The relationship between HRM and organisational strategic direction.| Assessment Item 1 - Essay|
Tracey Lee – s0048653|
This essay discusses the role that HRM plays in the strategic direction of an organisation.|
What role does HRM play within the strategic direction of an organisation? Within this essay it will be discussed how the effective management of human resources positively impacts the performance and success and hence direction of an organisation. This opinion has been developed based on the review of numerous peer reviewed academic journal articles and other relevant resources. In order to be able to discuss this topic several key terms must be defined. So what is HRM? Human Resource Management ‘involves the productive use of people in achieving the organisation’s strategic objectives and the satisfaction of individual employee needs’, Stone (2010, p4). Strategic direction is the strategy used by an organisation which identifies the direction it intends to move and the framework for action by which it intends to get there, Stone (2010, p.14). The HR manager plays a pivotal role in linking the organisations most valuable resource of humans to the strategic direction of the organisation and does so through the use of strategic HRM policies and practices. Chung et al (2008) proposed that the purpose of HRM is to manage one of an organisation’s most crucial sources, its workforce, to gain and retain sustained competitive advantage in a strategic manner, with its overall corporate strategies. There are two contrasting approaches to HRM, the instrumental HRM which is the hard line approach to managing human resources and humanistic HRM (soft) which focuses on employee development, collaboration, participation, trust and informed choices, through the integration of HR policies and practices with the organisation’s business strategies, Stone (2010). As the role that HRM performs within an organisation develops so does that of the HR manager. Pritchard (2010) cited the work of Truss et al, 2002 which stated the HR work covers a broad spectrum of activities and is manifest in a variety or organisational arrangements. There are four key functional roles that a successful organisational HR manager’s must perform as mentioned in the management revue article Getting the HR Message Across by Dorenbosch, Reuver and Sanders (2006) include being a strategic partner, an administrative expert, an employee champion and a change agent. As a strategic partner they have the ability to translate business strategy into action. Pritchard (2010) investigated how HR practitioners work through, negotiate and manage the tensions of becoming strategic partners and concluded that HR practitioners’ own identity foregrounding was essential. The administrative expert role is the ability to re-engineer through the use of technology, work processes rethinking and redesign as well as the commitment to continuous improvement of all organisational process through HR activities. In order to fulfil the role of employee champion a HR manager needs to be able relate to and meet the needs of employees to enhance organisational performance. Lastly the HR manager needs to act as a change agent by developing problem-solving communication and influence skills in an ever changing environment where organisations’ strive for competitive advantage. The HR manager is fundamentally responsible for the coordination of the core HRM activities which include the acquisition, development, reward and motivation, maintenance and departure of an organisation’s human resources according to Stone (2010, p.11). Therefore HR managers may be responsible for all or some of the following things, industrial and employee relations, position descriptions (PD’s), job performance reviews, organisational staff structures and roles, policy writing and enforcement, and the formulation of HRM strategies,...