Corporate HR Strategy and Operations Management

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Subject: Business Management » MBA
Last updated: 03/01/2018
Tags: cipd, essay, hrm, mba, strategy
External factors drawn from political, economic, technological and social environments are able to both stimulate and constrain the organization of subsystem work (Lewis et al., 2003). The global economic crisis; recession, economic and social factors have impacted employment relations significantly such as the rise in redundancies has steered to employment breakdown resulting that industrial action or strikes needed due to employees and employers psychological contract has been damaged. Business success is on the line due to employees becoming de-motivated and dissatisfied with their relationship with management affecting their performance. Other developments that have transpired since are; the dramatic advancement in technology , increase in globalisation, growth in European union and UK labour market. We have seen an increase in self-employment , part-time workers, age range has risen to older individuals willing and wanting to work in comparison to younger generation as well as an inflation in female employment. New management processes have been implemented due to competitive market there has been a significant change in salaries dependence on demographical factors and its evident that this has impacted cultures and change in the legal employment structure. Not all workplaces are catering for the three-tiered workforce that includes generation X and Y, so how will they appeal to generation Z- young people born between 1994 and 2000? To enable four generations to integrate in the same organisation, employers need to invest in developing their 'leaders' multi-generational management styles, (CIPD,2016). There has been a big change in the age range of workers where young individuals have lessened this could reflect poor leadership, organisations who have not identified new market changes will not be attract , new , vibrant and passionate individuals who will add to innovation. Research shows that 50-70% of organisations are being led by individuals lacking in the appropriate skills, this may be the cause of failure in many businesses. Current and potential leaders are not assessed prior to becoming a leader , they may have technical knowledge and business background but with no formal managerial skills training can be implicating. In all labour there's profit, (Old proverb, Bible) , it questions whether success should be obtained by the over exertion of employees. Due to the major shift from collectivism to individualism, managers have taken the centralised approach; employees have a lack of trust towards how their employers will use their power where they may potentially can misuse of their labour . (Kahn-Freund, 1972) stated that there can be no employment relationship without a power to command and a duty to obey. The United Kingdom prefer for employers and employees to use collective bargaining and joint regulation to resolve their own affairs without the intervention of the government. Collective bargaining does not only focus on pay negotiations but also to better working conditions. Collective bargaining is essential to give employees a say over decision-making (within organisations with a accepted union) enabling effective management of conflict between management and employees. Both collective bargaining and union membership has declined rapidly however it still remains dominant within the public sector. (CIPD,2015) The legislative changes of the 1980s left British workers with fewer rights in terms of workplace consultation than their counterparts in other EU member states, and before 2005, British organizations were only required to inform and consult employees on specific issues such as health and safety, collective redundancies and pensions. Effective way of communication is 'whistle-blowing' where employees can notify employers with important information. Since 1998 employees receive protection from disciplinary action or victimization for use of 'whistle-blowing' which highlights the importance of this technique and the value it can have on an organization. Hirschman's (1970) research looks at responses to decline in firms due to exit, voice and loyalty. He believed that customer's having a voice could be seen as 'loyalty' or deciding to 'exit' , however employee voice may result in individual obtaining the name 'troublemaker', tarnishing their reputation and could damage employer/employee relationship. Work culture plays a big role in setting the 'tone' between management and their employee's , for e.g. Financial Ombudsman Service use decentralized approach where authority is shared among employees with the main business focus of customer satisfaction. Using this approach can better organisation effectiveness , as employees and management work together to resolve issues and enhance procedures can be beneficial for both parties. (Edgar Schein ,1992) defines culture as a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned… that has worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel, it's not just based on the rules and traditions management informs employee's but the overall culture including communication i.e. are honest conversations encouraged or 'employee silence' preferred. Employee voice should be promoted in a positive light, employees having an effective voice allowing the workforce to input their knowledge can contribute to business success. An effective manager should be able to recognise relevant knowledge required that can be put in to use to stay above competitors whilst also creating a strong workforce with increase of performance. 