HRM Should Play A Pivotal Role Commerce Essay

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An introduction is needed. This briefly explains why the subject is important, how the essay is to be structured and what your concluding thoughts are. This is not an abstract but abstracts in academic articles are useful examples of what an introduction would look like.

Era of Personnel Management:

'Human Resource' has been derived from the formerly used terminology 'Personnel Management' (reference). Traditionally, the 'Personnel Management' departments in an industry were always passed off as a backend or support department, which primarily focused on administration, transactions and employee advocacy. As businesses starting gearing up to sustain itself from the market and economical challenges, it laid emphasis on organisation's to strengthen their Human Resource (HR) function for it to be perceived in a broader business canvass.

Traditional to Transformational Human Resource Management (HRM): A Paradigm Shift

This concept of 'personnel management' is much less applicable in a world where mergers, globalization and new technologies are fundamentally changing the way business is done. The ever changing landscape of Human Resource function is laying pressure on companies to promote and implement 'out of the box' strategies and tools for achieving success and change how do you know this?. You need to support your assertions and analysis by reference to the academic literature HRM reflects this new role of 'business partnership' in which the field influences, effects and responds to change.

In the last decade, with the advent of industry trying to retain and attract manpower, managing human resources and its importance became an essential part of any business that was keen on sustaining its core business profitably while meeting the competitive edge. Storey (2007) stated that new human resource managers began to work with the highest levels of general management to devise managed change initiatives outside the purview of the personnel departments, which were far more strategic and business-related in their nature and scope of ambition. An HR policy thus needs to be designed to align competitive strategy and employee behaviour, resulting in favourable outcomes (Bach 2008).

It can thus be reiterated that the importance of Human Resource, as a function and its importance in overall growth and development of businesses have brought about a significant change in the perception of HR by the top corporates.

HRM thus takes precedence in playing a strategic approach to managing employment relations. It further emphasizes that leveraging people's capabilities is critical to achieving sustainable competitive advantage, and this can be achieved through a distinctive set of integrated employment policies, programmes and practices (J Bratton and J Gold 2003).

Human Resource Management: A holistic view

'HRM is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through the strategic deployment of a highly committed and capable workforce using an array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques' (Storey, 2007 :7).

(Storey 2007: 7)

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Today, HRM function has assumed a much more dynamic and elegant role in shaping business by providing strategic direction for organisational change and business growth. HRM function looks after the broader concepts of Human Resources. It engages in adding more value to the company by effectively managing and utilizing people, developing competencies that enhance individual and organisational performance as well as increasing innovation, creativity and flexibility, necessary to enhance competitiveness. HRM also plays a key role in new approaches to work-process design, succession planning, career development and inter-organisational mobility; managing the implementation and integration of technology through improved staffing, training and communication.

Roles and Responsibilities of HRM: Linkage to Business Cycle

Ulrich's (1997) multilevel typology of four 'HR business partner' roles has gained dominance among HR practitioners both in USA and UK. Moreover, CIPD (2004) has consistently endorsed Ulrich's thoughts as an agenda for the professionalisation of today's HR function (Storey 2007).

Thus, stating that HRM facilitates in creating a linkage between the employment relationships and shaping and delivering the wider organisational strategies and corporate policies, with desired commitment and results (Beardwell andHolden, 2001).

Some of the key functions (Bratton and Gold 2003) of HRM include planning, staffing, developing learning requirements, motivating employees, maintaining the workplace safety, managing relationships and managing change.

Cole (1999) commented that some of the long term goals of an HR professional would be to ensure that the organisation's human resource needs for the next five years at all cadres across all levels.

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Changing Business Dynamics: Strategy v/s Perspectives

As globalization opens a plethora of opportunities several organisations have realized the need to tap new markets in order not to become obsolete. These expansion plans have resulted in new set of challenges of managing expatriates, working in cross-cultural environments, different laws/legal frameworks, etc. This is where international HRM concept has evolved. Many researchers like Bratton and Gold (2003) cited about wider economic, technological, political and social force's influence in shaping HRM strategy, policies and practices.

Brattonand Gold (2003) have mentioned about the debate about HRM policies and practices focusing on soft and hard versions of HRM. The hard version emphasized the term 'resource' and adopted a 'rational' approach to managing employees, that is, viewing employees as any other economic factor, as a cost that had to be controlled. The 'soft' HRM model, however, emphasized the term 'human' and thus advocated investment in training and development and the adoption of 'commitment' strategies to ensure that highly skilled and local employees gave the organisation a competitive advantage.

Beyond Human Resource: Building an HR Strategy

While exploring Dave Ulrich's concept of 'next ten years would be HR decade' has helped shape thinking on how to transform HR practices so that they are aligned to customer needs and integrated around organisation capabilities.

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HR has achieved a level of respect that is comparable with other departments in the organization. HR plays a significant role in developing, implementing and monitoring strategies that drive business results. It is also involved in the development and communication of business goals and in monitoring the achievement of these goals.


As cited by Ulrich (1998), today's managers face a huge challenge to sustain the competitive edge thereby resulting in increased focus and demand on organisational excellence. This can be achieved through improved focus on learning, quality, teamwork and reengineering.

HRM should play a pivotal role in achieving organisational effectiveness by being a business partner and actively formulating core business decisions. HRM needs to play a leadership role in enabling organisations to meet the competitive challenges of globalization and growth, driving profitability through the use of technology to improve efficiency, building internal knowledge competencies and intellectual capital and adapting to rapid change. Thus, concluding that successful organisation would need to proactively turn strategy into action, to maximize employee contribution and commitment; and to create conditions for seamless change and integration (David Ulrich, 1998).