- Students can indicate how (black-box debate) and under which conditions (contingency perspective) HRM can contribute to organizational performance.
- Students can interpret the dark-side perspective of HRM and the differentiated workforce approach.
- Students can discuss the role of the line-manager and the HR manager in the effective implementation of HRM (HR devolution).
- Students can compare and contrast key theories and research findings on the five challenges associated with the HRM-performance link (i.e. black-box debate; best practice - best fit debate; dark side of HRM; differentiated workforce and HR devolution).
- Students can combine information obtained in organizations about the HRM-performance relationship, with academic literature on SHRM, in order to evaluate this link and to make suggestions for improving it.
This course consists of lectures, classes and a team assignment including consultation sessions. In the first lecture, the starting point for this course the positive link between HRM and performance will be clarified. In the subsequent lectures and classes the five current challenges identified above will be discussed, as seen in the context of the HRM-performance relationship. The final grade of this course is based on the written exam with open ended questions (50%) and the team assignments (50%). To pass this course, students require a minimum weighted average grade of 5.5 or higher and a written exam and group assignment grade of 5.0 or higher.
In recent years, people have increasingly been considered as an important (the most important) key to organizational success. This makes the management of human resources a key management task. Central to Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) literature is the idea that key aspects of the management of people at the workplace (recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, pay and benefits, participation and communication) can have a significant positive impact on organizational performance.
Despite the growing academic evidence of a positive relationship between HRM and organizational performance, considerable debate about the nature of the relationship between HRM and organizational performance still exists. The course on SHRM deals with the following five challenges associated with the HRM-performance relationship:
- First, our understanding of the factors and processes that help to explain how and why HR practices have an impact on organizational performance (the so-called black-box debate) is still limited. In response, a number of models of the impact of HRM on organizational performance have been proposed (such as the resource based view (RBV) of the firm, the Ability, Motivation, Opportunity (AMO) framework and process-oriented models of HRM). Central to these models is the idea that employees attributes, experiences, attitudes and behaviors play a key role in understanding the impact of HR practices on organizational performance.
- A second challenge concerns the best practice - best fit debate in SHRM. According to the best practices perspective there is a coherent set of HR practices that is universally valid and effective, irrespective of the situation. The alternative contingency (best-fit) perspective, on the other hand, suggests that the effectiveness of given HRM system is likely to vary depending on the particular intra- and inter-organizational context and situation involved.
- Third, there is still considerable debate about the extent to which HRM does indeed have a beneficial effect on various aspects of performance, in particular on employee as well as organizational outcomes. Whereas the mainstream perspective holds that HRM positive outcomes for organizations and workers, the critical perspective or dark side of SHRM suggests that HR practices designed to increase organizational performance may, at times, do so at the expense of individual employees.
- A fourth challenge is that previous SHRM research focused primarily at managing the workforce as a whole. However, while some HR practices might be standardized for all employees, others might be customized to match the specific requirements of particular employee groups (a so-called differentiated workforce approach). As different groups of employees vary in their expected contribution, their uniqueness, and their strategic value to the organization the HR practices used to manage them are likely to vary.
- The fifth challenge concerns the growing trend of HR devolution: the reallocation of HR- related management tasks from human resource managers to line- managers. The effective implementation of HR activities depends on line-managers motivation and ability. In addition, HR devolution has important consequences for the role of the HR function within organizations.
Type of instructions
Lectures, classes and consultation sessions
Type of exams
Written exam (50%) and group assignments (50%)