Human Resources

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chapter 1

Human Resource Management in Context
lea rn ing ou tc omes
By the end of this chapter, you should be able to understand, explain and critically evaluate: ●● ●● ●● ●●

the distinction between the general and the task environment the relationships between the environment, organisations and strategy the STEEPLE model of environmental analysis the difference between placid, dynamic and turbulent environments, and their impact on organisations the identification of key environmental factors the use of SWOT analysis models of organisational structure – bureaucracy, divisionalisation, matrix organisations, networks and virtual organisations the use and limitations of strategic alliances the advantages and disadvantages of HR outsourcing and shared service centres connections between the environment, strategy, organisational design and HR the E-V-R congruence model links between competitive strategy models and HR practices the Miles and Snow classification of environmental responses, and its impact on HR practices stakeholder analysis.

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in t ro duc tio n
This chapter sets the scene for the whole book – the interaction between the environment, the organisation, HR and strategy. We will explore models of environmental analysis, organisational design and HR strategy.

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A free sample chapter from Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 1st edition. by John Kew and John Stredwick Published by the CIPD. Copyright © CIPD 2010 All rights reserved; no part of this excerpt may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Publishers or a licence permitting restricted copying in the United Kingdom issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. If you would like to purchase this book please visit www.cipd.co.uk/bookstore.

10/06/2010 14:03

2

Human Resource Management in a Business Context

v i etn a m a n d i raq
In the early 1960s, the uS intervened in the civil war in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese, under the political leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the military leadership of Vo Nguyen Giap, had driven the French colonial government out of Vietnam in the 1950s, and the country had been divided in two: North Vietnam, under communist control; and South Vietnam, with a pro-western government. The Northerners and their South Vietnamese communist allies, the Vietcong, had started a guerrilla civil war in the south against the South Vietnamese government. The Americans had overwhelming military superiority, and won every pitched battle between the two sides, including the North’s biggest attack, the Tet Offensive in 1968, when Vietcong soldiers infiltrated the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, and even penetrated the uS embassy. Even so, in the end it was the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong who won the war. The Americans lost over 50,000 dead (compared with more than a million Vietnamese dead), and in 1975 they finally pulled out of Saigon. The next day, 30 April 1975, the North Vietnamese army took the presidential palace in Saigon, and the unified communist republic of Vietnam was born. Why did the Americans lose? Firstly, The North Vietnamese understood that ultimately the war was political, not military. If they could pin down the Americans for long enough, public opinion in the uS would turn against the war and the loss of American life, and political pressure at home would force the Americans to pull out. Ho Chi Minh also had a clear aim: to unify Vietnam under the communist banner. The Americans did not. Were they supporting the South Vietnamese government, fighting the Vietcong, seeking to defeat North Vietnam, or to stop the advance of world communism? An example of their ambivalence was the decision not to invade

ca s e s tu dy 1. 1

North Vietnam with a ground force, but instead to bomb the...
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