A Critical Review of the Approaches to SHRM

The idea of Strategic Human Source of information management has been studied over time by academics and there were a variation on the issues of its explanation and romantic relationships with other aspects of business planning and strategy. Bratton & Gold (2007) defined proper human source management as "the procedure of linking the human resource function with proper goals of the company in order to boost performance". In general terms, SHRM is the integration of individual resource activities and procedures with defined tactical organisational goals all for the purpose of obtaining and sustaining quality performance outcome by the organisation. It's important to notice that the aim of SHRM is to procreate tactical quality by making sure the organisation has the skilled, devoted and well-motivated employees it needs to achieve sustained competitive advantage.

There are four major approaches/models to be examined for the intended purpose of this research. These solutions are Best practice model, Best fit model, Resource-based model and Integrative model. These models are employed by various organizations to achieve competitive benefit. This essay looks for to look at the four types of SHRM, their implications over a firm's performance and suggest the right strategy that can help achieve competitive advantages.

Literature Review

Best-practice/Universal strategy can be regarded as the simplest approach to analysing HR strategies. It argues that there is an exact set of human resource methods that can be applied in any organisational framework and the use of these routines can increase an organisation's performance and help attain competitive gain. It focuses mainly on certain tactics oriented to bolster employees' abilities. These techniques include variable settlement (Gerhat & Milkovich, 1990), certain methods of recruitment and selection (Terpstra & Rozell, 1993), complete training (Russell et al. , 1985) or performance appraisal (Borman, 1991). Pfeffer (1994, 1998) asserted that there surely is a connection between HR practices and competitive benefit and that this applies to all organisations and industries irrespective of their framework. He specified seven (7) procedures that an organisation should adopt which was the basis for analysing his platform. His platform interpreted that one particular employment practices is likely to offer suffered competitive benefits than the others. Quite simply, he located more focus on adopting high cost and high-skill job policies. This can be regarded as high determination HR. The procedures that should be applied by organizations include; career security, selective hiring, self-managed clubs and decentralised decision-making, comparatively high compensation, considerable training, low status distinctions and barriers, extensive sharing of financial and performance information. The use of these routines emphasises more on people as the main resource in a company there for a firm must integrate people who have the HR practices. The aim of this high commitment HR is aimed managers and exactly how they should adopt these practices. It's important for every administrator to inspire the employees of the company based on their individual efforts, this helps encouraging the employees to want to work harder which is beneficial to the average person as well as the company. More also, career security should be encouraged. It is because it reduces the risk of laying off employees which is related to cost and competitors. Laying off employees can be a risk on the part of the firm especially if a lot has been invested on selecting and training, thus giving room for rivals to hire such employee which may have a negative effect on the firm in question. In addition, the issue of team work is also an important part of HR insurance policies because employees who work in group have a tendency to report higher levels of satisfaction than their fellow counterparts. A good true to life example is the truth of the environment Country wide [in Bratton & Yellow metal, 2007, pp 69] and exactly how it used HR technique to sustain competitive benefit. It emphasized on staff empowerment and dedication. As their CEO, Clive Warren stated in a tv set interview, ''in a business like ours, where there are no assembly lines or robots, people are our most important asset and our long term survival depends after how they are part of an team''.

In summary, the implication of this model would be that the HR practices go with each other. Though they have its constraints but this model actually shown HR practices to scholars which have generated the introduction of new frameworks and theories based on the overview of this practice. More also, the various HR procedures enhances employee potential and knowledge through good training and this is really relevant to any organization or organisation. For instance, intensive training of employees can be good for the firm because empowerment of employees can foster creative imagination and innovation. In addition, it motivates desired behaviours of employees through strong bonuses. Finally, it motivates available communication where employees' ideas and efforts are urged.

