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Factsheet:

Strategic human resource management

Resource summary

This factsheet was last updated in July 2013.

What is strategic human resource management?

Strategic human resource management (strategic HRM, or SHRM) may be regarded as an approach to the management of human resources that provides a strategic framework to support long-term business goals and outcomes. The approach is concerned with longer-term people issues and macro-concerns about structure, quality, culture, values, commitment and matching resources to future need.

This interpretation is drawn out in the CIPD book Strategic HRM: the key to improved business performance, which includes comprehensive coverage of the various definitions and approaches to HRM, strategy and strategic HRM.

As illustrated in this work, strategic human resource management is a complex process that is constantly evolving, with theory in this area a subject of ongoing discussion by academics and other commentators. Its definition and relationships with other aspects of business planning and strategy is not absolute and opinion varies between writers. 

The issue of strategic HRM initially came to prominence during around the early 1990s, at which time academics developed definitions of strategic HRM as:

  • The undertaking of all those activities affecting the behaviour of individuals in their efforts to formulate and implement the strategic needs of business.
  • The pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable the organisation to achieve its goals. 

Login or register for a free account to continue reading this factsheet and to learn about:

  • What is strategic human resource management?
  • Strategic HRM and business strategy
  • Strategic HRM and human capital management
  • Strategic HRM and business performance
  • CIPD viewpoint
  • References
  • Further reading

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