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Armstrong hrmpractice

  3. 3. ii
  5. 5. iv Publisher’s note Every possible effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate at the time of going to press, and the publisher and authors cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, however caused. No responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the editor, the publisher or any of the authors. First edition published in 1977 as A Handbook of Personnel Management Practice by Kogan Page Limited Seventh edition published in 1999 as A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice Eleventh edition published in 2009 as Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licences issued by the CLA. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms should be sent to the publishers at the undermentioned addresses: 120 Pentonville Road London N1 9JN United Kingdom 525 South 4th Street, #241 Philadelphia PA 19147 USA © Michael Armstrong, 1977, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2009 The right of Michael Armstrong to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. ISBN 978 0 7494 5242 1 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Armstrong, Michael, 1928– Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice / Michael Armstrong. -- Eleventh ed. p. cm. Rev. ed. of: A handbook of human resource management practice. 10th ed. 2006. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7494-5242-1 1. Personnel management --Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Armstrong, Michael, 1928– Handbook of human resource management practice. II. Title. III. Title: Handbook of human resource management practice. HF5549.17.A76 2009 658.3--dc22 2008053904 Typeset by Saxon Graphics Ltd, Derby Printed and bound in India by Replika Press Pvt Ltd
  6. 6. v Contents in Brief Preface xxv Part I 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Human Resource Management The Practice of Human Resource Management Strategic Human Resource Management HR Strategies Human Capital Management The Role and Organization of the HR Function The Role of the HR Practitioner The Impact of HRM on Performance International HRM Corporate Social Responsibility Human Resource Management Research Methods 1 3 25 47 65 81 104 135 150 165 174 Part II 11. 12. 13. Human Resource Management Processes Competency-based HRM Knowledge Management High-performance Work Systems 199 201 218 230 Part III 14. 15. 16. Work and Employment Work The Employment Relationship The Psychological Contract 249 251 260 276 Part IV 17. 18. Organizational Behaviour The Essence of Organizational Behaviour Characteristics of People 289 291 299
  7. 7. vi Brief Contents 19. 20. 21. 22. Motivation Engagement and Commitment How Organizations Function Organizational Culture 316 335 357 383 Part V 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. Organization Design and Development Organization Design Organization Development Change Management Job, Role, Competency and Skills Analysis Job and Role Design and Development 401 403 415 423 443 466 Part VI 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. People Resourcing People Resourcing Strategy Human Resource Planning People Resourcing Practice Recruitment and Selection Selection Interviewing Selection Tests Talent Management Career Management Introduction to the Organization Release from the Organization 477 479 485 495 514 540 567 579 590 602 609 Part VII Performance Management 38. The Process of Performance Management 39. 360-degree Feedback 615 617 643 Part VIII 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 651 653 663 683 700 713 720 Learning and Development Learning and Development Strategy The Process of Learning and Development Learning and Development Programmes and Events How People Learn Organizational Learning Management Development
  8. 8. Brief Contents Part IX 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. Rewarding People Reward Management Job Evaluation Market Rate Analysis Grade and Pay Structures Contingent Pay Rewarding Special Groups Employee Benefits, Pensions and Allowances Managing Reward Systems 733 735 755 783 795 815 839 849 859 Part X 54. 55. 56. 57. Employee Relations The Employee Relations Framework Employee Relations Processes Employee Voice Employee Communications 875 877 905 935 949 Part XI 58. 59. Health, Safety and Employee Well-being Health and Safety Employee Well-being 957 959 975 Part XII 60. 61. 62. HR Policies, Procedures and Systems HR Policies HR Procedures HR Information Systems 985 987 1000 1010 Appendices A. Example of Employee Engagement and Commitment Survey B. Example of Performance Management Survey C. Example of Reward Survey D. Learning and Development Activities and Methods 1017 1019 1020 1021 1022 Useful Website Addresses Subject Index Author Index 1031 1034 1057 vii
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  10. 10. ix Contents Supporting resources for instructors and students List of figures List of tables Preface Part I 1. 2. 3. 4. Human Resource Management The Practice of Human Resource Management Introduction 4; Human resource management defined 4; The objectives of HRM 5; Theories of HRM 6; Characteristics of HRM 7; The development of the concept of HRM 13; Reservations about HRM 14; The context of HRM 17; The ethical dimension 19 Strategic Human Resource Management Introduction 26; The conceptual basis of strategic HRM 26; Strategic HRM defined 29; The resource-based view of strategic HRM 30; Strategic fit 32; Perspectives on strategic HRM 32; The best practice approach 33; The best fit approach 35; Bundling 37; The reality of strategic HRM 39; Practical implications of strategic HRM theory 40 HR Strategies Introduction 48; What are HR strategies? 48; General HR strategies 49; Specific HR strategies 52; Criteria for an effective HR strategy 53; How should HR strategies be formulated? 54; Issues in developing HR strategies 55; Implementing HR strategies 59 Human Capital Management Introduction 66; Human capital management defined 66; The concept of human capital 66; The constituents of human capital 68; Human capital measurement 69; Human capital internal reporting 75; Human capital external reporting 76; Introducing HCM 77 xix xxi xxiii xxv 1 3 25 48 65
  11. 11. x Full Contents 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Part II 11. The Role and Organization of the HR Function Introduction 82; The role of the HR function 82; The organization of the HR function 84; Evaluating the HR function 87; HR shared service centres 92; Outsourcing HR work 93; Offshoring 94; Using management consultants 94; Marketing the HR function 95; HR budgeting 96; The HR role of front line managers 97 The Role of the HR Practitioner Introduction 105; The basic role 105; The business partner role 106; The strategic role of HR specialists 108; The change agent role 111; The internal consultancy role 112; The service delivery role 112; The guardian of values role 113; Models of HR roles 113; Gaining support and commitment 117; Ethical considerations 120; Professionalism in human resource management 121; Ambiguities in the role of HR practitioners 122; Conflict in the HR contribution 124; The qualities required by HR professionals 125; Continuous professional development 129 The Impact of HRM on Performance Introduction 136; The impact made by HRM 136; How HRM strategies make an impact 141; How HRM practices make an impact 144 International HRM Introduction 151; International HRM defined 151; Issues in international HRM 151; Global HR policies and practices 156; Managing expatriates 156 Corporate Social Responsibility Introduction 166; Strategic CSR defined 166; CSR activities 167; The rationale for CSR 168; Developing a CSR strategy 170 Human Resource Management Research Methods Introduction 175; The nature of research 175; Research philosophy 176; Planning and conducting research programmes 178; Literature reviews 180; Quantitative and qualitative methods of research 181; Methods of collecting data 182; Processes involved in research 187; Statistical analysis 191 Human Resource Management Processes Competency-based HRM Introduction 202; Types of competencies 202; Competency frameworks 204; Coverage of competencies 209; Applications of competency-based HRM 210; Developing a competency framework 212; Competencies and emotional intelligence 214 81 104 135 150 165 174 199 201
  12. 12. Full Contents 12. 13. Part III 14. 15. 16. Part IV 17. Knowledge Management 218 Introduction 219; Knowledge management defined 219; The concept of knowledge 220; The purpose and significance of knowledge management 221; Knowledge management strategies 222; Knowledge management systems 223; Knowledge management issues 223; The contribution of HR to knowledge management 225 High-performance Work Systems 230 Introduction 231; High-performance culture 231; High-performance work system defined 232; Characteristics of a high-performance work system 234; Components of an HPWS 235; Impact of highperformance work systems 238; Reservations about the impact of an HPWS 240; Developing a high-performance work system 241 Work and Employment Work Introduction 252; The nature of work 252; Organizational factors affecting work 255; Changes in the pattern of employment 256; The future of work 257 The Employment Relationship Introduction 261; The employment relationship defined 261; The basis of the employment relationship 262; Employment relationship contracts 263; What is happening to the employment relationship 265; Managing the employment relationship 266; Developing a high trust organization 267; Theories explaining the employment relationship 270 The Psychological Contract Introduction 277; The psychological contract defined 277; The psychological contract and the employment relationship 279; The significance of the psychological contract 280; Changes to the psychological contract 282; State of the psychological contract 2004 283; How psychological contracts develop 284; Developing and maintaining a positive psychological contract 285 249 251 260 276 Organizational Behaviour 289 The Essence of Organizational Behaviour 291 Introduction 292; Organizational behaviour defined 292; Characteristics of organizational behaviour 292; Organizational behaviour and the social and behavioural sciences 293; Explaining organizational behaviour 294; Factors affecting organizational behaviour 294; The sources and applications of organization behaviour theory 295; The significance of organizational behaviour theory 296 xi
  13. 13. xii Full Contents 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. Part V 23. 24. 25. Characteristics of People Introduction 300; Individual differences 300; Personal characteristics 302; Types of behaviour 307; Implications for HR specialists 311 Motivation Introduction 317; Motivation defined 317; Types of motivation 318; Motivation theories 319; Motivation and money 329; Motivation strategies 330 Engagement and Commitment Introduction 336; The concepts of engagement and commitment compared 336; Employee engagement 337; Organizational commitment 345; The contribution of HR to developing commitment 351 How Organizations Function Introduction 358; Organization theory 359; Organization structure 365; Types of organization 366; Organizational processes 369 Organizational Culture Introduction 384; Organizational culture defined 384; Organizational climate defined 385; How organizational culture develops 386; The diversity of culture 387; The components of culture 387; Classifying organizational culture 390; Assessing organizational culture 391; Measuring organizational climate 392; Appropriate cultures 394; Supporting and changing cultures 394 Organization Design and Development Organization Design Introduction 404; The process of organizing 404; Aims of organization design 405; Conducting organization reviews 406; Who does the work? 412 Organization Development Introduction 416; Organization development defined 416; Organization development programmes 417; Assumptions and values of organization development 417; Organization development activities 418 Change Management Introduction 424; Types of change 424; The change process 426; Change models 426; Resistance to change 430; Implementing change 432; Guidelines for change management 433; Organizational transformation 434; The role of HR in managing change 437 299 316 335 357 383 401 403 415 423
