MAPPING THE PERCEIVED ROLE OF STRATEGIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.

Author:Emeagwal, Lawrence
Position:Report - Abstract
 
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INTRODUCTION

The global achievement in today business world of dynamic and proficient interchange of an idea, a Sustainable competitive advantage is no longer ingrained in organization visible resources, but inactive firm's human resources (Aronson, Halawi & McCarthy, 2005). The impression that sustainable competitive advantage is mostly to assess firm's achievement comparative to its competitors. The comparative achievement could be assessed by the financial success that firm is able to create (Ong & Ismail, 2008). Other scholars have expounded on the particular capabilities and assets which enhance sustainable competitive advantage. For instance, Barney (1991) supports the debate by investigating the link among organization resources and sustainable competitive advantage. Barney noted that not all organization resources have the potential enhancing sustainable competitive advantages; rather, the resources must possess the following potential: uniqueness or scarcity, values addition, not easily imitable and not easily substituted. The most frequent named theory for describing the relationship in strategic HRM practices is a behavioral approach which postulated that divergent role behaviors are essential for various kinds of strategies that organization pursues (Jackson & Schuler, 1987). These approach emphases on individual employee behavior as a mediator between firm's strategy and outcome (Wright & McMahan, 1992) or between strategic HRM approach and sustainable competitive advantage (McMahan et al., 1999). According to Petttigrew & Whipp firms that continuous practices and promote learning, teamwork, participation and flexibility will be able to build a sustainable competitive advantage. The integrative approach of strategic HRM practices and sustainable competitive advantage approach are rooted in appropriate theories such as resource- based view, behavioral based view and social exchanges theory. The perception HRM practices was utilized in the research and explained in detail from the perspective of human capacity development and employee commitment. Based on the theories mention above, the research aims to examine the perceived roles of strategic HRM practices to understand sustainable competitive advantage in the academic environment from the strategic HRM perspective.

BACKGROUND, HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH MODEL

Background

Strategic HRM practices are defined as the pattern of plan organizational HR deploys and behavior that anticipated facilitating organization to attain its objectives (McMahan & Wright, 1992). There are two ideas suggested in this explanation, the firm is able to influence their organization level of output or outcome through their HRM and secondly, the activities of a bundle of organization HRM performance in a system rather than in isolation which explain the capability of HRM to influence organization at a strategic level. Strategic HRM practices to an extent are all about integration and adaption. Its ensure that organizations HRM are fully integrated into organization strategic need; secondly, to ensure that HR strategic and policies coexist across all level of the organization; and finally, HRM police are recognizable, established and employ by supervisor (line managers) and other staff as a daily routine. Human resource center around the ability of organization align its HR practices, policies and programs with business and organization's need (Greer, 2001).In strategic HRM practices, employees are a very important resource and vital component in firm's performance. The major justification for strategic HRM practices is the incorporating HR practices with business needs and applying specific HR management system, the organization will manage their employee competence, thereby improving both employee and organization performance (Farnham, 2010). Strategic human resource management emphasizes on organization internal factors rather than external resources that affect firms' performance. According to Barney (1991) organization workforce is view as vital resources that should be engaged in a group with other resources to improve organizational performance.

Strategic HRM practices enhance both individual and organization performance, an employee that are well trained, motivated are more committed and willing to put extra effort as well provide a superior performance (Becker & Huselid, 2006). The major distinction connecting strategic HRM practices and HRM is the adoption and integration of strategic decision into HRM procedure and plan to manage organization performance (Guest, 1989). Early research on strategic HRM practices and its relationship with sustainable competitive advantage center around a particular HRM function like motivation and its influence on an employee on the achievement of organizational strategy. The result from this research recommended that this strategic HRM function can be aligned with organization strategy, employee HRM practices to build sustainable competitive advantages (Schuler & Jackson, 1987). These are organization valuable assists that are scarce, unique; Inimitability and non-substitutable can help organization enhance sustainable competitive advantage. Inimitability mean that is it hard for other organization to mimic resources for their own use, on the other, non- substitutability refers to the fact that the resources have no alternative or cannot be substituted by a competing firm (Barney, 1991).

Strategic HRM Practices in Academic Environment

The evolution of human resources management in university and colleges has been relatively new phenomena considering the tenure of most university and colleges. Higher education is very peculiar organizations which are administered with stiff rules and rigid structure due to the government-oriented nature of universities and colleges (Pausits & Pellert, 2007). Others scholars maintain that due to the fact that colleges and universities are a public enterprise in natural, it is problematic to initiate strategic HRM practices and more complicated to feel the effect on employee outcomes (Guest & Clinton, 2007). To a large extent, no research work has revealed the effect strategic HRM practices on universities and colleges outcomes. Warner & Palfrayman (2003), carefully examine the process of management in higher academic environment, they realized that a system is a people-oriented approach that focuses on good practice and recognizes academic excellence. Furthermore, the management structure is not profit oriented but people oriented which indicate that the expenditure is always more than the profits. The main features of universities and colleges in the independent nature of the academic system and the unique different between academic process and the administrative system. In order to be able to introduce the right strategic HRM practices in colleges and the universities the administrative structure must be integrated with the academic process but unfortunately, it is difficult to align the academic process with the management system because of the people-oriented nature of the university system that is quite unique from others business sector. Secondly, the universities culture is also recognized as one of the rationales behind the level of development of strategic HRM practices in the academic environment (Pausits & Pellert, 2007). The high education sector must be obliged to change like others business organizations and applied strategic HRM practices. However, on this ground a research was conducted on university and colleges employees (Smeenk et al., 2008), the study establishes that there are more variances and some consistency in different locations concerning the most suitable HRM policy and approach that will have a positive impact on employees performance.

In addition, higher institution these days are required to be more dynamic in a forceful and aggressive business environment in where higher institution regularly requires enhancing and maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage in research and teaching (Taylor, 2013). Middlehurst (2013) maintained that the ongoing restructuring in the higher education sector is as a result of privatization in the university education that brings about competitiveness and also strengthen the operational system to ensure that both academic and administrative need are met. However, he also implement the innovative theory of Gary Hamel in his study which state that reversing the organization pyramid, from hierarchies of "command" to hierarchies of "influence", suggest that "re-invent management for the 21st century should be widely heard in higher education, not just in the U.K. but in other parts of Europe and across countries and regions that are modernizing and reforming higher education.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

As the global competition becomes increasingly aggressive, how to sustain competitive advantage or achieve sustainable competitive advantage starts gaining more attention. Barney & Hesterly differentiate competitive advantage into two categories, which are temporary and sustainable competitive advantage. According to them, temporary competitive advantage is when organization outcomes naturally resulted into a high market returns, but these increase returns attract competition which normally restricted to short period of time, most organization competitive advantage fall in to this categories. While the sustainable competitive advantages are when a firm possesses unique value that is rare to copy or imitate, a firm will be able to sustain a competitive advantage for a long period of time. Additionally, Reed & Defillippi (1990) stated that sustainable competitive advantage is gain when organization generates some obstacles that make organization unique value difficult to copy. A firm competitive leadership is at the core value of organization outcome" (Porter, 1985). Barney (1991) review that there are four measurement...

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