Hrm Case Study

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Human Resource Management in Hospitality Operations

A review of the key policies and practices that Little Chef HR department use to achieve service quality

Word Count: 1812
Human Resource Management
This academic work discusses the hard and soft models of Human Resource Management (HRM) based on the Little Chef case study which helped to understand and identify the key policies and practices used by Human Resource to meet the objective of service quality.

Human Resource Management is defined as a number of ways to people management, Price (2007). Armstrong (2006) supports this view when he says that the objective of the human resource management is ensuring the organisation’s ability to implement the marketing and sales strategies of the organisation and attain the objective successfully. However, the concept HRM is controversial due to numerable theories and different ways of management, says Price (2004). By critically debating the hard (Michigan) and soft (Harvard) models of Human Resource Management to the ‘Little Chef’ case study, the key policies and practices used by HRM to attain the best service quality can be understood in a better way.

Bizmanualz (2008) states that the duty of the HRM is multifunctional as it handles and manages various activities such as record keeping, planning, selection, recruitment and dismissal of employees, salary administration and customer related issues. In other words, the main or the only duty of HRM is decision making as suggested by Dale (2003) that is crucial and most difficult. The Michigan school consists of four main functions. They are selection, appraisal, rewards and development of human resource. On the other hand, the Harvard model gives importance to shaping the staff for the institution (Armstrong, 2006). The Harvard model according to Armstrong (2007) considers the employees as potential assets of an organisation. According to Legge (2005), the hard model which is also called as ‘matching model’ deals with the policies, systems and activities of the organization.

Contradicting the Harvard model of human resource, one of the directors of the Little Chef said that the least paid staff of the company is the least important people of the company. But in fact the least paid staffs of an organisation like that of Little Chef are the ones who are in direct touch with the customers. It is they who keep up and increase the reputation of the company by presenting the service in the best way possible. The soft model also considers the employees as valuable assets since it makes use of the employees’ commitment, adaptability and high quality to reach the objective of the company, says Legge (2005).

On the other hand, the Michigan model of HRM according to Beardwell and Holden (2001) tries to recruit more staff with the intention of bringing new skills and ideas to the organisation which they think will help for the betterment of the organisation. In addition, Gratton (1999) say that the hard model of HRM believes in exploiting the talents of the employees to achieve the objectives of the organisation.

Little Chef being a road side restaurant obviously will have to face lots of customer feedback. And this could mostly be solved by the least paid staff. Therefore, Little Chef has decided to adopt the Harvard model of human resource. The reason behind it was that it involves more of employee involvement, cooperation and commitment in business, suggests Hyman and Mason (1995). Likewise, Little Chef also implements the approach of the Michigan model of HRM with the intention of extra efficiency from the employees in the form of hard work both intellectually and physically to take competitive advantage over the competitors in the market, states Armstrong (2000). Thus, it can be deducted that Little Chef practises both the Hard model of HRM and Soft model of HRM in the implementation of their strategies.

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