  14. 14. Full Contents 26. 27. Part VI 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. Job, Role, Competency and Skills Analysis Introduction 444; Definitions 444; Job analysis 446; Job descriptions 449; Role analysis and role profiles 451; Generic role profiles 453; Behavioural competency modelling 454; Analysing technical competencies 461; Skills analysis 461 Job and Role Design and Development Introduction 467; Job design 467; Role development 473 443 People Resourcing People Resourcing Strategy Introduction 480; The objective of people resourcing strategy 480; The strategic HRM approach to resourcing 480; Integrating business and resourcing strategies 481; The components of people resourcing strategy 482; Bundling resourcing strategies and activities 482 Human Resource Planning Introduction 486; Human resource planning defined 486; Aims of human resource planning 487; Use of human resource planning 488; Approaches to human resource planning 488 People Resourcing Practice Introduction 496; Employee value proposition 496; Employer brand 497; Employee turnover 497; Retention planning 503; Absence management 506; Flexibility planning 509 Recruitment and Selection Introduction 515; The recruitment and selection process 515; Defining requirements 515; Recruitment planning 518; Attracting candidates 519; Processing applications 527; Selection methods 529; Dealing with recruitment problems 533; References and offers 534 Selection Interviewing Introduction 541; Purpose 541; The basis of an interview – the person specification 541; The nature of an interview – obtaining the information 542; Advantages and disadvantages of interviews 544; Interviewing arrangements 545; Preparation 546; Planning an interview 547; Types of interviews 548; Interview techniques – starting and finishing 552; Interviewing techniques – asking questions 552; Selection interviewing skills 560; Coming to a conclusion 562 Selection Tests Introduction 568; Psychological tests 568; Aptitude tests 571; Characteristics of a good test 572; Interpreting test results 573; Choosing tests 574; The use of tests in a selection procedure 574; Good practice in psychological testing 575 477 479 466 485 495 514 540 567 xiii
  15. 15. xiv 34. 35. 36. 37. Full Contents Talent Management Introduction 580; The meaning of talent management 580; The process of talent management 582; Developing a talent management strategy 584; Management succession planning 586 Career Management Introduction 591; Career management defined 591; Aims 591; Career stages 592; Career development strategy 593; Career management activities 593; The process of career management 594; Self-managed careers 598 Introduction to the Organization Introduction 603; Induction: what it is and why it is important 603; Reception 604; Documentation 604; Company induction – initial briefing 605; Introduction to the workplace 605; Formal induction courses 606; On-the-job induction training 607 Release from the Organization Introduction 610; Redundancy 610; Dismissal 611; Retirement 612 579 590 602 609 Part VII Performance Management 38. The Process of Performance Management Introduction 618; Performance management defined 618; Objectives of performance management 619; Characteristics of performance management 619; Underpinning theories 620; The performance management cycle 621; Conducting a performance review meeting 627; Assessing performance 629; Dealing with underperformers 634; Introducing performance management 636; Line managers and performance management 638 39. 360-degree Feedback Introduction 644; Use of 360-degree feedback 644; 360-degree feedback – methodology 644; 360-degree feedback – advantages and disadvantages 646; Development and implementation 647 615 617 Part VIII Learning and Development 40. Learning and Development Strategy Introduction 654; Features of a learning and development strategy 654; Learning culture 656; The learning organization 657; The contribution of learning and development to organizational performance 658 41. The Process of Learning and Development Introduction 664; Learning and development defined 664; Elements of learning and development 665; Approaches to learning and 651 653 643 663
  16. 16. Full Contents 42. 43. 44. 45. Part IX 46. 47. 48. development 666; Informal and formal learning 666; E-learning 670; Blended learning 673; Self-directed learning 673; Development 674; Training 675 Learning and Development Programmes and Events Introduction 684; The business case for learning and development 684; Planning and delivering learning programmes and events 685; Responsibility for the implementation of learning 689; Identifying learning needs 690; Evaluation of learning 693 How People Learn Introduction 701; Learning defined 701; The learning process 701; Learning theory 702; Learning styles 704; Learning to learn 706; The learning curve 706; The motivation to learn 708; The implications of learning theory and concepts 709 Organizational Learning Introduction 714; Organizational learning defined 714; The process of organizational learning 715; Outcomes of organizational learning 717; Evaluative enquiry 717; Organizational learning and the learning organization 718 Management Development Introduction 721; Management development policy 721; Management development strategy 722; Approaches to management development 723; The integrated approach to management development 726; Responsibility for management development 727; Criteria for management development 730 Rewarding People Reward Management Introduction 736; Reward management defined 736; The philosophy of reward management 737; The reward system 739; Total reward 741; Reward strategy 746; Reward management and line management capability 751 Job Evaluation Introduction 756; Job evaluation defined 756; Approaches 757; Analytical job evaluation schemes 758; Non-analytical schemes 761; Market pricing 764; Computer-aided job evaluation 765; Choice of approach 766; Designing an analytical point-factor job evaluation scheme 769; Designing an analytical matching job evaluation scheme 776; Equal pay considerations 777; Conclusions 779 Market Rate Analysis Introduction 784; The concept of a market rate 784; Job matching 785; Use of benchmark jobs 786; Sources of market data 787; Interpreting and presenting market rate data 792; Using survey data 792 683 700 713 720 733 735 755 783 xv
  17. 17. xvi Full Contents 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. Part X 54. 55. Grade and Pay Structures Introduction 796; Definitions 796; Types of grade and pay structure 798; Designing grade and pay structures 807 Contingent Pay Introduction 816; Contingent pay as a motivator 816; Arguments for and against contingent pay 817; Alternatives to contingent pay 819; Criteria for success 820; Performance-related pay 821; Competencyrelated pay 822; Contribution-related pay 823; Skill-based pay 825; Readiness for individual contingent pay 827; Developing and implementing individual contingent pay 827; Service-related pay 828; Summary of individual contingent pay schemes 829; Bonus schemes 829; Team-based pay 832; Organization-wide bonus schemes 833; Choice of approach to contingent pay 834 Rewarding Special Groups Reward management for directors and executives 840; Reward management for sales representatives 842; Paying manual workers 844 Employee Benefits, Pensions and Allowances Employee benefits 850; Pensions 852; Communicating pensions policies 855; Total reward statements 856; Allowances 856 Managing Reward Systems Introduction 860; Controlling reward 860; Monitoring and evaluating reward policies and practices 861; Conducting pay reviews 862; Reward procedures 867; Managing the development of reward systems 868; Devolution to line managers of responsibility for reward 868; Communicating to employees 871 795 815 839 849 859 Employee Relations 875 The Employee Relations Framework 877 Introduction 878; The basis of employee relations 878; Industrial relations as a system of rules 880; Regulations and rules in industrial relations 881; Collective bargaining 882; The unitary and pluralist views 884; The concept of social partnership 886; Individualism and collectivism 886; Voluntarism and its decline 887; The HRM approach to employee relations 887; The context of industrial relations 889; Developments in industrial relations 890; The parties to employee relations 893 Employee Relations Processes 905 Introduction 906; Employee relations policies 906; Employee relations strategies 909; Employee relations climate 910; Union recognition 912; Collective bargaining arrangements 913; Collective bargaining outcomes 915; Informal employee relations processes 920; Other
  18. 18. Full Contents 56. 57. Part XI 58. 59. features of the industrial relations scene 921; Negotiating and bargaining 923; Managing with unions 927; Managing without trade unions 929; The state of employment relations 930; Handling employment issues 931 Employee Voice 935 Introduction 936; The meaning of employee voice 936; The forms of employee voice 937; The framework for employee voice 938; Expression of employee voice 939; Joint consultation 941; Attitude surveys 942; Suggestion schemes 944; Effectiveness of employee involvement and participation 945; Planning for voice 945; EU Directives affecting employee voice procedures 945 Employee Communications 949 Introduction 950; The importance of employee communications 950; What should be communicated? 950; Approach to communication 951; Communication methods 951; Employee communication strategy 953 Health, Safety and Employee Well-being Health and Safety Introduction 960; Managing health and safety at work 960; Health and safety policies 961; Conducting risk assessments 962; Health and safety audits 965; Health and safety inspections 967; Accident prevention 967; Occupational health programmes 968; Measuring health and safety performance 969; Communicating the need for better health and safety practices 970; Health and safety training 971; Organizing health and safety 971 Employee Well-being Introduction 976; Improving of the work environment 976; Services for individuals 981; Group employee services 982 Part XII HR Policies, Procedures and Systems 60. HR Policies Introduction 988; Why have HR policies? 988; Overall HR policy 988; Specific HR policies 990; Formulating HR policies 997; Implementing HR policies 998 61. HR Procedures What are HR procedures? 1001; Capability procedure 1001; Disciplinary procedure 1003; Grievance procedure 1005; Redundancy procedure 1006 62. HR Information Systems Introduction 1011; Reasons for introducing an HRIS 1011; The functions of an HRIS 1011; Features of an HRIS 1013; Introducing an HRIS 1014 957 959 975 985 987 1000 1010 xvii
  19. 19. xviii Full Contents Appendices A. Example of Employee Engagement and Commitment Survey B. Example of Performance Management Survey C. Example of Reward Survey D. Learning and Development Activities and Methods 1017 1019 1020 1021 1022 Useful Web Addresses Subject Index Author Index 1031 1034 1057
  20. 20. xix Supporting Resources for Instructors and Students As a reader of Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, you have automatic access to a range of additional resources designed to enhance your experience and use of the book. Full details are provided below. For lecturers and instructors Resources include: • Session outlines for each of the 62 chapters. • Glossaries of key concepts and terms for 60 chapters. • Questions for each chapter. • A selection of multiple choice questions. • Bibliographies for 59 chapters. • Fifty case studies. • Two hundred and thirty-seven PowerPoint slides. The lecturer resources are contained within the Free Resources section of the Kogan Page website – Using the left-hand menu, go to the Academic Resources section, click on Lecturer Resources and follow the instructions online. For students Resources include: • Student learning notes – with key learning points for each chapter. • A glossary of key concepts and terms.
