Annotated Bibliography: The role of human resource management in meeting organisational goals

Assessment #1 – Annotated bibliography

Assignment objective: Explain the significance of the human resource management role in organisations, its different facets and its contribution to the achievement of corporate goals.

Lawler Iii, E. E., & Boudreau, J. W. (2009). Achieving Excellence in Human Resources Management:  An Assessment of Human Resource Functions. Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books.

This book is an excellent introduction to the subject of HRM.  It analyzes the role and functions of HRM in the context of global competition, advances in information technology, new knowledge, off-shoring, and an array of other changes that are forcing business organizations to constantly examine and re-evaluate how they operate. The author claims that these important changes have crucial implications for their human capital and their human resources functions and goes on to answer questions such as: Are organizations changing their human capital management processes? Are they redesigning their HR functions?, etc.  The author goes on to show that without effective human capital, organizations are likely to have little or no revenue.  The HR function can add value by adopting a control-and-audit role. But Lawler suggests that two other roles that HRM can take on allow it to add greater value. The first is the familiar human resources management role.  The second is the role of business partner, which emphasizes developing systems and practices to ensure that a company’s human resources have the needed competencies and motivation to perform effectively. Articulated in a clear and concise prose style, the book serves as a useful overview of HR functions.

Hargis, M. B., & Bradley, D. B. (2011). Strategic Human Resource Management in Small and Growing Firms: Aligning Valuable Resources. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 10(2), 105+.

This journal article by Hargis and Bradley delves into strategic aspects of HRM in upstarts. They argue that when entrepreneurs and business executives develop a business plan, they identify that a great line of products or services helps a company achieve, and sustain, a competitive advantage. They go on to cite the successful businesses such as Coyote Logistics, W.L. Gore and Associates and Zappos.com to make their case.  They further suggest that successful managers also recognize the importance of efficiently managing their employees and developing their human resources. These firms clearly linked their human resource management practices to their competitive business model. When business leaders are able to align a strong competitive strategy with a well designed and strategically focused human resource system, it has the necessary foundation that brings customers in the door (or to their website) initially and gets them to come back for repeat business.  The article is well written and offers key insights into the strategic role of HRM in fledgling businesses.

Wang, Y. d., & Niu, H. J. (2010). Multiple Roles of Human Resource Department in Building Organizational Competitiveness- Perspective of Role Theory. International Management Review, 6(2), 13+.

Role theory has been used effectively by researchers in the fields of psychology, social psychology, sociology, organization behaviour, and human resource management since the early twentieth century.  Recently, this theory was used to analyze various forms of social systems. Wang & Niu cite the seminal research of Biddle (1986), who’s written that “role theory comprises one of the most important characteristics of social behaviour – the fact that human beings behave in ways that are different and predictable, depending on their respective social identities and the situation”. Drawing on a behavioural perspective, role theory is relevant and useful in helping reduce human problems, and hence can be valid aid for business organizations, especially the HR department.  Accordingly, employee performance is a function of both the individual and the organization. Consequently, this research article recognizes the roles of HRD and discusses its influence on organizational performance within four HRD characters: strategic partner, administrative expert, employee champion, and change agent.

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