Human Resource Management Assignment sample

This Human Resource Management Assignment sample consists the solution of four different case studies of Human Resource Managament.

Case study-I

Q.1 (a) what kind of approach to local HR strategy did the German HR Director take? What perspective on strategic HRM, does this illustrate?

Ans (a): The Approach adopted by the German HR on local HRM strategy was such that it does allow the local HR managers to follow their own rules and regulations. HR managers in Germany have said that your HR capability would be based on the financial results hence mangers in a particular country would be given complete autonomy to manage the people in their own way (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990).  Hence according to the strategic HR management perspective company have adopted the nation based culture for leading their organisation.

The Reason behind using the national culture is that local HR knows better about the human resource of that particular country hence leading the people through the organisational culture is not viable.

  1. b) Do you consider the way (or how) the German HR director carried out his approach wise?

Ans (b): The Approach taken up by the German HR was quiet wise since according to the German HR, until and unless financial results given by the national HR are good till that time national HR are autonomous to lead their people in their own way (Hamel and Prahalad, 1993). Since German HR was having the philosophy that the local HR can understand the need of human resource in their country better hence they can lead the people in better way.

Q.2 Should the company have done some things differently when it launched its new sales force? What and why?

Ans: Company have selected some of their best performers in the sales for selling of their new technology based cell phone which company have just launched. For launching the new sales force company selected best performers and given them special training for selling the product and along with that HR promised them for the exciting career. According to the Lepak and Snell’s (1997) HR architecture, the HR architecture adopted by the company is of the commitment based HR as the employees employed are of the high uniqueness. These employees who have been employed for the current cell phone launched by the company are highly efficient in their work of selling the cell phones (Hoopes et al, 2003).

HR architecture for Human Resource Management assignment sample
Lepak and Snell’s HR architecture

As shown in the quadrant1 of the matrix that the employees are having high uniqueness and the strategic value obtained from them is also of high importance for the company. The Relationship established through such kind of strategic human resource management is of the relationship type. As the human resource is of the internalised type as the employees are within from the same company and not hired or taken on contract.

Q.3 What lessons you will take from this story about; (a) employee as a strategic resource and (b) barriers to imitation in HRM?

Ans: The Case study about the telecommunication company highlight various important factors for the management of the strategic human resource of the multinational company which have given autonomy to their local HR to lead the people in accordance with their local HR strategy.

  • The Case study have shown the importance of the employees of the company nad have proved them a strategic human resource which is very essential for the success of the company. The Case highlights that human resource advantage can be created by using two methods which are: human capital advantage and organisational capital advantage. Human capital advantage is created through superior form of human resource such as recruiting and training people through high tacit knowledge in order to manage the people in a better way. And organisational capital is created through the superior social capital such as trust and commitment that is also called organisational excellence(Barney, 1991).
  • In the case major source of barriers to imitations which have emerged out are: unique timing and learning, social complexity and casual ambiguity. The Unique timing and learning refers to the quick learning from experience, social complexity refers to the network of people which evolve from working together and casual ambiguity is the uncertainty from inside as well as from outside environment to a company which is present around the organisation (Johnson et al, 2008).

Case study-II

Sue upsets the Applecart

Q.1 why do you think the partners are comfortable with Sue’s ideas for improving the recruitment process but antagonistic to her ideas on employee development once employees are hired?

Ans: There were two things proposed by Sue actually one was related with the best fit while other was related with the best practice in HR. The Thing which was related with the best practice was idea given by Sue to improve the recruitment and training process. The Best fit model is liked by all the partners as it provides high productivity on the cost of complex implementation of the best practice strategy of the HR (Michael, 2006). Hence partners were happy with the best practice model proposed by Sue since it will add value and productivity to the firm.

The Other idea of the best practice proposed by Sue who was related with the career and personal development of the employees was contradicted by the partners as the partners were seeing it as the major expense for the company and being a small tier company in the accountancy field, at present company would not be able to handle such cost. Hence the partners are not ready to implement the idea of the best practice since they think the cost of the whole development programme would be enormous and their company is not able to handle that at present.

