, the quality of work-life balance. Hard strategic HRM however will emphasise the return to be achieved by financing in human resources in the interest of the organisation. The roles of strategic HRM in achieving organisational objectives are described as follows: Organisational development is concern with the strategic and putting into practice the programmes planed to improve the efficiency with which an organisation functions and responds to change. Overall, the aim is to adopt a planned and coherent approach to improving organisational effectiveness. Transformation is a change in the shape, structure, and nature of something. Organisational transformation is the process of ensuring that an organisation can improve and execute main change programmes that will ensure that it answers deliberately to new requests and continues to perform its roles effectively in the active situation in which it functions. Culture is managed by the leaders in the organisation, particularly those who are involved in shaping it in the past. Culture is studied for a certain period of time. People identify with visionary leaders-how they react to issue and their expectation. What such leaders pay attention to is noted and they are treated as role models. It's also managed by important programmes from which new things are studied about necessary or unnecessary behaviour. There is need for culture managers to mention effective working relationships among organisation fellows, and this creates values and expectations. Lastly, cultures are influenced by the organisation's surroundings. The external surroundings may be more or less dynamic or unchanging. Knowledge management is described as process or practice of sharing, acquiring, creating, capturing and using knowledge, wherever it exists in, to improve learning and performance in organisations. Knowledge management is about hoarding and imparting wisdom, understanding and expertise accumulated in an organisation about its procedures, methods and strategies. It considers knowledge as a main resource. Management of knowledge is involved with both stocks and flows of knowledge. Stocks include know-how and predetermined knowledge for example computer schemes. Flows means how knowledge can be transferred from one person to another person or from some people to a knowledge archive. Reward is about designing and putting in place the planning and programs that reward people fairly, equitable and regularly in compliance with their benefit to the organisation. It is about strategy, putting into practice and preservation of rewards exercises that are outfitted to the development of organisational, team and individual accomplishment. Reward management can be said to be an essential aspect of an HRM method to directing people. The overall planned purpose of reward management is to improve and execute the reward strategies, procedures and habits required to underpin the success of the organisation's goals by helping to ensure that it has the skilled, competent, well-motivated and committed people it needs. Talent management is the process of ensuring that the organisation attracts, retains, motivates and develops the talented people it needs. There is nothing new about the various processes that add up to talent management. What is unusual is the occurrence of a more clear view as to how these procedures will join together with total objective-to get and nurture talent, wherever it is and wherever it is required, by using some independent policies and practices. Everyone in an organisation has talent and talent management procedures should not be restricted to the favoured few, although they are likely to focus most on those with inadequate skills and high potential.

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http://www.sdbplus.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/british-airways-hr-management-part-2/ sited 12/2/2013

http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8608667.stm sited 24/2/2013

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9686741/spanish-union-furious-over-liberia-shake-up-and-BA-merger.html sited 24/2/2013

http://www.highered.mcgraw-hill.com sited on 29/1/2013

http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=167062 sited 29/1/2013

http://www.academicjournals.org sited 4/2/2013

http://writepass.co.uk/journal/2012/11/british-airways/ sited on 24/2/2013


1.0 Introduction

This report is meant to describe the concept of HR strategies that could be implemented by British Airways and the application of these strategies on the organisation. Also, the report will analyse the impact of merger on strategic HRM at British Airways. British Airways is the largest airline in UK based on the fleet size and is the flag carrier airline of UK. The board of this airline was established in 1971 but were merged in 1974 and its main purpose is to control the national airline corporations that earlier merge to form British Airways. These airlines are BOAC, BEA and also other smaller and regional airlines. British Airways was in 2011 merge with Spanish airline 'Iberia' to form a new airline called international airlines group. At the end of this report, I would have assessed a range of HR strategies that may be implemented within British Airways and fully understand contemporary issues affecting strategic human resource management within the organisation. The following HR strategies that could be implemented by British Airways and its application are explained below.

1.1 Explanation of HR strategies and its application to British Airways

Performance management strategy is a drive to develop performance culture in an organisation. The development of some interrelated processes involving a high performance working make an impact on the performance and well-being of the organisation through its employee in such areas as productivity, quality, and levels of customer service, growth, and profits and finally the shareholder value must be increased and delivered. This can be accomplished by enhancing the knowledge and engaging the interest of employees. High performance management systems include severe recruitment and selection methods, extensive and relevant training and management development activities, incentive pay systems and performance management processes. Progress must be measured constantly. The main drivers, support systems and culture for high performance management are the following: Decentralise and devolve decision making by those closest to the customer - this will enable the organisation to constantly begin again and develop the offer to customers; Improvement of people capabilities through learning at all levels, with particular importance on self-management and team capabilities - to enable and support performance improvement and organisational potential; Performance, operational and people management processes must be aligned to organisational aims - to build up confidence, interest and loyalty to the direction taken by the organisation; Fair treatment for those who leave the organisation as it changes, and commitment with the needs of the general public outside the organisation - this is an important component of trust and commitment-based relationships both within and outside the organisation. Study shows through the SWOT analysis carried out in respect of British Airways that at gathering in New York, none of the employee in the audience remembers the organisation's mission statement which is just a sentence. Simply put, there is no any point in BA mission's statement that any employee should not know. This proves how hard to get all the resources working together to achieve the organisation's mission and goals. So, it now makes it a bit difficult in managing performance if they do not feel like keeping the organisation's objective.

