Journal of Strategic Management Studies
2009, Vol. 1, No. 2, 67–76
Strategic Human Resource Management: From the Process Point of View for Improving Organizational Performance
Professor, School of Business Administration, Aoyama Gakuin University
This article reviewed previous studies which investigated strategic human resource management (SHRM) mainly from the process point of view for improving organizational performance. First, analyzing common features in definitions of SHRM clarified five features (a close fit between human resource management (HRM) and management strategy, etc.). Second, approaches which investigated the relationship between strategies, HRM practices and organizational performance were reviewed. As a result, the best practice approach has been used frequently and produced useful outcomes comparatively with the contingency approach and the configurational approach. Thirdly, the intervening factors and cause-and-effect relationships between HRM practices and organizational performance were analyzed. From reviewing previous studies, retention and many factors were found as intervening factors. And it was suggested that placing too much emphasis on the cause-and-effect relationships wasn’t realistic in empirical studies. The last section of this article reconsidered SHRM in the context of general HRM research. The necessity of the attention paid to single-level practices was pointed out. Key words:
strategic human resource management, human resource management, intervening factors, causeand-effect relationships, single-level practices
SHRM: DEFINITION AND SPECIAL
It’s been some time since the strategic human resource management (SHRM) theory has been used to promote research in human resource management
(HRM) in organizations. The SHRM theory was developed toward the late 1980s on a foundation based on various theories
of strategy, system, human
capital and behavioral science and on a basis of a resource-based view. SHRM refers not just to research management strategy and its relationship with HRM,
but also to the strategic use of employees, or the
adoption of HRM to management strategies, which is
conducive to optimal performance. This paper clarifies the process in which SHRM is linked to organizational performance, while reviewing the theoretical development of SHRM. In particular, it discusses the
current challenges with SHRM, as well as prospects
for future development.
Copyright © 2009 by International Academy of Strategic Management
Various definitions have been given to SHRM.
Some of the more representative definitions are as
follows: “It is the pattern of planned human resource
deployments and activities intended to enable a firm
to achieve its goals” (Wright, 1998: 187); “designing
and implementing a set of internally consistent policies and practices that ensure a firm’s human capital (employees’ collective knowledge, skills and abilities) contributes to the achievement of its business objectives” (Huselid, Jackson, Schuler and Randoll,
1997: 171); and “The SHRM perspective integrates
macro-level theories and concepts to explore the impact of specific configurations, or systems, of human resource activities on organization-level performance
outcomes” (Arthur, 1994: 670).
2009, Vol. 1, No. 2
SHRM: Special Features
The various definitions given above all share the
First, the HRM system, composed of various HRM
elements, such as practices, is a subsystem of a management system.
Secondly, employees are regarded as a source of
sustained competitive advantage; in other words,
they are a strategic resource. According to a resourcebased view, skilled human resources (HR) are a valuable, rare, imperfectly imitable and can become a core competency in terms of substitutability (Barney,
1991). In addition to HR, there is a growing trend...
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