Owen C 2005 Human Resource essay

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24, Iss. 1; pg. 87. Web. 29 March 2011. Newell, S. And Rice, C. (1999), "Assessment, selection and evaluation: problems and pitfalls," in Millmore, M. (Eds.), Just How Extensive is the Practice of Strategic Recruitment and Selection? The Irish Journal of Management.

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*Though seemingly extensive, this introduction summarizes both the Millmore article (2003), alongside the article of Newell and Rice (1999): Mike Millmore: Business School, University of Gloucestershire; INTRODUCTION: The integration between the management of human resources and organisation strategy is arguably the prime factor delineating HRM theory and practice from its more traditional personnel management origins.To achieve this strategic integration it is anticipated that each of the bundle of activities making up HRM, as practiced by organisations, will be similarly integrated, vertically, to align with their strategic imperatives. Recruitment and selection has long been recognised as a key activity within HR and this paper seeks to explore the extent to which its practice provides evidence of such strategic alignment. Prior to the more recent emphasis on strategic alignment, organisational recruitment and selection practice remained relatively unchanged, having evolved into a relatively standardised approach frequently labelled as 'traditional' (Storey and Wright, 2001). This traditional approach has its roots in a psychometric model (Newell and Rice, 1999) where organisational effort is directed at defining the sort of person who will perform a particular job effectively and assessing applicants against defined personal attributes in order to establish a person/job fit. More recently, evidence has pointed to significant developments in recruitment and selection processes particularly in terms of their central focus and sophistication. At one level it is argued that the focus of recruitment and selection has become more strategically driven (Sparrow and Pettigrew, 1988), where a premium is placed on selecting employees against organisational rather than job-specific criteria (Bowen et al., 1991). At another level it is argued that this strategic orientation has required the use of more sophisticated selection techniques and greater involvement of line managers in the process (Storey, 1992; Wilkinson and van Zwanenberg, 1994). Many of these developments have been encapsulated in a strategic variant of recruitment and selection which has been portrayed as the natural adaptation of more traditional approaches to provide greater integration between employee resourcing and business strategy (Thornhill et al., 2000). An underpinning rationale for the emergence of strategic recruitment and selection (SR&S) can be developed from two interrelated strands in recent management thinking: strategic management and human resource management (HRM). The starting point is that organisations have arguably become more strategic in their behaviour in pursuit of competitive advantage in an increasingly turbulent business environment (Porter, 1985). Strategic behaviour involves an organisation in matching its resources over the long-run to the demands of its changing environment (Johnson and Scholes, 1999). A key element of an organisation's resource capability is its workforce.This receives greater emphasis through HRM which identifies people as the key resource: an organisation's most valuable asset and major source of competitive advantage (Kerfoot and Knights, 1992; Poole and Mansfield, 1994; Sisson, 1995a; Storey, 1999a; Bratton and Gold, 1999). Recruitment and selection is just one element of an array of human resourcing practices that need to be integrated into a coherent bundle by organisations in order to support the delivery of corporate strategy. For some, recruitment and selection lies at the very centre of human resourcing in organisations (Newell and Rice, 1999) where appointment decisions represent some of the most crucial ever taken by employers.

If accepted, this proposition presents a logical and persuasive argument for the development of strategically driven recruitment and selection by organisations. This would lead to the expectation that the practice of SR&S would be widely and increasingly evident. However, evidence of SR&S presents a contradictory picture that challenges this optimistic outlook. For example, Storey's findings that selection as a key, integrated task was evident in per cent of the case companies investigated provides grounds for optimism.

Conversely Wright and Storey's conclusion that despite a few reported exceptions traditional approaches to recruitment and selection continue to dominate practice presents an altogether more pessimistic picture.These apparent contradictions inevitably place a question mark over the extent to which SR&S is really practiced by organisations. The study…[continue]

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