'A trade union is any organization, whose membership consists of employees, which seeks to organize and represent their interests both in the workplace and society and, in particular, seeks to regulate the employment relationship through the direct process of collective bargaining with management' (Salamon,2000). Trade Union and Labour relations Act 1992 states that their purpose is to regulate relations between workers and employers to negotiate working conditions creating a more effective workforce. The great shift from collectivism to individualism has caused decline in the use of trade unions recently this is due to the use of employee relations over industrial relations. With regards to trade union's function it is considered to be very broad and dynamic; if organisations are open to have advice and support can be beneficial to have. (Salamon, 2000) defines the broad function of trade union in terms of power, economic regulation, job regulation, social change, member services and self-fulfilment. In this regard some of the trade unions have got affiliation with representative bodies; for example in UK Trade Union Congress (TUC) is the representative body of the trade union movement and it describes itself as 'the voice of Britain at work'. Structured labour markets and employer relations have weakened, standard legal employment model has become unstable, this highlights that by adding to a crisis businesses will have to act fast as well as test their confidence in how they approach issues. Organisations should not merely focus on development of their approach to employment relations but think of having more contemporary (HRM) human resource management , this was important in 1980s and 1990s. There has been some great discussion on the levels of HRM i.e. considering 'hard' and 'soft' approaches , it's evident that the general consensus is that HRM sees the individual relation between employee and their employer is just as important as development and implementation of work practices which lead to success. Essentially HRM commends the shift from collectivism to individualism in relation to employment relations , this indicates that they favour a non-union or cooperative approach. Trade union was a common, respected entity during the 1970's and prior, both traditional and labour parties viewed trade union as a key component to have to defend for employee rights. (Dhal, 2015) stated that their interest was employees and their problems and having TU they will be looked after accordingly. After the election of Margret Thatcher's conservative government (1980's) we began to see a change in TU and market. Trade Union are doing what is possible to liberalize organisations and work closely with the new human resource management practices (Rau, 2012). Human resource management have developed flexible ways to manage employees such as 'individualised form of management' for e.g. contracts, subcontracting and use of outsourcing. (Dhal, 2015) These new ways have meant that contract workers prefer not to join trade unions. The Pluralist approach highlights the separation between groups of individuals and management, each having their own interests which can lead to conflict which can either be inevitable and rational. Collective bargaining and negotiation is used to resolve these issues; London Transport is good example of the pluralist perspective where they accept the use of Trade unions with joint understanding that management has more power. In order for management to understand the employee's concerns London tube drivers went on strikes, where they've united together to make a stand. The unitary approach pursued similar objectives, purposes and interests between management and its employees to work together towards achieve mutual goals of the organisation. It is an integrated and harmonious system to protect disruptive conflict between employees and trade unions (Pilkington, 2014). Pluralist perspective considers more harmonious in terms of development but in the 19th century unitarist seems more productive in capitalism (Earasu, 2012). Pluralism ensures long-term stability in employment relationship by balancing demands in competing groups. There should be some mechanism implemented in order to exclude conflicts meaning management needing to adopt policies, recognise how to negotiate procedures effectively (Maddison and Wilpstra, 1982) Appropriate approach to reflect Sports Direct is Marxist perspective which denotes the importance of industrial relations; collective action to implement change, they prefer for 'employee silence'. This approach looks at mobilisation and looks at employee relations from social, political and economic view. Marxist perspectives mainly focus on capital society in order to change production, distribution and exchange system (Gilman, 1974). Socialism can be viewed to be dominant in leading revolution above capitalism as it pushes conflict in industrial relations; for monopolies where there is in decrease in living standard/cost and wages. Employers want to maximise their profits by giving fewer benefits to the employees also creates industrial conflicts and economic power in society (Faist and Kivisto , 2007). Another way is using joint negotiation consultation committee where matters in relation to terms and conditions of employment will be managed appropriately within the committees, TU representation will exist and give them empowerment to address issues with their terms. Within three decades Sports Direct has grown from nothing to one of the most successful retail shops, customers have not been