Critically Discuss The Various Existing Models Linking Organizational/ Business Strategy With Hrm Strategy

Critically Discuss The Various Existing Models Linking Organizational/ Business Strategy With Hrm Strategy

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In today’s rapidly changing globalised business environment, human capital has become one of the keys to competitive advantage. Consequently, any good business strategy must fully utilise the inimitable assets of people through their knowledge, skills and abilities. This highlights the need for strategic human resource management (SHRM). The key assumption of SHRM is that organisational performance is affected by employees through a set of human resource (HR) practices (Pan et al 2006).
A review of the literature linking HR practices to business strategy shows two conflicting perspectives in SHRM. The universalistic perspective suggests that there is a universal set of best practices that any business can adopt to improve organisational performance. Conversely, the contingency perspective suggests that business performance will improve when there is consistency or fit between business strategy and HR policies. This essay will discuss the theory and models behind each perspective and provide a critique on each of the opposing views.

Universalistic perspective
This approach maintains that all firms will see performance gains by identifying and implementing best practice irrespective of the product market situation, industry or location of the firm. Performance gains include improvements in employee behaviours and attitudes, reduced staff turnover, increased productivity, quality and customer service and of course increased profitability. This requires support from top-level managers to adopt these key HR practices, research the latest trends of best practice and reward correct implementation of these practices.
Redman (2006) suggests that making changes to individual practices will have a very limited effect whereas making cha...


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.... University of Strathclyde, The Scottish Hotel School.

Pfeffer, J. (1994) Competitive Advantage Through People: Unleashing the Power of the Workforce. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Pfeffer, J. (1998) The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Porter, M (1985). Competitive advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance. Free Press, New York.
Redman, T. and Wilkinson, A. (2006) Contemporary Human Resource Management. London: Prentice Hall

Schuler, R.S. and Jackson, S.E. (1987). Linking competitive strategies and human resource management practices. Academy of Management Executive, 1:3. 207-219.
Wright, P. and Snell, S. (1998) ‘Toward a unifying framework for exploring fit and flexibility in strategic human resource management’. Academy of Management Review, 23(4): 756-772.

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