October 26, 2012

MU0013 [Human Resource Audit] Set1 Q3

Q3. Explain the linkages between HR Audit and business functions.

Ans:

A study of relationship between Human Resource practices and performance of business 

The belief that Human Resource (HR) management and development practices have linkages with organizational level outcomes has been focus of the theoretical and conceptual work undertaken by Peters and Waterman (1982), Porter (1985), and Lawler (1986). Recent empirical work has highlighted the connections between HR practices like selection, performance appraisal, training, job design, promotions, information sharing, attitude surveys, incentive system and employee participation, and organization level outcomes like employee turnover, productivity, and financial performance (Delaney et al. 1989; Schuler, 1989; Ichniowski, 1990; Kleiner, 1990; Begin, 1991; MacDuffie and Krafcik, 1992; Arthur, 1994; Pfeffer, 1994; Huselid, 1995; Ostroff, 1995). However, there is no evidence of prior empirical work in the Indian context focusing on relationship between HR practices and organizational level outcomes. It is in this context that present study was undertaken to explore the existence and seek confirmation of relationship between HR practices and organizational performance. 

The broad objective of this study was: 
• To arrive at an understanding of the adoption of HR practices in Indian organizations, and also the relationship between these practices and organizational performance both-objective and perceived. 

The present study was undertaken with the following research questions: 

1. How many of, and how far, the selected HR practices have been implemented by the organizations under study? Do they place different degrees of emphasis on these? 

2. What is the impact of HR practices on measures of objective organisational performance, individually, together, and in interaction with each other? 

3. What is the impact of HR practices on measures of perceived organizational performance, individually, together, and in interaction with each other? 

4. What are the key HR practices which if earnestly implemented, are likely to increase organizational performance as indicated by objective as well as perceived measures? 

5. Do high performing organizations differ from low performing organizations in terms of the strategic importance accorded to HR function as evidenced by the HR-Business Strategy linkages and use of Human Resources Information System, Human Resources Costing Procedures, and Human Resources Planning and Forecasting Techniques? 

To answer the above questions, the present study was carried out through a mail survey questionnaire method. The questionnaire used in the present study was an adoption of the questionnaire developed by Huselid (1993). The universe for the study was Business Today (BT) 500 organizations using the criterion of selecting only those organizations which figured consecutively in the BT 500 list during the years 1995, 1996 and 1997. A sample of 359 organizations emerged. Finally, 84 organizations responded with the filled questionnaire, and thus the overall response rate was 23.40%. 

The major findings of the study were: 
1. The analysis of data shows that all the HR practices selected for the current study have been adopted by the organizations though the proportion of employees in an organization covered by such practices is low. This means that application of HR practices is often partial, not covering all categories of employees. 

2. Both extensity and intensity measures of HR practices individually appear to be related to objective and perceived organizational performance. This is evidenced by explaining a significant variation in all the measures of the objective and perceived organizational performance by individual HR practices. It indicates that relationships of individual HR practices with all the measures of objective and perceived organizational performance are statistically significant. 

3. The result shows that extensity and intensity measures of all HR practices together do not explain a significantly higher variation in the measures of objective and perceived organizational performance as compared to the variation explained by individual HR practices. 

4. The interaction of HR practices does not result in explaining higher variation in the measures of objective organizational performance. However, in the case of perceived organizational performance, interaction explains a significant variation in dependent variable, though the magnitude is low. 

5. HR function still does not appear to have acquired the status of a strategic function as evidenced by the organizations participating in the study, though there appears to be a positive trend in this direction. 

6. The use of HR practices like human resources information system, human resources costing procedures, and human resources forecasting techniques is not widely prevalent among the organizations and thus HR management and development have not yet reached a state of sophistication extensively.

7. High performing organizations appear to emphasize the HR-business strategy linkages to a greater degree than low performing organizations. This is evidenced by large number of organizations from high performing category having a person from HR function as the member of business planning committee, involvement of HR department in strategic planning process etc.

The present study was an exploratory study. The findings of the study need further confirmation on larger samples. However, the implications of the same seem to be substantial. At the end of the dissertation, major implications for practitioners and future research issues have been indicated.

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