The paper “ Strategic Human Resource Planning” is a motivating example of the literature review on human resources. Human resources include ‘ the experience, intelligence, training, judgment and wisdom of individuals associated with the firm’ (Barney and Hesterly, 1996: 133), while organizational resources include teamwork, trust, and friendship between individuals and the culture and reputation of the firm or its units (Barney, 1995: 485). Firms acquire capabilities that are hard to imitate because they are developed in path-dependent ways over a long time, and are often tacit, hard to discern, and socially complex, as they are embedded in a firm’ s culture and supply-chain relations.
Maximizing an organization's effectiveness requires strategic planning of its financial, technological, and human resources. Although financial and technological resources arc important, Ulrich and Lake (1990) suggest that an organization's human resources may be its most important and enduring asset. They, therefore, suggest that a great deal of attention must be placed on the management of this asset. The paper discusses the part Human Resource Planning plays in contributing to the success and the sustainability of an organization. The skills and knowledge embedded in employees (the human capital of the organization) are central to these core capabilities.
Moreover, it is often argued that these aspects are becoming ever more important, since ‘ the traditional sources of competitive advantage (quality, technology, economies of scale, etc. ) have become easier to imitate’ (Becker and Huselid, 1998: 54). A premium is now placed on the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes of a firm’ s workforce as a source of inimitable assets. However, in many applications of resource-based theory, it is not simply the human resource itself that can be a source of competitive advantage, but also the HRM system.
As Lado and Wilson (1994: 699) explain: ‘ human resource systems can contribute to sustained competitive advantage through facilitating the development of competencies that are firm-specific, produce complex social relationships, are embedded in a firm’ s history and culture, and generate tacit organizational knowledge. ’
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Leach, D.J., Wall, T.D. and Jackson, P.R. (2003) ‘The Effect of Empowerment on Job Knowledge: An Empirical Test Involving Operators of Complex Technology’, Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, 76: 27–52.
Parker, S., Wall, T. and Jackson, P. (1997) ‘That’s Not My Job: Developing Flexible Employee Work Orientations’, Academy of Management Journal, 40: 899–929.
Peters, L. and O’Connor, E. (1980) ‘Situational Constraints and Work Outcomes: The Influences of an Often Overlooked Construct’, Academy of Management Review, 5: 391–7.
Blumberg, M. and Pringle, C. (1982) ‘The Missing Opportunity in Organisational Research: Some Implications for a Theory of Work Performance’, Academy of Management Review, 7: 360–9.
Becker, B.E. and Gerhart, B. (1996) ‘The Impact of Human Resource Management on Organisational Performance: Progress and Prospects’, Academy of Management Journal, 39: 779–801.
Becker, B.E. and Huselid, M.A. (1998) ‘High Performance Work Systems and Firm Performance: A Synthesis of Research and Managerial Implications’. In Ferris, G.R. (ed.) Research in Personnel and Human Resource Management, 16, Stamford, CT: JAI Press, pp. 53–101.
Huselid, M.A. (1995) ‘The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity, and Corporate Financial Performance’, Academy of Management Journal, 38: 635–72.
Wright, P.M., McCormick, B., Sherman, W.S. and McMahan, G.C. (1999) ‘The Role of Human Resource Practices in Petro-Chemical Refinery Performance’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 10: 551–71.
Taylor, S., Beechler, S. and Napier, N. (1996) ‘Toward an Integrative Model of Strategic International Human Resource Management’, Academy of Management Review, 21: 959–85.
Lado, A. and Wilson, M. (1994) ‘Human Resource Systems and Sustained Competitive Advantage: A Competency Based Perspective’, Academy of Management Review, 19: 699–727.
Barney, J. (1995) ‘Resource Based Theory’. In Nicholson, N. (ed.) Encyclopedic Dictionary of Organisational Behaviour. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, pp. 485–6.
Barney, J. and Hesterly, W. (1996) ‘Organisational Economics: Understanding the Relationship between Organisations and Economic Analysis’. In Clegg, S.R., Hardy, C. and
Nord, W.R. (eds) Handbook of Organisation Studies. London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi: Sage, pp. 115–47.
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