Strategic Human Resources Management Assignment

Strategic Human Resources Management Assignment Words: 6632

Assignment Strategic Management of Human Resources Table of contents 1 Section A 1 1. In what ways do you think McLaren Group practices SHRM? 1 How would you categories the form of SHRM that would be necessary in this organisation? 2. Reflecting across the course units what would you be the main SHRM 5 challenges facing the organization and its pursuance of SHRM in the next few years?

What system and processes would need to be in place? 3. How would you recommend the organisation set a comprehensive strategic 9 process for evaluating and auditing the impact of SHRM. 2 Section B 12 2. 1 Performance Management is central to the achievement of SHRM. 12 However it is normally considered problematic to design and implement a successful system.

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Consider this statement and assets what an organisation should do to ensure that systems delivers ‘value added’ for an organisation. 2. 2 Why are employee relations problematic for SHRM? How might 19 organisations integrate employee relations systems and processes to support SHRM? Reference List 26 1 Section A 1. In what ways do you think McLaren Group practices SHRM?

How would you categories the form of SHRM that would be necessary in this organisation? The present case study of the McLaren Group describes the companies SHRM. The problems, the chances and the changes for a better integration of the SHRM into the companies actions are characterised. There exist three approaches to the strategic management of Human Resources: (University of Sunderland Workbook, 2004, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 12 ff. ) 1) The best practice view 2) The best fit view 3) The resource-based approach To determine McLaren’s approach the best practice view is identified. In modern highly and globally competitive times there is really only one successful way for an organisation to deal with human resourcing issues. And that is to adopt ‘enlightened’, ‘progressive’, ‘people first’, ‘high performance’ or ‘high commitment’ employment practices regardless of the organisation` s circumstances”. (Leopold, Harris and Watson, 2005, p. 25) Such ‘best practices’ are: – Human resourcing issues are the concern of all managers – Human resourcing consideration are part of all strategic – level deliberations – – A strong culture, with high levels of worker involvement and consultation, encourages high employee commitment to the organisations and its continuous improvement – High trust relations and teamworking practices make close supervision and strict hierarchies unnecessary – Employees undertake continually to develop their skills to achieve both personal ? growth? and task flexibility (The Strategic Managing of Human Resources, edited by John Leopold, Lynette Harris and Tony Watson, FT Prentice Hall, 2005, p. 25) The ‘best practice’ model emphasises on the professionalism of personnel practice and involvement and empowerment of staff.

Furthermore, organisational flexibility, quality and integration of activities are of importance. The high commitment strategy contains a close relationship between employer and worker as well as opportunities for personal and career development. By contrast the low commitment strategy which follows ‘hire and fire’ principles and does not support employees training and development. To clarify the high commitment to human resources strategies at McLaren, the following table shows the components of high and low commitment HR strategies in comparison with the McLaren strategy: (McLaren case study)   |Components of |Components of |McLaren Strategy | | |low commitment |high commitment | | | |HR strategy |HR strategy | | |Organisational |- rule based |- shared valued |companies view/interests | |culture |- task focused |- learning from mistakes |-customer orientation | |Organisational |top – down influence |Mutual influence – |”we re a family” | |structure | |organically |-a mutual influence | | | | |structure | |Work/job |individual has singkle skill|whole, enriched skill |the jobs are | |design | |-individual multi skilled |whole and enriched | | | | |and individuals are | | | | |multi-skilled to work | | | | |in different areas | |Performance |objectives met to minimal |objectives ‘stretch’ and |no deadlock | |expectations |level |develop people |-work as challenge | | | | |to activate potential | |Communication |information used for |two – way comunication |successful communication | | |sectional advantage |-information shared for genaral|is information | | | |advantage | | | | |-business information widely | | | | |shared | | |Employee |training for specific |Training to |different learning and | |development |purpose -emphasis for |develop employees` |development programs for | | |courses -focus |skills and |every command structure | | |on job |competence | | | | |- Continuous | | | | |learning emphasis | | | | |- Focus on career | | |HR department |Reactive |Proactive HR department | | |- Marginal, and |- Integrated into |works proactive and | | |restricted to |management, and |works together with | | |’welfare’ and |working as |managers | | |employment |’partners’ with other |- first leadership | | |administrative tasks |managers |development which | | | | |will be followed by | | | | |employee | | | | |development | (The Strategic Managing of Human Resources, edited by John Leopold, Lynette Harris and Tony Watson, FT Prentice Hall, 2005, p. 31, McLaren Case study) One major criticism of the ‘best practice’ model are the costs of implementation and the non-observance of the influence to human resources management by outside factors which leads to the next model of strategic human resources management: the ‘best fit’ view. This model is based on the idea that human resources strategies flow from business strategy. Like Marchington and Wilkinson (2002, p. ) argued, “successful human resourcing strategies […] need to fulfil criteria of both vertical integration, whereby there is a ‘fit’ between HR strategies, broader organisational strategies and organisational contexts, and horizontal integration, where there is ‘fit’ between different HR policies and practices, and the degree to which they support or contradict one another”. The ‘best fit’ view underlines this aspect and amplifies it with the dependence of success on its ability to integrate into the strategic plans of the organisation. This emphasis on the ‘fit’ of strategy is one of the main criticism of the resourcebased approach on the two previous models. The resource-based model differs in so far from other approaches that it looks first at the organisation and its potential and does not start with external factors like threats and opportunities.