Q.2 Has Sue misjudged the context in which she is now working or has she rightly started a healthy process of challenging the traditional culture in this firm? Does her concept of ‘best practice’ show sensitivity to the importance of cost-effectiveness when it comes to evaluating ideas for HR policies? Why or why not?

Ans: Sue was initially a part of the big public firm which was hiring the people from the top universities and people with good academics. The Organisation in which Sue worked earlier was big in size and being public it was having a complete different orientation then the present organisation of the Sue.

After coming to the present small accountancy firm Sue completely misjudged the context in which she was working as the current organisation was a small accountancy firm and was completely working for the interest of the partners. Hence the concept of best practice was not suitable for the partner’s interest as it was a big cost centre for them. The Company was having the competitive advantage in terms of low cost services providers in the management accounting industry (Golding, 2010). But if the company implements the Sue’s Idea of the best practice then it will definitely affect the cost effectiveness of the firm. Since the cost for the career development of the employees have to be passed on to the customers of the company so the competitive advantage which the company has in current situation would be lost by doing so. Hence the HR practices proposed by the company are effective to the cost of the services provided by the company.

Q.3 Do you have any comments to make on how: a) The partners have managed Sue so far?

  1. b) Sue has approached her relationship with the partners?

Ans (a): So far partners have presented a very narrow view of the HR practices in front of the new HR manager i.e. Sue. Partners have till now insisted that they do not want to make much of the expense on their employees. Company is having cost advantage for the accounting services provided by them. Also company retain their employees by paying some extra amount of money to their employees as compared to their competitor who do not pay much to their employees (Becker and Gerhart, 1996). Till now partners are not agree with the proposal of Sue about the best HR practices followed by the company.

Ans (b): The Relationship of the Sue and partners were very strategic as the partners are taking Sue as the important resource for the company in order to manage the company’s employees and they are very impressed with the HR ideas given by Sue. Hence there is very deep relationship between Sue and Partners of the company as partners give lot of importance to Sue and his ideas. 

Case study-III

Q.1.Looking first at the situation in Division X, what do you think explains the behaviour of managers in this area and what should Angus do about it?

Ans: The Situation in division X is very problematic for the company and the overall performance appraisal system established by the HR department of the company. The Performance Appraisal system which is newly established in company asks managers to rate their employees on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 are for the outstanding performance. The System of appraisal developed is about the merit based payment as well as about the training needs of the employees of the company.

In Division X after the performance appraisal given by the managers there were lot of disparity from the other performance appraisal given by the other managers of the various divisions in the company. The Managers in Division X have given a rating of 5 to about 60% of the employees means they have recommended 60% of their employees for the payment increment. While in other division average rating given by the managers is 4 and only 20% of the employees have been given the 5 ratings. Along with the 5 rating given by the managers in Division X these managers also have given string recommendations about the very expensive training needs of the employees.

The two different aspects highlighted by the managers in Division X which are not matching with each other. So there is very less internal fit which exists in the company and the managers are not able to decide on the performance appraisal task very decisively. CEO of the company Mr. Angus is also not happy about the performance appraisal given by the managers in Division X as the two different aspects of the employees are contradictory and 5 ratings given by managers is not justified.

 So Angus should try to implement a system which is more logical and subjective to the performance of the employees so that managers can justify the performance appraisal given by them. Hence Angus can review the whole performance appraisal system with the help of the various senior managers of the company and can established a more sound performance appraisal system which in accordance with the internal policy of the company hence can provide the best internal fit for the HRM strategy.

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Q.2. Looking at the situation more generally:

  1. a) What comments would you make about the decision to bring in a PA system and the way in which it was developed? e. was it a good idea to develop a formal PA system in this organisation? Why or why not? If it was a sensible decision, were there weaknesses in how it was designed and implemented?
  2. b) Using the model depicted in Figure 8.3, explain how the management of this company, despite wanting to improve the quality of its HRM, has actually moved employee attitudes in a negative direction.
  3. c) Explain how you think Angus and his senior team should handle their current dilemma (a high level of employee expectations and an environment which is less able to meet them).

