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What is strategic human resource management? Critical evaluation of the concept in terms of theory and practice

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Strategic human resource management: Definition.
  3. Different approaches in strategic human resource management.
    1. Vertical Integration goes hand in hand with the best-fit school approach.
    2. An evolution of 'tight' fit models introducing flexibility: Configurational approach.
    3. The resource-based approach: focusing on internal resources.
    4. Best practice SHRM, the universalist approach.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

In the 1980's, a new concept called ?Human Resource Management' was born. This trend comes after an intense period of Taylorisation, Fordism and now, McDonaldisation. HRM came to counter balance these trends and consider the concept of Man as a man and not as a machine. For the last several decades, the interests of companies in ?strategic management? have increased in a noteworthy way. This interest in strategic management has resulted in various organizational functions becoming more concerned with their role in the strategic management process. The Human Resource Management (HRM) field has sought to become integrated into the strategic management process through the development of a new discipline referred to as Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM). In current literature, the difference between SHRM and HRM is often unclear because of the interconnections linking SHRM to HRM. However, the concepts are slightly different.

[...] Different approaches in strategic human resource management II.a) Vertical Integration goes hand in hand with the Best-fit school approach In fact, vertical integration, conceptualized by Torrington and Hall (1998), can be scaled by five different levels where integration varies in accordance with the relationship between the organization strategy and the HR strategy. Thus, we have a first level called separation where there is no link between HR and organization strategy. Then we have the ?fit' level, where people actually recognize HR strategy as a part of the organization strategy. [...]


[...] It is agreed that human resources do the implementation of organizational strategy, but it can only be properly done if the external environment allows the human resources and the organization to do so (Miller and Shamsie, 1996; Porter, 1991). The resource-based view tends to ignore the baseline of specific industries as it takes into account the differences of firms in the same sector as a competitive advantage. However, competitive advantages are gained by the ?rightsizing' process (Hamel and Prahalad, 1993) which implies that an organization obtains more output from its existing resources and optimizes the way in which they are used. [...]

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