Concluding to the initial question, Organisations, like the McLaren Group, want to perform successfully and should care about their employees because they are responsible for the success and if they are motivated and satisfied with their work they can be even more successful. Therefore the changes of Patrick Bermingham and the opportunities of the McLaren Group like: • Familiar atmosphere • Employees are open to change and to adapt the values corporately • high degree of enthusiasm and agreement • passion • high willingness among the employees to push the company’s goal forward ( open for change • the atmosphere at McLaren is hugely affected by the performance on track, that shows that there is a high identification of the employees with the company (McLaren case study) This opportunities allows the implementation of a successful and sustainable SHRM inside the McLaren Group. 2.

Reflecting across the course units what would you be the main SHRM challenges facing the organization and its pursuance of SHRM in the next few years? What system and processes would need to be in place? If you want to change something inside an organization or a company (in our case the McLaren Group) for better and more successful future actions it is necessary to analyses the current situation. Furthermore you have to know what are the reasons for the changes and what are your issues? – where are we now – where do we want to be – how we will get there Change can be effected in one of three ways: – top down – bottom up – horizontal / sideways The following table shows the strength and weaknesses of the different ways:   |Strenghts |Weaknesses | |Top down change |• control power and |• non-ownership • | | |resources •|resistance • | | |fast pace •|low commitment • may | | |clarity of objectives |not have best answer • stakeholder | | | |interest | |Bottum up change |• ownership • |• slow pace •| | |high commitment • able |dilution of objectives • | | |to cope and adapt • drive |inapproprirate compromises | | |objectives • |in major change | | |empowerment / learning |• shareholder and external | | |capacity |interacts ignored | | |• new style of managing | |Horizontal/side ways change |• broader commitment • new |• seen as peripheral groups • by – pass| | |teams / fresh start • power at |existing | | |all levels • symbolises |managers and power | | |partneship |structures • | | |and style of managing |staff isolated / alienated | | | |from colleagues | (University of Sunderland Workbook, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 480) The first two approaches are self-explanatory. The third relates to change initiated and promoted by teams of people at different levels of the organization. The third approach promises the most success because if the management board or the HR director (Patrick Bermingham) involves the employees in the change process the achievement of acceptance is very high. The main SHRM change of McLaren, initiated by P. Bermingham, for the next few years are: Need to look at the distinctive talent management framework to stay competitive and to grow • Built leaders of the next generation • Focus on the company’s values ( everybody has to know what the values are explicit about and internalize them • We win, we make things happen, we take it personally, we work together, we enjoy what we do • More conversations about behavior ( more efficiency • Encourage staff to occupy themselves with other areas of expertise and to see why this is necessary ( see company as a whole and not just one’s single part • Implementation of a learning program and a development program to help people to find their most comfortable way of behaviour and working Leadership program with Judge Business School of Cambridge University to develop the next generation of leaders with a more rounded and outward-looking workforce • Graduate training program for students with more than just engineering excellence (not a recruiting just based on IQ) and trying to attract more women by an engineering and construction project for a diversity of perspectives in the company and its processes • Collaboration, communication, resilience, social confidence, leadership potential • 100 vacancies • Built focus groups made up of the broad and employees • The concentration was on developing technical expertise rather than on management Implements an internal development review • Experienced line manager as a coach to encourage to more interactions ( coaching approach as a tool for more flexibility within the company • Revised process based in the grow coaching model • Actors play a range of scenarios that managers are attending in mixed groups (McLaren case study) During the whole change process the communication to all involved parties is absolutely important, they have to be informed about the incidents, otherwise it could be that fear is growing and the change process could stagnate and not be