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Topic: Human Resource Management

1.1 Compare different definitions of strategic human resource management
The Learner has defined one definition of SHRM and then describes the concept & approach. This should not form the basis of the answer as not relevant to what is being asked.
To compare is to identify similarities and differences between the definitions of SHRM and summarize your preference.
In order to define strategic human resource management, we need to define Human resource management and strategy first.
According to Michael Armstrong, “Human resource management (HRM) is defined as a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organisation’s most valued assets – the people working there, who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives.” (Armstrong, Michael. “Strategic human resource management: a guide to action.” (2006). p. 5)
Strategy is a declaration of intent; it defines where you want to go and how you mean to get there; it defines longer term goals and how those goals should be achieved.
Considering all the above, “Strategic human resource management (SHRM) is an approach that defines how the organisation’s goals will be achieved through people by means of HR strategies and integrated HR policies and practices.” (Armstrong, Michael. “Strategic human resource management: a guide to action.” (2006). p. 33)
Strategic HRM is based on the following three main concepts:
• The resource-based view states that competitive advantage and unique character of a company are produced by its range of resources (Hamel and Prahalad, 1989).
• Strategic fit, as clarified by Wright and McMahan (1992), alludes to the two dimensions of strategic HRM: ‘First, vertically, it involves the linking of HR management practices with the strategic management processes of the company. Second, horizontally, it accentuates the consistency among the different HR management practices.’
• Strategic flexibility is the capacity of the organisation to react and adapt to the competitive environment’s changes.
Taking into account these concepts and using different perspectives, different approaches, models and frameworks have been developed.
Best Practice approach considers some HR practices are better than others for any kind of organisation (universalistic perspective).
Best Fit approach considers that, in order to be efficient, a company’s HR policies must be consistent with all the other aspects of the company (contingency perspective). Examples of the best fit approach are:
• Lifecycle Model: applying business and product life cycle thinking to the selection and management of HR policies and practices that fit the relevant stage of the company’s life-cycle.
• Competitive Advantage Models: are based on the three keys of competitive advantage: Cost Leadership, Differentiation through Quality and Service, Focus on niche markets.
Bundling approach: As Richardson and Thompson (1999) comment, “A strategy’s success turns on combining “vertical” or external fit and “horizontal” or internal fit.” They said that companies with groups of associated HR practices will have better performance and achieve a higher level of fit with their competitive strategies. Bundling is the design and the implementation of different human resources practices together with the goal of complementing and reinforcing each other. This process is also known as the use of ‘complementarities’ (horizontal integration).
Configurational Models: depends on the configurational perspective, a method that underpins the importance of the HR practices’ pattern and is focused on how this pattern is related to organisational performance.
Resource Based Model: considers the HR function as a key in creating sustainable competitive advantage and it’s a step in the direction of SHRM thinking by concentrating on the internal organisation’s resources instead of analysing performance as an external context.
Harvard Framework: has been designed by the fathers of HRM at the Harvard school of Beer et al (1984) and it focuses on the human aspect of HRM, particularly regarding the relationship between employer and employee. Started on the idea that if managers develop the point of view of how they would like to see employees involved the company, then the criticisms of historical HR management can be passed. These the two HRM characteristic features that Harvard framework suggests:
• Line managers have to accept more responsibility for guaranteeing the alignment of HR policies and competitive strategies.
• HR has the objective of designing policies that define how HR activities are created and executed in a mutually reinforcing way
Analysing the framework of strategic human resource management, we can say that the best-fit approach seems to be more realistic than the best-practice approach. On the other side a best-fit approach can be more static because it doesn’t take in consideration the processes of change, disregarding the way that businesses can settle on autonomous choices.
As Paauwe (2004) remarks ‘It is necessary to avoid falling into the trap of “contingent determinism”. There is, or should be, room for making strategic choices.’

Type of service: Editing
Type of assignment: Essay
Subject: Management
Pages/words: 20/5500
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Academic level: Undergraduate
Paper Format: Harvard
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English