  21. 21. xx Supporting Resources • Multiple choice questions. • Case studies. • A guide to taking CIPD exams, including an analysis of question papers from May 2005 to May 2008. The student resources are contained within the Free Resources section of the Kogan Page website – Using the left-hand menu, go to the Academic Resources section, click on Student Resources and follow the instructions online.
  22. 22. xxi List of Figures Figure 0.1 Figure 1.1 Figure 2.1 Figure 6.1 Figure 6.2 Figure 7.1 Figure 10.1 Figure 10.2 Figure 15.1 Figure 16.1 Figure 17.1 Figure 19.1 Figure 19.2 Figure 20.1 Figure 21.1 Figure 26.1 Figure 26.2 Figure 26.3 Figure 29.1 Figure 30.1 Figure 31.1 Figure 31.2 Figure 32.1 Figure 33.1 Figure 34.1 Figure 34.2 Figure 35.1 Figure 35.2 Figure 35.3 Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice route map The HRM system Strategic HRM model The John Storey model of personnel management The Peter Reilly model of HR Impact of HRM on organizational performance Examples of charts A scattergram with regression (trend) line Dimensions of the employment relationship A model of the psychological contract The sources and applications of organization behaviour theory The process of motivation Motivation model (Porter and Lawler) Combinations of the impact of engagement and organizational commitment Channels of communication within groups Example of job description Example of a role profile Example of a generic role profile Human resource planning flow chart A survival curve Competency-based person specification for a recruitment specialist Example of application form (compressed) Example of an interview rating form A normal curve The elements of talent management Management succession schedule Career progression curves The process of career management Competency band career progression system xxvi 12 40 115 115 143 192 194 262 280 295 323 326 337 371 451 453 454 490 499 518 530 563 569 582 587 593 595 597
  23. 23. xxii List of Figures Figure 35.4 Figure 38.1 Figure 38.2 Figure 39.1 Figure 41.1 Figure 41.2 Figure 42.1 Figure 42.2 Figure 42.3 Figure 43.1 Figure 43.2 Figure 43.3 Figure 43.4 Figure 44.1 Figure 46.1 Figure 46.2 Figure 46.3 Figure 46.4 Figure 47.1 Figure 47.2 Figure 47.3 Figure 49.1 Figure 49.2 Figure 49.3 Figure 49.4 Figure 49.5 Figure 49.6 Figure 49.7 Figure 49.8 Figure 49.9 Figure 50.1 Figure 50.2 Figure 50.3 Figure 50.4 Figure 50.5 Figure 50.6 Figure 50.7 Figure 53.1 Figure 56.1 Figure 56.2 Figure 62.1 Career paths in a career family structure The performance management cycle Performance matrix 360-degree feedback profile Elements of learning and development Systematic training model The learning gap Learning needs analysis – areas and methods A learning specification The Kolb learning cycle A standard learning curve Different rates of learning A stepped learning curve Single- and double-loop learning The reward management system: elements and interrelationships The components of total reward Model of total reward A model of the reward strategy development process A typical job evaluation programme Point-factor job evaluation scheme design sequence Analytical matching job evaluation scheme design sequence A multi-graded structure A broad-graded structure Narrow- and broad-banded structures A broad-banded structure with zones A job family structure A career family structure A pay spine Incidence of grade and pay structures Flow chart: design of a new grade and pay structure Line of sight model Performance-related pay Competency-related pay Contribution pay model (1) Contribution pay model (2) Contribution-related pay Contribution-related pay model Development of reward system A framework for employee voice Levels of employee voice Introducing an HRIS 598 621 633 645 666 677 690 691 692 704 707 707 708 716 742 743 745 750 771 772 776 799 799 800 801 802 803 803 807 812 821 821 822 824 824 825 825 869 938 940 1015
  24. 24. xxiii List of Tables Table 2.1 Table 3.1 Table 4.1 Table 4.2 Table 5.1 Table 5.2 Table 6.1 Table 6.2 Table 7.1 Table 7.2 Table 10.1 Table 10.2 Table 11.1 Table 11.2 Table 13.1 Table 13.2 Table 14.1 Table 16.1 Table 16.2 Table 19.1 Table 19.2 Table 26.1 Table 30.1 Table 30.2 Table 31.1 Table 32.1 Table 32.2 Table 41.1 Table 43.1 Table 46.1 Role behaviours appropriate for different strategies, Schuler and Jackson (1987) Achieving vertical fit between HR and business strategies A summary of human capital measures and their possible uses Framework for external reporting Issues facing HR departments Measures of HR effectiveness and their use Competency framework for HR professionals Key competency areas Research on the link between HRM and firm performance The HR practices that impact on performance Alternative research philosphies Contrasts between quantitative and qualitative research (Bryman and Bell, 2007) Incidence of different competency headings Reasons for using competencies Lists of HR practices in high-performance work systems Examples of high-performance working ingredients Feelings at work (WERS, 2004) Changes in the psychological contract Job satisfaction (WERS, 2004) Summary of motivation theories Factors affecting motivation strategies and the HR contribution Criteria for a rigorous competency definition A survival rate analysis Leavers’ length of service analysis Person specification classification schemes Advantages and disadvantages of interviews Dos and don’ts of selection interviewing Characteristics of formal and informal learning The implications of learning theory and concepts Economic theories explaining pay levels 36 56 73 76 83 89 126 127 136 144 177 181 205 208 236 242 254 282 283 319 330 455 500 501 517 544 563 669 709 738
  25. 25. xxiv List of Tables Table 47.1 Table 47.2 Table 47.3 Table 48.1 Table 49.1 Table 50.1 Table 51.1 Table 51.2 Table 53.1 Table 55.1 A factor plan A paired comparison Comparison of different job evaluation methods Analysis of market rate data sources Summary analysis of different grade and pay structures Summary of contingent pay and service-related pay schemes Summary of payment and incentive arrangements for sales staff Comparison of shop floor payment-by-result schemes A pay matrix Industrial relations negotiations/commercial negotiations 759 763 767 790 805 830 842 845 865 923
  26. 26. xxv Preface This eleventh edition of Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice contains many additions and revisions. It covers major developments in the theory and practice of human resource management in the last three years. There are new chapters on the impact of HRM, corporate social responsibility, high performance work systems, employee engagement, change management, resourcing strategy and practice and employee well-being. Significant changes and improvements have been made to most of the other chapters. The plan of the book is illustrated in the ‘route map’ in Figure 0.1. The design of the book has been radically updated, with the aim of providing a text that encourages and facilitates better learning. Chapters contain key concepts and terms, learning outcomes, key learning points, questions and further reading; allowing students to recap, reflect and test their learning. The companion website provides further resources for both students and lecturers. Students can expand on their learning and are provided with help and advice on taking examinations. Lecturers are provided with a range of resources, including PowerPoint slides and support notes for teaching.
