The above assessment of the current personnel management challenges facing the organization indicates that there are a number of pertinent issues that must be addressed if the organization is to effectively optimize its human resource capabilities and help facilitate the development of change in the organization. With this in mind, the proposed plan for organizational development focuses on two specific areas for improvement. First, the proposed plan considers the need for the strategic development of human resource practice in the organization. Strategic human resource management will enable the organization to embed human resource function into the process of facilitating organizational objectives. Second, the proposed plan considers the need for a comprehensive change management program which will facilitate HR integration while building the necessary organizational infrastructure to help improve change outcomes.
Strategic Human Resource Management
Strategic human resource management or SHRM is the process by which human resource activities are effectively aligned with the objectives of the organization (Khatri, Wells and McKune, 2006). As reported by Khatri and coworkers (2006, p. 9) "HR has now emerged as a strategic paradigm in which individual HR functions, such as recruitment, selection, training, compensation, and performance appraisal, are aligned with each other and also with the overall strategy of the organization." These authors go on to report that because of the tremendous value that can be created through this paradigm, organizations have taken a focused interest in this paradigm for improving operations.
Applying SHRM to the Protec organization, it seems reasonable to argue that this approach would facilitate the development of HR practice such that outcomes of HR policy would be directed toward facilitating change in the entire context of the organization. According to Boswell (2006) strategic human resource management serve as the basis for aligning employees with the organization. Because HR provides a basic foundation for building employee relationships in the organization, strategic focus in this area can provide employees with what Boswell calls a "line of sight." As reported by Boswell, line of sight for employees is critical because it facilitates a deeper understanding of the organization's overall needs and objectives. With this understanding, issues such as resistance to change can be effectively mitigated and, in some cases, eliminated.
Additionally, Khilji and Wang (2006) assert that strategic human resource management can foster the integration of culture and structure based on an alignment of human capital with organizational objectives. As reported by these authors, strategic human resource management can serve as the foundation for allowing HR managers to effectively integrate human capital management into larger infrastructure needed by the organization to effectively achieve its goals. Job development programs, job descriptions and organizational culture can all be improved through the alignment of human capital with the specific needs of the organization. In this context then, SHRM can provide an integrative tool for the complete development of the organization.
Although the proposal to create a SHRM program will require considerable effort on the part of the Protec organization, the reality is that this paradigm is needed to help foster greater integration of HR function into the entire scope of the organization. Given that this is a critical issue for the current organization, development along these lines should help improve outcomes for the organization. Additionally, as reported by Green, Wu and Whitten (2006) strategic human resource management provides a number of advantages for the organization that can effectively improve employee morale, job satisfaction and productivity. Improvements in this area appear to be vital to the success of Protec's operations.
While the development and implementation of strategic human resource management will help improve the role of human resource management in the total organization, in order to help facilitate the current change occurring in the organization, HR managers will need a complementary strategy to meet this end. For the purposes of this investigation, a change management program has been proposed as a central means to improve the organization and facilitate larger integration of HR function over the long-term. Scholars examining the definition and scope of change management have made the following observations:
Change management -- the formal process for organizational change -- is the systematic approach and application of knowledge, tools and resources to leverage the benefits of change. Change management means defining and adopting corporate strategies, structures, procedures and technologies to deal with change stemming from internal and external conditions. Increasingly, change management is seen as a permanent business function to improve productivity and profits by keeping organizations adaptable to the competitive marketplace (Change management..., 2007, p. 1).
Although the basic definition of change management provided above clearly indicates that this process can have a number of notable benefits for the organization, there are significant changes proposed under this paradigm which could have marked implications for improving outcomes at Protec. For instance, Oakland and Tanner (2007) note that change management programs often require the development and implementation of coordinated communication systems. These systems facilitate two-way communication in the organization and the delivery of pertinent information in a timely manner. The development of communication infrastructure is clearly an issue that must be addressed by Protec. Thus, applying this paradigm could have significant ramifications for improving communication in the organization.
Additionally, Gravells (2006) argues that change management can improve leadership by providing clearly defined goals and objectives for managers and human resource personnel. The development of leadership in the Protec organization is one that clearly has implications for the success of the current change. Based on data provided in the case, resistance to change is rampant and few initiatives have been undertaken to improve leadership and focus. As a result different management teams are communicating in a manner that is both chaotic and disorganized. This perpetuates problems with rumors, employee morale and the ability of the organization to manage the change process. Leadership through the development of clear change management protocols would have a direct impact on the ability of the organization and human resource managers to effectively control human capital.
The information provided by Gravells (2006) also indicates that the development and implementation of a change management program could reduce resistance among employees in the organization. At the present time, a lack of communication and leadership appear to have created considerable resistance on the part of employees. However, through the utilization of a change management program, it is possible that human resource managers can better control this issue. Communication can be improved and leadership will provide a unifying umbrella under which all employees in the organization can unite. While the implementation of a change management program will also require considerable resources and effort on the part of the organization, it appears to represent a comprehensive method for systematically addressing all of the current problems facing the organization.
Synthesizing all of the data presented in this investigation, it seems reasonable to argue that Protec Ltd. currently faces a number of human resource challenges. Overall, the organization lacks the human resource management capacity to effectively manage the current change that is taking place in the organization. As a direct result of this situation, communication between employees and the organization has eroded and rumors rather than truth serve as the impetus for action and reaction. Unfortunately, until the organization develops a clear program for addressing these issues, change in the organization to improve efficiency and competitive advantage will not be possible.
In an effort to comprehensively address the current problems experienced by the organization, this research proposes a two-pronged approach utilizing both strategic human resource management and change management as central methods for improving outcomes at Protec. Although these two proposals will require the organization to consider marked changes to its human resource department, these changes are needed to ensure that the organization is able to effectively retain its competitive position. Further, the application of these two paradigms provides a comprehensive means for the organization to address all of the current human capital issues impacting performance and outcomes.
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