Culture and Commitment
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Human Resource Management in a Business Context

Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 3rd edition
by Alan Price
 Human Resource Management in a Business Context provides an international focus on the theory and practice of people management. A thorough and comprehensive overview of all the key aspects of HRM, including articles from HRM Guide and other sources, key concepts, review questions and case studies for discussion and analysis.
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Problem for Discussion and Analysis

 Ark Nurseries

This problem is a mini-case about growth issues in a company that packages fresh and freeze-dried herbs and vegetables. The case is on pages 154-155 of the 1st edition of Human Resource Management in a Business Context and will also appear in the 2nd edition to be published in November 2003 by Thomson Learning.

This page provides students with hints and suggestions for dealing with the mini-case

Approach this problem by considering it as a situation with several possible levels of analysis. Like any real situations, this has implications which include but also go beyond human resource management. In fact, this case would be useful as a brief business strategy exercise. The most obvious implications are corporate culture and employee commitment - because the mini-case comes at the end of a chapter on culture and commitment! Less obviously, there are underlying issues:

1. In many respects this is a typical, successful small business situation where the company has reached a growth point at which the old start-up methods of general management and HR cease to be effective. See The entrepreneur - growing the business for a discussion.

2. It is evident that the company is essentially a 'one-woman business', heavily dominated to the point that the managers who report to her are not being allowed to BE managers - when she is around. This is typical of many small businesses where owners consider their firms to be extensions of themselves. So, consider the consequences on the following:

- the quality of decision-making in the company, particularly at the strategic level;
- the ability and suitability of existing executive staff to take charge of serious growth;
- the HR systems in place that provide the information to support decision-making and staff suitability.

3. You are expected to take the role of a management consultant in this situation. So how would you set about collecting necessary information/opinions? What model of company would feature in your proposed solution? Take a look at Branding aligns employees with organizational goals which might suggest a way forward.


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