Current Issues in Law & HRM

Previous findings have suggested that human resource management practices and beliefs play important roles in the management of businesses today especially when it comes to planning, recruiting and motivating employees to commit themselves for the organisation. Comes to issues of Therefore, there is a unique relationship between the human resource management practices and techniques employed by an organisation and its overall performance. Certain sets of human resource practices are critical for any organization restructuring and if they are not implemented, they will lead to poor performances.

These practices as discussed below are important in jumpstarting the organisation’s revenue and profit growth if well utilized. This paper will examine various functions of human resource management in relations to business objectives. Literature review on HRM models The contrast of hard and soft concepts of HRM began in the U. S although it has been highly been discussed in British books. Organizations use different models of HRM, among these models is soft and hard concept of HRM. “Soft” concept centres on treating organization’s employees as valuable assets and a foundation of competitive advantage of the organization.

Nonetheless, organizational certainty seems “hard” with an organization stressing qualitative, evaluative and strategic elements of controlling a “head count”. (Legge, 1995) This dichotomy has been observed by several scholars such as Noon (1994) Ulrich (1996) have stated that many companies most of the time stresses the principles of soft HRM model, the truth which employees experience regarding strategic control makes the soft model to be similar to hard model. Thus, it is important that organization reveal the gap amid rhetoric and certainty in order for the organizations to plainly analysis how effective its HRM strategies are.

Hard and soft HRM versions are the most two broadly accepted models of HRM. These two versions are founded on opposing viewpoints of human character as well as management control strategies. While the hard version is founded on strict strategic managing and economic concept of man in accordance to theory X of management, the soft version is founded on managing through dedication and n accordance to theory Y of management. The Harvard model According to Keenoy, and Anthony, (1994) they suggest that the Harvard model has several significant strengths.

One is the reality that Harvard incorporates acknowledgment of a different stakeholder interests in an organisation. Two, the Harvard models identifies the recognition of a wide variety of related influences on organisation’s selection of HRM strategy. In Harvard model, business strategy of an organisation is viewed as being essential Keenoy, and Anthony (1994) Patterns concerning unionisation of employees, labour market rules, employees characteristics, community norms and many other factors are all encompassed.

Of high significance is what is known as “matching” concept of HRM, which was initial put forward by Blyton and Turnbull (1998)It was later outlined by Fombrun et al’s (1984) in their book, Strategic Human Resource Management. In this book Fombrun et al affirm that Human Resource structures and organisational arrangements ought to be run in a manner which is matching with the strategy of the organisation. According to Peters, and Waterman, (1982) this comprises the skeleton of matching theory.

Generally, matching concept of HRM simply illustrate how effective an organization is, and is based on a ‘firm fit’ linking HRM strategy and the business strategy of the organization. However, when this model is compared with the UK HRM practices, the use of this concept is apparent in two clearly dissimilar manners as acknowledged by Peters and Waterman (1982) which, cause further problems in terms of interpretation and implementation. The Guest Approach: Peters, J.

and Waterman, (1982): in his observation quotes Keenoy (1990) through stating that Guest’s HRM approach has undertaken to describe SHRM as being a distinctive management approach regarding human resource relationships. Poole and Mansfield (1994):clearly observes that, Guest (1991) distinguishes that the four outcomes of HRM which are specifically identified in the Harvard HRM model namely, commitment; competence; congruence and cost effectiveness make up an “implicit theory”, Guest goes ahead to formulate his individual theory of HRM, he forms a “particular approach” to employment managing.

This explanation of HRM was made possible as a result of the actuality that Harvard framework comprises of analytical as well as prescriptive aspects. Hendry and Pettigrew (1990) explains the views of stakeholders of an organization, situational factors effecting the organization, strategy choice of the organization and levels in the management as each one being an analytical aspect. The measurement of wanted results is seen as being essentially regulatory.

Guest approach on HRM has resulted to work on HRM practices which investigate the probable beginnings of this model forwarded by Guest and the scope to which statistics proposes it is being practiced (Guest 1990, 1991). The model derives it strength in the fact it is inherent of the Harvard model and articulates it in a simpler and clearer way, it also has an added carefully formulated set of hypothetical proposals, which are able to be assessed.