  27. 27. xxvi Preface I Human resource management 1. Practice of HRM 2. Strategic HRM 3. HR strategies 4. Human capital management 5. Role of HR function 6. Role of HR practitioner 7. Impact of HRM 8. International HRM 9. Corporate social responsibility 10. HRM research methods II HRM processes 11. Competency-based HRM 12. Knowledge management 13. High performance work systems III Work and employment 14. Work 15. Employment relationship 16. Psychological contract IV Organizational behaviour 17. Essence of organizational behaviour 18. Characteristics of people 19. Motivation 20. Engagement and commitment 21. How organizations function 22. Organizational culture V Organization design and development 23. Organization design 24. Organization development 25. Change management 26. Job and role analysis 27. Job and role design VI People resourcing 28. Resourcing strategy 29. Human resource planning 30. Resourcing practice 31. Recruitment and selection 32. Selection interviewing 33. Selection tests 34. Talent management 35. Career management 36. Introduction to the organization 37. Release from the organization VII Performance management 38. The process of performance management 39. 360-degree feedback VIII Learning and development 40. Learning and development strategy 41. The process of learning and development 42. Learning and development programmes 43. How people learn 44. Organizational learning 45. Management development IX Rewarding people 46. Reward management 47. Job evaluation 48. Market rate analysis 49. Grade and pay structures 50. Contingent pay 51. Rewarding special groups 52. Employee benefits and pensions 53. Managing reward systems X Employee relations 54. The employee relations framework 55. Employee relations processes 56. Employee voice 57. Employee communications XI Health, safety and employee well-being 58. Health and safety 59. Employee well-being XII HR processes and systems 60. HR policies 61. HR procedures 62. HR information systems Figure 0.1 Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice route map
  28. 28. 1 Part I Human Resource Management This part describes the basic features and characteristics of human resource management, strategic human resource management and HR strategies (Chapters 1, 2 and 3). This provides the framework within which the detailed descriptions of HRM strategies, policies, processes and practices that occupy most of this book take place. The roles of the HR function and the HR practitioner are examined in Chapters 4 and 5, and Chapter 6 deals with the impact of HRM. Chapter 7 covers human capital management and the part ends with an analysis of international HRM, corporate social responsibility and HRM research methods. Part I contents 1. The practice of human resource management 3 2. Strategic human resource management 25 3. HR strategies 47 4. Human capital management 65 5. The role and organization of the HR function 81 6. The role of the HR practitioner 104 7. The impact of HRM on performance 135 8. International HRM 150 9. Corporate social responsibility 165 10. Human resource management research methods 174
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  30. 30. 3 1 The Practice of Human Resource Management Key concepts and terms • AMO theory • The matching model of HRM • Commitment • Mutuality • Contingency theory • Pluralistic employee relations • The hard version of HRM • The resource-based view • The Harvard framework • The soft version of HRM • HRM systems • Strategic integration • Human resource management (HRM) Learning outcomes On completing this chapter you should be able to define these key concepts. You should also be able to: • Define the objectives of HRM • Define the policy goals of HRM • Describe the characteristics of HRM • Understand how HRM developed as a concept • Appreciate the reservations expressed about HRM • Understand the context in which HRM operates • Appreciate the ethical dimensions of HRM
  31. 31. 4 Human Resource Management Introduction The practice of human resource management (HRM) is concerned with all aspects of how people are employed and managed in organizations. It covers activities such as strategic HRM, human capital management, corporate social responsibility, knowledge management, organization development, resourcing (human resource planning, recruitment and selection, and talent management), performance management, learning and development, reward management, employee relations, employee well-being and health and safety and the provision of employee services. HRM practice has a strong conceptual basis drawn from the behavioural sciences and from strategic management, human capital and industrial relations theories. This foundation has been built with the help of a multitude of research projects. The aim of this chapter is to provide a general introduction to the practice and underpinning concepts of HRM. It covers the definition of HRM, the objectives of HRM, HRM theory, the characteristics of HRM, the components of HRM systems, the development of HRM as an approach to managing people, the views expressed about HRM by key commentators, the context within which HRM functions, and the ethical dimensions that affect HR policy and practice. Human resource management defined Human resource management (HRM) is a strategic, integrated and coherent approach to the employment, development and well-being of the people working in organizations. Other definitions of HRM Human resource management involves all management decisions and action that affect the nature of the relationship between the organization and its employees – its human resources. (Beer et al, 1984) HRM comprises a set of policies designed to maximize organizational integration, employee commitment, flexibility and quality of work. (Guest, 1987) HRM consists of the following propositions: That human resource policies should be integrated with strategic business planning and used to reinforce an appropriate (or change an inappropriate)
  32. 32. The Practice of Human Resource Management 5 organizational culture, that human resources are valuable and a source of competitive advantage, that they may be tapped most effectively by mutually consistent policies that promote commitment and which, as a consequence, foster a willingness in employees to act flexibly in the interests of the ‘adaptive organization’s’ pursuit of excellence. (Legge, 1989) Human resource management is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through the strategic deployment of a highly committed and capable workforce, using an integrated array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques. (Storey, 1995) HRM is: ‘The management of work and people towards desired ends.’ (Boxall et al, 2007) HRM is concerned with how organizations manage their workforce (Grimshaw and Rubery, 2007) The objectives of HRM The overall purpose of human resource management is to ensure that the organization is able to achieve success through people. HRM aims to increase organizational effectiveness and capability – the capacity of an organization to achieve its goals by making the best use of the resources available to it. Ulrich and Lake (1990) remarked that: ‘HRM systems can be the source of organizational capabilities that allow firms to learn and capitalize on new opportunities.’ But HRM has an ethical dimension which means that it must also be concerned with the rights and needs of people in organizations through the exercise of social responsibility. Dyer and Holder (1998) analysed management’s HR goals under the headings of contribution (what kind of employee behaviour is expected?), composition (what headcount, staffing ratio and skill mix?), competence (what general level of ability is desired?) and commitment (what level of employee attachment and identification?).
  33. 33. Human Resource Management SOURCE REVIEW 6 HRM policy goals, David Guest (1987, 1989a, 1989b, 1991) 1. Strategic integration: the ability of the organization to integrate HRM issues into its strategic plans, ensure that the various aspects of HRM cohere, and provide for line managers to incorporate an HRM perspective into their decision making. 2. High commitment: behavioural commitment to pursue agreed goals, and attitudinal commitment reflected in a strong identification with the enterprise. 3. High quality: this refers to all aspects of managerial behaviour that bear directly on the quality of goods and services provided, including the management of employees and investment in high quality employees. 4. Flexibility: functional flexibility and the existence of an adaptable organization structure with the capacity to manage innovation. The policy goals for HRM identified by Caldwell (2004) included managing people as assets that are fundamental to the competitive advantage of the organization, aligning HRM policies with business policies and corporate strategy, and developing a close fit of HR policies, procedures and systems with one another. Theories of HRM SOURCE REVIEW The practice of HRM is underpinned by a number of theories. The categories of HRM theory listed by Guest (1997) and Boselie et al (2005) are listed below. Theories of HRM, David Guest (1997) 1. Strategic theories – in the UK the implicit but untested hypothesis is that good fit (between HR practice and the internal and external context) will be associated with superior performance. In the United States the focus has been more on classifying types of HR strategy. The hypothesis is that firms that have a fit between business strategy, structure and HRM policy will have superior performance. 2. Descriptive theories – these either list areas of HR policy and outcomes (Beer et al, 1984) or adopt a systems approach, describing the relationships between levels (Kochan et al, 1986). They are largely non-prescriptive. 3. Normative theories – these are normative in the sense that they establish a norm or standard pattern in the form of prescribed best practice. These take a considerable risk in implying ‘one best way’.
  34. 34. The Practice of Human Resource Management 7 Theories of HRM, Boselie et al (2005) 1. Contingency theory – HRM is influenced by the organization’s environment and circumstances (Legge, 1978). 2. The resource-based view – HRM delivers added value through the strategic development of the organization’s rare, hard to imitate and hard to substitute human resources (Barney, 1991, 1995). 3. AMO theory – the formula Performance = Ability + Motivation + Opportunity to Participate provides the basis for developing HR systems that attend to employees’ interests, namely their skill requirements, motivations and the quality of their job (Appelbaum et al, 2000; Bailey et al, 2001; Boxall and Purcell, 2003). Characteristics of HRM HRM was regarded by Storey (1989) as a ‘set of interrelated policies with an ideological and philosophical underpinning’. He listed four aspects that constitute the meaningful version of HRM: 1. a particular constellation of beliefs and assumptions; 2. a strategic thrust informing decisions about people management; 3. the central involvement of line managers; and 4. reliance upon a set of ‘levers’ to shape the employment relationship. As Boselie et al (2005) explained, HRM: responds accurately and effectively to the organization’s environment and complements other organizational systems (cf contingency theory) and delivers ‘added value’ through the strategic development of the organization’s rare, inimitable and non-substitutable resources, embodied – literally – in its staff (cf the resource-based view). The characteristics of HRM are that it is diverse, strategic and commitment-oriented, adopts a unitary rather than pluralist viewpoint, is founded on the belief that people should be treated as assets and is a management-driven activity. HRM tends to focus on business values although there is a growing body of opinion (eg Guest, 2002) that it has also to be concerned with employee-centred outcomes. In its fully developed form, HRM functions as a system. As Schuler (1992) indicated, HRM links, integrates and coheres.
