Strategic Human Resource Management

Strategic human resource management is a complex process which is constantly evolving and being studied and discussed by academics and commentators. Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) is an area that continues to evoke a lot of debate as to what it actually embraces. Definitions range from 'a human resource system that is tailored to the demands of the business strategy' (Miles and Snow 1984) to 'the pattern of planned human resource activities intended to enable an organization to achieve its goals' (Wright and McMahan 1992).

Strategic human resource management (SHRM) is a concept that integrates traditional human resource management activities within a firm's overall strategic planning and implementation. SHRM integrates human resource considerations with other physical, financial, and technological resources in the setting of goals and solving complex organizational problems (Legnick-Hall & Legnick-Hall, 1988) SHRM also emphasizes the implementation of a set of policies and practices that will build employee pool of skills, knowledge, and abilities (Jackon and Schulerm 1995) that are relevant to organizational goals. Thus a larger variety and more complete set of solutions for solving organizational problems are provided and the likelihood that business goals of the organization will be attained is increased (Mechelin, 1996).

Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) is an area that continues to evoke a lot of debate as to what it actually embraces. Definitions range from 'a human resource system that is tailored to the demands of the business strategy' (Miles and Snow 1984) to 'the pattern of planned human resource activities intended to enable an organization to achieve its goals' (Wright and McMahan 1992). Although the difference between these two seems subtle, the implications of the difference are considerable. Where in the first definition human resource management is a 'reactive' management field in which human resource management becomes a tool to implement strategy, in the latter definition it has a proactive function in which human resource activities actually create and shape the business strategy (Sanz-Valle et al. 1999).

Strategic HRM can be regarded as a general approach to the strategic management of human resources in accordance with the intentions of the organisation on the future direction it wants to take. It is concerned with longer-term people issues and macro-concerns about structure, quality, culture, values, commitment and matching resources to future need. It has been defined as:

All those activities affecting the behaviour of individuals in their efforts to formulate and implement the strategic needs of business. (SCHULER, R.S., 1992)

The pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable the forms to achieve its goals. (WRIGHT, P.M. and MCMAHAN, G.C. (1992)

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