Human Resource Management as a Strategic Partner


Human resource management, abbreviated at HRM, entails a function within an organization, which is charged with management, recruitment, and provision of directions to people working for a given organization. The HRM, in addition, deals with tasks such as compensation, development, organization hiring, performance management, benefits, wellness, communication, training, safety, and employees’ administration. Mathis and Jackson (2008) define HRM as “The people that staff and operate an organization…as contrasted with the financial and material resources of an organization.

The organizational function that deals with the people…” (p.41). HRM also entangles a comprehensive and strategic approach of managing workers as well as the culture and the environment of the workplace. Therefore, it becomes quite important for HRMs to be more strategic partners, rather than being solely administrative and operational, so that the workers can proactively contribute to a productive and effective accomplishment of an organization’s goals and objectives.

Historical perspectives of HRM

Some of the HRM essential principles have been in operation since prehistoric times, perhaps taking the immediate sibling of the most essential oldest human phenomenon: communication. Even in 1000 BC and 2000 BC, safety, hunting, health, and gathering skills were passed on. Alvin (2010) notes that “…Chinese are known to be the first to use employee screening techniques, way back in 1115 BC” (Para. 4). Over the years, human HRM has evolved with nicknames such as ‘public relation,’ which again later changed to industrial relations, employee relations, and finally to human resources. The onset of the industrial revolution, which called for the alteration of the US economy from agriculture to industrial based, created an incredible need for the reorganization of structures. This was extremely required since industrialization resulted in the influx of immigrants.

As Alvin (2010) notes, “To create employment to all immigrants, recruitments and management of the recruited individuals gained vitality” (Para. 7). Towards the end of the 1970s, HRM had taken a toll over the globe. “Towards the 1980s, the importance of HR continued to intumesce for several reasons like increase in skilled labor, training, regulation compliance, dismissal, etc. The human resource managers did the hiring and the firing” (Marler, 2009, pp.515-527). Today, HRM has equal significance as all other departments, especially considering the escalated technological sophistication, education, and economic and organizational structure fluctuations. A most recent attempt is to transform HR Management from being primarily administrative and operational to becoming a strategic partner-oriented.

Importance of Transforming HRM into a strategic partner

The noble role played by the human resource is changing in a boom within organizations. For the success of any organization, then HRM must deploy more strategic roles as opposed to the traditional HRM, which predominantly concentrated on administrative and operational obligations. Wright and McMahan (1992) lament, “Organizations that do not put their emphasis on attracting and retaining talents may find themselves in dire consequences, as their competitors may be outplaying them in the strategic employment of their human resources” (p.295).

Taking a strategic position in human resource management entails adopting resiliency, becoming more adaptable, and focusing on being more agile, not negating being customer-centric. Despite the mentioned necessary transformation, the corporations deserve to ensure a change of operational environment combined with the evolution of the HRM professionals to end up being more strategic partners as opposed to administrative and operational professionals. This is crucial if an organization has to survive in an environment of a free market characterized by enormous competition in the local and global arena.

Work environments have been noted to vary with the incorporation of new technologies, which, especially in the 21st century, have been impeccably dynamic. The diversity of the workplaces needs a change of human resource management approaches since as Alvin ((2010, Para 10) notes, “The future success of any organizations relies on the ability to manage a diverse body of talent that can bring innovative ideas, perspectives, and views to their work.

” The most viable mechanism to ensure the success of an organization in such complex workplaces is through overturning work diversity problems and challenges into strategic partnerships to take advantage of diverse talents coupled with varying cultural backgrounds, ages, genders, and lifestyles. Consequently, “… an organization can respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively, especially in the global arena which must be one of the important organizational goals to be attained” (Wright & McMahan, 1992, p.297). For example, for the case of multinational corporations: which operate at a global scale, risks losing the talents of the employees to their competitors by failing to welcome the change.

Taylor’s times are long gone when strict administration and operational directions were viewed as the only substantial means of getting people to do work. In fact, new human resource management approaches, which are a strategic partnership, oriented such s kaizen have been born. Such models of administration demand the employs be fully aware of the organization’s goals and objectives, identify the best ways to achieve them, and then do all they can to ensure the realization of the goals and objectives using established standard methodologies with minimal or absolutely no supervision. Strategic partnership approaches have been found to yield more worker morale maintenance, and job satisfaction as compared to the traditional operational and administrative HRM approaches.


Alvin, C. (2010). The Challenge of Human Resource Management. Web.

Marler, H. (2009). Making Human Resources Strategic By Going the Net: Reality or Myth? The International Journal of Human Resource, 20(3), pp. 515-527.

Mathis, R., & Jackson, J. (2008). Human Resource Management (12th ed). Boston: Southwestern college publishers.

Wright, P., & McMahan. G. (1992), Theoretical Perspectives for Strategic Human Resource Management. Journal of Management, 18(1), pp.295–320.