Approaches and Practices in Strategic Human Resources Management

Approaches and Practices in Strategic Human Resources Management

Abraham Pius (Arden University, UK), Husam Helmi Alharahsheh (University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK) and Saikou Sanyang (Arden University, UK)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2547-0.ch003


This chapter is planned and designed to explore strategic human resources (SHR), key terms, activities, and requirements in organisations. Using various activities and case studies to support the lines of discussion throughout, the chapter is developed for students, professionals, managers, researchers that already have prior knowledge and experience in the field of HR or other associated fields and positions such as being a line manager for a small or large team, or even running own small firm where the aspects of HRM are highly essential and vital for the development and growth of the firm. The chapter is providing identification, exploration, and in-depth discussion of key strategic aspects of HRM such as the following: forecasting external supply, job analysis and workforce profiling, job descriptions and person specifications, competencies, job families (market groups), and redundancy. Furthermore, the chapter is supported by key case studies and identification of current trends to enhance the understanding of key changes and developments in the field.
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This chapter is planned and designed to explore human resources (HR), key terms, activities and requirements in organisations. Using various activities and case studies to support the lines of discussion throughout the chapter. For over a century now, human resource, as a discipline and practice, has progressed into various areas of studies. This, for a time, had been through a process of trial and error – hitherto; using a model that largely relied on the development and testing of various ideas by academics and practice managers. The fundamental forces driving this advancement and growth in the field are profitability, efficiency, sustainability and the quest for the acquisition of new knowledge which supports the utilization of and development of staff as part of a number of resources organisations have at their disposal. It is crucial to note that the concept of human resource transcends an exploration of a set of behaviour in the workplace and the efficiency staff demonstrate. Indeed, a key principle is about how they are treated in line with set values and etiquette.

The context of human resources worldwide is rapidly changing, and the merging of social, technical, and intellectual factors have driven this sector to the tipping point of a momentous transformation to align the industry with the 21st century modern realities of staff selection, hiring, training/development and retention. The ever-changing and increasingly complex business environment has contributed directly to managers’ pursuit of improvement in their production and service delivery procedures, using best practices as a common standard for resources management.

Summary of Learning Outcome

  • Define and discuss some of the key terminologies and activities of HR

  • Explain different human resources requirements in organisations.

Chapter Objectives

By the end of this chapter readers should be able to:

  • Define and discuss key terminologies and activities of HR.

  • Discuss and apply strategic HR requirements and undertake a job analysis for an identified position.

Before you start, make a note below of objectives you wish to set yourself for this chapter. After completing the chapter, you should hopefully be able to appreciate key terminologies associated with HR as well as the strategic HR requirements that aids managers undertake a job analysis.


What Are Human Resources?

The term Human Resources is often used in many organisations today and will find the semantics of it, in some instances, to be different from one organisation to another. While Human Resources, in a simplistic sense, may imply the ‘people resources or employees’ in organisations. Unpacking the meaning may be somewhat controversial than it may ordinarily appear. For instance, authors like Armstrong (2012) argued that labelling people as resources have been frowned upon in some quarters of society given the connotation this presents – i.e.; the idea staff are simply a factor and part of the ‘production’ or ‘service machine’ in organisations reduces them to mere materials whose value could be exploited to benefit firms.

Despite the aforesaid, there is no doubting that good human resources are really important in organisations. Nevertheless, to understand how this can be planned, we need to have a clear and common understanding of what they are.

Activity 1

  • 1.

    How are people in your workplace referred to both formally and informally by bosses and the internal workforce?

(Hint: are they referred to with generic terms such as workers, attendants etc or are they referred to using specific roles they hold in the organisation?)

  • 2.

    Are the terms used by the bosses and the internal workforce informed by specialism, job role and/or the terms of a contract of employment?

  • 3.

    In terms of establishing work contracts (that is, essentially buying labour), employment law distinguishes between two types of service:

    • a.

      Contracts of service,

    • b.

      Contracts for services.

Reflect on the activity above and make notes. Also, think about what the terminologies above mean and how it applies to your organisation (see the Appendix).

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