Strategy and Practice of Human Resources

In recent old ages, there has been a considerable sum of research done on the links between HRM and organisational public presentation. Most of these are focused on the relevancy and the grade to which high-commitment/best pattern HRM has an impact on the overall public presentation of the organisation. The basic thought is that some peculiar HR patterns apparatus in a package can hold an consequence on improved employee attitudes and behaviours, lower degrees of absenteeism and labour turnover, and higher degrees of production, quality and client service in all types of organisation ( Marchington M. and Wilkinson A. 2008 ) . On the contrary, non all surveies report such radiance and positive links between best pattern HRM and public presentation and it is still ill-defined what sorts of HR patterns can be put together to organize a package, the synergism with one another, their attraction to workers and employers and their cosmopolitan pertinence. The thought of best practice/high committedness HRM was introduced by Jeffery Pfeffer in two of his books, Competitive Advantage through People ( 1994 ) which had 16 patterns and The Human Equation: Building Net incomes by Puting Peoples First ( 1998 ) in which the patterns were reduced to 7.

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In this essay, we will be looking at what is meant by best practice/high committedness paradigm and the 7 patterns proposed by Pfeffer ( 1998 ) , followed by a critical rating of the patterns and the cosmopolitan pertinence of the proposed patterns and the cardinal methodological jobs with the recent research.

The best practice/high committedness paradigm revolves around some cardinal patterns with which profitableness can be attained. Pfeffer argues that a peculiar set of human resource ( HR ) patterns can increase company net incomes, that the impact is more marked when complementary groups ( or ‘bundles ‘ ) of HR patterns are used together, and that this decision holds good for all organisations and industries irrespective of their context ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) . The list of patterns which were set out by Pfeffer in 1994 was 16 which were so combined and presented as 7 in his book in 1998. The patterns are as follows.

Employment security

Selective hiring

Self-managed teams/team working

High compensation contingent on public presentation

Extensive preparation

Decrease of position derived functions

Sharing information


There are many jobs with the person patterns which are supported by many surveies done in the yesteryear. For illustration in the instance of squad working, grounds suggests that employees who work in squads report to hold higher degrees of satisfaction as compared to their opposite numbers ( Geary, 1993 ; Wilkinson et al. , 1997 ; Edwards and Wright, 1998 ) . The job here is that the steps used by the research workers are less wide and are mentioning to the proportion of production workers in squads ( MacDuffie, 1995 ) , or the usage of formal squads ( Patterson et al. , 1997 ) . Though, this step is non truly capable of mensurating the grade to which the squads really managed themselves ( Marchington, 1999 ) .

Similar statements can be made about preparation. It is of import to place whether or non employers invest in formal preparation for the full work force and what sum has been spent. Some of the research workers focus entirely on largeness ( e.g. Huselid, 1995 ) , whereas others look for whether formal preparation plans are directed at issues non specifically related to the person ‘s immediate work country ( Arthur, 1994 ) , create longer-term budget precautions to protect developing proviso ( Wood and Albanese, 1995 ) , or offer ‘increased promotability within the organisation ‘ ( Delery and Doty, 1996 ) . The quality of preparation in footings of its focal point and its bringing is merely every bit of import as the sum spent ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

Information sharing, harmonizing to a figure of surveies, has been restricted to downward communications from direction to employees, which measure the frequence of information revelation ( Patterson et al. , 1997 ) , or to the regularity of squad briefing or quality circles ( Wood and Albanese, 1995 ) , or the proportion of employees consulted by attitude studies ( Huselid, 1995 ) . Some enquire about the per centum of employees who receive preparation in group job work outing ( Arthur, 1994 ) or the degree at which a scope of determinations is made ( Delaney and Huselid, 1996 ) .The scope used is so broad that it is really hard to compare consequences from these surveies and range to a steadfast decision. This one-way version of information sharing, instead than being seen as educative, authorising, and emancipating as the nomenclature might connote, could more easy be deduced alternatively as indoctrinating, castrating, and commanding ( Marchington and Wilkinson, 2000 ) .

It is argued that employers may do a status for employment security such as the wage rates can be well adjusted in order to last through thin times. This statement may look all right but if the performance-related constituent is in important proportion, so it can do a job. As Pfeffer himself ( 1998: 84 ) cites the instance of Lincoln Electric where net income sharing norms around 70 per cent of single employee wages. This has enabled the company to keep employment when concern falls because ‘profit sharing payments autumn and labour disbursals decrease – without holding to interrupt the house ‘s committedness to employment security ‘ ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

Along with the many advantages for self-managed squads cited by Pfeffer, it is said that they can take the supervisory degree from the organisational hierarchy ; it does salvage money and ‘eliminating beds of direction by establishing self-managing squads ‘ saves money. Self-managed squads can besides take on undertakings antecedently done by specialised staff, therefore extinguishing extra forces ‘ ( 1998: 77 ) . It portrays a contradictory message, on one manus Pfeffer is speaking about employment security and at the other he is speaking about riddance beds. The employment security of the supervisory degree is on interest.

