Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been, and remains, oneof the most powerful and influential ideas
to have emerged in the field ofbusiness and management during the past twenty-five years. Policy makersat
government level have drawn upon the idea in order to promote ‘highperformance workplaces’ and ‘human capital
management’. Within businesscorporations, the idea that the way in which people are managed could beone of, if not
the most crucial factor in the whole array of competitiveness inducing variables, has become a widely accepted
proposition during this period.
Many management consultancy firms – both large and small – have built substantial businesses by translating the
concept into frameworks, methodologiesand prescriptions. And, not least, academics have analysed, at
considerablelength, the meaning, significance and the evidence base for the ideas associatedwith SHRM.
The central idea – broadly stated – is that while for much of the industrialage, ‘labour’ was treated as an unfortunate
‘cost’, it became possible to view itin an entirely different light; as an ‘asset’. Economists and accountants
routinelyclassified labour as one the main ‘variable costs’. Accordingly, procedures andmanagerial systems were
aligned with this view. Labour was seen as plentifuland dispensable.
Little thought was given to its recruitment, little investment was madein its development, and the modes of ‘industrial
discipline’ were based ondirect command and control mixed occasionally with the strictures of performance related
pay. ‘Hire and fire’ was a common term. In these circumstances,conflict was expected and industrial relations officers
were employed in orderto negotiate ‘temporary truces’ (otherwise known as collective agreements).These were
considered successful if they delivered compliance withmanagerially-prescribed rules.
1. Drawing upon relevant theories, models and empirical evidence from the research literature you will
write an essay in which you critically analyse the following statement: ( 50 marks )
‘Strategic Human Resource Management enhances organisational performance inboth good and bad
2. What do we mean by the terms ‘Best fit’ and ‘Best practice’ to describe SHRM (Strategic Human
Resource Management). Which is better? Use any short case examples to illustrate your discussion
(50 marks )