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Shrm Perspectives

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The Critical evaluation of Strategic Human Resource Management approaches

By Willem van Mourik

Over the past decades more and more companies have formulated a Human Resource Management policy for their employees. Where some employers see their staff as important resources to achieve a competitive advantage, others see them as valued assets and a source of competitive advantage (Guest, 1999). The way personnel were managed can be seen as the most significant reason to gain a competitive advantage over others (Salaman, Storey and Billsberry, 2005). In the 19th century and large parts of the 20th century labour was seen as abundant and economists classified it as the main variable costs (Salaman, Storey and Billsberry, 2005). People where hired and fired very quickly and pay was give on a performance related basis. Organizations and their managers did not want to invest in their personnel and their skill development. According to Kirkaldy and Flanders (1965), the decades before SHRM existed managing labour were based on productivity bargaining (Kirkaldy and Flanders, 1965). This period can also be described as the traditional HRM era.
This all changed in the 1980’s when several big organizations started to think of new concepts and aspirations to create a competitive advantage over their rivals. British Airways for example demanded their staff to take the ‘commitment approach” instead of just complying. The airline had to make a bald move due to the enormous competition in the airline industry. The airline invested heavily in staff and development training to change the companies’ culture. In the same way Jaguar, a famous British car manufacturer, changed their SHRM perspective. Managers changed the company language such as customary practises and compromise into ‘the needs of the organization’ and ‘customers go first’ (Salaman, Storey and Billsberry, 2005).…...

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