The Three Main Strategic Approaches in Human Resource Management

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Within the following essay, the three main Strategic approaches in Human Resource Management will be named and explained. Due to its complexity giving a detailed definition of HRM would significantly extend the report. Instead, a rather shallower one by D. Torrington, L. Hall and S. Taylor in the seventh edition of their Human Resource Management (2008): They state that “On the one hand it is used generically to describe the body of management activities” and continue that; “Used in this way HRM is really no more than a more modern and supposedly imposing name for what has long been labelled ‘personnel management’.”. They finally argue that; “On the other hand, the term is equally widely used to denote a particular approach to the management of people which is clearly distinct from ‘personnel management’. Used in this way ‘HRM’ signifies more than an updating of the label; it also suggests a distinctive philosophy towards carrying out people-orientated organizational activities”. The following step is defining what is meant by the term Human Resource Strategy: “While strategic human resource management has become the major approach to organisational restructuring, and is clearly extremely attractive to senior managers – so much so that this approach dominates current thinking on organisations and change – it has also been criticized on a number of fundamental fronts, most of them concerned with the status and value of strategic human resource management thinking and strategic human resource management ideas” (Christopher Mabey, 1999). Human Resource Strategy is one of the most important topics within HRM, in fact; “Human Resource Strategy should be the priority of the “formulation and implementation of strategic corporate and/or business objectives” (Forburn et al, 1984: 34). The three main strategic approaches to HRM are most commonly known as: the ‘Best Fit’ approach, the ‘Best Practice’ approach, and the ‘Resource-Based’ approach. The ‘Best Fit’ approach to “HR strategy will be more effective when it is appropriately integrated with its specific organizational and environmental context.” (P. Boxall and J. Purcell, 2000). The ‘Best Practice’ approach can be described in “very simple terms, all firms will see performance improvements if only they identify and implement ‘Best Practice’.” (P. Boxall and J. Purcell, 2000). “The ‘Resource-Based’ view of the firm (Barney 1991) has stimulated attempts to create a resource-based model of strategic HRM (Boxall 1996). The resource-based view of the firm is concerned with the relationships between internal resources (of which human resources is one), strategy and firm performance.” (D. Torrington, L. Hall and S. Taylor, 2008). “Schuler and Jackson (1987) suggest that the adoption and implementation of different competitive strategies requires a unique set of responses from workers, or “needed role behaviours” (for example, team-working, risk-taking, innovation and knowledge-sharing) and consequently a particular Human Resource philosophy as well as strategy, policies, practices and processes to stimulate and reinforce this behaviour” (Nick Wilton, 2011). What Schuler and Jackson are discussing in this extract, is the idea that its not enough to only enforce certain beliefs within the organisational culture. They sustain the position that a strategy is required in order to encourage and motivate employees to contribute to the company’s mission. In other words; once the company has set a particular goal in a given subject, it’s the Human Resource Management’s department within the company, which is responsible for the commitment the employees have with this goal. This way the HRM department of the company crates a bond between ‘role behaviour’ and ‘organisational culture’. Organisational culture refers to “the norms of conduct, work attitudes, and the values and assumptions about behaviour at the organisation.” (James N. Baron, et al. 1999). The ’Best Fit’ Approach to HRM strategy...
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