Strategic HRM, as this chapter has shown, has been a happy hunting ground for academics over many years. But what does all this conceptualizing mean in real life? What can practitioners learn from it as they go about their business? Hendry and Pettigrew (1990) in a series of publications presented cases that demonstrated the importance of studying the emerging process of strategy formulation and implementation. They show that this is a complex interactive process, heavily influenced by a variety of contextual historical factors. As a result, there is no straightforward flow from business strategy to HRM.
Before answering these questions it is worth recalling the rationale for strategic HRM – that it is the basis for developing and implementing
approaches to people management that enable the organization to achieve its objectives and take into account the changing context in which the firm operates and its longer-term requirements. It should also be borne in mind that strategic HRM is a mindset that only becomes real when it produces actions and reactions that can be regarded as strategic, either in the form of overall or specific HR strategies or strategic behaviour on the part of HR professionals working alongside line managers. Perkins and Shortland (2006) have highlighted the merits of what they call ‘informed premeditation’.
As modelled in Figure 3.1, strategic HRM is about both HR strategies and the strategic management activities of HR professionals. There is always choice about those strategies and the strategic role of HR and this choice is based on strategic analysis as conducted in strategic reviews.