Strategic Management Q1 Using your current organization or one you research, after reading Chapter 4, summarize the strategic HR management framework (old or new style), and discuss how this framework helps the organization meet its strategic objectives. Like with all DB questions, students to cite sources from the course text and outside scholarly/trade journal for max points. Don’t rely mainly on your own experiences. Support them with research.

Chapter 4

Is it possible for the HRM function to act as a strategic business partner and at the same time advance the interests of workers and employees? Human Resource managers and professionals appear to believe sincerely that enlightened management will align the interests of all parties to the employment relationship and thus make redundant separate and independent consideration of worker and employee interests and goals (Kaufman 2001). To the point, HRM thinking suggests that the bulk of organizations (over the long run) will come to promote the interests of employees and work toward accomplishment of fundamental human values. However, Kaufman (2001) pointed out that this proposition relies on two assumptions: 1) The HRM function will be able to convince managers to recognize that doing so leads to greater organizational efficiency and 2) Managers are ethical people and will subscribe to ethical principles. The existing power imbalance likely makes false any such hopes (Van Buren et al. 2011). One might consider that Warren Buffet, the third richest capitalist in the world, openly admitted that past gains in productivity have largely benefited capital. Yet, he boldly proclaimed in his annual letter to shareholders in his firm that as the market system interact to produce even greater efficiencies demanded by investors, many workers will be rendered unnecessary, their skill and talents obsolete (Hubbard 2016). Organizations are more effective at achieving their goals if they make it difficult for most employees to achieve theirs, and this is particularly so when employees lack the power to affect the terms of exchange with their employers. Thus, competitive market forces and failures will always provide employers with both the pressure and the ability to deal with labor in ways that are inimical to employee values and societal interests (Kaufman 2001) Any intention of the HRM function to act as a champion of the employees will, of necessity, give way to the demand of being seen as a strategic business partner. Perhaps nowhere will this be more evident within the coming decades than industries where digital solutions such as new generations of low-cost and easy-to-program robots and purpose-built automated machines will significantly devalue and/or displace millions of humans in the workforce (Sartain 2014). Workers employed in the shrinking number of viable jobs will be even further disadvantaged, and with the HRM function rushing to claim the mantel of strategic business partner while devaluing the role of employee advocate and champion, to whom can employees turn to ensure that labor benefits equally from capital’s increasing power?

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