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Sample essay topic, essay writing: What Is Human Resource Strategy - 1421 words

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.. mphasis placed on the individual and their development. The worker is seen as a source of competitive advantage and the HR department must focus on 'people management'. This type certainly has its merits and is adopted in many firms and can be particularly helpful in highly service based businesses. The 'hard' type differs radically.

The organizations performance is most important and the firm's human resource strategy must fit with the overall strategy. Under this view, the individual's interests may be in conflict with the organizations interests. Strong and effective managerial control must be asserted over staff if long term strategy is to be achieved. This approach is very much 'outcome' focused in relation to the question. The hard approach is concerned with the organizations success in the long run, where and effective HRS plays its role

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This would appear to be in contrast to my explanation of the 'emergence' of HR strategies, of how firms look to make their staff the 'competitive advantage' (familiar to the soft type) etc. Yet, Stace and Dunphy's article relating to Waterford exemplified the need for hard approaches to HRS, pending on the situation.Yet the above authors, as well as Catherine Truss in Gratton's book (1999), found that most firms rarely adopted a 'pure' soft or 'pure' hard strategy, more a combination of both which aimed to be beneficial to the organisation's and the individual's performance. Yet, as one would expect, the organisation's performance is obviously more important. "Even if the rhetoric of human resource management is soft the reality is almost always hard, with the interest of the organization prevailing over those of the individual" (Truss, in Gratton: p57).As mentioned above, the soft type is often related to the universalistic approach, while the hard type associated to the contingency approach. This does not mean however that either approach or type is defined by the other.The adoption of either type in a HRS is an example of the set of processes or activities implemented in a HRS, which aims to achieve a successful outcome.(v) Concept of FitStrategic HRM focuses on the "The pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable the firm to achieve its goals" (Wright and McMahon, in Wright and Snell 1998: p1).

The authors then claim that two types of congruence or fit exist.First is 'vertical fit' which involves the "Alignment of HRM practices and the strategic management processes of the firm (Schuler & Jackson, in Wright and Snell 1998: p1). "Vertical fit is viewed as directing human resources toward the primary initiatives of the organization" (Wright and Snell 1998: p1).The second congruence, 'horizontal fit' "Implies congruence among the various HRM practices" (Baird & Meshoulam, in Wright and Snell 1998: p1). "Horizontal fit is viewed as instrumental for efficiently allocating" the resources (Wright and Snell 1998: p1).Vertical fit is the main objective of a HRS, and is linked to a contingency based approach whereby creating an overall fit or congruence of the various management strategies (including HRS) is the long term goal. This, in relation to our question, is again assessing HRS as an 'outcome'. The horizontal fit is concerned as to how the processes and activities devised by the HR department, and their management of the resources available to them, are implemented within the organization and complementing the 'vertical' fit. Similar as to decision facing firms whether to concentrate on hard or soft strategy types, organizations will obviously place greater emphasis on achieving a vertical fit.Wright and Snell's article deals with 'exploring fit' and 'flexibility' within strategic human resource management. They maintain that simply achieving the two types of congruence will not necessarily mean that an organization is flexible enough, which it requires to be in the modern 'complex and dynamic environment'.