Another strategy that could be implemented by British Airways is employees' relation strategy. Employee relation strategy sets out how objectives can be achieved among the employees working together in an organisation. The intention of the organisation on what needs to be changed and about what needs to be done in ways the organisation manages its affairs with workers and different unions is defined. For example, if the organisation planning is to give attention on achieving competitive edge through invention and delivery of quality to its customer, the employee relations strategy may emphasise process of contribution and involvement, including carrying out the programmes for constant improvement and entire quality management. Employee relations consist of the approaches and systems adopted by organisations to deal with workers either jointly through the union within the organisation or individually. Like all other HR strategies, employee relations policy will emerge from the organisations policy but will also wish to support it. British Airways aims to achieve high efficiency by improving the flexibility of employees. This came at a cost as the airline experience industrial difference and worker's unrest that dented what it tends to portray. Instances of the strike action were seen clearly with the details of reasons but they were mostly linked to changes in employment terms and conditions. Those problems were highly visible to the general public as strikes did hit passengers during peak season of the year. British Airways also aims to achieve high efficiency by reducing costs. Relentless cost- cutting and outsourcing are keys to cost reduction for British Airways. The merger between BA and Spanish airline Iberia was to reduce costs. Target reduction was set for this new company for certain period of time most especially from reduced labour cost.

Remuneration policy is another and important part of HR strategies. It is seen in a different way from human resource management. Effective remuneration policy does contribute towards achieving the goals of the organisation. This is done through ensuring that workers are motivated and are able to employ their skills and talents to the full. The workforce should be highly flexible and adaptable from HR perspective. Team working and on-going training are likely features of an organisation adapting a HRM approach of remuneration strategy. Payment systems which contribute towards achieving this will therefore help contribution towards achieving the goals of the organisation. There are number of features of payment system that contributes to achievement of an organisation. Among these are - pay flexibility, job flexibility, training, team working, decision making, employee needs, recruitment and retention, and appraisal.

Selection, recruitment and HR planning is another very important strategy British Airways has to look into due to the amount of changes they went through. British Airways went through lots of changes and most especially the privatisation issue in 1987 and that of strategic way of turning things around in 1997. Despite all this, British Airways continues moving ahead as they agreed with Iberia to merge their business and according to Chairman's statement in the 2009/2010 Annual Report which state that "all the signs are that we can win anti-trust immunity from the US Department of Transportation along with regulatory approval from the EU competition authorities, to operate a joint business with American Airlines and Iberia over the North Atlantic." These changes are as a result of new planning as resources and strategy gets more international and decentralised than it used to be in the past.

1.2 Analysis of impact of merger on strategic HRM at British Airways.

The merger benefitted shareholders, employees and customers. The customers are provided with a larger combine network due to the merger of both airlines. Again, the merger is very important because it helped to create one of the world's leading global airlines most especially in terms of equipment so that it is able to challenge other airlines and allow them to participate in consolidation of future of the industry. Cost is expected to be saved with the merger at the end of the year. It is seen as an opportunity for the British Airline to cut costs because of the past tough years for the airline industry. Critically studying these two airlines, they have few overlapping routes thereby the airlines (BA and Iberia) have a very good match. The merger between these two airlines will enable them to compete well with other big airlines in their region.

However, the merger has tremendous favour in respect of British Airways while Iberia is not. Iberia jobs were slashed down from what it used to be before merger. Salaries and cutting services were reduced by some percentage. These and many more were the reasons why the employees of Iberia (pilot) were planning to go on legal challenges over that merger agreement which it claimed was much in favour of British Airways.


In conclusion, British Airways is still the leading airline in UK. It was airline of London 2012 Olympic Games. This proves impart the organisation has on the economy of the country despite the challenges it faced time in the past. The knowledge of improved SHRM has immensely contributed to the success of the organisation.


Hall. A; Jones A; Raffo. C and Anderton. A, (2008), Business Studies, Pearson Education, Edinburgh, 4th Edition.

Michael Armstrong, (2003), A Handbook of Human Resource Management, Aberystwyth, Wales, 9th edition.

http://www.sdbplus.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/british-airways-hr-management-part-2/ sited 12/2/2013

http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8608667.stm sited 24/2/2013

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9686741/spanish-union-furious-over-liberia-shake-up-and-BA-merger.html sited 24/2/2013