Human Resource Managementa Case Study

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Human Resource Managementa Case Study

Management of Human Resources-Assignment


In order to critically assess and recommend alternatives, I would like firstly to give a brief description of the business crisis the company was facing and the subsequent need for change in the company’s overall business strategy. I would then like to focus on the key aspects of the firm’s human resources strategy and the changes that were made in order to supplement the overall changes in the business strategy.

Business Crisis:

International Computers Limited (ICL) was born in 1968 out of the merger between English Electric Computers (EEC) and International Computers and Tabulators. With £40 million of government support it developed over a period of 6 years, an independent series of computers that was incompatible with IBM computers. IBM had garnered a 50% share of the UK computer market and the government felt the only way to stem this growth was through the integration of British high tech firms. With the government as one of its major customers and through several strategic acquisitions and product diversifications during the 1970’s, the company managed to achieve growth rates of around 20%. But this growth did not continue for long as the recession struck in 1979 and growth rates spiralled. By late 1980 the company was facing a £100 million shortfall in orders, in spite of having taken some major redundancy procedures. The firm was on the verge of bankruptcy when the government agreed to act as a guarantor for a £270 million bank overdraft. The government subsequently exercised its power of guarantee by installing a new chairman and two new directors, one of who was Robb Wilmott, the new MD. Wilmott was a perceptive man who realised that the only way ICL was going to survive was by planning for the long-term and this was to be achieved by formulating a new product strategy and a complete change in the way it did business.

Sparrow P 1995 International Computers Limited (ICL) In: Hiltrop J, Sparrow P (eds.) European Casebook on Human Resource and Change Management Prentice Hall, pp 110-122


The rapidly changing global environment with regard to competition and technological advances in the industry and ICL’s subsequent decision to shift from hardware to total systems differentiation, led the MD to pursue a new strategy based ...

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...and Lorenz. 1994a) discusses the main problems associated with the implementation of this structure, including the possibility of role conflict, power struggles with regard to establishment of authority, inappropriate decision making techniques and difficulty in establishing accountability. Though it may be argued that every form of organisational structure has both strong and weak points, maybe a structure that is applicable to the environmental context, as well as having fewer disadvantages attached to could be applied. My personal view would be implementation of a structure based on product grouping, which in essence is similar to the matrix, but appears to posses fewer disadvantages.


· Sparrow P 1995 International Computers Limited (ICL) In: Hiltrop J, Sparrow P

(eds.) European Casebook on Human Resource and Change Management Prentice Hall,

pp 110-122


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