Organisational Structure Is a More Effective Focus of Hrm

Topics: Management, Structure, Human resource management Pages: 10 (1991 words) Published: March 29, 2006
1. Introduction

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...

References: Nankervis, A., Compton, R. and Baird, M. (2002). Strategic Human Resource Management.
Australia: Thomson.
Denison, D. (1990). Corporate Culture And Organisational effectiveness. Canada: John Wiley & Sons.
Design week (2002,). Organisational Structure. Escbo Publishing 17 (46): 11
Jarratt, D. and O 'Neil, G. (2002). ‘The effect of Organisational culture on business-to-business relationship management practice and performance ', Australian Marketing Journal 10 (3): 21-26
Gowland, D. and Aiken, M. (2003). ‘Privatisation – A history and survey of changes in Organisation Structures, Cultural and Environmental Profiles ', Australian Journal Of Public Administration 62 (1) 43-45, accessed 10/03/04, accessed 12/03/04
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