Convergence, Divergence or Middle of the Path: Hrm Model

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Convergence, Divergence or Middle of the Path: HRM Model for Oman Sami A. Khan Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

The role of human resource management function is at the crossroad, and on the one hand it is facing the crisis whereas there also exists an unprecedented opportunity to redefine and refocus the HRM function to leverage its credibility in organization. In Oman, HRM is in its infancy and there is a need to strengthen its discourse and learning. The present paper attempts to understand the dynamics of HRM in Oman and evaluates various HRM models which have evolved over a period of time. It is difficult to prescribe a HRM model without analyzing the regional and socio-contextual factors inherent in Oman and neither convergence nor pure divergence provides a solution to this end. INTRODUCTION We are living in a highly dynamic and chaotic world of business today where organizations have to be an effective customer responsive organization. They have to gear up for becoming an effective global competitor. In GCC countries and especially in Oman, firms have no choices left as well. They are facing the onslaught of globalization, and the recent economic recession has further worsened the situation. They have to be flexible and re-look at their HRM system and restructure its hard-defined procedures. It still remains a challenge for majority of Omani companies to adopt these changes. It is widely accepted now that HRM can act as a key means to achieve a competitive advantage in Omani firms. Though, some of the Omani firms have shown keen interest in recent past to be a responsive organization in this regard. But they don’t know which way to go. Either to adopt the western HRM model as being presented to them or to explore or recreate something indigenous seeing their distinct work realities. If we look at the evolving paradigm of HRM, it becomes difficult to identify which model or framework of HRM will be more relevant for Oman. There have been numerous model of HRM which can help Omani firm in achieving organizational effectiveness but there is lack of information about their utility and applicability which poses a great question for Omani firms. In many cases, these hypothetical models have been found not fully relevant for Middle East countries or GCC countries and Oman in particular. Culture-free or culture-bound is the other issue which is raised by researchers alike. In fact, there is an absence of a systematic analysis that could present a comprehensive picture of the dynamics of the HRM in the Middle-East region (Budhwar and Mellahi, 2006). In this background, the present paper is an attempt to understand the dynamics of HRM in Oman. It will evaluate various HRM models and will attempt to raise a debate on developing a HRM system which can suit to the exigencies of Omani society.

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Journal of Management Policy and Practice vol. 12(1) 2011

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AT FIRM LEVEL: EVOLVING PARADIGMS Nothing has moved as fast as in the last twenty five years for the discipline of human resource management. It has come a long way from a reactive, bureaucratic people management function (being called as personnel management) to a proactive and strategic human resource management. The shift in the paradigm has been forced by economic, business and socio-political factors but the changed stance is a reality and firms worldwide are looking at HR function as becoming important and expecting more value addition to the strategic objectives of the firm. The role of human resource management function is at a crossroad, on the one hand it is facing the crisis whereas there is an unprecedented opportunity to refocus its HRM systems as strategic assets (Becker et al., 1997). Khatri and Budhwar (2002) also feels that the field of HRM is in transition and it is breaking away from its micro-focused role to a macro strategic paradigm in which individual HR functions are not only aligned with the organization strategy but...
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