Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CRM Essay

The letters CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Over the last three or four years, customer relationship management has become a popular catchphrase. Although CRM in one form or another has been around for some time, the current interest in CRM has developed with a combination of new technologies that enable companies to ensure better customer relationships. A good CRM strategy is vital in the Supermarket retail sector. This is because there is increasing competition for customers, as well as the widespread realisation that customer retention and loyalty is just as important as customer acquisition. Another reason driving this renewed interest in CRM within the retail sector is the shift in the balance of power to customers. Better-informed customers are more aware of alternatives, and as customers become more informed consumers of services and products, customer expectations rise and change, and their sophistication increases, too. This essay will therefore explore elements of the CRM framework and see how this is utilised in the UK retail sector.

The principle of CRM is that the more information a company has about its customers, the better. It involves managing the customer relationship across all its interfaces with the company as one entire process According to Cook, S, 2002:

"The Strategic process of identifying desirable customers segements, micro-segments or individual customers on a one-to one basis and developing integrated programmes that maximum both value to the customer and the lifetime value of customers to the organisation through targeted customer acquisition, profit enhancing activities and retention"

From an application perspective, CRM is often talked about in terms of sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation, customer services and support. However, CRM really encompasses all business processes that impact the customer experience. Essentially the goal of CRM is to:

" Increase the lifetime value of a company's relationship with target customers. Optimize the effectiveness of marketing, selling and servicing of target customers and maximise the value of customer expenditures for mutual company/customer gain" (Marcouse & Gillespie, 1999, p121)

The above three goals seem to be very apparent in the retail supermarket sector as CRM is required as a operating model and to understand how it affects the customer experience. Eventually, it will permeate and impact all company initiatives. It must translate into effective business change in terms of insight, processes, systems and behavior that result in measurable return. Hill and O'Sullivan(2001) have identified The 10 Key principles of CRM:
  1. Value Segmentation. Segmentation is based in customer needs, preferences, behaviors and economic potential, which provides the basis for resource allocation decisions in marketing, sales and service.
  2. Institutional Memory: When the customer interacts with us, everyone in the enterprise is aware of prior inter actions, outstanding issues and pending opporotunities.
  3. Collaboration. Customers are involved in the specification, design and/or delivery ala desired result.
  4. Touch-point Alignment Customers are able to do business With you through multiple channels, which are aligned with your customer r needs and, their value to your business
  5. One & Done. Customer needs are solved during the first contact.
  6. Real-time information manager. Your employees have real-time access to the right information in order to make customer-based decisions and resolve issue immediately.
  7. Customer Scorecard: Employee performance requirements arid measures are designed to drive specific customer behaviors (e.g. share of spend, loyalty, average value of customer) that are measured explicitly.
  8. Closed-Loop Processes. Integrated front and hack office systems ensure that information and workflow carry through the entire enterprise to their logical conclusion, closing the customer loop and enabling continuous knowledge capture.
  9. Listening & Learning Posts: Forums facilitate information sharing and learning among your customers that help them do business with you, learn from each other and provide valuable input to your business processes and operations.
  10. Customer Experience Management: You have mapped all "touch points" between you and your customers and are able to deliver a consistent, high quality experience that provides added value to the customer."
Supermarkets have embraced the change of new technology, and have employed new technology as an integral part of their CRM Plan. Advanced technology can used to give the customer an competitive advantage which encourages a brand loyalty infrastructure and supports the future of online commerce. An example of such technology can be seen with "Tesco", the "biggest e-grocer in the world" they have purchased "Autonomy's" technology to power the next generation of its online shopping service. Tesco has used the technology to automatically manage products across its catalogue, as well as provide advanced personalisation, through both personal computers and mobile phones, for customers using the tesco.com site. Tesco has also created "personal shopping assistants" on the Web, as a way of suggesting products and services that are appropriate to customers' needs and interests. The technology is designed to understand customers' interests automatically as they interact with the content on the site, providing them with interesting and appropriate product suggestions and promotions, whenever they are online. Dr. Mike Lynch, CEO of Autonomy, explained:

" For example, beer connoisseurs will receive news of the latest continental lagers or real ales, chocolate addicts will be shown the latest confectionery, and vegetarians will avoid the latest meat promotions - without the need to fill in online forms specifying user interests."