successful. A good tool / guideline for the initiation and accomplishment is the following table: Change management assumptions |  | |Assumptions about intentions of change |Implications | | | | |Is change |• Arrangements made for scanning, filtering and | | | | |• Exceptional or endemic? |responding to signals for change | |• Threatening or desirable? |• Behavioural readiness to do things differently | |• Deviant or normal? • Cultural responsiveness to do things differently | |Assumptions about implementing change | | |Is change | | | |Implications | |• Controllable or controlling? |• Perceptions about the rightness, speed, scope | |• Rational or relational? |and pace of change strategy | |• Discrete or multifaceted? • Attention given to historical, cultural and | | |political (internal and external) contexts | | | | | |• Arrangements made to cater for systemic | | |repercussions | |Assumptions about interpretation of change | | |Is change | | | |Implications | |• Directional or reciprocal? | | |• Managing people or managing meaning? |• Allowances made for differing versions of | |• Problem – solving or pattern – seeking? change process | | | | | |• Credence given to different choices and | | |evaluation of change outcomes | | | | | |• Extent to which differing views, predispositions, | | |ideologies explored and understood | (University of Sunderland Workbook, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 470) Back to the initial question, the main SHRM challenge for the next few years is to attend the changes which will be initiated in the company and to control them for the achievement of the desired aims and values.

The question for successful SHRM shouldn’t be what can the employees do for the company, the question should be what can the company do for the employees. 3. How would you recommend the organisation set a comprehensive strategic process for evaluating and auditing the impact of SHRM. The impact of SHRM is very important and the following key points shows which consequence it has. It is not just important inside the HR division it involves the whole issues of the company’s staff. The relevance and the challenge of the SHRM will be clear if there are changes inside a company, inside a system. The following key points show what is necessary for an efficient and comprehensive strategic process for evaluating and auditing the impact of SHRM. there is a clear alignment of employee values those of the organisation – there is a clearly articulated HR strategy owned by managers as distinct personnel staff – HR policies (key levels) are a means to an end rather than an end in themselves – (University of Sunderland Script, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 33/34) Furthermore a successful change management implicates the following points inside an organisation and its strategic process before, during and after the change: – top level commitment – widespread acceptance of the need to change – early success well communicated – long term sustained view – considerable pressure for change internal and external – acceptance crisis – multiple methods of change; multi – faced approach – well, informed staff clear change goals and clearly communicated culture and competence – careful performance monitoring and use of HR policies to reinforce changes – external facilitator to enable performance issues to be fully ‘surfaced’ and evaluated – individual and group processes clearly confronted – not just policies and safe aspects of work practices – development orientation and provision of employee support to cope with change (University of Sunderland Script, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 505) The strategic cycle below is a good tool for the visualisation of the impact of SHRM by strategic processes inside an organisation, system or company. Furthermore it shows in which fields during the process the SHRM is involved. (www. citadel. edu) Additional for the evaluation of the impact of successful HRM the following points are a good solution for that: By Job Behaviors – systematic observation – performance data – customer feedback – activity sampling – self-diaries – critical incident recording – appraisal By Organizational Performance – symptoms / measures of organizational effectiveness, e. g. roductivity, efficiency, cost savings Furthermore it is really important inside an efficient and successful organisation or company that there is a balance between every single division and that it is seen as a whole, as a mate system which act together. The SHRM should be seen as a part of the whole system like i. e. the financial, sales or marketing division. Just if they work together and complement each other a sustainable and successful acting is assured. 2. Section B 2. 1 Performance Management is central to the achievement of SHRM. However it is normally considered problematic to design and implement a successful system.

