SHRM is an approach to managing people that deals with how the organization’s goals will be achieved through its human resources by means of integrated HR strategies, policies and practices. It is based on the following propositions:
- the human resources of an organization play a strategic role in its success;
- HR strategies and plans should be integrated with business strategies and plans;
- human capital is a major source of competitive advantage;
- it is people who implement the business strategy;
- a systematic approach should be adopted to planning and implementing HR strategies.
There are many definitions of SHRM. For example, SHRM has been described in general terms by Schuler (1992: 30) as ‘all those activities affecting the behaviour of individuals in their efforts to formulate and implement the strategic needs of the business’. Mabey et al (1998: 25) introduced the key notion of capability when they defined SHRM as the process of ‘developing corporate capability to deliver new organizational strategies’. The HR activities aspect of SHRM was emphasized by Wright and McMahan (1992: 298) when they defined it as: ‘The pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable an organization to achieve its goals’. Alvesson (2009: 52) also focused on goal achievement but incorporated the role of employment relationships when he wrote that SHRM is concerned with ‘how the employment relationships for all employees can be managed in such a way as to contribute optimally to the organization’s goal achievement’. Schuler and Jackson (2007: 5) concentrated on integration when they stated that SHRM is about ‘systematically linking people with the firm’.