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Synthesis

Based on :
Article 1: Strategic human resource management: The evolution of the field - Mark L.
Lengnick Human Ressource Mangement Review 2009
Article 2: Human Ressources Management : A value Creating source Of Competitive
Advantage European Managelent Journal Vol 17 N 2 1999.

Department : Gestion
Prepared by: MANTOUZI Sara

Strategic human resources management: The evolution of the field


In this review, the four authors tried to give us, the chronological evolution of SHRM. This
evolution is reflected by the 7 themes that describe the chronology, directions, and trends
researches over 30 years by now; in this time when its presumed that many contributions and
findings helped the SHRM field to take form, and to mature conceptual foundations for the HR
researches and development. This field knew big evolutions during this time. On these 30 years,
the field took shape, developed and rich conceptual foundations. It started by its traditional state,
whose principal mission is controlling and administrating people to arrive to its current state where
the concept of strategy of HR has emerged. So what are the factors that influence the evolution of
the field in these 30 years? And how the field has evolved to its current state? To answer to these
questions it is important to tell you about the 7 themes which reflect the directions and the trends
of the researches on this topic these last 30 years.
The SHRM is marked by seven major themes which show how the field has evolved to its
actual state. The first theme explains contingency perspectives and fit. Which improve that there is
interdependence between the strategy of the organization and HR practices. Furthermore, the
organizational context influences the human strategy. Also, the authors presented 4 perspectives
of SHRM which are: The best practice, the contingency approach, the configurational approach
and the contextual approach.
The second theme is about shifting from a focus on managing people to creating strategic
contributions. So The HR professional has more challenging roles to perform under SHRM unlike
the traditional HRM, which is concerned with administrative activities and people management.
The HR professional should develop a more systematic and different approach to manage and
motivate the human resources to realize the firms objectives and to support its global strategy.
This is what we call the 'strategic contributions'.
The third theme tried to elaborate an HR system components and structure. Indeed, to
establish a structure of HR system we must elaborate his elements first bundles, on the objective
of developing the skills and motivations of the employees. Moreover, HR systems have a positive
effect not only on corporate financial performance but also on employees.

The fourth is about expanding the scope of SRHM. Here we can talk about the introduction of
competitive advantage of HR in the value chain. We can also observe the importance of the
international context, taking into account the strategic international human resource management,
adopted by multinational enterprises. SHRM can expand in an international level by taking into
account the cultural and the economic system of the country where the subsidiary exist.
In the fifth theme we can notice how HR can achieve implementation and execution. Studies
improved the importance of examining implementation factors and the need to measure the
outcomes of SRHM. Otherwise, the authors emphasize on the significant role of understanding an
organizations strategic objectives, and how we can contribute to those objectives.
The sixth theme tries to measure the SHRM outcomes. That means the possibility to know if
the SHRM benefit employees as well as their organizations. Researchers have suggested a
performance information markets system (PIM) similar to a balanced scorecard which allows
measuring the firms stakeholders satisfaction.
The last theme of the SHRM reposes on evaluating the SHRM organizational performance.
This evaluation focused on: the measurement error and construct validity issues, the omitted
variables problem and what mediates the HR system to organizational performance, multi-level
theory of the relationship between HRM and economic performance and finally evaluating by
focusing on stakeholder perspective.
The recent research of SHRM is characterized by a number of established ideas and issues
either further examined or tweaked, and a few new ideas which demonstrate that:
-

There is a relationship between HR systems and organizational performance, although the


causal sequence may be more reciprocal than direct.
SHRM is more likely to be adopted by privately-owned or foreign-owned firms than in stateowned or public organizations in emerging economies.
More research attention is being directed toward the transfer of practices between parent and
subsidiaries in MNCs.
More attention also is being paid to mergers and acquisitions and the role of SHRM in facilitating
their successful implementation.
The role of SHRM in knowledge-based competition is continuing to be examined and explored.
The biological lens consider that evolution triggers some elements to become more
pronounced, allows others to diminish, and overall contributes to an organism's hardiness and
complexity. As SHRM has grown, the role of HR in many firms has, expanded and the
contributions that HRM makes to organizational effectiveness is becoming more visible and more
commonly recognized and appreciated. Human resources are the root of intellectual capital, social
capital, and organization culture which are receiving increasing attention in strategy.

Through internships realized, I have found that, the evolution of the SHRM depends on the
internationalization of the Moroccan economy, which tends to impose new logics. For example
international companies; With a higher level of pay, opportunities for training and skills
development, proposals for career development, etc. ; adopt a policy to retain their staff, promote a
culture of belonging. This does not prevent them from engaging social plans to make quantitative

and qualitative staffing adjustments made necessary for economic, organizational or technological
reasons.

Thus, the renewal of generations of leaders with the emergence of CEOs formed in a context
of economic openness and international competition are more receptive to the implications on
human capital and the requirement of a new environment.

However, SMEs suffer from a lack of support for the HR function. This allows us to see, at the
evolution of this function, a gap is widening between the organized and unorganized structures,
which means in practice a two-speed evolution of this function.

