Strategic Implementation

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THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: A CANADIAN SURVEY

ABSTRACT

Theory and research suggests that technical human resource management (HRM) effectiveness, which involves psychometrically sound HRM practices designed to achieve specific short-term objectives, is a required foundation to successfully implement a Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) process. The purpose of this investigation was to assess whether Canadian organizations had achieved this level of technical HRM. Results suggest that the majority of Canadian organizations do not have the foundation for the development of a SHRM process.

The human resource (HR) function can provide organizations with a sustained competitive advantage, and thus improve firm performance (Becker & Gerhart, 1996). With traditional methods of differentiation offering less likelihood of a competitive advantage, Becker, Huselid, Pickus & Spratt, (1997) suggest that organizations seeking a competitive advantage must focus on developing a strategic role for HRM systems. It has been proposed that for Human Resource Management to be considered strategic (SHRM) HR practices must be linked (1) to each other, (2) to the HR strategy, and (3) to the organization=s strategy (Jackson & Schuler, 1995). Huselid, Jackson and Schuler (1997) dichotomized HRM activities into (1) Technical HRM and (2) SHRM. Technical HRM involves psychometric guidelines that focus on specific short-term objectives (e.g. valid selection programs for hiring). Effective technical HRM involves the following (1) selection practices that are validated, (2) performance systems that have been developed to minimize rating errors, (3) compensation systems that are linked to performance, and (4) training that is evaluated to assure transfer to the job. If organizations have not yet achieved at least moderate levels of technical HRM effectiveness then they lack the foundation required to successfully implement SHRM activities (Huselid et al., 1997). Effective SHRM involves designing and implementing internally consistent HR practices that ensure that the output of a organization=s Human Resources contribute to the achievement of the organization=s objectives (Huselid et al., 1997). The purpose of this study is to assess the level of technical HRM sophistication in Canadian organizations, specifically in the areas of (1) selection, (2) performance appraisal, (3) compensation, and (3) training. Without a reasonable sophistication level in these four important areas the development of SHRM systems is not likely. Without SHRM, Canadian organizations will be less likely to develop a sustainable competitive advantage in the global economy.

SELECTION
A valid selection process is an important part of a technical HRM system, which is necessary for developing a SHRM process Choosing the correct employee is essential to the development an effective SHRM system. Valid selection procedures add flexibility so that an organization may be in a better position to implement strategy (Wright & Snell, 1998). THE INTERVIEW. When structured, the interview has been shown to be both a reliable and valid predictor of job performance (Wiesner and Cronshaw, 1988). The present research will not only determine how many organizations in Canada use the interview, but also whether they use a structured or unstructured approach. OTHER SELECTION METHODS. We have classified selection methods into three categories (1) Paper and pencil tests, (2) Rapid screening devices and (3) Behavioral tests. Using combinations of these in conjunction with the interview would improve the validity of selection decisions, and provide one of the foundations for a SHRM system. Paper and Pencil Tests. Aptitude tests have been widely used to make selection decisions, and their validity has been favorable (Cronshaw, 1991). Personality Tests have also been used but have been...
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