The Academy of Business Strategy – Predicting the Future

Predicting the future is not something at which human beings have been particularly successful. Even if we have some rough idea about the likely trends, the plans we make to cope with them may not work out the way in which we intended. The more we learn about human resourcing in organizations, the more we understand how difficult it is to manage the present, let alone the future. It is readily apparent that human resource planning has limitations.
Alignment of outputs with demand; Sufficient adaptability to cope with change.

Every organization is subject to these imperatives. Even organizations in the public and voluntary sectors which, by tradition, were not exposed directly to market competition have been forced to comply. It is currently a norm and expectation of society that organizations must deliver services and products with maximum efficiency and at lowest cost. Human resourcing has been at the forefront of this consumer-and market orientated philosophy and great emphasis has been placed on the concept of labour utilization.
The traditional approach has been stereotyped as hire and fire. Hire when additional labour or new skills are required and fire to shed workers when there is no longer demand for their labour or particular skills. Short-term increases in demand were met in the past by using overtime, paid at premium rates to workers already on the payroll. Most low-skill work was organized with tasks broken down into simple steps performed by individuals requiring little training and development. Short-term decreases in demand were compensated by laying off part of the workforce and decreases in long-term demand were compensated by redundancy. Whether such stereotype is in fact applicable today is debatable.

Debates about whether managers in organizations have sought a new approach to managing and utilising labour have been dominated by the concept of the flexible firm. This concept was of course proposed by Atkinson at the Institute of Manpower Studies. The concept was that of an ideal organization design, promoted as the solution to the problems of the operating environment. Atkinson specifically argued that firms had been forced to change their strategy in the face of market stagnation, job loss, uncertainty, technological change and pressures to reduce working time. He suggested that the opportunity to move towards the flexible firm model was facilitated at the time due to uncertainties resulting from turbulent markets and new technology, slack labour markets and the inability of weakened trade unions to resist change.

This has in part contributed towards the empowerment of employees who have learnt to become more flexible themselves and as such employees now tend to find that they spend less time working for each individual employer and are more aware of the need to manage their own career plans rather than leave their career destiny to trusted employers who traditionally have had entirely different priorities. Ultimately the model of the flexible firm has attracted an enormous volume of criticism from other commentators. In addition to criticisms of Atkinson’s methodology and narrowness of samples, the evidence from other empirical studies has been contradictory, visit

In reality it is difficult, if not impossible to find a “one size suits all” solution for human resource strategy. Financial strategy by comparison is built around the core resource of money and as such this can be calculated accurately and financial strategy can to a degree be centralized and implemented across a wide variety of industries and companies. This view is supported by the fact that most companies select from a small number of financial accounting softwares regardless of their country location, industry sector, or even culture. In contrast human resource strategy is built around the core resource of people. All individuals are different and while performance and behavioural patterns can be established these tend to differ depending upon industry sector, geographical location, culture and economic cycles, check out home cleaning services in Whittier CA. It is no coincidence therefore that most human resource strategy tends to focus upon emergent change rather than prescriptive change, the former already constituting sufficient challenge.

Dr. A. Lewis. DBA MBA BBA is an accomplished global human resource specialist who has worked within various market leading firms within the manufacturing, automotive, engineering, FMCG and aviation industries. He has extensive experience in recruitment, human capital management, training, globalization, outsourcing and employment law. He is recognized within various industries for his extensive knowledge of globalization and human resource strategy.

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