Strategic human resource management

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At present, human resources in a large number of organisations are viewed as a source of competitive advantage. There is greater acceptance that distinctive competencies are obtained through highly developed employee skills, distinctive organisational cultures, management processes and systems. Increasingly it is being recognized that competitive advantage can be obtained with a high quality workforce that enables organisations to compete on the basis of market responsiveness, product and service quality, differentiated products and technological innovation.

Strategic human resource management has been defined as ‘ the linking of human resources with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and develop organisational culture that foster innovation and flexibility’ (Siddharth Chaturvedi). Strategic HR means accepting the HR function as a strategic partner in the formulation of the company’s strategies as well as in the implementation of those strategies through HR activities such as recruiting, selecting, training and rewarding personnel. Whereas strategic HR recognizes HR’s partnership role in the strategizing process, the term HR Strategies refers to specific HR courses of action the company plans to pursue to achieve it’s aims.

Appendix 1 presents a model of Strategic HRM that accounts for both the fit and flexibility goals. The top half of the model depicts the fit component to the model, i.e., the means through which the firm seeks to fit HR practices, employee skills and employee behaviours to the immediate competitive needs of the firm as dictated by the strategy. The lower half of the model illustrates the flexibility component, which focuses on developing the organisational capability to respond to a variety of competitive needs other than those dictated by the current strategy (Patrick M. Wright; Scott A. Snell).

Literature Review: A wide reading of research articles in strategic human resource management have been done in order to get a clear picture on its role being played in an organisation. The company which I have undertaken for this specific assignment is General motors. I will be comparing these articles with General motors wherever I think it is relevant.

a) David Baker, (1999), Strategic human resource management: performance, alignment, management, Library Career Development, 7(5), p. 51-63, MCB University Press. This article looks at current trends in human resource management (HRM) and the relatively new concept of Strategic HRM (SHRM). David baker reviews recent management theory and considers its approach in a relevant practical scenario.

b) Jonathan Michie, Maura Sheehan, Business Strategy, Human Resources, Labour Market Flexibility, and Competitive Advantage. This article contributes to the strategic human resource management literature by testing the universalistic, contingency and configurationally approaches against an original database. The article examines the relationship between strategy, human resource and use of flexible employment contracts, and the moderating effects of strategy with respect to HR, flexible labour, and organisational performance. The research also tells that HR is more likely to contribute to competitive success when introduced strategically as part of an integrated coherent package.

c) Terri Kabachnick, (1999), The Strategic Role of Human Resources, 11(1), Arthur Andersen Retailing Issues Letter. The article by Terri Kabachnick, talks about the transformation of HR. It studies and understands certain evolving trends and based on that, it stresses that HR professionals can grow from their roles and become key leaders in helping their organisations prepare and manage their people power. General motors Human resource also took on a similar approach, resulting in progressive leadership. Thereby redefining their roles.

More articles were read for thorough understanding of strategic human resource management/development, and due to limitation of words, I have included them as reference. Corporate  Background General Motors is a diversified automotive business with interests in locomotives, finance, communications services, and insurance. General Motors’ size is massive. Its manufacturing operations in over 50 countries produce 15% of the world’s cars and trucks. GM has a gigantic global workforce of approximately 315,000 hourly and salaried employees. The business pays more than 465,000 pensions and touches 1.2 million lives with benefits in the United States alone.

Vision of General Motors “GM’s vision is to be the world leader in transportation products and related services. We will earn our customers’ enthusiasm through continuous improvement driven by the integrity, teamwork, and innovation of GM people.” Mission of General Motors “G.M. is a multinational corporation engaged in socially responsible operations, worldwide. It is dedicated to provide products and services of such quality that our customers will receive superior value while our employees and business partners will share in our success and our stockholders will receive a sustained superior return on their investment.”

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