This lack of absorption of the HRD into the whole of the organization is clearly evident and poses severe impediments for the HR staff in their implemental role, leave alone any strategic contribution. Faced with an organizational climate that shows compartmentalization, '"Personnel do personnel work and training people do training work," HRD professionals find managing the professional boundaries a grave problem. (McCracken and Wallace, (2000))
In assessment, the summary of information gathered from the companies in the survey seems to indicate a strong leaning towards the Garavan (1991) characteristics, which indicates that basic training programs and not strategic HRD, is in place in these organizations. Again, there was hardly any evidence for the presence of characteristics suggested by McCracken and Wallace, (2000) which exclude any strategic HRD role in these organizations. Most organizations studied in the survey lacked a mature approach to personnel management and training. While there was not much evidence for SHRD, a revealing fact from the survey is that there was hardly any HRD in place in most of the organizations. It is surprising to note that even those organizations with the best HRD initiatives could only manage to reach scale 3 of the 6-point Lee scale, while the majority of the organizations were placed around 6 or 5. A shocking observation is that there was little positive change in terms of the HRD role when the outcome of this survey was compared with results 14 years later. The difference between the responses to the questionnaires and the interviews clearly indicates that the responses to the questionnaires were largely an aspiration and do not reflect the ground reality. These facts offer us confirming evidence to presume that HRD is still "an elusive activity, lacking any real strategic focus." (Heraty and Morley, 2000, p. 31)
Having analyzed the characteristics, and the practical status of HRD in an organization using the survey, let us focus on the chief problems that hinder the development of SHRD. HRD should be able to induce a change in corporate culture, which is only possible if it is part of the strategic thinking body of the organization. (Alan Price, 38,1997) the most important and obvious issue is the lack of strategic partnerships with the consequent lack of strategic maturity of the HRD in organizations. Strategic partnerships between the senior management, line managers, staff and the HRD is thus at the very core of the problem. As discussed earlier mature organizations tend to have strong strategic bonds. Strong strategic partnerships between the different stakeholders within the organization can only be sustained if each of the partners understands the role of the others. Effective boundary management becomes an important issue for the HRD professional. Once these core issues are sorted out HRD could contribute as a proactive, strategic body of the organization. Evaluation of training programs (positive results) is suggested as a way of gaining the confidence of the senior management. Only when HRD closes the 'credibility gap' it will be accepted into the strategic fabric of the organization. (Dilworth and McClernon, 2000).
Acquisition and Mergers (Strategic Role of HRD)
Off late there have been an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world. But several studies point to the failure of majority of such mergers and acquisitions. One mainly identified factor is the exclusion of HRD from the pre-acquisition phase (due diligence). This tends to prove the strategic exclusion of HRD and its limited role in companies and the harsh consequences. Six main attributes have been identified with unsuccessful mergers. (Hitt et.al, 1998) it is also ascertained from an extensive case analysis that 66% of attributes that define unsuccessful mergers are a direct result of the absence of HRD intervention. The authors of the case study proposed four levels of HRD strategic involvement during the due diligence phase of the acquisition. HRD involvement during this pre-merger phase would be vital in assessing the HR policies such as employment and staffing procedures and policies. (Shields, 2000). Often obtaining this information from the target company presents a problem due to the lack of trust and credibility on the HRD. However, these can be overcome with communication tactics. (Gundling, 2003). The HRD team should be entrusted with the responsibility of determining the 'cultural fit' of the target organization. HRD again has an important role in the post merger integration. Thus, we see ample scope and need for HRD involvement in all the phases of a merger, which is sadly not the case as reflected by the majority of acquisition failures. (TAMMY L. MCINTYRE)
The changing organizational dynamics imply the need for a reassessment of the role of HRD in an organization. Strategic human resource development is a contemporary, proactive approach, which challenges the traditional reactive theories of HRD. Several studies have reported clear association between strategic HRM policies and improvements in organizational performance and consequently the competitive advantage. As Management theorists have shown there is an evolving strategic role for HRD in modern organizations. HR professionals are no longer viewed as trainers or supervisors of training programs but rather as change consultants who anticipate, innovate, and actuate changes that fit in with the strategic needs of the organization. Such a strategic role for the HRD, though immensely desired, is far from reality for the vast majority of organizations. The lack of support from top management, resistance from line managers, the weak link between the HRD and the HRM are all factors that undermine the flourishing of the SHRD in an organization. Unless businesses embrace a totally open organizational structure, with effective cooperation and with little resistance to change, Strategic HRD will remain a theoretical concept.
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