The above demonstrates that Tesco has employed technology to carry out part of its CRM plan, as it has utilised technology to automate the entire online shopping experience, enhance personalisation, and turn one-time visitors into regular users.

Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco, said:
"Customers love Internet shopping. This year we have doubled to half a million the numbers signed up to shop with us on the net.Customers know and trust Tesco and that gives us a real competitive advantage. 30% of our customers shop nowhere else on-line which means Tesco is driving the use of the Internet.

Tesco.com, the UK's leading online retailer, will this week officially launch its Pocket Shopper application, which will allow registered users with Microsoft Pocket PC-based mobile devices to submit their orders on the move.Analysts said the move, revealed by Computer Weekly in January, will provide a boost to the burgeoning UK m-commerce market, which will be worth [pound]2.63bn by 2005, according to research firm GartnerG2. The Pocket Shopper application, available for download from the Tesco.com Web site, allows consumers to choose their shopping, from a total of 20,000 items, and pay by credit card without having to a connect to a network. The next time the user goes online, their order will be sent to Tesco.com, which delivers the goods to their home from their local Tesco store. The Pocket Shopper application is aimed, according to Carolyn Bradley, chief operating officer at Tesco.com, at what she described as "long suffering commuters".
"Being able to shop anywhere is an advantage many commuters would love to have," she said.
"As prices tumble, the technology will become available to everyone."
Duncan Brown, consulting director at analyst firm Ovum, said m-commerce is ideally suited to supermarkets."Mobile grocery shopping has a good chance of working as it is just another step on the evolutionary path from loyalty cards and online shopping," he said. However, Brown warned, companies should not be over-ambitious with their mobile projects.
"M-commerce should be very specific - the consumer's usual order or a delivery at a certain time," he said.
"If you can get it right it has the potential to be very popular," Brown added.

In recent years competitive markets have been flooded with customer loyalty programmes which is considerd a cost-effective customer relationship management strategy. To obtain customer loyalty, the biggest single step, and the one with the widest implications, is the progressive introduction of loyalty cards., According to Customer Loyalty today, 51% of all British shoppers possess a loyalty card and of those who shop in a supermarkets which offer them 70% have a card. Through loyalty card schemes, retailers have been able to build up databases of customer profiles and preferences. Supermarkets are building relationships with customers by sending them individually adressed letters and customised promotions. In return for a very small discount, typically 1 per cent, the store gets what it really wants, information about its customers. It is hardly getting what it says it wants, loyalty; when all stores have cards, and all customers have cards for all stores, we will be back where we began. With this difference: the stores' computers will know more about us than we know about ourselves. There are, of course, safeguards: there is statute law on data protection. Research carried out by Mori for the Black Sun Consultancy, has shown that supermarket loyalty cards do not encourage shoppers to stay loyal to any particular chain. The study found that although over 50% of the UK's supermarket shoppers carried a loyalty card, 69% said that it did not persuade them to shop at any particular chain.Nine out often people said that they were more concerned with getting a better price for their shopping than collecting points on loyalty cards. Many shoppers said that they were forgetful about the points, and 25% said they "rarely" or "never" redeemed the points, according to the article in the Sunday Times. Some supermarket chains seem to have taken notice of the research, with Safeway having dropped its loyalty card back in 2000, while Waitrose never introduced a card scheme, saying they were a waste of time.

