Dutch (2013) used the contingency model of strategic human resource management to construct a new framework of human resources, strategy and culture in an organization. The current perspective of the contingency model involves aligning human resource management practices with themselves and with organizational strategy. The article posits that though this view is theoretically sound, there are challenges in its practicality. They fault the contingency model for failing to address the issues that affect both the HRM and strategy. Further, the article indicates that some of the HRM practices might be affected by strategy and vice versa. This paper then seeks to expand the contingency model and construct a symbiotic relationship between HRM practices, organizational strategy, and culture. The specific aim of this paper is to show that the sustained competitive advantage of an organization is not only as a result of aligning HRM practices with strategy but also with the resource to be exploited by that strategy. For the purposes of demonstration, this paper picks organizational culture (9).
According to the contingency model of SHRM, HRM practices should fit vertically and horizontally. Horizontal fit is the congruence across HRM practices while vertical fit is matching HRM to strategy. Since the vertical fitting of HRM to strategy is done after the formulation of the strategy, the perspective is, therefore, unable to address the input of strategy in HRM. Dutch (2013) argues that non-physical strategic resources that are exploited by and flow from the humans in the organization, should be fit to the HRM practices in order to support the competitive advantage. Such alignment of HRM practices with resources will maintain their viability, availability for strategic exploration and a sustained potential for competitive advantage. In a company there are numerous forms of non-physical resources. However, this paper discussed organizational culture which is one of the non-physical resources available to an organization (10).
In dealing with issues concerning the organizational culture, it is important to take into account the universally accepted traits of an organization’s culture. These traits include values, attitudes, thinking and methods of making decisions in an organization. Since organizational culture is unique for any organization, it provides a unique resource that can be leveraged for competitive advantage of the company. Dutch (2013) observes that instead of practitioners exploiting organizational culture in strategy formulation, they are advised to merely observe it. Despite the lack of exploitation of culture, it is evident in the strategy formulated. If the strategy succeeds, organizational culture will be a strong influence in the implementation of the strategy. Therefore, can be deduced that organizational culture influence strategy despite its lack of strategic exploitation. In addition, a company’s strategy may influence its organizational culture hence the need to investigate this mutually symbiotic relationship (11).
In relation to HRM, organizational culture has two forms of relations. HRM influences and is influenced by the organizational culture. Further, it is seen as the “most pervasive manifestation of organizational culture. Despite this clear symbiotic relationship between HRM and culture, it is only implied in the literature available. The alignment of HRM activities to reflect organizational culture needs to be established in order to eliminate contradictions that may arise during implementation of HRM activities. In order to portray the relationship between SHRM and organizational culture, the article uses competing values framework (CVF). This framework classifies organizational culture in terms of human relations, rational goal, open systems, and internal processes model. This framework has been used to portray non-resource effect on HRM practices. An organization may lose its competitive advantage in the market if it fails to take into account some of its internal human relation strengths such as training and development of its employees (11).
While there is evidence of self-induced HRM practices that promote organizational culture, there is no evidence in literature showing how organizational culture influence HRM practices. The paper proposes that organizational culture should be aligned to support HRM practices that are designed to support competitive strategy of the organization. However, lack of implementation of SHRM practices influenced by organizational culture is due to the complexity of the model. Further, the lack of clear definition of strategy, HRM, and organizational culture classification methodology only compounds the problem (12). Dutch (2013) cautions that the symbiotic SHRM framework proposed on this paper is merely a perspective and should not be taken as a recipe for practice selection. In order to be used, more investigation is required. However, he suggests that the first thing in developing a symbiotic relationship is to investigate the competitive advantage of the company using such tools as the SWOT analysis (13).
The concept proposed on this paper is an expanded version of the management concepts discussed in class. It expounds of how strategy, human resource management, and competitive advantage can be used more effectively by incorporating non-physical resources such as organizational culture. Such a relationship requires that a strategy is formulated using HMR practices, and organizational culture as resources. The current concepts of competitive strategy consider HRM and organizational culture as aspects to be considered rather than used.
Dutch, M.A. (2013). A Symbiotic Framework of Human Resources, Organizational Strategy and Culture. Amity Global Business Review. 9-14.