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Human Resource Management Essay

4847 words - 19 pages

IntroductionThere is a growing body of literature on the emergence and growth of human resource development (HRD) and in particular HRD with a strategic focus. Part of this growth can be attributed to the popularization both of Porter's[1,2] notion of competitive advantage and of the excellence literature, (e.g. [3,4,5 ]). The former body of literature argues that an organization needs to identify the key elements of its value chain in order to achieve competitive advantage. The excellence literature suggests that employees' values and philosophies should be guided by, and be consistent with, the strategies proposed by the organization. HRD is seen as a way of forging a relationship between human resources and strategy. Fombrun et al.[6] see the objective of strategic HRD in terms of aligning the formal structure and human resource systems so that they drive the strategic objectives of the organization.Harrison[7] suggests that many trainers find the phrase "strategic human resource development" difficult to accept, preferring the "softer" phrases such as "employee development", or "training and development". However, the phrase now has considerable international currency and is used widely in the HRD literature (8-10) to mean the planned learning and development of people as individuals and as groups to the benefit of the business as well as themselves. Sparrow and Pettigrew[11] and Harrison[7] cite many organizations where a business-led approach to training and development is typical.This article will focus on the emergence of human resource development. In particular it will outline forces which are driving a move towards strategic HRD. It will examine the characteristics of strategic human resource management (HRM) and its key assumptions and philosophies. It will conclude by examining the relationships between business plans, HR plans and HRD and make some comment on the extent to which strategic HRD is practised in British and Irish organizations.The emergence of a strategic human resource development perspectiveThere are many critical factors which organizations must consider as they face the future. Technology is advancing at a frenetic pace, especially in relation to the transfer and accessibility of information and the increasing ease of establishing communication networking facilities. The continuing removal of trade barriers and tariffs, the consequent globalization of markets, the volatility of consumer demand within existing markets, currency fluctuations and political upheaval are by now familiar characteristics of an environment where "all is flux". The capability of people to cope and manage within such an environment is a vital element in the success of any business and ultimately a determinant in national economic performance. The new business context is prompting senior management to take a greater interest in the development of their organizations' human resources.Some specific triggers can be identified which have helped to...

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