Having seen rival supermarket chain Sainsbury's join the Nectar loyalty card scheme, Asda claims that such cards do not work.The UK-based food retailer, owned by US giant Wal-Mart, has unveiled new research by NOP that shows that plastic cards fail to keep customers loyal. Asda said the survey, conducted at the beginning of September, shows that shoppers across the UK, regardless of their favourite store overwhelmingly prefer lower prices to plastic points. Over nine out of ten people (93%) said they would prefer lower prices to loyalty cards. The survey also found that people have not warmed to loyalty cards in the last few years with almost three-quarters (73%) saying their attitude to them had not changed. Asda, the UK's number three supermarket chain according to their market share 2002. (www.mintel.co.uk, 10/08/03) is hot on the heels of number two Sainsbury's, and Asda said it will continue to do what it has done since it abandoned its own loyalty card pilot in 1999--chip away at prices. However, with the Nectar scheme Sainsburys has recoginised the need to give shoppers instant gratifiaction in conjuction with have having a m points scheme that builds up. They therefore can offer instant rewards such as savings in real cash, like Ј5.00 of your shpooing bill when you spend over Ј50.00. However, whether this increases loyalty is also questionable as on the writers recent visit to their local Tesco store the check- assistant advised that I could reed all Sainburys vouchers at that store.

Loyalty schemes such as Loyalty cards act as an incentive for repeat purchasing, which will help maintain or increase a supermarket market share. Supermarkets such as Tescos which uses the loyalty card scheme, will save time analysing customer requirements, which will allow them to reduce stock levels and improve cash flow.

"Tesco, uses the data obtained from its Clubcard to target future offers, minimising customer annoyance and maximising their own sales." (Cran,S,2001,p18)

Loyalty depends on personal relationships, and it is not possible to have a 'meaningful relationship' with an electronic check-out or even generally, with the young person at it. The chains have attacked this problem - which they recognise - by various routes. Some, such as Sainsbury's, have produced glossy magazines full of recipes and suggestions of how to enjoy an enviable lifestyle - all from Sainsbury's own shelves. Some chains develop a house style of architecture: 'Tesco tithe-barns' have gables, mansard windows and occasionally clock-towers, while Safeway's larger newer stores have spacious glass atriums; they remain, of course, basic steel-framed sheds underneath. The range of products and services they offer constantly extends. Some are approaching 20,000 'lines' of merchandise. All the larger stores now have cafeterias .Financial services are appearing, where pension schemes, savings plans and loans on mortgage are among the 'products' on offer. In theory, town planning law enables local councils to limit and control what is sold in a supermarket, but in practice this is a broken reed, and herein lies the next and greatest threat to the traditional town centres. When one can obtain banking, professional advice and even medical services along with groceries, clothing and household goods in one visit, under one roof, the reasons for going to the High Street will be few indeed.

Increasing numbers of UK retailers are adopting a new customer profiling technique which is designed to allow them to exploit their large CRM investments in a more effective way. The purchase behaviour profiling (PBP) technique, which is already being used by Sainsburys and Co-op, segments data by transaction rather than simply by customer demographics.This means retailers can analyse customer behaviour without the need for a loyalty card scheme, giving them meaningful insights into buying patterns, said datawarehousing specialist Teradata, which developed PBP.Retailers have made massive investments in loyalty card schemes but they do not use the data properly," said Mikael Bisgaard-Bohr, retail industry director at Teradata. "Segmenting data by demographics is fine for financial services firms, but it does not work for retailers. With PBP you can break down types of customer behaviour into more meaningful segments

This CRM essay has identified and defined the key concepts of CRM and how this is being utilised in the Uk supermarket sector through inplementing new techonlogy and indentifying cutomers needs. Businesses also need to keep their valuable customers. A keen focus on customers is an axiom of good business. Businesses that do not maintain that focus are doomed. The customer can easily be forgotten in the rush to develop and launch new products and services, mitigate competitive threats, appease financial markets, manage the organization, increase profitability, expand market share and globalize. While CRM applications and their associated technology are critical, they are only tools to enable an idea. CRM is a vision, an In this sense, CRM is like Total Quality Management (TQM) you cannot buy it in a box; instead, you must make it happen through a variety of efforts. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that CRM does not become a pure product push or an efficiency play wherein customers bear the brunt of a company's cost-containment measures, CRM must be developed from the outside in-- beginning with target customer's wants and needs. Understanding customer behavior can lead to very simple changes in business processes that can improve customer value. As with many things that are simple in concept, the real challenge of CRM lies in its execution.