Consider this statement and assets what an organisation should do to ensure that systems delivers ‘value added’ for an organisation. “Performance management is the process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities. Performance management is a whole work system that begins when a job is defined as needed. It ends when an employee leaves your organization. ” (Source: Susan M. Heathfield, About. com) Performance management systems act as key integrator of peoples` benefits to the human resources system. The expectancy theory of Mabey and Salaman (1995, p. 90) says that “people will put more ‘E’ (energy, effort, enthusiasm, excitement and so on) into their work if they believe their efforts will result in tangible achievements that will help them fulfil their personal needs. ” Therefore, a process is needed to bring all activities of employees in line within the organisation? s objectives. Performance management systems do so, because it provide the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the whole performance process and report on capability as well as on outcomes achieved. Clear, realisable and significant goals reduce uncertainty and therefore insecurity if aims are achieved or not. “Performance management is often the vehicle for quelling such anxieties and demands”. (Leopold, Harris and Watson, 2005, p. 179) Therefore, this kind of system is very common in companies all over the world.

Performance management systems facilitate the strategic management of people by a proactive process of evaluating organisational procedures and attitudes and by the alignment of organisational and individual goals. Goals, aims and objectives are used interchangeably in the vocabulary of performance management. Team and individual aims have to be balanced. To come more to detail of the described system and the key management process that takes place within it, the following list shows the elements of performance management which will be explained later in detail. – Performance measurement – Target setting and monitoring – Appraisal forms – Personal development plan – Performance-related pay Performance measurement

Appropriate measures have to be identified because they “only have value, as information rather than data, if they are constructed as ratios that put one piece of statistical data into the context of another”. (Leopold, Harris and Watson, 2005, p. 186) The authors point out that less important things about organisation? s performance are easier to measure than important things. Furthermore, there is the risk that managers and employees will only give their effort to achieving those things they have been set aims and objectives before and loose innovation and creativity because they are too focused on meeting specific targets. Target – setting and monitoring Leopold, Harris and Watson (2005) mentioned three issues that need to be considered in judging the usefulness of target-setting.

Firstly, the motivational impact of targets to employees, secondly how equal and open the process of agreeing targets is and finally how skilled people are at setting appropriate targets. There has to be find a balance between the level of resource needed for the job and the amount of the budget. Hofstede (1984) is on the opinion that tight targets can produce better than expected performance, but targets too tight or too loose do not. A good upward communication between manager and employees supports people in seeing targets less likely as tight. Appraisal forms Corbridge and Pilbeam (1998) present an overview of the main types of appraisal, which contains: Top-down schemes: most traditional form which emphasises subordinate feedback and the lead on objective setting coming from the top. Main criticism of this form is the stress on traditional organisational hierarchies and the possible existence of lack of impartiality and favouritism – Self-appraisal: only rare use of it but helpful in preparing for appraisal interviews – Upward appraisal: there is an increased use of this appraisal in which employees are invited to provide managers with a rating on dimensions like effective communication, involvement in decision-making, clarity of objectives and goals and so on. – Peer appraisal: members of teams evaluating each other 360° appraisal: this form is a multi-directional appraisal and to fulfil the 360° a range of people are asked to asses the performance of an individual (from subject? s bosses a 90°appraisal, from staff a 180° appraisal, from colleagues and clients or customers a full 360° appraisal). The key advantage is in collecting data from outside to overcome impracticalities and lack of knowledge of a single appraiser. The problem of weighting the various perspectives rises up. Should the view of a senior colleague weight the same as one of a subordinate? Additionally, how seriously should the assessments of external feedback be taken?