Ans (a): It is very essential for the company to bring a suitable performance appraisal system since it is the main motivating factor for the employees. Performance appraisal provides sense of working for the employees and feed them with the motivation in the employees. But the way in which the performance appraisal system was developed was not according to the proper HR planning system (Patterson, 1987). Since a proper performance appraisal system needs to have the involvement of the various stakeholders of the company and in eyes of the employees it should be fare and up to their expectation. But the performance appraisal developed in the company was not in accordance with the fare system and was not having involvement of the various stakeholders of the company.

Ans (b): As the model given by Purcell and Kinnie (2003) and Wright and Nishii (2004) the current organisation has moved their employee’s attitude in negative through their quality improvement programme. As the management intention is to implement the intended HRM practices to change management in the organisation and the management action is to review the current performance appraisal system. But the workforce perception about the performance appraisal system is not good and thus the outcome of the whole process is negative employee attitude.

Ans (c): In the current situation Angus should try to develop a more transparent performance appraisal system which can suit the employees of the organisation and hence employee perception about the PA system should be good then only that system will yield good outcomes.

Case Study-IV

The Return of the retailer

Q.1 Identify the stage of industry development in which this retail company is located and analyse its current strategic situation (How viable is it? Does it have any competitive advantages? Does it have any competitive disadvantages?)

Ans: The Stage of industry development through which present retail company has been evolved is a three stage process which is as follows:

  • Establishment context
  • Maturity context
  • Renewal context

The Retail firm is an example of the establishment context as the entrepreneur is the talented entrepreneur who is having the education, ability and right kind of motivation for establishing the business of retail (Golding, 2010). Also since the human resource is one of the main important factor for the business and can be used to create competitive advantage. The Retail business is much more affected by the labour market.

The Competitive advantage created by the company is in terms of the human resource management and the competitive advantage created through that is not imitable. The competitive advantage created by the company is in terms of the lack of training of the employees of the company.

Q.2 (a) For a top-end retailer, what weaknesses does the company currently demonstrate in its people management?

(b) In terms of the management process, why has this situation come about and what lessons would you take from this for the management process going forward?

Ans (a): At present the company is having the weakness in terms of the lack of proper training to be imparted to the staff of the company. The Employees in the organisation do not have standard customer service standards as the way employees used to behave with the customers has changes now (Storey, 2007). The way of greeting to the customers also have changed which is not liked much by the customers hence these small-small elements adds to the customer service part for which the current workforce needs special training.

Ans (b): The Management processes of the company are not aligned internally and hence there is clear lack of the internal fit in the company which is needed to be established in the organisation which would be implemented by aligning various process of the management for the people management in the organisation.

Q.3. Your strategic vision is one involving a system of aligned improvements in products, properties and people. Outline more fully what will need to change in people management, including the ways in which front-line staff and their managers are managed.

Ans: The Strategic vision would be focused around the three major factors which are: people, property and products. The Property would be upgraded in order to add more value to the process of retailing. The Property aspect for the retailer in current situation is not the major issue (Paauwe, 2009). Second major factor in the strategic vision is the products, the products range would be needed radical review so that the product range of the company should stay relevant for the customers of the company. The Last factor which needs to be considered for the strategic vision for the new CEO of the company would be people.

The Current issues of the company are related with the people and operation management in the company. The Major issue in the people management process is the conflicts which have been aroused among the internal and confessional staff of the company. The Internal staffs of the company are related with all the general tasks performed in the company while the confessional staffs of the company are related with the sale of particularly branded products in the company.

Also another major issue is about the disinterest of the current salesman of the company which are leaving the company (Pfeffer, 1994). The part time employees can be hired in order to sort out the problem of the salesman in the company. But the part time employees do not have the proper sales skills required for the job hence the person with the apt sales skills is required in order to make the sale of the products. But the major part time employees are just youngsters who are unskilled and lack of money is their main aim for doing the job which will not serve the company’s purpose.

Case study-V

Q.1.What would you consider to be the ‘table stakes’ for HR strategy in your 3-star hotel operation? Explain how these are different from the ‘table stakes’ for HR strategy at a 5-star level. You should consider this question in relation to both hotel management staff and operating staff (who work mainly in front-desk operations, catering, room service, and housekeeping).