Warning!!! This is just a sample CRM essay (CRM essay example) which cannot be used as your own paper. You can contact our custom essay writing service which provides college and university students with high-quality custom written essays, term papers, research papers, thesis papers and dissertations on Customer Relationship Management topics.

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HRM Dissertation

Along with the Thatcherite era and an emphasis away from collective bargaining, reduction in bureaucracy and a move from the collective to the individual, a new void in the personnel function required to be filled.

Thus, human resource management, or HRM, emerged as a practiced personnel function, promising flexibility, responsiveness and a marked increase in the value of the employee. Furthermore, with the reduction in heavy industries and increase in services and high technology, HRM promised to put emphasis on the individual and the longer-term strategic issues.

The push towards this seemingly ideological approach to personnel increased in the late eighties, arguably, due to increasing competitive pressures, increased globalisation and a generally harsher business environment. It is these factors that caused managers to want to enhance internal corporate effectiveness and thus improve external competitiveness. This entailed the maximisation of all resources, including the human resource.

However, the failure of personnel management to adequately promote to others the benefits of effectively managing people at work is also cited as a reason for the need for a new approach, a fact stated by Skinner (1981). Legge (1978) however suggested that the failure occurred at an even more fundamental level; personnel management as an activity has failed to develop an appropriate theoretical base, resulting in "piecemeal textbook interventions, usually out of context with the needs of the organisation".

Defining Human Resource Management
There appears to be no single definition of the term human resource management that is accepted by both people management practitioners and the academic community. Furthermore, trade unionists argue that HRM is a slippery concept which means different things to different people (Monks, 1994). With this fact underlined, to attempt to draw a qualitative judgement as to the impact of HRM practices in Britain can only be done with the knowledge that evidence cited may actually be referring to differing concepts and approaches.

Guest (1987) refers to a model of HRM that is characterised by;
"...being people-orientated throughout with an ethic of respect for the individual, maximisation of individual talent, well developed well-integrated policies and practices, genuine consultation and involvement, and clear challenging goals with feedback".

However, it is argued that Guest's model does not identify the key difference between HRM and personnel management, namely a shift from a hands-on, fire fighting approach to a planning function of a company as part of an overall corporate strategy.

Legge (1989) further supports this view, defining HRM as being a central strategic management task; it is the ability of a company to utilise its personnel at all levels to create and sustain a competitive advantage.

The above definition can be compared to a more procedural approach seen in Megginson's (1972) definition of personnel management;

"it is believed that the most significant aspect of personnel management is to be found through the direction and control of human resources of an organisation in its daily operationsЕ the successful performance of the personnel function necessitates that each manager orient himself within his total business environment in order to help achieve the various organisational programs and objectives".

Thus, by comparing HRM with personnel management, we see that HRM is the achievement of a fit between management of the work force and the strategic thrust of the organisation, a notion reinforced by Harris (1984);

"Successful companies guide and shape their company's culture to fit their strategy. One of the tools used to accomplish this shaping is the reinforcing of certain ideas, values and behaviours and discouraging others by means of human resource management activities".

However, this concept of fit has been identified by Legge (1995) as one of several ambiguities and contradictions proliferating in HRM definitions. Does fit refer to the external integration of HRM with business strategy, as identified above, or the internal integration of employment policies?

Regardless of these ambiguities in the HRM definitions, it is clear that whilst personnel management is seen as a short-term solution, reacting to stimuli, HRM is founded on the idea that an organisation includes human resource factors within top-level corporate strategies and hence seeks to adopt a long-term view.