Therefore, an upward appraisal can be seen as an appropriate balance between appraisers and appraisees. To complete the topic of appraisals, problems as well as trends in performance appraisal should be mentioned. Following problems are pointed out by appraisers: – for completion of paperwork overtime is required – vague objectives and inconsistent standard concerning objective setting – narrow individual orientation that ignores wider feedback – failure to really integrate appraisal issues – no emphasis on the quality of the interview process, more on getting the review ‘over’ Fletcher (1993) identified a number of trends in performance appraisal: – reduction of paperwork to save time clarity of objective setting in order to create precise and meaningful aims – emphasis on the quality of the review discussion – greater involvement of staff in the process in terms of their satisfaction – employment and performance being about teams not just traditional employer/employee relations Personal development plan This document and process is supposed to encourage employees undertaking a systematic analysis of their development needs. Furthermore, the plan helps to present their needs to line managers who will be encouraged to provide the resources and support their subordinates to achieve it. The personal development plan keeps a record of employees? learning achievements against their learning targets which can be useful for measuring performance.

Performance-related pay Because of the complexity of this topic I will only pay little attention to this element. The importance of the relationship between pay and performance is vitally important for employers but involves advantages and disadvantages for employees because performance-related pay means incentive on the one hand and pressure on the other hand. For managers, the performance management system forms the basis of recommendations for the distribution of performance-related pay. After considering the elements of performance management system and it? s target to achieve the best possible result; is this not a day-to-day activity of all managers?

Yes, it is but if the methods managers use to achieve those results depends on their individual initiative two weaknesses could arise. Firstly, the missing guarantee that all managers work to a conclusive set of organisational aims and priorities and secondly, the variation of manager competence so that performance standards are unlikely to be consistent or universally high. As a consequence, management? s history consists largely of attempts to evolve the managerial processes and two approaches have been developed from it. Firstly, the process approach with its characteristic of ‘find the best way’ by analysing the work which needs to be done; and secondly, the people approach with the assumption that high performance can only be achieved through people.

Alan Fowler (1990) named the Management of Objectives (MBO) system as an example for the process approach because it is firmly based on a rational model of organisation structures and operational objectives but it is also the first system that recognised the motivational effect on employees of knowing what they were expected to do and learning how well they were doing it. Therefore it can be seen as basis of today? s PMS. Where are the similarities and differences between PMS and MBO? Therefore, both are compared in the following table: |MBO |PMS | |Packaged system Tailor-made systems | |Applied to managers |Applied to all staff | |Emphasis on individual objectives |Emphasis on corporate goals and values | |Emphasis on quantified performance |Inclusion of qualitative performance | |measures |indicators | |Jobs divided into key results areas |Jobs divided into principal | |(KRAs) |accountabilities | |Objectives set for each KRA |Objectives set for each accountability | |Performance measures |Performance indicators | |Task and personal goals |Task and personal goals | |Annual appraisal including discussion of |Annual appraisal including discussion of | |new goals |new goals | |Most schemes used complex paperwork |Some scheme have complex paperwork | |Schemes ‘owned’ by specialists |Schemes ‘owned’ by line management | (Alan Fowler, Case Study ‘Performance Management: the MBO of the 90’s, 1990) PMS shares many common features with MBO like… – Objective setting – Ongoing review of objectives – Formal appraisal with feedback – Pay review …in addition, PMS features The development of personal improvement plans linked to training and – development – a competence-based organisational capability review – Mix of quantitative and qualitative objectives – Integrated system with interlocking procedures and flows of information – Distinctive and adaptable philosophy Unlike MBO, which was generally limited in application to managers, PMS schemes are being extended to all staff. The whole process is, in comparison to MBO, more cohesive and strategically focused. Therefore, PMS has a better chance of success and consequently a higher survival rate than MBO. But what were the exact causes of MBO` s failure? Standard packaged system that only fitted the culture of a few organisations – Required a highly structured, orderly and logical approach – Only limited recognition of the importance of defining the organisation? s corporate values and goals – Lack of ownership – Isolated objectives and over-emphasis on quantifiable objectives to the detriment of important qualitative factors – Overly formal, once yearly event that bearing little relationship to manager? s day-to-day decisions – System was administratively top-heavy – Not embedded in development To come back to the initial topic, let us outline what suggestions lead to a successful performance management system and additional what problems might impair this success.