  35. 35. 8 Human Resource Management The diversity of HRM There are no universal characteristics of HRM. Many models exist, and practices within different organizations are diverse, often only corresponding to the conceptual version of HRM in a few respects. Boxall et al (2007) remarked that: ‘Human resource management covers a vast array of activities and shows a huge range of variations across occupations, organizational levels, business units, firms, industries and societies.’ A distinction was made by Storey (1989) between the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ versions of HRM. The hard version emphasizes that people are important resources through which organizations achieve competitive advantage. These resources have therefore to be acquired, developed and deployed in ways that will benefit the organization. The focus is on the quantitative, calculative and business-strategic aspects of managing human resources in as ‘rational’ a way as for any other economic factor. The soft version of HRM has its roots in humanism – an approach devoted to human interests that views people as responsible and progressive beings. It also traces its origins to the human relations school founded by Elton Mayo (1933), which believed that productivity was directly related to job satisfaction and that the output of people will be high if they like their co-workers and are given pleasant supervision. But this is a fairly remote connection. The soft version of HRM as described by Storey (1989) involves ‘treating employees as valued assets, a source of competitive advantage through their commitment, adaptability and high quality (of skills, performance and so on)’. It therefore views employees, in the words of Guest (1999b), as means rather than objects, but it does not go as far as following Kant’s (1781) advice: ‘Treat people as ends unto themselves rather than as means to an end.’ The soft approach to HRM stresses the need to gain the commitment (the ‘hearts and minds’) of employees through involvement, communication, leadership and other methods of developing a high-commitment, high-trust organization. Attention is also drawn to the key role of organizational culture. In 1998, Karen Legge defined the ‘hard’ model of HRM as a process emphasizing ‘the close integration of human resource policies with business strategy which regards employees as a resource to be managed in the same rational way as any other resource being exploited for maximum return’. In contrast, the soft version of HRM sees employees as ‘valued assets and as a source of competitive advantage through their commitment, adaptability and high level of skills and performance’. It has, however, been observed by Truss (1999) that ‘even if the rhetoric of HRM is soft, the reality is often hard, with the interests of the organization prevailing over those of the individual’. Research carried out by Gratton et al (1999) found that in the eight organizations they studied, a mixture of hard and soft HRM approaches was identified. This suggested to the researchers that the distinction between hard and soft HRM was not as precise as some commentators have implied. But as Dyer and Holder (1998) emphasized: ‘HRM goals vary according to competitive choices, technologies or service tangibles, characteristics of their employees (eg could be different for
  36. 36. The Practice of Human Resource Management 9 managers), the state of the labour market and the societal regulations and national culture.’ And Boxall et al (2007) noted that: ‘The general motives of HRM are multiple.’ The strategic nature of HRM Perhaps the most significant feature of HRM is the importance attached to strategic integration. Legge (1989) argued that one of the common themes of the typical definitions of HRM is that human resource policies should be integrated with strategic business planning. Keith Sisson (1990) suggested that a feature increasingly associated with HRM is the emphasis on the integration of HR policies both with one another and with business planning more generally. John Storey (1989) believes that: ‘The concept locates HRM policy formulation firmly at the strategic level and insists that a characteristic of HRM is its internally coherent approach.’ The commitment-oriented nature of HRM One of the aims of HRM is to promote commitment – the strength of an individual’s identification with, and involvement in, a particular organization. It was noted by Karen Legge (1995) that human resources ‘may be tapped most effectively by mutually consistent policies that promote commitment and which, as a consequence, foster a willingness in employees to act flexibly in the interests of the “adaptive organization’s” pursuit of excellence’. However, this emphasis on commitment has been criticized from the earliest days of HRM. Guest (1987) asked: ‘commitment to what?’ and Fowler (1987) has stated: At the heart of the concept is the complete identification of employees with the aims and values of the business – employee involvement but on the company’s terms. Power in the HRM system, remains very firmly in the hands of the employer. Is it really possible to claim full mutuality when at the end of the day the employer can decide unilaterally to close the company or sell it to someone else? Focus on mutuality The importance of mutuality (the belief that management and employees share the same concerns and it is therefore in both their interests to work together) was emphasized by Walton (1985a) as follows: The new HRM model is composed of policies that promote mutuality – mutual goals, mutual influence, mutual respect, mutual rewards, mutual responsibility. The theory is that policies of mutuality will elicit commitment which in turn will yield both better economic performance and greater human development.
  37. 37. 10 Human Resource Management The concept of mutuality is based on the notion of unitary employee relations, described below. Unitary and pluralist employee relations HRM is characterized by a unitarist rather than a pluralist view of employee relations with the emphasis on individual contracts, not collective agreements. A unitarist view expresses the belief that people in organizations share the same goals and work as members of one team. The pluralist view recognizes that the interests of employees will not necessarily coincide with their employers and suggests that the unitary view is naïve, unrealistic and against the interest of employees. Treating people as assets or human capital The notion that people should be regarded as assets rather than variable costs, in other words, treated as human capital, was originally advanced by Beer et al (1984). HRM philosophy, as mentioned by Legge (1995), holds that ‘human resources are valuable and a source of competitive advantage’. Armstrong and Baron (2002) stated that: People and their collective skills, abilities and experience, coupled with their ability to deploy these in the interests of the employing organization, are now recognized as making a significant contribution to organizational success and as constituting a major source of competitive advantage. Focus on business values The concept of hard HRM is based on a management- and business-oriented philosophy. It is concerned with the total interests of the organization – the interests of the members of the organization are recognized but subordinated to those of the enterprise. Hence the importance attached to strategic integration and strong cultures, which flow from top management’s vision and leadership, and which require people who will be committed to the strategy, who will be adaptable to change and who fit the culture. In 1995 Legge noted that HRM policies are adapted to drive business values and are modified in the light of changing business objectives and conditions. She suggested that evidence indicated more support for the hard versions of HRM than the soft version. Organization- versus employee-centred outcomes In line with labour process theory, Thompson and Harley (2007) asserted that; ‘What is happening is a process of “capitalizing on humanity” rather than investing in human capital.’ The emphasis may have been on the business orientation of HRM but there is a growing body of
  38. 38. The Practice of Human Resource Management 11 opinion that there is more to HRM than that. This is the employee-centred and ethical dimension of HRM, discussed at the end of the chapter. Grant and Shields (2002) argued that the emphasis typically placed on the business case for HRM suggests a one-sided focus on organizational outcomes at the expense of employees. It was noted by Paauwe (2004) that: Added value represents the harsh world of economic rationality, but HRM is also about moral values… The yardstick of human resource outcomes is not just economic rationality – a stakeholder perspective is required, ie develop and maintain sustainable relationships with all the relevant stakeholders, not just customers and shareholders. Kochan (2007) contended that: The HR profession has always had a special professional responsibility to balance the needs of the firm with the needs, aspirations and interests of the workforce and the values and standards society expects to be upheld at work… A regime which provides human beings no deep reason to care about one another cannot long preserve its legitimacy. Ulrich and Brockbank (2005a) believe that ‘caring and listening to employees remains a centre piece of HR work’. HRM as a system An open systems view of HRM has been developed by Wright and Snell (1998). An open system is dependent on the environment for inputs, which are transformed during throughput to produce outputs that are exchanged in the environment. Wright and Snell defined an open HRM system as a competence model of organizations. Skills and abilities are treated as inputs from the environment; employee behaviours are treated as throughput; and employee satisfaction and performance are treated as outputs. In its traditional form, HRM, as pointed out by Boselie et al (2005), can be viewed as ‘a collection of multiple discrete practices with no explicit or discernible link between them’. In contrast ‘the more strategically minded systems approach views HRM as an integrated and coherent bundle of mutually reinforcing practices’. As Kepes and Delery (2007) comment, a defining characteristic of HRM is that HRM systems and not individual HRM practices are the source of competitive advantage. ‘Coherent and internally aligned systems form powerful connections that create positive synergistic effects on organizational outcomes.’ As illustrated in Figure 1.1 an HRM system brings together HR philosophies that describe the overarching values and guiding principles adopted in managing people, HR strategies that
  39. 39. 12 Human Resource Management define the direction in which HRM intends to go, HR policies that provide guidelines defining how these values, principles and the strategies should be applied and implemented in specific areas of HRM, HR processes that comprise the formal procedures and methods used to put HR strategic plans and policies into effect, linked HR practices that consist of the approaches used in managing people, and HR programmes that enable HR strategies, policies and practices to be implemented according to plan. Becker and Gerhart (1996) have classified these components into three levels: the system architecture (guiding principles), policy alternatives, and processes and practices. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HR philosophies HR strategies, policies, processes, practices and programmes Human capital management Corporate social responsibility Organization Resourcing Learning and development Reward managment Employee relations Design Human resource planning Organizational learning Job evaluation/ market surveys Industrial relations Development Recruitment & selection Individual learning Grade and pay structures Employee voice Job/role design Talent management Management development Contingent pay Communications Health and safety Performance management Employee wellbeing Knowledge management HR services Figure 1.1 The HRM system Employee benefits
  40. 40. The Practice of Human Resource Management 13 The development of the concept of HRM The terms ‘human resource management’ (HRM) and ‘human resources’ (HR) have virtually replaced the term ‘personnel management’ as a description of the processes involved in managing people in organizations, although what is now described as HRM is in practice often synonymous with what used to be described as personnel management. In the early days of HRM it was suggested by Armstrong (1987) that: HRM is regarded by some personnel managers as just a set of initials or old wine in new bottles. It could indeed be no more and no less than another name for personnel management, but as usually perceived, at least it has the virtue of emphasizing the virtue of treating people as a key resource, the management of which is the direct concern of top management as part of the strategic planning processes of the enterprise. Although there is nothing new in the idea, insufficient attention has been paid to it in many organizations. However, commentators such as Guest (1987) and Storey (1995) regard HRM as a substantially different model built on unitarism (employees share the same interests as employers), individualism, high commitment and strategic alignment (integrating HR strategy with the business strategy). It is claimed that HRM is more holistic than traditional personnel management. HRM has also emphasized the notion that people should be regarded as assets rather than variable costs. Origins of the concept of HRM The concept of HRM was first defined by Bakke (1966) who wrote that: The general type of activity in any function of management… is to use resources effectively for an organizational objective… The function which is related to the understanding, maintenance, development, effective employment, and integration of the potential in the resource of ‘people’ I shall call simply the human resources function. However, HRM did not emerge in a fully fledged form until the 1980s in the ‘matching model’ and the Harvard framework, described below. The matching model of HRM One of the first detailed statements of the HRM concept was made by the Michigan school (Fombrun et al, 1984). They held that HR systems and the organization structure should be managed in a way that is congruent with organizational strategy (hence the name ‘matching
