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The Definition of Human Resources Management and Bundles
Human resource nowadays has been considered as an asset toward any organisation and
become a factor for the firms achieve the competitive advantage. There are many works from
numerous authors indicate the human resource management as the key successful indicator for
organisation performance enhancement. Dessler (2012) stated that the human resource
management is the process of acquiring, training, appraising and compensating employees;
moreover, it is also attending to the labor relations, health and safety and fairness concerns.
Dessler (2012) also mentioned that the managers could do everything but still fail since they
could not hire the right people or could not motivate the subordinates. Most of the authors in
their literatures have agreed that there are two meta-categorised types of theories that are
universalistic perspective and contingency perspective (Chang & Huang, 2005) (Dyer & Reeves,
1995)(Huselid, 1995). The universalistic perspective authors have considered that there is a close
relationship between the human resource management and the organisation performance and
concerned with the concept of best practices (Huselid, 1995). They believed that best
practices can be achieveable and the organisational success is best measured in terms of
financial performance (Gooderham, et al., 2008). The contingency perspective scholars, in
contrast, have made the arguments that the human resource strategy would be more effective
when it can be applied appropriately with specific organisational and environmental context
(Chang & Huang, 2005). Regarding to Gooderham, Parry, & Ringdai (2008), there is a third
perspective of human resource management so-called configurational perspective which means
in order to make the improvement in managing the people efficiently and enhance the
organisation performance, the authors have tried to combine human resource practices together
bundling (MacDuffie, 1995). Especially in the time which globalisation has grown rapidly, the
diversity and job rotation of employees have occurred more frequently, the organisations have to
continually improve the performance through the ways of reducing cost, innovating products,
productivity, quality and speed to market acquirement (Becker & Gerhart, 1996). Bundling of
human resource practices is the development and implementation of numerous of human
resource practices so that they can be interrelated, complement and reinforce each other
(Armstrong, 2009). Dyer and Reeves (1995) made a clearer statement about the logic behind the
bundle when they said that employee performance is an occupation of ability and inspiration and
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hence, there should be practices aimed at enhancing both. Therefore, the organisations can
generate better results when they can have several ways for the employees to acquire the
required skills (for instance, through the careful recruitment and selection, training and
development, cross-departmental training, and so on) and multiple approaches to incentives so as
to enhance the employees motivation (monetary awards, employees recognition programs, 360-
degree feedback); as a result, the main logic of bundling is building the mutually reinforcing and
synergistic human resource practices (Dyer & Reeves, 1995). The real meaning of human
resource practices is defined in a work by Prowse & Prowse (2010) is that the mixing among the
firms activities focusing on the recruitment and selection, management, training and
development of the employees. The human resource practices can include the concentration of
performance management, creating the teamwork cohesion, improving communications,
empowerment, payment regarding to the agreed-upon performance, and employees security.
Literature Review & Critical Analysis
The bundling of human resource management practices, at first, looks alike that it can
bring the huge impact toward the organisation performance. However, the issues still remain
uncertainty are whether there is a universalistic combination of best practices that can be used
in all companies, in any of organisation context and have the associated linear relationship with
the organisation performance and whether the bundles must be adjusted and applied
appropriately with the strategy and dependent on the environment that they are endorsed.
In order to answer the questions about the relationship between the bundles and the
organisations performance, there are various works from authors proved the effectiveness of the
human resource practices bundles. MacDuffie (1995) through the research of 62 automotive
assembly plants and discovered that the innovative human resource practices have an impact
regarding to the performance not individually but as interrelated elements as in an internally
consistent human resource bundle; moreover, the human resource bundles also contribute
much in the productivity and quality when they are get aligned with the manufacturing policies.
The author also recognised that the employees or workers will put more extra effort if they can
make the awareness that their self-interests would get along with the benefits of the organistion.
The most important point of MacDuffie was that the author stated that the human resource
practices had the most impact toward the organisation performance when they were able to
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combined as bundles and these bundles combination must be aligned with the organisational
logic or strategy. Syed & Yan (2012) made a research on a basis of 320 employees of 7
telecommunications companies in Pakistan. The authors realised that the employees
empowerment and jobs enrichment as well as enlargement were positively related toward the
employees satisfaction and enhance their attitudes toward the daily working routine. Once the
employees could show the good attitude and willing to put extra effort, the organisations
performance would be boosted. In this research, the authors also mentioned about the efficiency
of applying the merit-based promotions and performance-based pay in the employees
satisfaction. Another persuasive research of Huselid, Jackson, & Schuler (1997) on the public
available financial data of 293 publicly held firms in United States discovered that the
relationship between human resource management practices effectiveness and the employee
productivity, cash flow and market value are consistent with the instituational theory and the
resource-based view of the firm. These authors also emphasized about developing the
appropriate human resource strategic capabilities can help increase the activities of the strategic
human resource management. Tadic & Pivac (2011) made the research through all of companies
listed on Croatia Exchange Stock and the authors emphasize that the greatest contribution has
been noticed through creation of interrelated and integrated HR elements, popularly called
bundles - The results from the literature also confirmed the positive and statistically significant
correlation and interrelation between HR bundles. The research done by Beh & Loo (2013)
which included of top management and executive levels of insurance companies in Malaysia has
made the statement that the bundles of best practices would likely assist the insurance
organisations improve their performance. The combination of bundles that they mentioned were
performance appraisal, internal communication, career planning, trainingand development,
recruitment and selection, and SHRM alignment. Huselid & Becker (1997) developed the idea
high performance work systems which is defined as using of high-involvement work
practices and found that utilizing these can enhance organizational competitiveness
(Gooderham, et al., 2008). The authors found the positive impact of the high performance work
system (HPWS) and the effectiveness implementation of the organisation toward the
However, although there are some empirical experience abouth the relationship between
the universalistic approach of human resource practices bundles. However, it still has some
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critics. Through the work and research regarding to companies listed in Fortune 500, the authors
include of Martell, Gupta & Carroll (1996) made the evaluation toward the impacts of sixteen
HRM practices. The authors discovered that a half among sixteen practices could be completely
considered to have the positive relationship with the performance; however, there were still five
practices do not have any relationship. Moreover, the difficulty issue in real life for finding the
real combination of bundle and set of best practices, regarding to Guest, Conway, & Dewe
(2004), would require a lenience of uncertainty and a generosity in applying a wide range of
practices that may be many managers would sometime feel unenthusiastic in order to make the
support. There are also other reasons for doubting the best practices. A question has to be
asked is whether the employers have the foresight or long-term concept about the human
resource development or just look at the improvement in the financial performance (Yu, 2013).
Moreover, when the set of practices is formed, how can it be applied in the whole organisations
appropriately, especially in the time of globalisation and diversity. In order to make the proper
implementation of the bundling of human resource practices, the organisations would need to
have programs to develop the transformational leaders (Gandolf, 2012). Because
transformational leaders would have the skills in making the tremendous effect toward the
employees or followers to transcend their own self-interest and make the extra effort in order to
achieve the common objectives and the direction of organisation (Hargis, et al., 2011) (Gandolf,
2012). Therefore, it is also important to select the appropriate practices and make the
combination to adapt with the corporate strategy and policy.
In conclusion, the bundling of human resource practices would generate more benefits for
improving the organisations performance. The universalistic human resource bundles through the
works of the author show that they are not only effective in manufacturing industry but also in
non-manufacturing industry. Although almost all of companies and firms try to build up the
best practices or the High Performance Work System, those organisations need to think
about developing the leadership programs first to have leaders prove their motivational
inspiration skills.

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