Each performance management system has to fit appropriate to the culture, history and organisational structure of the company and has to be adapt for the particular situation. Skill and precision is needed in setting objectives and giving feedback in order to avoid uncertain and ambiguous goals. There could be an overlap between targets for example that an individual obtains job of a whole team. Managers should avoid the tension between clarity and ambiguity, therefore there has to be a consistency and fairness of implementing objectives. The short-term focus of goals might also cause trouble for what there is the demand of balancing it with a longerterm perspective beyond the cycle.

The difficulty exists on what level performance management should operate. There are too many stakeholders who want performance management to do contradictory things. Buglear (1986) mentions that some might see the system as a way of creating false consciousness among staff what leads to blind employees to the ways in which they are being manipulated and exploited. Fowler (1990) claims that the whole process can become over-complex and do not really achieve any of the intended outcomes as is often the case. It becomes a personnel exercise remote from the business. To complete the topic of performance management one has to wonder if this systems works or not.

It is obvious that the answer might be difficult if performance management is seen as a body of lore because then the reply depends on what function the lore fulfils. It provides people with an overview of organisational and personal roles whereas the personally relevant interpretation depends on each individual. Like Leopold, Harris and Watson concluded (2005, p. 209), “there is no evidence that performance management improves an organisation? s performance but there is evidence that people can find it helpful in interpreting and evaluating their organisational roles”. 2. Why are employee relations problematic for SHRM? How might organisations integrate employee relations systems and processes to support SHRM?

The problematic of employee relations is that strategic human resourcing is an ongoing process which involves cooperative work by managers who have to fulfil different and conflicting priorities and values. Thereby the managers must take care that they do not prefer a special interest group or value, otherwise the balance would be destroyed and the consequences could be devastating. A good example is the current crisis which was generated inter alia through the preference of the shareholder value. The managers take the main focus primarily on the short term profits and disregard the strategic planning of the company and its success. This success is responsible for future actions of the company, its sustainable economic activity and the indemnification of the employment.

If the manager focuses some interest or values they should focus the interest of the company (including the human resources) and the customer value. Because on the one hand the employees are the main capital of the company and the managers should build a good framework which allows the development of the strength of them on the other hand the customers are the group who generates the profits (customer view). The following lines dishes the problematic of employee relations the integration to SHRM. The problematic of the formal employee relations system for the SMHR thinking starts with two different views. On the one hand there are the employers and on the other hand there are the employees. Employee relations’ are often seen as a complementary and improved form of industrial relations (‘Industrial relations’ are relations between trade unions (representing employees) and employers. These correlations involve collective bargaining and collective agreements, which are considered in individual contracts of employment. Rules and special procedures are predetermined and formal authority for negotiation and resolving conflict are given). Equal relationships between managers, union members and non-union employees are in the focus. A wider diversity of management-employee relations is aspired. Therefore, the quality of dialogues and understanding in the workplace will be enhanced. (University of Sunderland Script, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, page 356)

Different trends in the USA, Europe and the UK can be observed: First, in the USA the union membership and density has been in steady decline. Thus, a so-called ‘managing trough partnership’ was involved. Several examples of union commitment to partnership are given. Nameable in this context are Ford, Saturn, AT&T, Xeros and Eaton Corporation. All these private companies negotiated worker involvement. This participation has been achieved with quality and efficiency programmes. Nevertheless, collective bargaining eventually can resolve dispute and the parties can work together again. (University of Sunderland Script, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 363) Second, European trends can be described as follows.

