Emerging HR Practices

Expanding the Scope of SHRM and HR in South Africa

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When HR in South Africa activities emphasized managing employees to perform specific tasks and behave in a certain ways, the focus was on relationships and actions taking place within the host organisation. Since the emphasis shifted to strategic capabilities and competitive contributions, the relevant arena for action started to expand beyond a single business unit or firm or group of stakeholders.

SHRM outside the focal organisation

The HR function can be deployed to strengthen a competitive advantage in focal organisation as well as the value chain.  Value chain can be used as a way to describe the relationship that the organisation has with up stream suppliers and down stream distributors.  The value chain provides several “strategic targets” opportunities for HR competitive advantage which the organisation can utilise by using the HR in South Africa practices that an organisation excels at.

Ways to extend the scope of HR activities into the value chain:

The customers can be included as part of the HR domain because external customers can, provide useful inputs for HR activities (i.e. job analysis info), participate directly in HR activities (i.e. selection decisions) and can be recipients of HR processes (i.e. receive training that makes them better co-producers)

The organisation should take a multiple constituencies approach to SHRM by which the HR department must use multiple objectives some of which are operational and some strategic. Constituencies include both those within – (line managers) as well as outside the organisation (regulatory agencies).

From this perspective a broad set of performance outcomes is considered relevant and interaction across policies and practices are often as important as the elements themselves.

Instead of only focusing on the HR activities and success within an organisation, alliances should be formed between HR departments from various organisations for the purpose of improving, selection, management and retention of employees. These alliances can take such forms as employee sharing, training and development partnerships and quasi-internal labour markets.

SHRM in an international context

To broaden the scope of SHRM, the following factors that influence international business activities need to be addressed. A concept of strategic international HR management (SIHRM) was introduced to focus on, strategic components of multinational enterprises, inter-unit linkages and internal operations. SHIRM contributes to the field of SHRM by adding the complexity of differentiation/integration in a multinational context.

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