The purpose of this portion of the paper is to provide an explanation into strategic human resource management (SHRM). This information will look at the ways that some scholars have defined the concept of SHRM, and the role that it serves within an organization. In addition, the first part of this research will examine how a human resource department can actually be called strategic in nature. This information will also be examined in relation to an actual organization. Various models of SHRM will be discussed, and the idea of how they compare to the organization in question will be presented. After reading this portion of the paper, it should become clear that SHRM is much more than simply hiring people. It is also much more than operating within a bubble. It is about actually helping the overall strategy and vision of a company.
The first thing that needs to be done is to provide an actual definition and analysis to what it actually means to be SHRM. In order to define this concept, it is first important to actually explain what is meant by human resources in general. Appleby & Mavin (2000) explain that Human resources are the efforts, skills, and capabilities that people contribute to an employing organization which enable it to continue in existence. Although difficult to define, SHRM is generally perceived as a distinctive approach to managing people which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through the strategic development of a highly committed and capable workforce (s555).
The definition that is provided here explains that human resources is really about the skills that the people of an organization bring together in order to keep it alive. In addition, the authors explain that moving into the realm of SHRM is about managing the human capital of an organization in such a way as to achieve some type of competitive edge. Having not only a committed workforce, but also having a workforce that is highly trained for the job that must be performed achieves the competitive edge. Moving in this direction is where human resources becomes SHRM.
Van Donk (2001) takes this idea one step further by explaining where in the planning process of a company the human resource management role must fit in order to make it strategic in nature. He also explains how this role has evolved in the past twenty years or so: From the 80s onward there have been pleas for integrating human resource management and corporate strategy. A number of authors have been working on approaches to the achievement of what is called Strategic Human Resource Management. These approaches place the human resource management policy formulation at the strategic level. In these approaches to Strategic Human Resource Management it is claimed that: (1) human resource problems are problems solved by linking HRM and strategy formulation at an early stage; and (2) problems with strategy implementation are solved by early adjustment of the HRM to these strategies (299).
In the end, what Van Donk adds to the definition of SHRM is that human resources cannot be called in at the last minute to fix a hiring problem. Instead, human resources must be involved from the very early planning stages in terms of the type of human resources that are needed. This early involvement allows human resources to understand exactly what is needed. It also allows human resources to be able to adjust so that the decisions that are made about the people that are needed can be adjusted immediately to fit new or changed strategies for the company.
Finally, Mueller (1996) adds one additional piece to the information that helps us to formulate an overall definition for SHRM. He explains that: I propose to take the following as the defining features of the ‘orthodox notion of SHRM. According to this notion a strategic utilization of human resources means that: 1. Management is active, not reactive
2. There is high integration between policies
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