Furthermore, there are several limitations of the model. It lacks sound theoretical foundation looked after does not talk about who the practice is good for (best practices for whom? Employees? Managers? Organisations? Societies?) (Syed, 2010). It is also difficult to implement

In compare, the best-fit/contingency methodology concentrates more on the value of the suitability of the human being resource (HR) ways of the different circumstances of the complete organisation together with culture, operational functions as well as exterior environment. This model argues that the organization should know very well what is applicable in general conditions and what lessons can be learnt to be implemented in order to match its strategic and operational requirements. This simply means that a particular group of HR techniques can produce better performance if they're matched up with specific aims, conditions and tactical passions i. e. a specific group of HR practices is dependent by using an organisation's strategy. (Schuler & Jackson, 1987, in M. L. Lengnick-Hall et al. , 2009, individuals resource management review, 19, ) asserted that 'different strategy types (cost decrease, quality improvement and innovation) require different types of employee role behaviours, that happen to be specified'. They further argued that once the desired worker role behaviours have been determined to match the strategy, HR tactics should be utilized to ensure those behaviours happen. This model can even be related to the behavioural perspective theory which argues that staff behaviour is the go-between between organisational strategy and performance. This is predicated on the assumption that the goal of a firm's HR methods is to evoke and control employee attitudes and behaviours that would be effective for the organisation. These specific attitudes and behaviours are different with respect to the various characteristics of organisations and their strategies. This implies the dissimilarities in role behaviours required by the organisation's strategy would also require different HR tactics to elicit and reinforce those behaviours. Corresponding to Schuler & Jackson (1987), "employee role behaviours are instrumental in the execution of the competitive strategies".

Furthermore, the best fit methodology highlights the idea of fit (external and internal) which (Lengnick-Hall & Lengnick-Hall, 1988, in M. L. Lengnick-Hall et al. , 2009, individuals source of information management review, 19) posited that there is need for a fit between an organisation's business strategy and its own HR technique for HR to affect strategy. However, throughout their assertion on the value of fit, it was seen that fit is not necessarily desired especially in times of change. They further advised that fit should be considered the opposite end of the continuum from flexibility which firms should obviously choose a posture over the continuum to correspond exactly with the assessment of approaching competitive conditions. Additionally, they proposed a reciprocal interdependence between strategy and HR whereby they advised that HR should be considered in both strategy formulation as well as strategy implementation. Inside the same vein, (Baird & Meshoulam, 1988, in M. L. Lengnick-Hall et al. , 2009, human being source of information management review, 19) further extended the idea of fit to combine both the external and internal components. The exterior fit is actually aligning a firm's HR methods with its strategy as the interior fit is aligning a firm's HR practices with one another i. e. a uniformity between the set of HR practices. On top of that, they suggested that the fit between HR procedures and strategy will change as an organisation improvements through its life cycle stages. An excellent true to life example is Tesco they modified their form of strategy by creating Tesco online shopping where their customers started buying groceries online. This strategy was unique by themselves to them plus they attained competitive edge. Another example is the metallic mini mills in america. They assimilate HR strategy with business strategy where the product development (creativeness, risk oriented, and cooperative behavior) is included with HR tactics (select highly skilled, minimal controls, invest in training, appraise long-term, IT systems in place, economy of opportunity, Just-in-time, integrate product with workforce).

In addition, further studies were done based on the ideas of fit and flexibility proposed by (Lengnick-Hall & Lengnick-Hall, Wright & Snell 1998, in M. L. Lengnick-Hall et al. , 2009, individuals tool management review, 19) put into the concept of fit and versatility by asserting that strategy should fit with three universal conceptual variables that are HR practices, employee skills, and worker behaviours. They defined versatility as the scope to that your firm's HR own skills and behavioural technique that can give a firm options for seeking tactical alternatives in the firm's competitive environment, as well as the magnitude to which necessary HR techniques can be diagnosed, developed, and implemented quickly to maximize the flexibilities existing in those HR. Similarly, (de Pablos 2005, in M. L. Lengnick-Hall et al. , 2009, real human tool management review, 19) argued that organisational versatility and fit must be performed simultaneously to be able to make a sustainable competitive edge.