Unluckily as Keenoy and Anthony, (1994) observes Guest’s HRM approach could get into the snare of disapproving HRM practitioners for not being able to conform to a picture scholars have selected for them. Pettigrew approach The other application concerning the Harvard model of HRM which is mentioned by Keenoy . aand Anthony,. (1994) is the approach of Pettigrew. The Pettigrew approach has been viewed as downplaying the prescriptive aspects contained in Harvard model; accordingly Pettigrew approach widens the investigative aspects.

However, Hendry & Pettigrew (1990) have been known to be critical of what is termed as “armchair practices involving matching strategy to the HRM practices which are instituted in the matching concept as well as of Guest’s recognition of HRM practices with a specific management style of an organization. In addition to the management models which exits in UK there is also an increasing number of literatures that centres only on HRM for instance, Storey (1987): Purcell and Gray, (1986) This indicates a change from the viewpoint that was taken that HRM was just an aspect in management concept.

Storey (1998) has made HRM to be considered as an important and critical and hence has been seen as independent from HM. Storey and other scholars writing about HRM have made it possible for us to understand HRM practices deeply. This as it has been stated by Legge (1995) is due there practical outcomes and also theoretical outcomes. PM and HRM The personnel management (PM) and HRM dates back to the beginning of 20th century, (Hall, 1987) underscores this fact when he talks of British reformers for example Robert Owen as one of the predecessors in the field of PM.

PM development was speed up after the Second World War as a result of professional bodies being formed targeting personnel managers. The PM was dealing with personnel issues in the organization. There is a lot of literature on PM, however, Dainty, (2000) refers to PM as having five definite stages which includes initiation, pioneering, self-criticism, strategic HRM and also decentralization stages. Organisation selected For the aim of this paper we shall examine HRM practices of Starbucks Corporation, one of the leading multinational companies in the world.

Starbucks Corporation is a big multinational coffee and coffeehouse chain/outlet company which is based in United States. Starbucks currently is the biggest coffeehouse company in the whole world, with a record number of 15,011 stores located in 42 countries. Starbucks sells brewed coffee, espresso-based hot drinks, hot and also cold drinks, snacks and products for instance mugs and coffee beans. Starbucks has an entertainment division and Hear Music brand, Starbucks also markets music, books and film. A lot of these items are seasonal or specific to the locality of the store.

Some grocery stores sell Starbucks branded ice cream and coffee. (Starbucks Corporation, 2007) Evaluation of HRM of Starbucks Corporation As stated before, human resource management is simply the management of the people who are working in an institution or an organization. This has to be done because employees affect how far or how successful an organisation will be. Human resource management involves the managers clarifying to the employees the organisation goals. Any organisation needs to attract, maintain and also manage its employees. These tasks fall under the HRM.

Employment flexibility Starbucks Corporation has understood this aspect and that is why it recognizes that its employees are one of their highly valuable resources. The very first guiding rule in their mission statement also addresses the Company’s principle towards its employees: “Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity”. The management recognizes that the Starbucks employees play a foremost function in the expansion of the company. (Hoovers. com, 2007) Manpower planning Human resource management main function is manpower planning.

If an organisation lacks proper planning in its human capital then it will undergo costly penalties. Having the right staff, in terms of numbers and skills is a task that the human resource may strategies well. When it comes to sourcing the human resource must source well so that it can get the maximum benefits from its workforce. The HRM of Starbucks has to understand that overstaffing is a waste and expensive to the organisation and does not add any value to the organisation but, instead reduce the competitive advantage of the organisation.

(Dainty, 2000) In planning of the workforce, an assessment of current and future needs of the Starbucks is taken into account, compared to the available resources together with future predicted resources. Then appropriate strategies can be undertaken to balance demand and supply of the work force. Thus, before sourcing for more workers, the human resource takes analysis of the current workforce profile in terms of numbers, ages, skills, experience, gender, flexibility, forecast capabilities, etc.

the human resource then can adjust this for say 2 or 5 years ahead so as to amend for normal employee turnover, retirements and staff movement in accordance with the business plan in relation to the corresponding time frames. (Dainty, 2000) The result from this gives the HRM of Starbucks a lot of information on how to come up with sourcing plans that will be able to add value to the organisation. The HRM have a well “though out” and sound sourcing demand programme for different dates in future which then, can be compared with the rough supply programmes.