Ans: The Table stake for the HR strategy in the 3 star hotels of the company should be such that it pays more focus to the training of the employees as the service quality is very important in the hotel industry and it can provide very crucial competitive advantage to the company in the long run. There should be special attention to the recruitment and training process of the employees working in the 3 star hotels as the basic amenities provided in the hotel do not attract the customer but the human factor attracts more to the customers (Boxall, 1998).

Hence recruitment process should be done with all care and employees should be selected with all care put in mind. Then after recruitment of the employees there should be proper training for the employees so that there should be standardised processes even to greet the customers.

Q.2.Your boss’s directive implies that some form of competitive advantage should be built through service quality in your 3-star chain. Use the kind of strategy map or employee-customer-profit chain shown in Bo0xall & Purcell Figure 11.4, but customised to a 3-star hotel operation, to map out how you will do this. Write up a good explanation of how the main HR performance drivers affect service quality.

Ans: As shown in the model given by the Boxall and Purcell, (2003) the strategic map for

HR-architecture

Building the competitive strength to the 3 star hotel of the company can be created through the designing of the HR practices and the operating system designing which are done in order to enhance the ability and motivation of the employee of the hotel and provide them with the immense opportunity while working with the hotel. Hence by using the best practices in HR service quality of the hotel can be enhanced significantly and hence the employee potential can therefore be enhanced by doing so (Boxall, P. and Purcell, 2003). This process will further add to the employee and company performance. Hence the competitive advantage for the 3 start hotel can be achieved by adopting the best practices in the HR strategy since increasing the amenities provided by the hotel will increase the expense of the hotel significantly. The Main HR factor which enhances the company performance are as follows:

  • Proper employee training
  • Dedicated employees
  • Due focus on the customers service factor
  • Employee motivation

Q.3. Major Downturns are always possible in the hotel business, as can happen after a serious terrorist incident, so explain how you will build organisational flexibility into your HR strategy for the 3-star chain. The company is naturally concerned not to be in a situation where too high a proportion of labour cost is fixed. It is open to HR practices that facilitate greater flexibility without compromising social legitimacy.

Ans: For building the flexibility in the organisation in order to reduce the fixed cost involved in the Hotel business since the hotel business is having risk of various downturns such as terrorist attacks. Hence in order to build the flexibility in the 3 star hotel; hotel management should try to engage some of the workforce as the part time and commission based employees of the hotel which can be used to reduce cost at the time of any problem with the hotel.

Another source of flexibility which can be proved very significant for the hotel is through building the good reputation of the hotel (Wright et al, 1994). The High reputation build by the company would be helpful for the hotel in the turbulent time since even if some mis-happening happened in hotel business then good reputation will help the company to regain the customer confidence in the hotel very rapidly. Hence the company should try to invest in the brand building for their hotel since brand is an important factor for the customer retention and main source of the customer trust.

References

  • Prahalad, C. and Hamel, G. (1990) “The Core Competences of the Corporation”, Harvard Business Review May-June: pp79-91
  • Hamel, G. and Prahalad, C. (1993) “Strategy as Stretch and Leverage”. Harvard Business Review71(2): pp75-84
  • Armstrong, Michael (2006).A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice (10th ed.). London: Kogan Page
  • Becker, B. and Gerhart, B. (1996) ‘The impact of human resource management on organisational performance’ Academy of Management Journal 39 (4) 779-801
  • Purcell, J., Kinnie, N., Swart, J., Rayton, B. & Hutchinson, S. (2009)People Management and Performance, London: Routledge
  • Thomas F. Patterson (1987).Refining Performance Appraisal. Retrieved 2007-01-18
  • Golding, N. (2010) “Strategic Human Resource Management” in Beardwell, J. and Claydon, T. (2010) Human Resource Management A Contemporary Approach, FT Prentice Hall
  • Storey, J. (2007) “What is strategic HRM?” in Storey, J. (2007) Human Resource Management: A Critical Text, Thompson
  • Boxall, P. (1998). ‘Achieving competitive advantage through human resource strategy: towards a theory of industry dynamics’. Human Resource Management Review, 8: 3, 265-288
  • Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2003). Strategy and Human Resource Management, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.