However, empirical evidence as to the extent of HRM implementation tends not to support the idea of top-level corporate human resources strategy integration. This is backed by findings from Storey (1992) from a study of fifteen companies in Britain, where, in the majority of instances, there was a lack of a strong link between people management activities and an overall corporate plan. This fact is given further credence by Legge (1995), who found that there was patchy implementation of practices designed to achieve flexibility and quality, and more emphasis on dealing with short-term issues and opportunities such as high unemployment rates, rather than "any long term strategic considerations".

Given this lack of empirical support on a key distinguishing feature of HRM, doubts must be raised as to the claimed strategic shift from personnel management to HRM.

A Case of "Old wine in new bottles?"
It is highly common to find texts citing HRM as simply being variation on a single theme; that HRM is merely personnel management, under a new label - eloquently stated by Armstrong (1987) as being "Old wine in a new bottle". Miller (1989) concludes that any difference between HRM and personnel management remains confusing and confused. Possibly more insightful is Fowler (1987), who states, "what's new in HRM is not what it is, but who is saying it, HRM represents the discovery of personnel management by chief executives".

The fact, pointed out by Guest (1987), that a number of personnel departments have become "human resource departments" without any observable changes in roles does not help. This is a practice mirrored in some long standing personnel management textbooks, where the title was changed to "human resource management", with little or no change in the actual content.

It is clear that there is no universally accepted description of the concept of HRM, although there are those who clearly have identified variations of HRM. Most notably, is Story (1989), in his identification and classification of two types of HRM, namely "hard" and "soft".

Summed up by Kessler et al (1998), "Hard" HRM puts the stress on the idea of a "resource" that is something to be used dispassionately and in a formally rational manner, as with any other economic factor. "Soft" HRM lays the stress on the term "human", thus conjuring up echoes of the human relations school, and emphasises communication, motivation and leadership.

Further types of HRM have been identified by Keenoy (1990), who makes reference to four variations; traditional - as practiced by the companies mentioned previously, which stresses the importance of people; neo-pluralist - which includes joint consultation, and the use of quality circles and increased employee involvement; strategic human resource management, this being concerned with the integration of human resource issues into corporate plans, and having little or nothing to do with actually managing people, and adversarial pluralism.

Whilst it can be seen that there is a certain amount of overlap between the definitions, there are also clear differences. What is striking, therefore, is that the same term is thus capable of signalling dramatically opposite sets of assumptions. Thus it is up to the individual or an organisation on how they interpret HRM - an echoing of MonkТs statement that HRM is practiced on individual interpretations. Legge (1989) points out that, not only are there differences in the definitions of HRM, they exhibit central characteristics that may ultimately be irreconcilable.

A knock on effect is the difficulty in defining the level to which organisations practice HRM. Noon (1992) states that it is not merely a case of semantics; it does matter which label is attached, as each carries different expectations and important practical implications.

What is clear however is that whichever variation of HRM is implemented by the organisation, its adoption will impact directly on the management of people at work. For some, this means a move away from institutionalisation and collectivism, and also a move away from the traditional view of employee relations management as being concerned with the making and administering of rules which regulate the employment relationship. This can be seen as an ideological shift away from the collective, and towards a unitarist and individualistic standpoint, within which employees' commitment to the company replaces the traditional Western allegiance to the occupation (Wickens, 1987).

Now that the differences between HRM and personnel management have been discussed, and more significantly, variations in HRM identified - despite higher-level ambiguities and confusion, it is appropriate to consider actual empirical evidence as to the extent and nature to which HRM has been implemented in actual organisations.

Qualitative Evidence
Popular management theorists draw a clear link between company success or excellence and the practice of human resource management. Excellent organisations such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and, at one point, Marks and Spencer are often cited as practicing HRM. However, it must be questioned as to whether it is appropriate for the tag "HRM" to be appointed to an organisation given the lack of a precise definition.

