Critical Issues in Business
Table of Contents
Nobody would argue with the fact that human resource is a comprising element of any business. The workforce is not just a group of people, who perform a particular job, but it is an entire set of processes, relations, and insights. That is why their appropriate management is crucial for success of a particular company. However, conceptualisation of human resource is frequently inaccurate, so that many companies do not use their employees’ potential to the full extent. Smart strategic management, marketing, accurate accounting, and other aspects can hardly succeed without proper management of human work, as long as workers are still the main job executives. Some corporations attempt to substitute their human resources with technology, but such initiatives usually do not work well. Human resource is not only a social and business term, but also a cultural concept, so it should be approached at multiple angles. It is fair to admit that human resource is a powerful strategic asset, which should be adequately managed. Thus, the following study gives an account of this issue and discusses the main constraints of proper human resource empowerment on the basis of the literature review.
First of all, a distinct definition of the human resource as a business entity should be provided. It is becoming increasingly apparent that human resource is not just a group of the workforce. Human resource is an entity, which involves complex relations and attitudes, so that their management directly reflects on the excellence of the business performance. The workforce itself is not effective, as long as it does not have a well-scoped orientation, motivation, and strong leadership, which will guide it (Jones 2016). That is why a creation of specific conditions for human resources’ commitment and motivation is a primary aspect of the workforce empowerment. Otherwise HR potential will be dramatically low. Each single company needs to realise the fact that human resource is a central operational executive and a basic decision-maker, which is why their appropriate management guarantees successful performance of a firm (Jones 2016). Human resource is a sophisticated open system, which exists and performs according to its special rules, determined by various external and internal processes.
Since human resource is a system, it serves particular functions, which are actually job duties and operations of each single worker or team. Advancement of these functions and broadening of the human resource effectiveness is usually gained throughout the process of learning, as it is a natural cognitive activity. Hence, companies should create conditions, in which learning is essential and capable of delivering benefits and intellectual satisfaction to the human resource (HR Payroll Systems 2016). Learning, as a process of natural systematic growth, has to be guided by a leader, since workers should be aware of clear business objectives (HR Payroll Systems 2016). This rule is applicable to the entire discipline of the human resource management, owing to the fact that employees will not work just because they are at work and they are paid for that. These issues are profound and complex, which is why they require a more detailed discussion.
In order to speak about the human resource, as a powerful organisational tool, it is fair to admit that its effectiveness is largely determined by social aspects. In such a way, Al Araimi suggests that rapid industrial and very often economic growth motivates workforce to participate in its further development throughout the performance of their regular jobs (2011). Beyond a doubt, the employees attempt to gain an evident benefit, since contributing to the economic development of a country means a better well-being for them. That is why workers usually make efforts at work for their personal benefits and economic profits, and this tendency is a primary dimension of any human resource empowerment. Hence, human resources can have organisational power, when workers see distinct benefits and prospects of the economic prosperity (Al Araimi 2011). Orientation towards such objectives should preexist in any company, because the employees need to establish their basic welfare.
At the same time, the human resource of a particular company is a distinct community with its social processes. Michael Marquardt argues that social organisation and advancement matter for making human resource a business power (2009). Each employee also attempts to fulfill their personal and group social desires by contributing to a common deal, cooperation, exchange of expertise, achievement of new position, etc. As a consequence, powerful human resource usually performs in environments, where the opportunity for social fulfillment is largely present. It facilitates personnel’s commitment and leadership, since they can obtain social and intellectual significance within a firm (Marquardt 2009). Such conditions modify the behaviors of workers, so that they would prefer to work for a common deal, meanwhile their workplace environment is customised. In such a way, each single employee is able to perform their work in a preferable way and share their experience in the context of strategic alignment and organisational relationships.
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Information technologies are a persistent element of the strategic planning nowadays. Digital revolution is believed to decrease the physical employment rates to their lowest level, since electronic means of decision-making will be applied. Nonetheless, In Lee argues that information only improves the performance of the human resource, so that workers should not feel concerned in that regard (2011). A general accessibility of the large volumes of data enables enterprises to regulate their performance towards more adequate objectives. Consequently, less stressful forms of organisational relationships will appear within the workplace, which is why efficient cooperation can arise within each department (Lee 2011). It is certainly true, since the workforce will receive an opportunity to complete more diverse tasks with less effort, cost, and time. Likewise, relationships between leaders and subordinates will improve, because leaders will have sufficient material for employees’ motivation. These aspects address social and economic perspectives of the workforce empowerment, which have been discussed above.
