Human Resource Management

HRM Guide Updates


Strategic HRM - Reality and Action

Based on Human Resource Management (4th Edition) by Alan Price - published by Cengage

Translating strategy into action
The classic approach to implementing human resource strategies follows the 'matching' process outlined in the Michigan model of HRM outlined in the first section. The goal is a realization of the organization's strategic human resource requirements in terms of numbers and, more importantly, attitudes, behaviour and commitment. According to Miller, the key lies with 'the concept of "fit": the fit of human resource management with the thrust of the organization'.

Khilji and Wang (2006) argue that much of the apparent confusion about the effectiveness of strategic HRM results from a failure by researchers to distinguish between ‘intended’ and ‘implemented’ strategies. They contend that researchers often depend on single respondents from each organization in industry-wide surveys. Khilji and Wang questioned managers and non-managers from inside and outside HR departments to highlight the differences between the HR practices intended by their company’s strategies and those that actually were implemented. They found that the two may be substantially different while consistent implementation leads to higher employee satisfaction with HRM, which is positively related to organizational performance. (More on page 281 of Human Resource Management (Price, 2011)

The reality of HR strategy
(...) Whipp concludes that control of the environmental, organizational and strategic aspects of both competition and human resources is so problematic that the relationship between the two can only be indirect and fragile. Another critical factor is that the human resource is but one of the resources of the firm. Strengths and weaknesses in other areas, such as marketing and finance, may obscure the best people management.

(..) They are highlighted in recession when the business needs do not fit with 'soft' HR values. HR strategies may focus on redundancies, and sacking employees inevitably damages or destroys a caring corporate image. Legge outlined a strategy described as tough love - being cruel to be kind - in which employees are expected to be both dedicated and disposable.

(...) More positively, human resource strategies can be aimed at improving an organization's competitiveness by increasing its 'knowledge base' or competence. (...)


Strategic thinking has its basis in rational thinking. In practice, strategists have accepted that there must be a place for the unexpected. Strategy and planning provide a framework for human resource requirements over a defined period but traditional personnel managers have experienced difficulty in understanding and implementing strategy. Human resource strategies tend to focus on numbers and also attitudes, behaviour and commitment in line with harder ‘matching’ models of HRM but their implementation is problematic. Recent thinking has accommodated the notion that HR strategy is not as simple as some rationalist accounts imply and that strategy itself has the same emotional, irrational and intuitive components as any other form of thinking or decision-making.

  Forming HR strategies

  Change Strategies

HRM Textbooks

Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management, 4th edition
by Alan Price
 Covers all the key aspects of HRM. Available from: - UK pounds - Euros - Euros - Euros - US dollars - Can dollars

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management
 Shortened version of Human Resource Management - concise analysis for non-specialists and one-semester courses.
More information and prices from: - UK pounds - Euros - Euros - Euros - US dollars - Can dollars

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