Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM): A Paradigm Shift for Achieving Sustained Competitive Advantage in Organization Benjamin James Inyang Department of Business Management, University of Calabar P.M.B. 1115 Calabar, Nigeria E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +234 8033773403 Abstract The human resource of an organization offered the potential synergy for sustained competitive advantage, when properly deployed, maintained and utilized. From the onset, the traditional HRM, the formal system for managing people in organization, concerned itself essentially with transactional and administrative support services. The emergence of SHRM, concerned with the relationship between HRM and strategic management of the organization, was a paradigm shift. The strategic business partner model emphasized the proper integration or fit of HR practices with the business strategies of the organization, to generate a competitive advantage. To perform successfully, the roles of business partner and change agent under SHRM, the HR practitioner must be highly knowledgeable, multiskilled and acquire core competencies like business knowledge, strategic visioning and global operating skills, credibility and integrity, internal consulting skills, among others.
Keywords: Strategic human resource management, human resource management, competitive advantage, fit, integration, business strategy, strategic business partner.
An organization requires the utilization of a complex array of resources to grow, survive and achieve the ultimate mission or objectives that informed its existence or creation. The mobilization and deployment of these resources – human, financial and material – in the right resource-mix, gives the organization leverage toward the desired end. Of these resources, the human resource is the most potent and central, contributing significantly to corporate bottom line and competitiveness. The organization therefore gains sustained competitive advantage through people, the organization workforce. Competitive advantage is simply defined as anything that gives an organization an edge over the competitors in its market. According to Porter (1985), the unique talents among employees, including flexibility, innovation, superior performance, high productivity and personal customer service are ways employees provide a critical ingredient in developing a firm’s competitive position. Similarly, Chiavenato (2001) notes that employees are purveyors of activities and knowledge whose most important contributions in the organization are their intelligence and individual talents. There is a 23
growing consensus that effective management of human capital is critical to an organization’s success (Barney & Wright, 1998; Jackson, Hitt & DeNisi, 2003; Akhtar, Ding & Ge, 2008). Managing the human resources in the organization is the traditional responsibility of the personnel manager, a precursor to human resource management (HRM). Some scholars however equate HRM with personnel management, concerned with providing staff support in the organization (e.g. Guest, 1989). Other scholars consider HRM as a natural development of personnel management practices in the face of changing economic and business environment (Armstrong, 1989 & 2004; and Fajana, 2002). The people-management discipline is undergoing continuous metamorphosis, with the recent emergence of strategic human resource management (SHRM) in organization and management literature. In a recent review covering 30 years, Lengnick-Hall, Lengnick-Hall, Andrade & Drake (2009) present an evolutionary and chronological perspective on the development of SHRM. The authors identify the following seven themes which influenced the development of the field of SHRM: (1) explaining contingency perspective and fit, (2) shifting from a focus on...