Strategic Human Resource Management

Strategic Human Resource Management
Strategic Human Resource Management

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Strategic Human Resource Management


Strategic human resource management is a very broad area of study. It has also evolved over time, making it difficult to summarize the concept in a few words. As such, there is not one single definition that can fully encompass what the concept is about. However, there are certain key aspects which help to put the definition of this concept into context.

Strategic human resource management (SHRM) revolves around systematically connecting and integrating human resource concepts to match and meet corporate needs. Every organization has laid out structures intended to assist in the achievement of set goals and aspirations.

In order for these goals to be realized, there has to be a systematic and practical manner through the strategies of human resource management are merged with the needs of the organization. SHRM concerns itself with overseeing a smooth integration of the two. Since its emergence, human resource management has evolved. As organizations keep up with the dynamism in their respective fields, HRM has had to keep up. There is a lot of materials that have been written in regard to this topic, including the constant evolution. The focus of this discussion is literature review on this topic and what various authors thing about SHRM.

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Background Information

Human resource strategies play a crucial role as they address all fundamental issues arising from management of various issues on human resource. There is need to ensure that there is alignment between the needs of an organization and the strategies of human resource. The human resource department is in charge of the personnel who form the human resource of an organization.

As such, it is pertinent to ensure that there is a blend between the two. On one hand, human resource practices are more concerned about the welfare of the personnel in the organization. On the other hand, every organization has set goals which must be achieved. Sometimes, there is a clash between the two and hence the need to have middle point where the needs of both can be harmonized.

Literature Review

Why is it so important to have integration between business or organizational strategies and human resource management? Authors on this topic have provided a myriad of reasons as to why the integration is essential. Mello (2014) notes that integration of human resource management with business strategies contribute significantly to improvement of performance within the organization.

Further, Storey notes that with proper integration of the two aspects, the competitive advantage o the organization is increased. The competitive advantage is increased since the human resource management is customized to meet the specific needs of an organization. Due to the unique system of HRM it is not easy for other organizations to imitate, giving the organization in context a niche.

Crucial Aspects of SHRM

Strategic human resource management is supported by two main tenets. The first tenet is the integration of human resource with specific business needs and the second is the devolution of human resource management to the managers.  Millimore (2010) notes that integration of the two is considered successful when all matters pertaining to human resource are considered to be crucial in business strategy.

In the past, business strategies have been formulated devoid and in total failure to consider the impacts on human resource management. The impact thereof is that in most cases, the human resource strategies and business strategies clash leading to a deadlock. Armstrong (2011) therefore recognizes the importance of such an integration thereby avoiding a deadlock.

Resource- Based View

       There are a number of theories that have been developed all of which seek to explain the relationship that exist between performance of an organization and human resource management. The resource-based view is one of the theories whose arguments have been used by researchers to assert this position.

According to this theory, organizations gain what is seen as competitive advantage or a niche for themselves when the resources within the organization are well taken care of. Blau & Schoenherr (2011) is of the view that the most valuable asset and resource for any organization is its human resource. The integration of human resource management will hence have a direct impact on the performance of the organization.

     The resource based theory is certainly a departure from previously held views where business strategy would focus more on the external environment. Prior to the evolution of human resource management, business organizations put more focus on the external environment including the market while completely ignoring the human resource.

It is not until the recent past that the perception changed. Human resources are now considered an integral part of business strategy and this has evidently seen a shift in performance by organizations. The integration of the two aspects has seen an alignment of goals for both concept which together work for the betterment of organizations.

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           From the above discussion, there are a number of findings. The first finding is that there is indeed a relationship between human resource management and performance of an organization. The second finding is that when the two aspects are integrated systematically, then there is evidence of improved performance for organizations.

There is need for more studies to be conducted with an aim of proving that the relationship between SHRM and organizational performance is causal. This means that strategic human resource management has direct impact on the performance of an organization. This means that failure to properly integrate the two will have ripple effect on the performance of a business firm.


         Human resource management sits at the center of good performance of every organization. Unfortunately, until very recently, human resource management has always been set aside during business strategizing. The role of HRM was not appreciated as more focus would be on the external environment of the business. However, with multiple researches conducted on the topic, the role of human resource management is now recognized and appreciated. Further, the need to integrate human resource management with business strategies has seen improved performance of organizations.

              As the name suggests, the integration must be strategic meaning that it must be done in a certain manner. The most important factor of consideration during integration of human resource management and business strategy is alignment of goals of each department. Recognition that human resources is one of the most valuable asset for each organization is a step in the right direction for organizations.

Management of human resources has grown in leaps and bounds to become the centerpiece of organizations. More organizations are now investing in this area as they seek to create a niche for themselves by increasing their competitive advantage.


Armstong, M. (2011). Strategic Human Resource Management: A Guide to Action. London: Sage

Blau, P.M., & R. A. Schoenherr (2014). The Structure of Organizations. New York: Basic  Books.

Mello, J. (2014). Strategic Human Resource Management. New York: Prentice Hall

Millimore, M. (2010). Strategic Human Resource Management: Contemporary Issues. London: Sage

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