The evaluation will then show the steps that have to be taken when sourcing in order to strike a balance. (Dainty, 2000) The undertaking of such workforce planning program saves the Starbucks a lot of money at the same time add competent staff to the organisation who can take the Starbucks to new heights. Starbucks Corporation Manpower planning can be termed as systematic human recruitment, managing, planning, and placement is the growth of an employee in terms of management, planning, staffing and recruitment. In Starbucks Corporation Manpower planning has helped the company to;

1. Develop a workforce that can perform higher-grade assignments 2. have the right numbers of employees 3. maintain employees and offer them career development 4. Provide the usual training of new recruited workforce (Armstrong, 2006) Recruitment strategies Recruitment being very critical in organisation, appraising and selecting right employees for available jobs entails the capability to evaluate the skills and competency requirements needed by the job position and comparing them with the ones available on the labour market. (Beardwell, and Holden, 1997)

Beardwell and Holden (1997) states that, employee selection is important as it is a way in which a company ensures that it obtains the right human resource for specific job. Employee sourcing falls in the broader perspective of human resource. Employee sourcing is very important in Starbucks. It consists of administration, performance and staffing. All these are interrelated activities that are carried out in an organization. Management and staffing activities help in ensuring that employees with right or desired skills are recruited.

The employees have also to be in the right numbers desired by the organization. Employee sourcing aims at ensuring that employees are at the right place at the right time. HRM of Starbucks in this case is concerned with ensuring that employees perform their best. Best recruitment processes insure that the organisations get the best staff that can improve and add value to the company. The human resource has to undertake the following recruitment strategies to ensure best selection.

The HRM of Starbucks have a high ensured that it carries out its recruitment process well to get highly qualified staff. The HRM of Starbucks uses competency framework. Competency involves having a measurable pattern of abilities, behaviours; skills and knowledge that one needs to have in order to perform a task. Competencies normally form the foundation of ensuring effective performance in any position in an organization. This always involves values that have to be demonstrated by employees.

The following competency framework is used when a Starbucks in sourcing for its workforce (Beardwell and Holden, pp 92-97). Human resource management (HRM) practices of Starbucks Corporation are among the best as attested by being rated as on of the best companies to work for by Fortune magazine. (Fortune. com, 2002) The management knows that the most important asset for any organisation-its human resource-requires extensive investment, commitment, financial benefits among others to be highly motivated and also committed to the company. (Armstrong, 2006) Conclusion

Today, employees are no more human resource to be exhausted but employees have become human capital, thus an asset to an organisation that need to be protected and developed. There are several models which try to explain HRM. Human resource management have a challenge of coming up with strategic ways that can add value to the organisation. The HRM has a function of delivering strategy insights in the organisation so as to enable the organisation to be more effective in sourcing, evaluating and motivating employees in this increasingly unstable business environment.

Starbucks HRM has fashioned a corporate culture which promotes soaring productivity levels through their proficient employees, whom the company values a lot. It is clear that in today’s business world, a company has to have competitive and strategic HRM practices to gain competitive advantage.


  • Armstrong. M. (2006): Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th edition, (Kogan Page) London,
  • Beardwell, I. and Holden, L (1997): Human resource management; a contemporary perspective; London;
  • Financial Times, Blyton and P. Turnbull (eds); Reassessing Human Resource Management, London: Sage, 233-255.
  • Dainty, A; (2000): Improving employee sourcing within construction organisations, Proceedings of the ARCOM 2000 Conference; Glasgow; Vol. 1;
  • Druker, J (1995) Misunderstood and undervalued; Personnel Management in Construction, Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3,
  • Findingdulcinea (2008): Starbucks: Out with the New, In with the Old. ” “Finding Dulcinea” January 12, 2008 (www. findingdulcinea. com/news/business/Starbucks/ ) accessed on 8/2/2008

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