affected by the decisions of Ashley. Customer service and brand loyalty hasn’t affected sales however without an ‘employee voice’ the workforce has suffered due to no guarantee of work with zero-hour contracts, harsh consequences affecting their pay has had a negative impact on work culture. We’re in the 21st century, I do not agree that ‘Gulag’ working conditions should be overlooked and for culture of fear to be the norm. Unfortunately Sports Direct personifies British capitalism at its worst, as Ashley holds 88.3% of votes he has the power to ignore trade union as well as advice from MP’s. One of the most obvious repercussion from recession is the compliance of workforce accepting any change in order to retain their jobs due to the lack of opportunities within the job market. By early 2010, a number of observers had begun to ask whether this new adaptability of pay and working patterns to accommodate the drop in demand had contributed to the relatively small impact of the first wave of the recession on employment compared with previous major recessions (Gregg, 2011). Without intervention from institutes such as HMRC it will be near impossible amend this behaviour , how can it be ok for workers to jeopardise their health in order to keep their job?. A company that operates on Dickensian practices portrays Britain in a negative light; as technology advances , many resources available to utilise to better enhance business performance then surely leadership, managerial styles should follow. HRM is designed with the desire to improve procedures to ensure employee's performing well, that they're focused and motivated as well as adding to the business strategy, all with the main focus to thrive through competiveness within the current global economy. If Sports Direct utilise HRM approach in a positive manner with the focus of catering to employee needs this will enhance workforce contribution. For e.g. flexible working hours and fair work distribution among staff will increase participation, lead to effective decision-making , better connected workforce with the right 'work culture' such as promoting honest conversations will have a great impact on the organisation. On the other hand if Sports Direct continue to have a downward communication approach with no recognition of their work force labour and continue to abuse this , it may affect performance, productivity levels such as the quality of produce which will in fact result in decrease in the profit margins as well as time consuming to amend these errors. Whereas London underground have used the model of notional 'high performance work system' which does not prevent conflict entirely but with the help of transport union; listening to their employees highlighting high trust within the company i.e. issues raised are important to achieve business goals and that they are happy to manage staff in appropriate, fair manner. Development new employee relations for Sports Direct; • Introduce permanent contracts • Changes to unfair dismissal legislation • Individual labour law to increase wage levels • Use of Joint negotiation consultation committee (Farnham, 2010), Impact of globalisation and what its allowed businesses to achieve. Farnham highlights that in today's environment a lot can be done; technology has developed drastically making it easier to develop from online training programs, to communicating with others worldwide so we should utilise these resources. (Holman, 2003) states that one of the drivers behind individualised forms of management is globalisation due to the change of the global economy. The internalisation of the economy, taking accountability and efficiency within the public sector has led to decline in trade between countries but has increased the variety in the workplace due to the change of demographics. The shift to more individualised forms of management have led to major changes within the employment relationship and has become a prominence as main focus in labour relations. (CIPD, 2016) The short-term focus of UK business is blamed for familiar concerns such as declining productivity and low public trust. Organisations who succeed tend to always be one step ahead , forward planning is key. Change is inevitable from the approaches people decide to take changes in that case the role of HR will also need to change to keep up. References Bennett, A. (2015a) How much do tube drivers get paid, and why are they striking now? Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2016). Bennett, A. (2015b) How well off are London’s tube drivers and why are they striking? Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2016). Blyton, P.P. (2014) Dynamics of employee relations. United States: Palgrave MacMillan. Budd, J. (2016) ‘The future of employee voice’, . Differences between industrial and employee relations (2015) Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2016). Editorial (2015) The guardian view on sports direct: Big British capitalism at its grubbiest. Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2016). Elgot, J. (2016) Tube strike FAQ: Myths busted and questions answered. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2016). Employee relations structure - policies & procedures - human resources - the university of York (2012) Available at: (Accessed: 24 June 2016). Employee voice (2016a) Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2016). Employee voice (2016b) Available at: (Accessed: 24 June 2016). Goodley, S. (2015) Revealed: How sports direct effectively pays below minimum wage. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2016).

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