In brief summary, the best fit methodology is of the assumption that the HR strategy becomes better when it's associated with its surrounding context or environment of business. A restriction to this procedure is that there is no give attention to the exact facet of business strategy that helps in deciding how to modify the HR techniques. Another area of disadvantage of the model is in the exterior fit theory. The external concentrates more on the cost reduction, quality improvement and technology hereby neglecting the interests of employees. Finally, the last limitation of the model is the inability of the fit system to be adaptable in structure. Therefore that the framework cannot adjust to change (Becker & Gerhart, 1996, in M. L. Lengnick-Hall et al. , 2009, human being source management review, 19).

Resource based model argues that the sustainable competitive benefit of a firm is as a result of the effective management of the firm's resources. These resources are recognized as tangible (financial, scientific, physical, human being) and intangible (brand name, reputation, know-how). This model argues that the affect of distinctive competence of a company relies about how unique and valuable its resources are i. e. the resources should be rare and will need to have well worth. Furthermore, the model posits that for a firm to achieve competitive gain, it must regularly adjust to the changes in exterior trends, internal capacities and must effectively formulate, use and evaluate the strategy that capitalizes on the factors talked about.

Furthermore, (Barney, 1991, in Val et al. , 2007, vol 31) recognized four characteristics of advantage creating resources which were value, rareness, inimitability and non-substitutability. All these characteristics should be possessed by a firm if it's to attain distinctive competence. The sources of the firm should possess high value in the sense that the tactical resources should have a higher sense of what and also add value to the organisation. Within the same vein, the resources must be very scarce, shouldn't be found anywhere and this can help in distinguishing a firm that gets the potential of attaining competitive edge and those that cannot. Organisations can discuss the same HR tactics but they can never have the same experience when those practices are implemented. It is very important for organisations to have resources that cannot be reproduced or imitated and this makes the solid stand out from its opponents. Finally, the resources shouldn't be substitutable if the firm is to stand out from its competitors. All these strategic assets are incredibly crucial if any company is to attain a sustained competitive advantages.

A good real life example is the case study of [Nordstrom suppliers (US), in Syed, 2010]. Their HR strategy centered on the investment in recruiting and keeping young college educated sales clerks that desired a career in retailing. This strategy helped to enhance and develop these individuals by broadening their horizon which can of asset can be considered a danger to other competition. In addition, the key with their competitive gain was their focus on individual salespersons. Likewise, they also used a highly incentive-based pay back system. Overall, the company maintains the best sales per square legs in the United States of another store (Barney & Wright, 1998, in Syed, 2010).

In synopsis, the resource based model highlighted that competitive advantage will depend an organisations tactical assets. One limitation with this model is the fact it does designate the way the resources cannot be imitated.

Integrative model is much more realistic because it is a lot more functional. This model is the integration of the control based and resource centered model whereby one model targets corporate and business strategy and the other reward-effort exchange (Bamberger & Meshoulam, 2000, in Bratton & Platinum, 2007). This model focuses on two main measurements of HR strategy that are 'acquisition and development' and 'locus of control'. The acquisition and development entails either a high investment in training of the workers or buying of the staff from the external labour market (Rousseau, 1995, in Bratton & Platinum, 2007). On the other hand, locust of control has to do with monitoring and control of the workers. This model recognises that the execution of policy varies from intention and stresses the value of planning well.

In synopsis, this model tends to link descriptive method of corporate methodology. The short-coming of the model is the fact it functions reactively somewhat than proactively. This model has no future since it targets 'doing' alternatively than 'forecasting'.


Having reviewed the four approaches, it could be concluded that best fit way is more appropriate and reliable for an company to realize a suffered competitive advantage and this is because there is a interconnection between competitive benefits, staff behaviours and HR techniques.

In recommendation, it is important for professionals to align the HR strategy of the organization with business strategy in order to realize competitive gain. Also the eye of employees should be considered, the employees' interest should be aligned with the eye of the company. In addition, critical research should be done on the theories of SHRM because they really lack functional evidence.

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