There is besides a contradiction on the affair of compensation on public presentation. The construct of squads is that members should work together and be flexible in footings of undertakings they perform and see themselves as an built-in portion of the organisation. The contradiction here is that what if one squad member is gaining more than the remainder on the same land. It is non merely limited to this degree, even performance-related wagess on a team footing may fuel green-eyed monsters from other squads who feel that their work has non been recognized or there is less possible for them to gain higher fillips ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

There are legion methodological jobs connected with the usage of these informations sets: inter alia, jobs in choosing suited steps of public presentation, uncertainnesss about waies of causality, taint from other ( non-HR ) force per unit areas, the riddance of hard-to-measure points, and the dependance on a individual individual to finish questionnaires or interviews. As Purcell ( 1999: 32 ) suggests, it is likely that forces specializers, who frequently tend to be the respondents in these studies, have detailed cognition neither of competitory schemes utilized by their organisations nor of the proportion of gross revenues which are derived from these schemes. Anxieties such as these mean that considerable cautiousness is needed when construing decisions from these quantitative surveies ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

One major job with the assorted lists of best-practice/high committedness HRM is that there is no 1 fixed set of patterns or no one complete list. Some writer may be disregarding one factor but including another, for illustration, Pfeffer marked employment security as of import, this is non included in a figure of the other lists ( e.g. Delaney and Huselid, 1996 ; Youndt, 1996 ; Patterson et al. , 1997 ; Wood and de Menezes, 1998 ) . Similarly, where other include step of employee voice other than that achieved through self-managed squads and employee engagement, Pfeffer does non ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

Purcell ( 1999: 36 ) is peculiarly misanthropic of the say for universalism, he argues, ‘down a Utopian cul-de-sac ‘ . While he recognises the importance for the set of patterns and packages, ‘so excessively is the hunt for apprehension of the fortunes of where and when it is applied, why some organisations do and some do non follow HCM, and how some houses seem to hold more appropriate human resource systems than others ‘ ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

MacDuffie is frequently referred to as person whose research is promoting the catholicity statement, but it is apparent from his surveies that ‘best pattern ‘ HRM may really be situationally specific. He suggests: Advanced human resource patterns are likely to lend to improved economic public presentation merely when three conditions are met: when employees possess cognition and accomplishments that directors lack ; when employees are motivated to use this accomplishment and cognition through discretional attempt ; and when the house ‘s concern or production scheme can merely be achieved when employees contribute such discretional attempt ( MacDuffie, 1995: 199 ) . Overlooking the issue of motive for now, the other two conditions clearly indicate that the state of affairss under which ‘best pattern ‘ HRM will do a difference are rather specific. This is when employees have the accomplishments that are needed to accomplish organisational ends, For illustration in high-technology industries where the procedures can non be easy codified or administered by directors, or where employees take some clip to larn how to make their work expeditiously and their accomplishments are in short supply ( Marchington M. and Grugulis I. , 2000 ) .

Scientists like Pfeffer ( 1994 ) , Huselid ( 1995 ) , Koch and McGrath ( 1996 ) and Ichniowski and Shaw ( 1999 ) suggest a ‘best pattern attack ‘ , without earnestly taking into history differences in civilization and institutional scenes. The quantitative research on the links between HRM and public presentation is largely by USA faculty members, with some parts from the UK. Much more research has to be done in different states to acquire the existent image ( Boselie P, Paauwe J, Jansen P, 2001 ) .

From a methodological position, Purcell ( 1999 ) argues that the usage of large-scale informations sets that rely on a individual respondent finishing a ‘tick-box ‘ questionnaire is non the most appropriate manner of mensurating the complex interrelatedness between HRM and public presentation. He makes the farther point that utilizing such methods means that we are non able to capture of import issues of procedure ; nor, so, are we able to roll up any informations on the possible duality between policy and execution ( C. Truss, 2001 ) .


It has been seen that the best practice/high committedness is non that best after all. The patterns are contradictory and when reviewed separately and applied in different sectors, may ensue in a different result. Most of the surveies have been done in the USA and some in the UK, there is a demand to carry on more elaborate surveies across different sectors in different states to acquire to a existent solid decision.

It has been argued that broader, more qualitative methods are needed to analyze the phenomenon of HRM, using multiple beginnings that tap into the principle behind determinations that are made ( Becker and Gerhart, 1996 ; Boxall, 1991 ; Gerhart, 1999 ; Guest, 1997 ) . Some of the restrictions of bing surveies are that they have used quantitative techniques, they have been cross-sectional, and they have relied on one representative in each organisation ( Ichniowski et al. , 1996 ; Purcell, 1999 ) . Becker and Gerhart ( 1996 ) point out that simultaneousness prejudice may happen if the same source is asked for information about house public presentation and HR pattern ( C. Truss, 2001 ) .

Furthermore, as noted by Legge ( 1998 ) , the cosmopolitan ‘high committedness ‘ attack has chiefly been tested in private sector, fabricating organisations. Small research has been done to measure the effects of HRM patterns on public presentation in the populace sector. This is a important skip in visible radiation of the claim that these patterns are ‘universally applicable ‘ ( Wood 1995, p. 57 ) . Hence, much grounds is needed to prove whether the positive effects of ‘high committedness ‘ patterns as showed in private sector organisations are produced in the public organisations ( J Gould-Williams, 2004 ) .


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