  41. 41. 14 Human Resource Management model’). They further explained that there is a human resource cycle that consists of four generic processes or functions that are performed in all organizations: selection, appraisal, rewards and development. The Harvard framework The other pioneers of HRM in the 1980s were the Harvard school of Beer et al (1984) who developed what Boxall (1992) calls the ‘Harvard framework’. This framework is based on their belief that the problems of historical personnel management can only be solved: when general managers develop a viewpoint of how they wish to see employees involved in and developed by the enterprise, and of what HRM policies and practices may achieve those goals. Without either a central philosophy or a strategic vision – which can be provided only by general managers – HRM is likely to remain a set of independent activities, each guided by its own practice tradition. Beer and his Harvard colleagues believed that ‘Today, many pressures are demanding a broader, more comprehensive and more strategic perspective with regard to the organization’s human resources.’ These pressures have created a need for: ‘A longer-term perspective in managing people and consideration of people as potential assets rather than merely a variable cost.’ They were the first to underline the HRM tenet that it belongs to line managers. The Harvard school suggested that HRM had two characteristic features: 1) line managers accept more responsibility for ensuring the alignment of competitive strategy and HR policies, and 2) HR has the mission of setting policies that govern how HR activities are developed and implemented in ways that make them more mutually reinforcing. Reservations about HRM For some time HRM was a controversial topic, especially in academic circles. The main reservations have been that HRM promises more than it delivers and that its morality is suspect. HRM promises more than it can deliver Noon (1992) has commented that HRM has serious deficiencies as a theory: ‘It is built with concepts and propositions, but the associated variables and hypotheses are not made explicit. It is too comprehensive… If HRM is labelled a “theory” it raises expectations about its ability to describe and predict.’ Guest (1991) believed that HRM is an ‘optimistic but ambiguous concept’; it is all hype and hope. Mabey et al (1998) followed this up by asserting that ‘the heralded outcomes (of HRM)
  42. 42. The Practice of Human Resource Management 15 are almost without exception unrealistically high’. To put the concept of HRM into practice involves strategic integration, developing a coherent and consistent set of employment policies, and gaining commitment. This requires high levels of determination and competence at all levels of management and a strong and effective HR function staffed by business-oriented people. It may be difficult to meet these criteria, especially when the proposed HRM culture conflicts with the established corporate culture and traditional managerial attitudes and behaviour. Gratton et al (1999) were convinced on the basis of their research that there was ‘a disjunction between rhetoric and reality in the area of human resource management between HRM theory and HRM practice, between what the HR function says it is doing and that practice as perceived by employers, and between what senior management believes to be the role of the HR function, and the role it actually plays’. In their conclusions they refer to the ‘hyperbole and rhetoric of human resource management’. Caldwell (2004) believed that HRM ‘is an unfinished project informed by a self-fulfilling vision of what it should be’. The above comments were based on the assumption that there is a single monolithic form of HRM. This is not the case. HRM comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Sometimes, as Armstrong (1987) commented, it is just new wine in old bottles – personnel management under another name. It has to be conceded that many organizations that think they are practising HRM as described earlier are not doing so, at least to the full extent. It is difficult, and it is best not to expect too much. For example, most of the managements who hurriedly adopted performance-related pay as an HRM device that would act as a lever for change have been sorely disappointed. However, the research conducted by Guest and Conway (1997) covering a stratified random sample of 1,000 workers established that a notably high level of HRM was found to be in place. This contradicts the view that management has tended to ‘talk up’ the adoption of HRM practices. The HRM characteristics covered by the survey included the opportunity to express grievances and raise personal concerns on such matters as opportunities for training and development, communication about business issues, single status, effective systems for dealing with bullying and harassment at work, making jobs interesting and varied, promotion from within, involvement programmes, no compulsory redundancies, performance-related pay, profit sharing and the use of attitude surveys. The morality of HRM HRM is accused by many academics of being manipulative if not positively immoral. Willmott (1993) remarked that HRM operates as a form of insidious ‘control by compliance’ when it emphasizes the need for employees to be committed to do what the organization wants them to do. It preaches mutuality but the reality is that behind the rhetoric it exploits workers. It is,
  43. 43. 16 Human Resource Management as Keenoy (1990) asserted, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Scott (1994) thought that HRM was a form of deceit, ‘using subtle approaches to incorporate workers in an organizational way of thinking and in effect brainwashing them to become willing slaves’. Legge (1998) pointed out that: Sadly, in a world of intensified competition and scarce resources, it seems inevitable that, as employees are used as means to an end, there will be some who will lose out. They may even be in the majority. For these people, the soft version of HRM may be an irrelevancy, while the hard version is likely to be an uncomfortable experience. The accusation that HRM treats employees as means to an end is often made. However, it could be argued that if organizations exist to achieve ends, which they obviously do, and if those ends can only be achieved through people, which is clearly the case, the concern of management for commitment and performance from those people is not unnatural and is not attributable to the concept of HRM – it existed in the good old days of personnel management before HRM was invented. What matters is how management treat people as ends and what management provide in return. Much of the hostility to HRM expressed by a number of academics is based on the belief that it is against the interests of workers, ie, that it is managerialist. However, the Guest and Conway (1997) research established that the reports of workers on outcomes showed that a higher number of HR practices were associated with higher ratings of fairness, trust and management’s delivery of their promises. Those experiencing more HR activities also felt more secure in and more satisfied with their jobs. Motivation was significantly higher for those working in organizations where more HR practices were in place. In summary, as commented by Guest (1999b), it appears that workers like their experience of HRM. These findings appear to contradict the ‘radical critique’ view produced by academics such as Mabey et al (1998) and the others quoted above that HRM has been ineffectual, pernicious (ie managerialist) or both. Some of those who adopt this stance tend to dismiss favourable reports from workers about HRM on the grounds that they have been brainwashed by management. But there is no evidence to support this view. Moreover, as Armstrong (2000) pointed out: HRM cannot be blamed or given credit for changes that were taking place anyway. For example, it is often alleged to have inspired a move from pluralism to unitarism in industrial relations. But newspaper production was moved from Fleet Street to Wapping by Murdoch, not because he had read a book about HRM but as a means of breaking the print unions’ control.
  44. 44. The Practice of Human Resource Management 17 Contradictions in the reservations about HRM Guest (1999b) has suggested that there are two contradictory concerns about HRM. The first as formulated by Legge (1995, 1998) is that while management rhetoric may express concern for workers, the reality is harsher. And Keenoy (1997) complained that: ‘The real puzzle about HRMism is how, in the face of such apparently overwhelming critical refutation, it has secured such influence and institutional presence.’ Other writers, however, simply observe that HRM does not work. Scott (1994), for example, stated that both management and workers were captives of their history and found it very difficult to let go of their traditional adversarial orientations. But these contentions are contradictory. Guest (1999b) remarked that; ‘It is difficult to treat HRM as a major threat (though what it is a threat to is not always made explicit) deserving of serious critical analysis while at the same time claiming that it is not practiced or is ineffective.’ The context of HRM HRM processes take place within the context of the internal and external environment of the organization. HR practitioners will gain credibility and make a greater strategic contribution if they can analyse the impact of external events on company policies and practices. They need to be aware of the fact that what the organization does and what they need to do will depend to a large extent on its external and internal environments. They need to understand contingency theory. Contingency theory Contingency theory tells us that definitions of HR aims, policies and strategies, lists of activities and analyses of the role of the HR department are valid only if they are related to the situation of the organization. Legge (1978) in her influential book, Power, Innovation and Problem Solving in Personnel Management was the first commentator to insist that a contingent approach should be adopted to personnel management, ie, ‘the design and implementation of policy that matches, or is contingent upon specified organizational requirements and circumstances’. As Paauwe (2004) explained: Contingency theory states that the relationship between the relevant independent variables (eg HRM policies and practices) and the dependent variable (performance) will vary according to the influences such as company size, age and technology, capital intensity, degree of unionization, industry/sector ownership and location.
  45. 45. 18 Human Resource Management Contingency theory is associated with the concept of fit – the need to achieve congruence between an organization’s HR strategies, policies and practices and its business strategies within the context of its external and internal environment. Contextual factors The contextual factors that influence HR policies and practices are the external and internal environments of the organization. The external environment The external environment consists of social, political, legal and economic developments and competitive pressures. Global competition in mature production and service sectors is increasing. This is assisted by easily transferable technology and reductions in international trade barriers. Customers are demanding more as new standards are reached through international competition. Organizations are reacting to this competition by becoming ‘customer-focused’, speeding up response times, emphasizing quality and continuous improvement, accelerating the introduction of new technology, operating more flexibly and ‘losing cost’. The pressure has been for businesses to become ‘lean and mean’, downsizing and cutting out layers of management and supervision. They are reducing permanent staff to a core of essential workers, increasing the use of peripheral workers (sub-contractors, temporary staff) and ‘outsourcing’ work to external service providers. The internal environment The following aspects of the internal environment will affect HR policy and practice: • the type of business or organization – private, public or voluntary sector; manufacturing or service; • the size of the organization; • the age or maturity of the organization; • the technology or key activities of the business will determine how work is organized, managed and carried out; • the type of people employed, eg professional staff, knowledge workers, technicians, administrators, production workers, sales and customer service staff; • the organization’s culture – the established pattern of values, norms, beliefs, attitudes and assumptions that shape the ways in which people behave and things get done.