Brewster et al (2000) places most European countries firmly in the contextual paradigm whereby the relationship between managers and employees is strongly influenced by the society in which organisations operate. In Europe, especially in contrast to UK, the following aspects are meaningful: – The importance of state intervention and involvement in industrial conflict and conflict resolution through compulsory state regulating authorities – A tendency towards strong national and regional trade union activity over company initiatives – Wider coverage of collective bargaining for determining employment contracts – High levels of trade union density in Scandinavia, Italy and the southern European states. France and Germany have low density through a significant political presence for trade unions

Referring to the EU Information and Consultation Directive a need for employers to agree on terms with increasing rights and a changing legal context impacting a variety of workplace matters is something that changes minds. This changing environment has required employers to consult with and inform employees on a number of employment issues. A greater concern with employer and employee conduct and behaviour become more significant. Flexibility is often regarded as ‘atypical work’ by the European Commission and ‘vulnerable’ work by many trade unionists. (University of Sunderland Script, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, page 364 ff. ) However, European countries are under pressure to change because of their view. Third, in the UK trade unions only play a subsidiary role since a few years.

The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher caused a loss of power of the trade unions in the past, thus strikes today are infrequent. A progressive shift away from collective relations is current. The whole consequence is, amongst others, that there are 67 combined unions in the Trade Union Congress with about 6. 5 million members today. Employers are not bound to accept the trade unions as negotiator according to conflict in pay scale. Periods of cancellation and work conditions of companies and employees are arranged individually. The significance of trade unions in the UK is very low, if you regard the strike of British Airways in 2005. Many flights failed because of voluntary work stoppage. (http://www. welt. de/print-welt/article196726/Grossbritannien. tml) The response of the Thatcher government was to embark upon a widespread programme of privatisation of major industries to allow market forces to regulate labour relations. Many redundancies, large-scale closures and industrial restructuring away from old uncompetitive industries were the consequence. After that, new businesses were created without a belonging to trade unions. It seemed as if employers pressured employees not to join these unions with the threat of losing their jobs. Therefore, employers had much power and choices regarding the management of people. Especially in the private segment the culture of trade union membership is very low in contrast to the public sector, where membership remained high.

As commentators suggested that both sectors belie significant changes in the relationships between employers, unions and individual employees, the labour government of 1997 attempted to rebalance management and union relations. The idea of collective bargaining was introduced. Agreements to recognise unions for bargaining have once again grown marginally, meaning that recognition of unions is not a management decision alone. Managers design now active strategies to deal directly with employee relations. A change from industrial relations to employee relations is definitely given. Exactly this transformation can be considered as conductive to enhancing SHRM practice.

But it has to be pointed out that external legislation is again intervening to rebalance power between unions and management. The reactions to market pressure were supported by the legislation in 1999. The following aspects make businesses responsive: – Part-time employment – New technology – New ‘lean’ working practices – Downsizing – Outsourcing functions – Enhancing flexibility All these issues diminished union and employee control. Indeed, the Employment Act 2002 covers, furthermore, a raft of family-friendly rights, such as increased rights for men and women through new maternity leave, adoption leave, flexible working arrangements for parents and so on.

