Do firms change their HRM approach from one that is initially humanistic to one that is later strategic?

Anthony Hankins

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis is an investigation into two methods of strategic Human Resource Management (HRM). One method concentrates on winning the commitment of employees to achieve the goals of the firm by using human resource (HR) policies which mutually satisfy the employees' and the firm's needs. This type HRM also aims to develop employees, involve them in decision-making, and keep them fully informed so that they can make choices. It may be termed 'humanistic' in nature, but is also known as 'soft' model HRM. It is a single, closed and claimed by Sisson & Storey(2000) to be a universally appropriate strategy based on treating humans as valued resources. Mutillity is a theme of 'soft' model HRM.The other method of strategic HRM is based on matching HR policies to the organisation's business strategies. The firm decides its strategy in consideration of a business environment and chooses a suite of HR policies that are appropriate in light of that strategy. The policies might, or might not be 'humanistic', because the choices are linked to the business environment in an open, contingent manner. Matching policies to strategies is a theme of 'hard' model HRM. The problem with the 'humanistic' model is that it ignores the business environment and this closed view prevents changes to HR policies that might be essential to face competition and survive. The literature is silent on this point and because of this, the hypothesis of this thesis is that the 'soft'model is not sustainable in a business environment open to competition. Organisations exposed to competition will be compelled to transition to the 'hard' model over a period of time.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Business Administration
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Award date10 Oct 2002
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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