While at 'first glance' these objectives may appear to conflict they "Propose that fit and flexibility are complementary because they focus on different aspects of the organization" (Wright and Snell 1998: p2). They argue, quite correctly in my opinion, that fit is temporary and dynamic, as it relates to a 'focus on an interface of two different variables', 'internal (HR aspects) and external (strategy) components', while flexibility is not temporary but a 'characteristic of an organisation' (Wright and Snell 1998: p2).Again, the flexibility of an organization is an outcome of the organizational structure that is in part (but not solely) achieved by horizontal and vertical fit, and incorporating the correct approach to the HR strategy. The authors do continue to say however, that despite the importance of HRS in developing a 'flexible firm', the "Primary role of strategic HRM should be to promote a fit with the demands of the competitive environment" (Wright and Snell 1998: p2).While my discussion of 'fit' has relied on this one article by Wright and Snell, I felt they best dealt with the 'concept', while in their article critiques many other HR authors' work on the subject.(vi) Conclusion & my definition of Human Resource Strategy.My aim as stated in the introduction was to explain my rationale for outlining (and loosely defining) HR strategy as a 'set of processes and activities that when implemented, result in an outcome.I asserted that the real value of HR strategies lay in their significant input into the firms overall long term objectives or plan. By reviewing the various aspects of the approaches, the types and the different 'fits' and flexibility concerning HR strategies, I attempted stress the importance of achieving alignment between HR strategies and the organizations overall plan.I believe the contingency approach to HRM strategies, with 'fundamentally hard' practices will enable an organization to achieve Wright and Snell's 'vertical fit', which integrates strategic human resource management "toward the primary initiatives of the organization" (Wright and Snell 1998: p1). I believe this to be basis for HR strategy's existence, and therefore the answer of 'what is HR strategy'?However, the implementation of the above strategy, cannot be successful without reference, understanding and often inclusion of the other HR practices and approaches such as the universalistic approach, soft types of HR strategy, and effective horizontal fit.

In fact, these are very much part of the HR processes and activities that help create the outcome HR strategies aim to achieve.What is Human Resource Strategy? HRS is careful selection and implementing of various human resource processes, sets of activities and practices as part of a long term plan by the HR department, which achieves an effective fit with the organisation's long-term strategy.Bibliography:Schuler R. & Jackson S, 1999, "Strategic Human Resource Management", Blackwell Business.Bamberger P. & Meshoulam I., 2000, "Human Resource Strategy: formulation, implementation and impact." London SageDevanna M., Tichy N. & Fombrum C., 1984, "Strategic Human Resource Management", Wiley.Walker J., 1992, "Human Resource Strategy", McGraw Hill.Wright P.M., Snell S., 1998, "Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review", Mississippi State. Volume 23, Issue 4:"Toward a unifying framework for exploring fit and flexibility in strategic human resource management".Kamouche K., 1993, "A critique and proposed reformulation of strategic human resource management", Dept.

of Commerce, Birmingham Business School.Gratton L., Stiles, Truss & Hailly, 1999, "Strategic Human resource Management", Oxford University Press.Stace D. & Dunphy D., 1999, "Beyond traditional paternalistic and developmental approaches to organizational change and human resource strategies", The International Journal of Human Resource Management 2:3.Baird L. & Mesaulham I, 1998, "Managing two fits of Strategic Human Resource Management, Academy of Management Review. Volume 13, issue 1.Miles R. & Snow C., 1984, "Designing Strategic Human Resources Systems", Organisational Dynamics.Barney J., 1995, "Looking Inside for Competitive Advantage."Wright P & McMahon G., 1988, "Theoretical Perspectives for Strategic Human Resource Management."Bibliography:Schuler R. & Jackson S, 1999, "Strategic Human Resource Management", Blackwell Business.Bamberger P.

& Meshoulam I., 2000, "Human Resource Strategy: formulation, implementation and impact." London SageDevanna M., Tichy N. & Fombrum C., 1984, "Strategic Human Resource Management", Wiley.Walker J., 1992, "Human Resource Strategy", McGraw Hill.Wright P.M., Snell S., 1998, "Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review", Mississippi State. Volume 23, Issue 4:"Toward a unifying framework for exploring fit and flexibility in strategic human resource management".Kamouche K., 1993, "A critique and proposed reformulation of strategic human resource management", Dept. of Commerce, Birmingham Business School.Gratton L., Stiles, Truss & Hailly, 1999, "Strategic Human resource Management", Oxford University Press.Stace D.

& Dunphy D., 1999, "Beyond traditional paternalistic and developmental approaches to organizational change and human resource strategies", The International Journal of Human Resource Management 2:3.Baird L. & Mesaulham I, 1998, "Managing two fits of Strategic Human Resource Management, Academy of Management Review. Volume 13, issue 1.Miles R. & Snow C., 1984, "Designing Strategic Human Resources Systems", Organisational Dynamics.Barney J., 1995, "Looking Inside for Competitive Advantage."Wright P & McMahon G., 1988, "Theoretical Perspectives for Strategic Human Resource Management.".

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