Analysis Of Wal Mart's Approach To Employee Management Using Shrm Boxell/Purcell Model

2426 words - 10 pages

In the past it was noted by Snell, Youngy and Wright (1996:62) that organisations would purposely 'take human resource out of the strategic equation'. Today it is widely accepted that linking HR to strategy because of a shift in ideas concerning competition and firm advantage (Snell, Shauder and Wright (2001:3)). This shift was identified by Quin (1992:241) "with rare exceptions, the economic and producing power of the firm lies more in its intellectual and service capabilities than in its hard assets"Wal-Mart are aware of this and so by examining Wal-Marts practices using the 'best fit' perceptive will give a better understanding as to why they have adopted their various practices by linking them to their key organisational strategy and will also help to explain their stance on unionisation.The 'best fit' school (Boxell & Purcell (2000), covers a range of ideas, perspectives and models that are based on the practice of fitting HR Strategy into the organisations surroundings.This school has been broken into two groups identified by Baird and Meshoulam (1988). The 'external fit' deals with integration with the organisation competitive strategy and 'internal fit' which concentrates on the idea of using a combination of factors that should work together forming consistency within HRM.Miles and Snow (1994) developed an 'external fit' framework which linked HR Strategies to competitive strategy. They defined three types of strategic behaviour and I would suggest Wal-Mart are 'analyzers' (A mix of prospectors and defenders). They concern themselves with innovation (Wal-Mart were one of the first organisation to use stock-based-ordering and have the largest organisation IT system in the retail world) and succeed through new market opportunities (Wal-Mart aim to enter a new country every financial year) like 'Prospectors' while still maintaining a core base (Wal-Mart brand), a trait of 'Defenders'. In terms of HR 'analysers' are concerned with recruitment as well as development. Wal-Mart has had to be concerned with their recruitment because of their high staff turnover (between 44%-66%). However this is balanced by having development programs for both employees and graduates (70% of their store management started in hourly positions and developed into a managerial role (walmartfacts.com (2005))).Schuler and Jackson (1987) have developed a more widely cited model. Their work deals with connections between organisation strategy and desired employee behaviour. They argue that companies should generate HR strategies to reinforce desired behaviours that relate to organisation strategies outlined by Porter (1985) (Competitive advantage through cost leadership or differentiation).Despite criticism from people such as Miller (1992) and the large number of examples (Crinshaw, Davis and Kay (1994), Murray (1988)), that many of the most successful firms in their sectors are 'all-rounders' (Good at both Porter's (1985) differentiation/cost leadership skills), I...

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