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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.

Kemery, E. R. (2009). The Role of the Human Resource Management Department in Internal Investigations. Business Renaissance Quarterly, 4(3), 175+

This journal article by E.R. Kemery argues that the HRM department can play an important role in internal investigations from the initial complaint through to its final resolution. Though not usually thought of as a major player in reducing an organization’s risk exposure, the HRM department sometimes finds itself front-and-centre in addressing employee misconduct. And, how these matters are handled can profoundly affect an organization, its members, and its reputation. Basic functions usually ascribed to an HRM department include hiring, screening job applicants, managing payroll and benefits, ensuring fair employment practices documentation, and carrying out training and development. While risk management is not a typical HRM role – a function usually relegated to finance and accounting – “the HRM department can contribute to reducing an organization’s risk exposure due to employee misconduct through developing policies and procedures to address misconduct, publicizing them, and training employees in their implementation.” Clearly written and logically sound, this article is apt reading for the HRM coursework.

Benowitz, S. C. (2009). Building a Performance Culture through Improved Human Resource Management Strategies. The Public Manager, 38(1), 75+.

This journal article talks about how executives and managers in public service are faced with the task of building work cultures that support high performance. What is needed is a symbiotic relationship between agency executives and managers and the rank-and-file employees upon whom we all depend for essential services. This is where inculcating a “performance culture” proves crucial, as it boosts an entire organization to work together to meet organizational goals and commitments on behalf of its many stakeholders, most important, the public that the organization serves. With this in mind, then, a performance culture can succeed only if the relationships between employees at all levels are open, transparent, and supportive. While executive leadership is vital, employees at all levels have a considerable impact on the ability of the organization to succeed, so leadership is needed at all levels. What makes author Benowitz’ suggestions compelling is his stature and reputation in the field of HRM. He is the lead executive fellow of the Center for Transformation and Strategic Initiatives. Formerly, he served for thirty years in a variety of senior-level positions in numerous federal agencies–primarily in human resources.

Intan-Soraya, R., & Chew, K. (2010). A Framework for Human Resource Management in the Knowledge Economy: Building Intellectual Capital and Innovative Capability. International Journal of Business and Management Science, 3(2), 251+.

Over the years, the business environment has grown increasingly complex and characterized by rapid technological progress. Innovation is the crucial enabler for business value creation and sustainable competitive advantage, and it is driven by a firm’s capability to manage its knowledge stocks or intellectual capital. Since the knowledge based perspective of the organization runs on the basic assumption that knowledge resides in individuals, firms need to facilitate communication and exchange among individuals in order to gain new insights and capabilities. Since literature in the field of HRM is particularly concerned with “the management of people in organizations, it is comprehensively explored in the context of knowledge management and organizational innovation. Hence, the question is ‘how can a organization’s human resource management strategy and practices be attuned toward building its intellectual capital and innovative capability?’” Much of the past literature has established the key role of HRM in innovation performance, but only some have explained ‘how’ it manages to do so. By merging and synthesizing studies on strategic HRM, organizational learning and knowledge management, and innovation, this research paper aims to develop an integrated framework that captures how a firm’s HRM strategy and practices can be utilized to drive organizational knowledge building, and improve its innovative capability.

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