  46. 46. The Practice of Human Resource Management 19 The ethical dimension As Boxall et al (2007) point out: ‘While HRM does need to support commercial outcomes (often called “the business case”), it also exists to serve organizational needs for social legitimacy.’ This means exercising social responsibility, ie being concerned for the interests (wellbeing) of employees and acting ethically with regard to the needs of people in the organization and the community. Within the organization the requirement is to: • treat people equally in terms of the opportunities for employment, learning and development provided for them; • treat people according to the principle of procedural justice (Adams, 1965 and Leventhal, 1980), ie the ways in which people are managed are fair, consistent, transparent and properly consider the views and needs of employees; • treat people according to the principles of distributive justice (Adams, 1965 and Leventhal, 1980), ie rewards are distributed to them according to their contribution and they receive what was promised to them; • treat people according to the principles of natural justice, ie individuals should know the standards they are expected to achieve and the rules to which they are expected to conform, they should be given a clear indication of where they are failing or what rules have been broken and, except in cases of gross misconduct, they should be given a chance to improve before disciplinary action is taken; • avoid treating people as mere factors of production; • be concerned with the well-being of employees as well as the pursuit of commercial gain; • offer as much security of employment as possible; • provide a working environment that protects the health and safety of employees and minimizes stress; • act in the interests of providing a reasonable balance for employees between their life and their work; • protect employees against harmful practices at work, eg bullying, harassment and discrimination.
  47. 47. 20 Human Resource Management The practice of HRM – key learning points The objectives of HRM • To ensure that the organization is able to achieve success through people. • To increase organizational effectiveness and capability. • To be concerned with the rights and needs of people in organizations through the exercise of social responsibility. • focus on business values; • organization-centred orientation. How HRM developed as a concept Emerged in the 1980s in the form of the Harvard framework and the matching model. Reservations expressed about HRM • promises more than it can deliver; • manipulative – ‘control by compliance’ (Willmott); • managerialist. The policy goals of HRM (Guest) • strategic integration; • high commitment; • high quality; • flexibility. The characteristics of HRM • diverse (hard and soft); • strategic; • commercial orientation; • focus on mutuality; • unitary view; • people treated as assets or human capital; The context in which HRM operates HRM practice contingent on the circumstances in which the organization operates, ie its internal and external environment. Appreciate the ethical dimensions of HRM HRM must exercise social responsibility – it must be concerned with the interests (wellbeing) of employees and act ethically with regard to the needs of people in the organization and the community.
  48. 48. The Practice of Human Resource Management 21 Questions 1. You are head of human resources in a medium-sized manufacturing company. Your new chief executive mentions to you that in her last firm they had a personnel manager and asks you to explain the difference, if any. 2. At a meeting of trustees the chief executive of a medium-sized charity proposed that a director of human resources should be appointed. Two trustees protested that the term ‘human resources’ implied that employees would just be treated as factors of production not as people. How would you respond? 3. John Storey wrote in 1995 that: ‘Human resource management is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through the strategic deployment of a highly committed and capable workforce, using an integrated array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques.’ Examine the approach to HRM in your own organization or any other organization known to you and analyse the extent to which Storey’s description of HRM applies. 4. Your local branch of the CIPD has asked you either to propose or oppose (your choice) a motion to the effect that ‘This house agrees with the statement of Keenoy and Anthony in 1992 that HRM is no more than a rhetoric masking the intensification and commodification of labour.’ Prepare the case either for or against the motion. 5. Harley and Hardy (2004) wrote that ‘Managers can use the language of HRM to establish the legitimacy of their practices, even if the latter bear little resemblance to the former.’ What is the meaning and significance of this statement? References Adams, J S (1965) Injustice in social exchange, in (ed) L Berkowitz, Advances in Experimental Psychology, Academic Press, New York Appelbaum, E, Bailey, T, Berg, P and Kalleberg, A L (2000) Manufacturing Advantage: Why high performance work systems pay off, ILR Press, Ithaca, NY Armstrong, M (1987) Human resource management: a case of the emperor’s new clothes, Personnel Management, August, pp 30–35 Armstrong, M (2000) The name has changed but has the game remained the same?, Employee Relations, 22 (6), pp 576–89 Armstrong, M and Baron, A (2002) Strategic HRM: The route to improved business performance, CIPD, London Bailey, T, Berg, P and Sandy, C (2001) The effect of high performance work practices on employee earnings in the steel, apparel and medical electronics and imaging industries, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 54 (2A), pp 525–43
  49. 49. 22 Human Resource Management Bakke, E W (1966) Bonds of Organization: An appraisal of corporate human relations, Archon, Hamden Barney, J B (1991) Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage, Journal of Management Studies, 17 (1), pp 99–120 Barney, J B (1995) Looking inside for competitive advantage, Academy of Management Executive, 9 (4), pp 49–61 Becker, B E and Gerhart, S (1996) The impact of human resource management on organizational performance: progress and prospects, Academy of Management Journal, 39 (4), pp 779–801 Beer, M, Spector, B, Lawrence, P, Quinn Mills, D and Walton, R (1984) Managing Human Assets, The Free Press, New York Boselie, P, Dietz, G and Boon, C (2005) Commonalities and contradictions in HRM and performance research, Human Resource Management Journal, 15 (3), pp 67–94 Boxall, P F (1992) Strategic HRM: a beginning, a new theoretical direction, Human Resource Management Journal, 2 (3) pp 61–79 Boxall, P F and Purcell, J (2003) Strategy and Human Resource Management, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Boxall, P F, Purcell J and Wright P (2007) The goals of HRM, in (eds) P Boxall, J Purcell and P Wright, Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Caldwell, R (2004) Rhetoric, facts and self-fulfilling prophesies: exploring practitioners’ perceptions of progress in implementing HRM, Industrial Relations Journal, 35 (3), pp 196–215 Dyer, L and Holder, G W (1998) Strategic human resource management and planning, in (ed) L Dyer, Human Resource Management: Evolving roles and responsibilities, Bureau of National Affairs, Washington DC Fowler, A (1987) When chief executives discover HRM, Personnel Management, January, p 3 Fombrun, C J, Tichy, N M and Devanna, M A (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management, Wiley, New York Grant, D and Shields, J (2002) In search of the subject: researching employee reactions to human resource management, Journal of Industrial Relations, 44 (3), pp 178–93 Gratton, L A, Hailey, V H, Stiles, P and Truss, C (1999) Strategic Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Grimshaw, D and Rubery, J (2007) Economics and HRM, in (eds) P Boxall, J Purcell and P Wright, Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Guest, D E (1987) Human resource management and industrial relations, Journal of Management Studies, 14 (5), pp 503–21 Guest, D E (1989a) Human resource management: its implications for industrial relations’, in (ed) J Storey, New Perspectives in Human Resource Management, Routledge, London Guest, D E (1989b) Personnel and HRM: can you tell the difference? Personnel Management, January, pp 48–51 Guest, D E (1991) Personnel management: the end of orthodoxy, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 29 (2), pp 149–76 Guest, D E (1997) Human resource management and performance; a review of the research agenda, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 8 (3), 263–76 Guest, D E (1999b) Human resource management: the workers’ verdict, Human Resource Management Journal, 9 (2), pp 5–25 Guest, D E (2002) Human resource management, corporate performance and employee well-being: building the worker into HRM, Journal of Industrial Relations, 44 (3), pp 335–58
  50. 50. The Practice of Human Resource Management 23 Guest, D E and Conway, N (1997) Employee Motivation and the Psychological Contract, IPD, London Harley B and Hardy, C (2004) Firing blanks? An analysis of discursive struggle in HRM, Journal of Management Studies, 41 (3), pp 377–400 Kant, I (1781) Critique of Pure Reason, Dover Publications (2003), Mineola, NY Keenoy, T (1990) HRM: a case of the wolf in sheep’s clothing, Personnel Review, 19 (2), pp 3–9 Keenoy, T (1997) HRMism and the images of re-presentation, Journal of Management Studies, 34 (5), pp 825–41 Keenoy, T and Anthony, P (1992) HRM: metaphor, meaning and morality, in (eds) P Blyton and P Turnbull, Reassessing Human Resource Management, Sage Publications, London Kepes, S and Delery, J E (2007) HRM systems and the problem of internal fit, in (eds) P Boxall, J Purcell and P Wright, Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Kochan, T A (2007) Social legitimacy of the HR profession, in (eds) P Boxall, J Purcell and P Wright, Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Kochan, T A, Katz, H and McKersie, R (1986) The Transformation of American Industrial Relations, Basic Books, New York Legge, K (1978) Power, Innovation and Problem Solving in Personnel Management, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead Legge, K (1989) Human resource management: a critical analysis, in (ed) J Storey, New Perspectives in Human Resource Management, Routledge, London Legge, K (1995) Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and realities, Macmillan, London Legge, K (1998) The morality of HRM, in (eds) C Mabey, D Skinner and T Clark, Experiencing Human Resource Management, Sage, London Leventhal, G S (1980) What should be done with equity theory? in (eds) G K Gergen, M S Greenberg and R H Willis, Social Exchange: Advances in Theory and Research, Plenum, New York Mabey, C, Skinner, D and Clark, T (1998) Experiencing Human Resource Management, Sage, London Mayo, E (1933) Human Problems of an Industrial Civilisation, Macmillan, London Noon, M (1992) HRM: a map, model or theory?, in (eds) P Blyton and P Turnbull, Reassessing Human Resource Management, Sage Publications, London Paauwe, J (2004) HRM and performance: Achieving long term viability, Oxford University Press, Oxford Schuler, R S (1992) Strategic human resource management: linking people with the strategic needs of the business, Organizational Dynamics, 21 (1), pp 18–32 Scott, A (1994) Willing Slaves: British workers under human resource management, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Sisson, K (1990) Introducing the Human Resource Management Journal, Human Resource Management Journal, 1 (1), pp 1–11 Storey, J (1989) From personnel management to human resource management, in (ed) J Storey, New Perspectives on Human Resource Management, Routledge, London Storey, J (ed) (1995) Human Resource Management: A critical text, Routledge, London Thompson, P and Harley, B (2007) HRM and the worker: labour process perspectives, in (eds) P Boxall, J Purcell and P Wright, Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Truss, C (1999) Soft and hard models of HRM, in (eds) L Gratton, V H Hailey, P Stiles, and C Truss, Strategic Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford Ulrich, D and Brockbank, W (2005a) The HR Value Proposition, Harvard Press, Cambridge, MA