What is more, Albert Meige and Jacque Schmitt provide an account on the fact that information technology is able to render the key competitive values of the central stakeholders, and human resource is not an exception under these circumstances (2015). At the same time, leaders are supposed to empower human resource by traditional means in order to establish the use of new technologies within the company. It is becoming increasingly apparent that human resource is a central decision-maker, and that technology will become redundant, provided that a certain company reduces its human resource. Digitalisation should be expected to deliver new workplace opportunities for the personnel, so that the value of human resource will be still high. Otherwise the technology is tending to lose its business effectiveness. That is why Albert Meige and Jacque Schmitt argue that enterprises should foster a new mindset among their employees in order to empower them to change towards recent technological advancements, instead of rejecting them because of the fear to lose the job (2015).
Cultural Diversity Perspective
It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that cultural perspective plays a pivotal role in the workforce empowerment. Tomoko Hamada suggests that culture is a way of human perception of the external world, so that workplace decision-making depends heavily on a cultural background of a particular worker (2009). Thus, each company needs to outline specific value standards in order to empower the personnel to make decisions in a particular way. Human resources can have a strong power only in the event of a relevant orientation towards the specific requirements for the behaviors and decision-making. That is why organisational culture is the best way to organize the employees’ decision-making in the institutional sense. As it has been already mentioned, human resource is a specific society, and each society should have its own culture. Hence, Hamada’s conceptualisation of the corporate culture is quite relevant (2009).
Bondarouk and Olivas-Lujan, however, claim that cultural perspective also imposes various barriers on the workforce empowerment (2014). It is reasonable to agree with such standpoint, since the authors suggest that each individual holds specific cultural characteristics, formed by their ethnic and social background. In such a way, the consideration of the cultural diversity may be challenging for the leaders, owing to the fact that various cultures perceive the same issue at different angles. Leaders are expected to behave flexibly in such cases in order to find a reliable approach to each cultural group. Nonetheless, Bondarouk and Olivas-Lujan also admit that cultural differences can still deliver much power to the human resources’ decision-making (2014). Different cultures represent different experiences and outlooks, so that a company possesses an endless source of solution generators, since the representatives of various cultures apply their unique experiences in decision-making and problem solving within an enterprise.
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Taking into account the findings, shown in the literature review, it is necessary to admit that human resource should be empowered in multiple ways in order to gain a strategic advantage. It is possible to reach empowerment through modifying the workforce behaviors. Hence, behaviors can be modified via learning, gaining economic benefits, and establishing organisational culture (Stone & Stone-Romero 2008). It is becoming abundantly clear that such procedures require a strong leadership for guiding the personnel through learning, change introduction, performance control, and the adoption of new cultural dimensions. The workforce will not work as an unorganised crowd efficiently, which is why human resource is a power that should be established with a help of motivation and leadership. Leaders, involved in this process have to consider personal preferences of workers, their cultural background, and the presence of the professional expertise (Stone & Stone-Romero 2008). These are the basic requirements for the human resource empowerment in any company, and their generic nature fully reflects the social, cultural, and technological phenomena of the contemporary business environments.
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It is also informative to note that the human resource becomes extremely effective, when it acquires a pattern of “doing more with less” performance. A shortcoming wave of the digital revolution is not a threat in this case, once it enables employees to optimise their daily routines and specific operational procedures. Still, human resource is a central executive and a basic decision-maker of any business (Stone & Stone-Romero 2008). That is why corporations are recommended to create such workplace environments, in which technology facilitates and simplifies the performance of the employees, instead of making it more complicated. Conditions, favourable for a proactive decision-making, are an important component of the human resource power, which is why technology should be particularly focused on the provision of better decision-making tools for the workforce, so that the personnel can independently take a distinct action (Stone & Stone-Romero 2008). Information technology is widespread in business environments nowadays, so the leaders are expected to foster an adequate attitude among employees towards the application of technologies in a regular corporate performance.
