Using theories and models from the Strategic Management Unit (Semester One), you must first assess the available secondary data on your chosen company (e.g. financial reports, annual reports to shareholders, business press, specialist trade journals, published academic papers, etc.) to determine the company’s business strategy. The business strategy should be a maximum of 400 words (students will be penalised for exceeding this).
The second part of the assignment is a critical analysis of the current HR strategy of your chosen company derived from secondary data collection. You would have learned about critical analysis during Organisational Behaviour and Studying Management in Semester One. Critical is the operative word. As we know from Lecture 5, the objectives of the employment relationship are a balance between efficiency, equity and voice.1 These three fundamental objectives should be considered, and the focus should not just be on the efficiency of the organisation.
Based on the information on the business strategy, you should analyse how and why the particular configuration of HR policies and practices support (or do not support) your chosen organisation’s business strategy. In other words, using any available secondary data on the organisation’s actual HR policies and strategies, evaluate whether and to what extent current HR policies support the business strategy, and undertake an evaluation of how and why you might recommend changes to the organisation’s current HR strategy.
Based on theory covered in the SHRM lectures it should be relatively
straightforward to determine the ‘most appropriate’ HR strategy for the organisation in question. For example, if your company has a low-cost focus, what would be the most appropriate recruitment strategy? However, as information on the organisation’s actual HR strategy, policies and practices may be harder to come by (depending on the company selected), this might be as far as some
1 Budd, J. (2004). Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice. Available at: le=1002&context=books
students will be able to take their analysis – in this scenario, you will need to focus on why particular HR policies and practices are ‘most likely’ to support/drive the organisation’s business strategy, drawing on empirical evidence from the academic literature (e.g. similar firms in the same/similar industry) and relevant theory. Where data is available on the organisation’s HR strategy/policies/practices, students should undertake an assessment of any ‘gaps’ between best practices/best fit and actual HR policies/practices, and then
critically evaluate why such differences exist and to what effect.
Following feedback from last year, you may decide to focus on one or more aspects of the HR policies of your chosen company (e.g. talent, rewards, work systems etc.) especially if there is sufficient available information on this particular facet. There is no expectation to cover all aspects of a company’s HR strategy. At the end of the day you only have 3,000 words! For example, you might find that the most interesting element of the organisation is its employee voice strategies, which require further elaboration and explanation.
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