  51. 51. 24 Human Resource Management Ulrich, D and Lake, D (1990) Organizational Capability: Competing from the inside out, Wiley, New York Walton, R E (1985a) From control to commitment in the workplace, Harvard Business Review, March– April, pp 77–84 Willmott, H (1993) Strength is ignorance, slavery is freedom: Managing culture in modern organizations, Journal of Management Studies, 30 (4), pp 515–52 Wright, P M and Snell, S A (1998) Towards a unifying framework for exploring fit and flexibility in strategic human resource management, Academy of Management Review, 23 (4), pp 756–72
  52. 52. 25 2 Strategic Human Resource Management Key concepts and terms • Best fit • Resource-based view • Best practice • Strategic configuration • Bundling • Strategic fit • Competitive advantage • Strategic HRM • Configuration • Strategic management • Human resource advantage • Strategy • Lifecycle model Learning outcomes On completing this chapter you should be able to define these key concepts. You should also understand: • The conceptual basis of strategic HRM • The fundamental characteristics of strategy • How strategy is formulated • The aims of strategic HRM • The resource-based view and its implications • The three HRM ‘perspectives’ of Delery and Doty • The significance of the concepts of ‘best practice’ and ‘best fit’ • The significance of bundling • The practical implications of strategic HRM theory
  53. 53. 26 Human Resource Management Introduction As Baird and Meshoulam (1988) remarked: ‘Business objectives are accomplished when human resource practices, procedures and systems are developed and implemented based on organizational needs, that is, when a strategic perspective to human resource management is adopted.’ The aim of this chapter is to explore what this involves. It starts with an introduction to the basis of strategic human resource management (strategic HRM) provided by the concepts of human resource management and strategic management. It then covers a definition of strategic human resource management (strategic HRM) and its aims; an analysis of its underpinning concepts – the resource-based view and strategic fit; and a description of how strategic HRM works, namely the universalistic, contingency and configurational perspectives defined by Delery and Doty (1996) and the three approaches associated with those perspectives – best practice, best fit and bundling. The chapter ends with discussions on the reality of strategic HRM and the practical implications of the theories reviewed earlier. The conceptual basis of strategic HRM Boxall (1996) explained that strategic HRM ‘is the interface between HRM and strategic management’. It takes the notion of HRM as a strategic, integrated and coherent approach and develops that in line with the concept of strategic management. This is an approach to management that involves taking a broad and long-term view of where the business or part of the business is going and managing activities in ways that ensure this strategic thrust is maintained. As defined by Pearce and Robinson (1988): ‘Strategic management is the set of decisions and actions resulting in the formulation and implementation of strategies designed to achieve the objectives of an organization.’ According to Kanter (1984) its purpose is to: ‘elicit the present actions for the future’ and become ‘an action vehicle – integrating and institutionalizing mechanisms for change’. The concept of strategic management is built on the concept of strategy, as considered below. The concept of strategy Strategy is the approach selected to achieve defined goals in the future. According to Chandler (1962) it is: ‘The determination of the long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out those goals.’ Strategy has three fundamental characteristics. First, it is forward looking. It is about deciding where you want to go and how you mean to get there. It is concerned with both ends and
  54. 54. Strategic Human Resource Management 27 means. In this sense a strategy is a declaration of intent: ‘This is what we want to do and this is how we intend to do it.’ Strategies define longer-term goals but they also cover how those goals will be attained. They guide purposeful action to deliver the required result. A good strategy is one that works, one that in Abell’s (1993) phrase enables organizations to adapt by ‘mastering the present and pre-empting the future’. As Boxall (1996) explained: ‘Strategy should be understood as a framework of critical ends and means.’ The second characteristic of strategy is that the organizational capability of a firm (its capacity to function effectively) depends on its resource capability (the quality and quantity of its resources and their potential to deliver results). This is the resource-based view, based on the ideas of Penrose (1959) who wrote that: the firm is ‘an administrative organization and a collection of productive resources’. It was expanded by Wernerfelt (1984) who explained that strategy ‘is a balance between the exploitation of existing resources and the development of new ones’. Resource-based strategy theorists such as Barney (1991, 1995) argued that sustained competitive advantage stemmed from the acquisition and effective use of bundles of distinctive resources that competitors cannot imitate. The resource-based view is a major element in strategic HRM, as discussed later in this chapter. The third characteristic of strategy is strategic fit – the need when developing HR strategies to achieve congruence between them and the organization’s business strategies within the context of its external and internal environment. The focus is upon the organization and the world around it. To maximize competitive advantage a firm must match its capabilities and resources to the opportunities available in its environment. The concept of fit or integration is also a major feature of strategic HRM. The formulation of strategy The formulation of corporate strategy is best described as a process for developing a sense of direction, making the best use of resources and ensuring strategic fit. It has often been described as a logical, step-by-step affair, the outcome of which is a formal written statement that provides a definitive guide to the organization’s intentions. Many people still believe and act as if this were the case, but it is a misrepresentation of reality. In practice the formulation of strategy can never be as rational and linear a process as some writers describe it or as some managers attempt to make it. The difficulty is that strategies are often based on the questionable assumption that the future will resemble the past. Some years ago, Heller (1972) had a go at the cult of long-range planning: ‘What goes wrong’ he wrote, ‘is that sensible anticipation gets converted into foolish numbers: and their validity always hinges on large loose assumptions.’ Strategy formulation is not necessarily a deterministic, rational and continuous process, as was pointed out by Mintzberg (1987). He believe that, rather than being consciously and systematically developed, strategy reorientation happens in what he calls brief ‘quantum loops’. A
  55. 55. 28 Human Resource Management strategy, according to Mintzberg, can be deliberate – it can realize the intentions of senior management, for example to attack and conquer a new market. But this is not always the case. In theory, he says, strategy is a systematic process: first we think, then we act; we formulate, then we implement. But we also ‘act in order to think’. In practice, ‘a realized strategy can emerge in response to an evolving situation’ and the strategic planner is often ‘a pattern organizer, a learner if you like, who manages a process in which strategies and visions can emerge as well as be deliberately conceived’. This concept of ‘emergent strategy’ conveys the essence of how in practice organizations develop their business and HR strategies. Mintzberg was even more scathing about the weaknesses of strategic planning in his 1994 article in the Harvard Business Review on ‘The rise and fall of strategic planning’. He contends that ‘the failure of systematic planning is the failure of systems to do better than, or nearly as well as, human beings’. He went on to say that: Far from providing strategies, planning could not proceed without their prior existence… real strategists get their hands dirty digging for ideas, and real strategies are built from the nuggets they discover… sometimes strategies must be left as broad visions, not precisely articulated, to adapt to a changing environment. SOURCE REVIEW He emphasized that strategic management is a learning process as managers of firms find out what works well in practice for them. A realistic view of strategy Tyson (1997) pointed out that, realistically, strategy: • has always been emergent and flexible – it is always ‘about to be’, it never exists at the present time; • is not only realized by formal statements but also comes about by actions and reactions; • is a description of a future-oriented action that is always directed towards change; • is conditioned by the management process itself. The process of strategic HRM as defined below has to take account of these features of strategy.
  56. 56. Strategic Human Resource Management 29 Strategic HRM defined Strategic HRM is an approach that defines how the organization’s goals will be achieved through people by means of HR strategies and integrated HR policies and practices. Strategic HRM can be regarded as a mind set underpinned by certain concepts rather than a set of techniques. It provides the foundation for strategic reviews in which analyses of the organizational context and existing HR practices lead to choices on strategic plans for the development of overall or specific HR strategies (see Chapter 3). Strategic HRM involves the exercise of strategic choice (which is always there) and the establishment of strategic priorities But strategic HRM is not just about strategic planning. It is also concerned with the implementation of strategy and the strategic behaviour of HR specialists working with their line management colleagues on an everyday basis to ensure that the business goals of the organization are achieved and its values are put into practice. The strategic role of HR practitioners is examined in Chapter 5. Aims of strategic HRM The fundamental aim of strategic HRM is to generate organizational capability by ensuring that the organization has the skilled, engaged, committed and well-motivated employees it needs to achieve sustained competitive advantage. It has two main objectives: first to achieve integration – the vertical alignment of HR strategies with business strategies and the horizontal integration of HR strategies. The second objective is to provide a sense of direction in an often turbulent environment so that the business needs of the organization and the individual and collective needs of its employees can be met by the development and implementation of coherent and practical HR policies and programmes. In accordance with the resource-based view, the strategic goal will be to ‘create firms which are more intelligent and flexible than their competitors’ (Boxall, 1996) by hiring and developing more talented staff and by extending their skills base. Schuler (1992) stated that: Strategic human resource management is largely about integration and adaptation. Its concern is to ensure that: 1) human resources (HR) management is fully integrated with the strategy and strategic needs of the firm; 2) HR policies cohere both across policy areas and across hierarchies; and 3) HR practices are adjusted, accepted and used by line managers and employees as part of their everyday work. As Dyer and Holder (1988) remarked, strategic HRM provides ‘unifying frameworks which are at once broad, contingency based and integrative’. The rationale for strategic HRM is the