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Strategic Human Resource Management


Lynda Gratton, Veronica Hope Hailey, Philip Stiles, and Catherine Truss
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.001.0001
Item type: book

Life is tough in organizations, both for managers and the managed.


Negotiating the rapids of restructuring, downsizing, and refocusing
the core business brings with it huge upheavals in job security, the
smashing of traditional career structures, and a constant imperative
for employees to update their skills while working in an environment of
great uncertainty. Based on close collaboration with a number of high
profile organizations BT, Citibank, Glaxo, Wellcome, Hewlett Packard,
Kraft Jacobs, Suchard, LloydsTSB Group, the NHS, and WH Smith this
book sheds light on the organizational responses to large scale changes
and details the changing demands made of employees in the process.
This book goes beyond fashionable management rhetoric to uncover
the reality of human resource management. A team of top researchers
examines: the organizational strategies pursued in the face of fast-
changing circumstances, the links between what is intended and what
is realized, the way in which HR interventions impact on the individual,
and the influence which HR strategies have on everyday management
behaviour.

Introduction
Lynda Gratton, Veronica Hope Hailey, Philip Stiles, and Catherine Truss

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0001
Item type: chapter

This introductory chapter discusses the research project presented in the


book. The book represents the culmination of a collaboration between
academics and senior managers to study, analyze, reflect, and discuss

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date: 12 September 2017
the challenges they face in people management. It also represents an
attempt to reflect the experience, concern, and aspirations of people at
all levels in these companies. The chapter discusses the objectives of
the study, the development of research questions and measures, the
development of research methodology, and data collection and analysis.
An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Soft and Hard Models of Human Resource Management


Catherine Truss

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0002
Item type: chapter

Human resource management (HRM) has frequently been described


as a concept with two distinct forms: soft and hard. The soft model
emphasizes individuals and their self-direction and places commitment,
trust, and self-regulated behaviour at the centre of any strategic
approach to people. In contrast, the hard model stresses the rationalism
of strategic fit and places emphasis on performance management and an
instrumental approach to the management of individuals. This chapter
first analyzes the conflicts and tensions both between and within the soft
and hard models. It then reports on the findings of an in-depth empirical
study which allow us to review and challenge the theoretical foundations
upon which the soft and hard models are based. One conclusion of the
study is that even if the rhetoric of HRM is soft, the reality is almost
always hard, with the interests of the organization prevailing over those
of the individual.

Performance Management in Fast-Changing Environments


Philip Stiles

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0003
Item type: chapter

Performance management is a central tool used to align employee


behaviour and organizational objectives, especially in the hard model.
This chapter examines how this process works in four companies in

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date: 12 September 2017
the sample which operate in high-velocity environments (Citibank and
Lloyds Bank UK Retail Banking from the banking sector, Hewlett Packard
from the computer industry, and Glaxo Pharmaceuticals UK from the
pharmaceuticals business). The objectives and design of the formal
performance management processes in the four organizations were
largely similar, intended to create vertical linkage between corporate
and business objectives and employee performance. Goals were set
participatively, often supplemented by competency frameworks;
appraisal was more frequently conducted through multiple perspectives;
rewards decisions were more likely to be decentralized; and formal
training was supplemented by coaching and self-development activities.
The application of performance management is influenced by the degree
and experience of change, the involvement and commitment of line
managers, and the transparency and perceived fairness of the process.

The Rhetoric and Reality of New Careers


Lynda Gratton and Veronica Hope Hailey

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0004
Item type: chapter

Discussions with employees and HR teams show that they were


experiencing profound changes in career expectations and career plans.
These profound changes were greeted with enthusiasm by some, and
with deep anxiety and distrust by others. But whatever the response, one
thing was clear: these fundamental changes in careers were touching
every member of the organization. This chapter explores the rhetoric
around these new careers and then compares this rhetoric with the
reality of employee and managerial experience. It argues that whilst
these broad changes in careers may be understood at a policy level, the
companies are struggling with the challenge of implementing processes
and practices which can support a move towards a more individualistic
notion of careers.

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Managing Culture
Veronica Hope Hailey

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0005
Item type: chapter

This chapter describes the different approaches taken by two companies


(Glaxo Pharmaceuticals UK and Hewlett Packard) to managing culture.
Despite the difference in approach, both organizations manage culture
relatively successfully in terms of the individual contexts in which the
approaches are applied and the specific outcomes that each company
wants to achieve. The chapter focuses on three main themes: (i) a
comparative analysis of values or behaviours as a starting point for
instituting cultural change; (ii) a comparative analysis of top-down or
imposed cultural change and incremental and emergent cultural change;
and (iii) a consideration of cultural management as a form of labour
control. The chapter begins by reviewing the current debates under
these three headings. Two case studies are then presented, and the
chapter concludes with a discussion of the comparisons to be made and
the general lessons learnt from the analysis. In particular it draws out the
contextual features that are pertinent if companies choose to manage
culture and the different outcomes which that management intervention
may seek to achieve.

Contextual Diversity for the Role and Practice of HR


Veronica Hope Hailey

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0006
Item type: chapter

This chapter argues that the normative and prescriptive models of


both personnel management and human resource management have
been too simplistic and have failed to address the diverse and complex
roles that are required of the function. These models imply, amongst
others, two things: first, that a progression from a bureaucratic form of
personnel management to a strategically integrated human resource
management function is desirable for all organizations if they are to

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date: 12 September 2017
manage people effectively; and second, that a best practice model of
people management necessitates a strategic role for the personnel/HR
function.

HRM Policies and Management Practices


McGovern Patrick

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0007
Item type: chapter

This chapter focuses on two related issues concerning the viability


of HRM in practice. The first of these concerns the existing state of
line management practice. It provides evidence of the practice of
performance appraisal as a prelude to a discussion of the factors which
enable and constrain line involvement. The second general set of issues
concerns the configuration of incentives and constraints which shape
the level of line management involvement in areas such as performance
appraisal. Here the focus is on the implementation of human resource
policies, specifically the consistency and quality of practice across
different managers.

Transformation at the Leading Edge


Philip Stiles

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0008
Item type: chapter

Major structural and cultural effects have occurred as organizations have


attempted to move from one image of themselves to another in a bid
to maintain and enhance their competitive capabilities. This chapter
describes how the companies have managed the transition process,
particularly in terms of their use of human resource management to
facilitate change. It examines the causes of change, the key levers the
organizations have used to manage the process, and the effect the
change initiatives have had on employees. It argues that the methods
adopted by organizations have been broadly similar and follow a similar
pattern.

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date: 12 September 2017
People Processes as a Source of Competitive Advantage
Lynda Gratton

in Strategic Human Resource Management: Corporate Rhetoric and Human


Reality
Published in print: 1999 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
October 2011 DOI: 10.1093/
ISBN: 9780198782049 eISBN: 9780191695421 acprof:oso/9780198782049.003.0009
Item type: chapter

This chapter develops a model to describe the key people processes


against a temporal frame of both the short and longer term. It highlights
the key role played by these clusters of processes and the vertical,
horizontal, and temporal linkages which serve to create a connection
between the business goals and the behaviours of individual members
of the organization. It describes how these processes operate in the
organizations observed and provides broad descriptions of the processes
operating at the highest level of linkage. It then goes on to describe
those processes where companies are focused in their efforts, and
those which are underdeveloped. The chapter draws attention to the
underdevelopment of processes associated with the creation of a
human resource strategy and calls for greater focus on this key part of
organizational life.

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in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy). Subscriber: University of Waterloo;
date: 12 September 2017