Despite this issue, not withstanding the considerable variations and implementations or HRM practices, there are undoubtedly indications that current management attitudes are consistent with many of the core elements of HRM, such as employee involvement, strategic human resources considerations and a move to devolve the personnel function to the line. Over the years, research has been carried out, looking at organisations that display these characteristics, and much can be learnt from these studies.

Research carried out by Hope-Hailey et al (1997) looking at self-proclaimed HRM practicing organisations, namely Glaxo (pharmaceuticals), Citibank (investment banking), Hewlett-Packard (hi-tech), WH Smith (retail and distribution), Lloyds Bank (retail banking), BT (telecommunications), KJS (fast moving consumer goods) and an NHS Trust (healthcare) revealed several interesting facts.

It was found that in most companies, there was an HR function at the board level of the company, although HRM was seen as a secondary decision making process. Furthermore, it was seen to be more of a process rather than a strategy and emergent rather than intended. A further surprising indicator of this, is the fact that there were very few examples of written HR strategies, reinforcing the idea that;

"HR strategy formulation is much more of an interactive process, based on what is feasible in terms of organisational politics at board level and practical in terms of implementation".

A further emergent fact is that as the HR function has been devolved, in terms of decision making to line managers, the presence of the HR department has diminished. As a personnel manager of Citibank typifies;

"We operate fairly independently within broad parameters and guidelines. We don't behave as a department on a weekly basis "I don't think you could look at us and say we are a department" this puts us very close inside, next to the business".

However, it was found that the move did not reduce in any way the necessary bureaucracy associated with the personnel policies and procedures. Furthermore, the recruitment, selection and the operations of the pay systems were still tasks of a now diminished HR staff. This has led to an observable lack of co-ordination, with a lack of communication between an organisation's business units. The research cites examples of secretaries being released on one floor of a bank due to overstaffing, and secretaries being recruited on another, due to an increase in workload.

Paradoxically, however, this downsizing and devolution of HR departments has been accompanied by an increased regard for the functionТs contribution at a strategic level, despite itТs diminished capability to deal with direct requests for help from staff; HRM is clearly regarded by management to be working, rather than non-management staff.

The researchers state three effects due to this paradox;
- Lower levels of staff often had little understanding of the role and purpose of the function;
- There was a clear identification for the worker's need in a neutral body or department within the organisation that could be consulted for neutral opinion;
- There seemed to be a demand for a counselling service within the organisation.

It is clear from the last two points that having spent decades shedding the image of personnel as the loyal opposition to management (Sisson, 1989), once this has been actualised, there is exactly a demand for these very services. This is contrast to beliefs that with the advent of service based industries and individualisation of the workforce, the welfare mechanisms necessary in factories and heavy industries would become redundant.

This paradox links directly to management practices in relation to trade unions, and the impact HRM has and potentially will have on unionised organisations.

Human Resource Management and Trade Unions
The impact of HRM on trade unions is relative to the environment in which it is being implemented. Traditional British industrial relations, post-Donovan and pre-Thatcherism, has be characterised by pluralism and the institution of collective bargaining, both of which argued as conflicting in nature to HRM practice, which unitarism as itТs core concept, which Guest (1987) sees as marginalising unions.

This process of marginalisation is seen as likely due to the importance placed upon employee commitment and employee involvement within an HRM framework. If an organisation, through the adoption of HRM, stresses the importance of commitment to that organisation, the employee may be put in a position where they will find it necessary to offer allegiance to both the company and the union.

However, it is important to note that HRM is not by definition anti-union, although practices associated with it may well prove to be detrimental to unions in practice. Reinforcing this, Millward (1994) found that HRM practices were actually more likely to be found in unionised companies.

Guest (1989) has suggested that the perspective adopted by management will dictate the impact of HRM on unions. Where the management leans towards a more pluralistic approach then there will be no threat to unions. But where the approach shows accord with the values of hard HRM, namely, individualism and unitarism, then the outcome could be the failure of management to recognise trade unions.