On a separate note, it is fair to mention that culture can be used as a method for making the human resource a powerful strategic asset. Culture is largely determined by the ethical code, leadership, and mission/vision statement of an enterprise (Rao 2008). Moreover, team building and collaborative atmosphere also formulate organisational culture. However, the most determining factor is the standard of performance, as long as it presupposes the consideration of attitudes, skills, and perceptions of job performance within a certain company. This aspect is mutually related to the organisational culture, owing to the fact that it is modified by the standard of performance, and that the culture itself reflects specific features of the operational procedures within a corporation (Rao 2008). Cultural aspect is especially persistent nowadays, since the trend of globalization is intensified, so that more internationally-based companies emerge on the global market. Henceforth, the consideration of the cultural diversity in the process of the workforce empowerment has become a compulsory element of the contemporary human resource management.
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Therefore, cultural alignment in a company is much easier to achieve nowadays. A global tendency, aimed at the establishment of an international community, is extremely applicable to the cultural issues within a corporation, so that a large presence of various cultures is an evident benefit nowadays. This advantage can be underpinned by the fact that various representatives of different cultures deliver unique experiences to the corporate decision-making, performance, and organisational behaviors (Rao 2008). That is why cultural diversification is perceived as a strong competitive advantage, and its reasonable management implies a profound empowerment of the human resource. At the same time, cultural alignment is not a problem, owing to the process of globalisation (Rioux, Bernthal, & Wellins 2000). Diverse human resources usually participate in such changes with willingness, but it is appropriate to coordinate the strategic objectives of a company with the cultural peculiarities of the workforce diversity. In such a way, human resources can obtain strategic power via organisational culture and diversification.
Eventually, human resource can become a strong power in the environment of constant learning, as long as workers should make a progress, and learning is a basic cognitive activity, typical for any human-being (Subhash 2011). Thus, learning underpins the personnel performance and motivation. The workers will naturally need to apply their new knowledge in a workplace dimension, so the learning should be closely attached to the distinct operational performance of every single employee. That is why learning has to imply such specific benefits for workers as a simplified performance, broadened outlooks, improvement of theoretical knowledge, etc. Leadership plays a pivotal role, because leaders are supposed to guide workers through the entire process of learning (Subhash 2011). Overall, human resource should be always guided, wherever it is approached. Leadership and motivation determine and explain specific objectives, for which the personnel is currently striving, otherwise the human resource empowerment will not work. This aspect is fundamental for making the human resource a strategic power, but a specified consideration of each worker’s personality is equally essential.
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Customisation of the workplace environments is quite a widespread trend nowadays, since each enthusiastic worker would like to bring their own experience to a common context. The exchange of experiences is an obvious modern social tendency, and it should be not disregarded. Leaders should accept it, provided that their subordinates feel and perform better in personally arranged working environments. Still, workplace environments should not be confused with the standards of performance, which have to be equally applicable to each employee. Workers still need to be a part of a larger entity and to perform in a bigger business context. Therefore, the strategic alignment and organisational culture are still important aspects. The modification of the human resources’ cultural mindset towards such a layout is pivotal, and it should consider all the implications, discussed above. Human resources become a powerful strategic asset, when leaders relevantly outline objectives, provide them with appropriate conditions for the performance, and reasonably motivate them.
It is appropriate to make a general comment on the fact that human resources are a powerful strategic asset of any business. The paper has provided a profound account of this issue and has discussed the main aspects that determine HR as a powerful strategic component. The study has established the basic theoretical framework and has defined human resources as a complex open system, which processes should be reasonably managed. Consequently, the study has conducted a meaningful literature review and has identified three main aspects of the contemporary human resource empowerment, which are as follows; social relations, technology and digitalisation, and cultural perspective. In addition, the paper has indicated a trend of the human resources’ willingness to perform in personally arranged workplace environments and to bring their unique experience to a larger business context of a company. That is why human resources still need a proactive guiding of leaders, who should support workers in all three dimensions of the empowerment and establish motivation at multiple levels. Finally, human resources need a constant development via learning and dealing with professionally challenging situations, so that motivation and leadership should also facilitate the existence of such favourable conditions.