Human resources management processes: a value-creating a source of competitive


advantage
In this article we tried to explain how adopting a process perspective of HRM leads to the
conclusion that the ability of the organization to build, deploy and renew its predictive human
capital through transformational routines in ways that cannot be easily replicated by another
organization generates a competitive advantage in a market.
For this effect the authors analyzed different theories that form the bases of HRM process.
They started by the resource based theory as a basis for the competitive advantage of a firm.
Then, the institutional theory focuses on the deeper and more resilient aspects of social structure.
Strategically-oriented, HRM processes are deeply-embedded, firm specific, dynamic
mechanisms by which a firm attracts, socializes trains, motivates, evaluates and compensates its
human resources. In fact, HRM includes conducting job analyses, planning personal needs,
recruiting the right people, orienting and training, managing wages and salaries, providing benefits
and incentives, evaluating performance, resolving disputes and communicating with all employees
at all levels. So, we can say that HRM can develop productivity and strategic flexibility which in
turn create value.
The process view of HRM proposed in contrast of the human capital perspective maintains
that the processes used to create human capital continue with the firm even if individuals leave.
People come and go processes stay and improve in the firm because HRM processes are about
how things are done not what is produced.
HRM processes are one of the strategic assets of the firm; HRM processes are no substitutes,
difficult to be copied: as some elements of the process may be tacit and not codifiable and HRM

processes change over time. Human resources processes are firm specific coordinated
transformational mechanisms that enable information exchange and decision making.
Mckinsey&co and Procter & Ganble for example have known that their profitability depends on
their internal HRM processes that competitors cant initiate. We can say that HRM processes are
set of possible choices, a consequence of actions enabled and constrained by organizational and
cognitive structures. Not only but also, human resources processes focuses on the decision
making patterns norms and values that are permanently improved.
Otherwise, to create value HRM processes should translate business goals into individual
accountability, thus creating long term value for the organization. This is because engaged
employees are able to drive customer loyalty as well as corporate profits through their consistency
and quality of service. Investing in employees performance confirms to the shareholders that you
are concerned with growth and not minimizing costs, which provides a much smaller competitive
advantage. Thus the number one priority for the value-creating HR function is to point to human
capital problems that limit the ability of the firm to achieve important business priorities and can
provide solutions to those problems.
HRM processes lead to enhanced productivity and strategic flexibility, which in turn create
value and enable the firm to carry out its market strategy. So to make it valuable, HRM processes
should respect certain conditions and characteristics, which are : the tacitness (many bundles are
indirectly understood), coordinated & complimentary (the fit between organizational variables),
learning (to acquire more information and skills in order to develop a new cultures organization),
path dependency (to choose the successful past experiences to extend it on the future),
robustness (to be strong in order to face environments change), non substitutability ( to find
substitutes for HRM processes), and finally rarity (choosing the best processes to not be imitated).
Many companies today face a constantly intensified global competition demanding that they
transform themselves and their production on a regular basis. In order to achieve a competitive
position and thereby also survive, companies are dependent on their flexibility and ability to adapt
and respond to the environment.
The factor that can differentiate a company from its competitors whether in services or
products, in the private or public sector is its employees. The quality of the organizations
employees, their dynamism, motivation , and their satisfaction with their jobs and the company all
have a significant impact on the organizations competitiveness, reputation and survival. In other
words, in such a complex environment, people make the difference. Human resources are an
important component in every department of the organization, from finance to sales to customer
service to line management. Managers and supervisors in every department confront human
resource issues every day and are responsible not only for interactions within their own
department, but also interactions between departments. The primary function of human resources
today is to ensure the effective and efficient use of human resources to reach an organizations
goals and objectives.
Using human resources as a competitive advantage means analyzing what factors are
necessary for the organizations long-term success. Relevant areas to review include:
organizational design, key work processes, teams, hiring effective employees, promotion
strategies, defining competencies and performance measures, training and development programs
for current job and preparation for future positions, reward and recognition systems, motivation and
retention, employee perceptions and customer perception of the organization and employees.

Thought the internship I realized in BMCI a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, I have found that the
company ensure that all HR processes fight against discrimination, valuing skills exclusively.
Recruitment is governed by an internal code of ethics and permanent controls that give its place to
Diversity at the time of hiring future employees. Relative to career management, BMCI ensures
that no discriminatory criterion is involved in the different stages of the career employees (annual
evaluation grids, advertisements mobility, selection criteria promotions, access to training, etc.).
Regarding compensation, equal treatment instructions are recalled upstream processes pay for
the entire Group.
However during my internship in a small and medium company, I found that there is a lack of
knowledge in terms of Human Resource Management. They dont have a structured HRM
process, the recruitment process is not structured, career management doesnt exist and even
patterns of the assessment and the appreciation of personal. For those managers HRM is an
expensive investment without benefits. So they just use "the personnel management function,
which is the administrative aspects of Human Resources, which allowed me to note a demotivation
of employees, an increased rate of turnover and more conflicts within the company.
Finally, for achieving a competitive advantage through the employees the company should
trust their workers and give them responsible and challenging assignments, workers in return will
respond with high motivation, high commitment and high performance, making communication
system effective and wide and easy procedures for individuals to raise grievances and receive
reply. Also, the organization should be able to link its strategy to individual objectives.