The precise impact on employees generally will depend on the type of HRM that is actually practised, as opposed to simply the adoption of an HRM policy. The TUC (1994) refer to; bad HRM, which they define as the piecemeal, ad hoc, unsystematic attempt to select items from the HRM menu to improve company performance which conceals a vigorous anti-union strategy; and good HRM which is in keeping with companies' attempts to build a workplace by developing employee commitment.

Keenoy (1990) describes HRM as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Furthermore, Fowler (1987) argues that employee involvement under HRM is actually involvement on the company's terms, and is actually a subtle form of employee manipulation disguised as mutuality.

Therefore, it's possible that, whilst it may appear that employees have a greater involvement in the organisation, it is only selective involvement on the company's terms, a situation that may change with the advent of works councils. At the same time, it is feasible that management, in adopting HRM, will no longer see trade unions as being appropriate, as they raise the potential problem for the employee of dual allegiance - union or company? If the union were indeed no longer recognised, then if a situation arose where an individual is placed in a position of conflict with the company, due to this process of individualisation that employee would be in a relatively weak position to oppose the company.

It is clear that there are identifiable components that recur in HRM topics, such as employee involvement, commitment, appraisal and reward. However, these are also tenants of personnel management. The only clear factor that goes some way to differentiate HRM from personnel management is strategic planning. But, does the presence of an element of strategic thinking in people management justify the application of the term human resource management?

Focusing on this view of a long-term strategic view, Skinner (1981) argues that benefits as a result of the implementation of HRM practices may not become apparent for five or more years, and secondly, current corporate polices tend not to reward managers for results that might not become apparent for several years. Hence, whilst it may be argued that HRM has the means of providing increased organisational effectiveness in the long term, will organisations, and managers, be prepared, or even allowed, to wait?

There also appears to be very little qualitative evidence to support any great degree of consistency between people management strategies and corporate strategies within companies. Hope-Hailey et al (1997) indeed suggest that HRM is not being practiced in the forms suggested in the 1980s, and that current practices are actually highly diverse. This diversity in practice suggests that HRM is highly sensitive to environmental and contextual factors as well as higher-level issues such as culture and managerial mentality.

These points lead to the question as to whether human resource management is actually sustainable in the long-term, despite the fact that HRM practices in organisations is on the increase. In order for HRM to be sustainable, several high-level definitions and concepts must be clarified.

Firstly, there is an implication that HRM can be seen as an "all or nothing" concept. This leads to a fundamental question; does an organisation have to actively implement all the practices that fall within HRM in order to claim that they are truly practising HRM? Conversely, can it be said that an organisation practices HRM if the personnel function centres on the practice of any combination of defined constituents of HRM?

Secondly, as Legge (1989) suggests, HRM suffers from three inherent contradictions; individualism versus co-operation, commitment versus flexibility, and strong culture versus adaptability. Clearly unless such internal tensions can be rationalised, they too may threaten the long-term sustainability of HRM.

Finally, the effect on the employee must be considered. In effect, this is directly related to the effects on, and response of, trade unions to HRM. With the move in management to draw direct links to the employee, the potential for trade unions to intervene on behalf of the employee, through the traditional means of collective bargaining, will become increasingly marginalised.

Potentially, with increasing allegiance from the employee being sought by the company, there may come a time when an employee will have to choose between company and union. Furthermore, as company-employee links strengthen, the company may question the very need for trade union recognition, leaving the employees in a potentially undermined position.

Ultimately, though, the question that has to be asked is whether or not HRM is simply context specific; it seems that the observed shifts in management style to HRM is simply a response to the new employment conditions in the 1990s, and the question that begs answering is, if this is the case, how well will HRM fare with the next inevitable change in personnel management methodology?

Warning!!! This is just a sample HRM dissertation (HRM dissertation example) which cannot be used as your own paper. You can contact our custom dissertation writing service which provides college and university students with high-quality custom dissertations, thesis papers and research proposals on Human Resource Management topics.

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