Strategic HRM takes the notion of HRM as a strategic, integrated and coherent process and associates it with an approach to management that involves adopting a broad and long-term view of where the business is going and managing it in ways that ensure that this strategic thrust is maintained. It is influenced by the concepts of strategic management and strategy.
According to Boxall and Purcell (2003: 44): ‘Strategic management is best defined as a process. It is a process of strategy making, of forming and, if the firm survives, reforming its strategy over time.’ Strategic management was described by Johnson et al (2005: 6) as ‘understanding the strategic position of an organization, making strategic choices for the future, and turning strategy into action’. The purpose of strategic management has been expressed by Kanter (1984: 288) as being to ‘elicit the present actions for the future’ and become ‘action vehicles – integrating and institutionalizing mechanisms for change’ (ibid: 301).
The key strategic management activity identified by Thompson and Strickland (1996: 3) is ‘deciding what business the company will be in and forming a strategic vision of where the organization needs to be headed – in effect, infusing the organization with a sense of purpose, providing long-term direction, and establishing a clear mission to be accomplished.’
The focus is on identifying the organization’s mission and strategies, but attention is also given to the resource base required to make it succeed. Managers who think strategically will have a broad and long-term view of where they are going. But they will also be aware that they are responsible, first, for planning how to allocate resources to opportunities that contribute to the implementation of strategy, and second, for managing these opportunities in ways that will add value to the results achieved by the firm.