The strategic HRM approach to resourcing

HRM places emphasis on finding people whose attitudes and behaviour are likely to be congruent with what management believes to be appropriate and conducive to success. In the words of Townley (1989: 92), organizations are concentrating more on ‘the attitudinal and behavioural characteristics of employees’. This tendency has its dangers. Innovative and adaptive organizations need non-conformists, even mavericks, who can ‘buck the system’. If managers recruit people ‘in their own image’ there is the risk of staffing the organization with conformist clones and of perpetuating a dysfunctional culture – one that may have been successful in the past but is no longer appropriate in the face of new challenges (as Pascale, 1990, put it: ‘nothing fails like success’).

The HRM approach to resourcing therefore emphasizes that matching resources to organizational requirements does not simply mean maintaining the status quo and perpetuating a moribund culture. It can and often does mean radical changes in thinking about the skills and behaviours required in the future to achieve sustainable growth and cultural change.