Human Resource Management (HRM) has become an integral and growing area in most
business sectors, regardless of how big, or small the company or firm is. Moreover,
company's today rely heavily on HRM practices to function at peak Organisational level and
also sustain a high level of competitiveness, stability, employee satisfaction, and the overall
well being of the organisation. So where should the focus of HRM activity be? The statement
in question, that Organisational Structure ( the physical hierarchy of the company ) is a
more effective ( Inclined to produce better results for the firm ) focus of HRM activity than
Organisational Culture ( the "customs, beliefs, practices, traditions, values and ideologies of
the Organisation") (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2002, p. 57). It is both easier to modify,
and has longer-term effects.
In order to decide which is the more effective' focus of HRM activity we will look at each
element (structure and culture) separately to determine its role and impact on, and within the
2. Organisational Structure is a more effective focus of HRM activity than Organisational Culture. It is both easier to modify, and has longer-term effects. Discuss.
The Organisational Structure of a company is the foundation on which employees are
based. Employees are committed to this structure. So what does the Organisational Structure
do?. The Organisational Structure' is the framework in which the organisation' operates, the
levels of hierarchy. Depending on the size of the firm the levels of hierarchy tend to vary. This
needs to be taken into account when modifying the structure, too many modifications may
prevent the structural system from functioning properly. E.g. Introducing new levels of
hierarchy (Tall Structure') may create an unstable structure as to many levels of management
can create conflict, particularly in higher level management during decision making processes.
On the other hand, to small a hierarchical structure (flat Structure') may lead to high levels of
employee turnover and low morale as there is little or no opportunity for career advancement
or promotion. "organisation are increasingly looking to vary the way workplaces are
structured" (design week, 2002, p. 11 ) with this in mind HR managers will undoubtedly have
an enormous role to play throughout the change process keeping close watch on employees
morale and the way in which they engage in the organisation.
Organisational Structure in theory is moderately easy to change, but in reality these changes
can be very tedious, costly and time consuming for the firm. E.g. depending on the employees
situation and how the firm is structured, if the organisation is downsizing HRM activities tend
to arise such as enterprise bargaining, recruitment or even redundancy payouts. To ensure a
smooth transition of change throughout the organisation, change agents may be utilized
( a Change Agent is an independent individual or group employed by the organisation to
initiate and implement the change process on behalf of the firm ). This can save time and
money as the firm is not negotiating the change, which allows them to carry out routine work
whilst the change takes place. This also ensures that employees do not feel threatened or
insecure during the change process as they are briefed on any changes that relate or impact on
them. People fear change, to overcome this, the key to change management is continuous
communication and consultation with employees. This will help the change process and also
ensure that subordinates are well aware of the changing environment.
With HRM activity focused on the structure of the organisation, (Gowland and Aiken, 2003, p. 44)
suggest that the firm should "align its...