Conflict solutions in the workplace, improvements to employment tribunal procedures, including introduction of an equal pay questionnaire, provisions to implement Fixed Term Work Directive, a new right to time off work for union learning representatives, work focused interviews for partners of people receiving working-age benefits and some data sharing provisions are also covered. All these aspects represent the alteration in the present changing environment, which has definitely a big impact on the integration of industrial and employee relations within the SHRM. (University of Sunderland Script, 2007, Strategic Management of Human Resources, p. 359) As follows, the trade union membership has many benefits particularly for employees: – Protection from job loss and redundancy – Protection from unfair management decisions A response to pressures by employers to reduce terms and conditions in response to productivity pressures – Offer of an important check and balance on employer power – Membership compensates power in employment relations – Provision of legal and other employment advice – Companies do not represent an employee’s best interests In contrast, there exist the following disadvantages: – Unions do not have the possibility to stop management decisions and job losses directly – Membership can be described as a misuse of money because the lobby group is not related to work experience – Companies hold union membership against the employees – Some people do not believe in unions.

Thus, they are negative to change and growth With regard to the SHRM employee relations are characterised by an attention to the conflicts of employer/employee interests. Governance and the distribution of power between parties represent important aspects. It also comprises collective agreements and collective bargaining processes. In this context there are subsist management strategies for employee relations: 1) Possible perspectives and choices of the management context on developing strategic employee relations 2) Possible models of the management of employee relations 3) A holistic view of the strategic framework for managing employee relations

To integrate the employee relations within SHRM the key issue ‘Partnership’ has to be fulfilled. The parties have to work together in order to aim at the same organisational goals. The advantages of partnership are more collaborative, unitary and the best practice approach to SHRM, where employee/union member values are brought more closely into alignment. Risks like the eviration of unions and their inability to offer effective representation can also appear. Moreover, market pressures can break the trust between both parties and provide opportunity to allow unions to gain influence of employees. Furthermore, breaking down the culture of deference and opposition between managers and employees can occur.

In conclusion, the features of partnership are the success for the enterprise, the building trust and greater employee involvement, the recognition of the legitimate role of partners, the employee security-company flexibility, the share of success, the information and consulting of staff and last but not least the representation of employee interests. To sum it up, trade unions in the UK have made great efforts in the last years to improve their public image and attractiveness to a society that generally has adopted the spirit of the ‘individual’ and the ‘customer’, community loyalty having widely, although variably, diminished throughout the UK. In conclusion, a continuing discrepancy of collective versus individualised communication between Europe and UK is registered.

Not the alliance to the strategic variables will be drawn. In the SHRM process the agent of capital and systems actor strategies, as mentioned in the workbook, do not count as realistic route. However, it must be recognised that in some businesses certain features of the systems actor like stylised rules and procedures, may be necessary to secure the commitment of and acceptance by staff. Therefore, the strategic actor approach has to be in the foreground. The strategic management of employee relations can be described as follows: – The recognition of trade unions and ‘new industrial relations” – Collective bargaining – Involvement and participation – Conflict resolution

In the UK, the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) launched a project in 1992: ‘Towards industrial partnerships: A new approach to relationships at work, which was endorsed by a joint body of employees and trade unions leaders has been launched. Commitments are described like this: – Parties subscribe to the success of the business – Building of trust and greater employee involvement – Recognition of the legitimate role and responsibility of the parties Building blocks are employees, who need employment security, employer, who need to maximise job and organisational flexibility. Furthermore, there has to be success, which should be shared by the organisation and its employees. Moreover, the staff should be widely informed. The last aspect is the employee interests voice.

To link all these mentioned aspects to the SHRM for activities like flexibility, quality, integration and customer responsiveness must be given. Partnerships enshrine the needs to make jobs and organisational process flexible without unreasonable union interference, providing managers involvement, communicate intentions and fully develop staff for changes. Words: 5307 Reference List: The Strategic Managing of Human Resources, edited by John Leopold, Lynette Harris and Tony Watson, FT Prentice Hall, 2005, p. 25 The Strategic Managing of Human Resources, edited by John Leopold, Lynette Harris and Tony Watson, FT Prentice Hall, 2005, p. 31 The Strategic Managing of Human Resources, edited by John Leopold, Lynette Harris and Tony Watson, FT Prentice Hall, 2005, p. 179

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