Essay: Strategic Human Resource Management: Business

Pages: 8 (2413 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Section Four

One model for organizational effectiveness that has remained respected while others go in and out of popularity is the McKinsey 7S framework, developed by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman (McKinsey, 2011). They suggest 7 internal mechanisms for alignment in order to achieve HR-business success as follows:

Hard Elements: (1) Strategy; (2) Structure; (3) Systems; Soft Elements: (4) Shared Values; (5) Skills; (6) Style; and (7) Staff (McKinsey, 2011).

The Mckinsey Model observes hard elements as those easier to define and identify while soft elements are more challenging to describe and address but equally crucial to effective development and performance (McKinsey, 2011; Kearns, 2010).

Every bit as important as the development of a human resource business strategy framework and implementing it appropriately and effectively are the issues of organizational structure, organizational culture, and human resource alignment. Regardless of the framework or elements that one decides to implement, alignment issues arise and those are only able to be addressed and engaged with if methods for analyzing and understanding structure and culture are available and utilized (McKinsey, 2011; Kearns, 2010). Without pursuing and achieving alignment, it is fundamentally impossible for an organization's HR-business strategy to be most effective and successful.

In my opinion, it often takes a third (neutral) party to help in this important phase. Up until the issues of alignment, most of the focus has been outward in regards to the pursuit of competitive advantage and overall success but to get there the focus has to turn inward, looking at internal norms, values, leadership abilities, procedures, protocols, biases, power dynamics, shifts in power and responsibility, capabilities and competencies, relationships, synergy, communication pathways, among other possible internal dynamics.

Taking all this into account, the key to HR-business strategy development is to commit to the ideal in the first place and then incorporate this commitment throughout the entire process and beyond. It is also clear that whether or not an element is easy to identify and cultivate or challenging and intangible, it is crucial to have a holistic model that is uniquely-designed to ensure the highest levels of health and productivity within and around the organization.

Section Five

Gross and Friedman (2004) clarify that the problem is not that leaders/executives are against valuing human potential towards greater effectiveness and profitability, but rather that implementing holistic human resource business strategies presents a layer of complexity and challenge that most organizations have yet to master. Becton and Schraeder (2009) suggest that it is not surprising that very few organizations can actually make the total (holistic) transition. Based on these critiques, it seems that the human resource business strategy has the best chance of survival and thriving when it is implemented early in an organization's life rather than implemented as a transformational process in an already established organization. Still the complexity and challenge it presents is well worth it for the sake of future success in a competitive marketplace.

One of the things that limit human resource business strategies is the inability of leaders/executives to understand how human capital impacts the bottom line (Becton and Schraeder, 2009; Odden, 2011; Leopold, 2010). In other words, they have a hard time finding human influence in the numbers. In fact, they have a hard time finding human value in final products or productivity and performance reports. Yet, it is the human capital that differentiates competitors. According to Gross and Friedman (2004), "Each organization's human capital strategy is unique because it is based on that organization's unique business strategy and business context" (p. 8). Included in this is an organization's unique competitive field. It is the one thing that the competitor can't control or manipulate and the one thing that an organization can't defeat in a competitor. The only way to compete within this context is to ensure that the best possible practices for protecting, empowering, and representing human capital are enabled.


Gross and Friedman (2004) offer the best checklist of characteristics for an effective human resource business strategy as follows: (1) HOLISTIC; (2) INTEGRATED; (3) ALIGNED; (4) MEASURABLE; (5) DELIVERABLE (p. 12). With no doubt that this transformation away from traditional strategies towards an HR-business strategy is necessary, the only question is who will lead the way and most effectively establish the expectations for organizational success as we move into the future.


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