Research Article: 2021 Vol: 20 Issue: 2
Ahmed Asfahani, University of Business and Technology
This is an analytical and descriptive study that focuses on the impact of modern models of Human Resource departments, looking specifically at their ability to enhance organizational agility for institutions. The study begins by defining organizational agility, and then examining four specific strategic HR models in depth: the high-performance model, the strategic fit model, the high commitment model, and the best practices model. For the high-performance model, innovation is highlighted as a key factor. For the strategic alignment model, it was found that HR management structure needs to predict future patterns in the external work environment. The high commitment model focuses on career path, job flexibility, motivation, work teams, and job relationship stability for employees. The best practice model looks at overall organizational strategy. A review of the literature in this field shows that, as predicted by the research hypotheses, all of these HR practices enhance and organizational agility. The study concludes by recommending that HR management adopt all of these policy models in order to ensure the agility of their organization.
Models, Human resource, Agility, Impact, Strategic.
The human element is one of the most important pillars of a healthy organization. As such, institutions face many challenges that require them to enhance their practices for managing human resources (HR). Challenges, including the need to respond and conform to the changes in the internal and external work environment, can be overcome through the policies and practices of an organization’s Human Resources Department (HRD). This department affects individual employee performance, attitude, improvement, and an organization’s overall ability to reach desired levels of quality and excellence.Therefore, developing HR management practices to overcome those challenges is an important step when taking into account the strategic dimensions affecting the work environment at internal and external levels.
Many studies highlight several models related to these strategic practices, with different approaches. These models also were developed in light of contemporary considerations regarding the science of administrative organization, and the focus on achieving flexibility and agility in the various procedures and processes of administrative organizations. The appropriate organizational flexibility enables institutions to address these challenges and overcome them. The term agility (Carmeli et al., 2017; Llanos et al., 2016) focuses on achieving speed and ease in an institution’s organizational performance, especially in facing challenges, taking sound decisions, and properly utilizing core capabilities. In order to achieve agility, an institution requires its organizational units, and in particular its HR department, to take a prominent role in its overall structure. Therefore, the present analytical, descriptive study will focus on modern HRD models’ impact on enhancing organizational agility for institutions.
A study by (Hamilton & Sodeman, 2020) highlighted the HRD’s role in dealing with external environments by designing appropriate policies, and its prominent role in achieving coherence in an organization's strategy (Bagheri, 2016) in addition to the impact of strategic models of HR management on consolidating high employee performance (Beltrán-Martín & Bou-Llusar, 2018), and achieving alignment between internal operations and organizational strategy (Rachid et al., 2018). The competitive position of an organization and its ability to achieve its goals can be achieved through a high commitment to performance in accordance with appropriate procedures (Chang et al., 2019). This is in addition to the HRD’s role in implementing best practices that enhance organizational and institutional success (Villajos, et al., 2019). Therefore, a question appears before us about the relationship of strategic and institutional HR models to enhancing organizational success as part of organizational agility.
Organizational agility is the speed of organization’s response to unexpected changes (Tallon et al., 2019). It also means adapting to rapidly emerging, dynamic challenges and (Carmeli et al., 2017), as well as an efficient workforce and flow of work procedures, and an easy flow of procedures between the organizational units of the institution (Zhou et al., 2018). The work environment and HRD needs to be developed to achieve the required organizational lightness (Koenigsfeld, 2018). This raises the question of how HR management models can meet these requirements.
The research problem can be summed up in the following main question: What is the impact of modern models of strategic HR management on enhancing the organizational agility of institutions?
Within this main question, the effects of the following strategic HR management models on organizational agility will also be investigated:
• the high-performance model
• the strategic fit model
• the higher commitment model
• the best practices model
The main research hypothesis is that all of those models will enhance organizational ability.
There are several axes around which the objectives of the current study are based. The main foundation of the study is the discussion and building of a scientific and theoretical background from which to investigate the various dimensions of strategic HR management. Some key strategic HR management models have been extracted from a review of the literature for special focus, including high performance models, strategic alignment, high commitment, and best practices. This study will also explore and extract some of the foundations of the topic of organizational agility, and then verify and define the relationships of these strategic HR management models to organizational agility.
The current study has both theoretical and applied aspects of importance. The theoretical importance stems from strategic HR management practices as a modern theoretical orientation. The study will also clarify the scientific dimensions of these models and the intellectual foundations that depend on them. From a scientific angle, the current study will enrich the current body of literature on the topic of organizational agility in relation to the field of the science of administrative organization. The applied aspects of this study will help to identify specific procedures for human resource management models. Practically, it will provide contributions that can help to apply organizational agility in an appropriate manner and effectively improve institutional performance.
The methodology of the present study is a descriptive analytical method, using secondary sources from literature and research in strategic HR management models and organizational agility, and will evaluate the relationships that serve to answer the research questions.
Strategic Human Resources Management
A study presented by Aryanto et al. (2015) looked at the role of HR management in maximizing employees’ innovative capabilities and performance. The results showed that innovation in performance is an important axis in the performance of resource management. The strategic HR department, in addition to depending on the development of innovative tasks and roles for employees, must provide opportunities for participation in building innovation in the organization more broadly.
The strategic HR department also focuses on enhancing sustainability in HR policies, a strategic dimension considered to be one of the most important in increasing the likelihood of successfully applying governance standards. Sustainability results in the added value of increased employee performance and results for stakeholders (Martin et al., 2016).
Other dimensions of strategic human resource management are mentioned in several studies (Hamilton & Sodeman, 2020; Çınar & Karcıoğlu, 2013). By designing and practicing personnel management policies that focus on employee opportunities and challenges in managing human capital resources strategically, these dimensions are based on analyzing HR rules and identifying new sources for managing HR data. The focus is on building human capital and linking it to changes in the organization’s ethical practice, which represents an introduction to making strategic change in the organization. These studies also demonstrated the existence of a strong relationship between strategic management, that takes into account the dimensions of human and institutional resource management as the strategic role of human resources management affects the creation of coherence, and harmony in the performance of the organization as a whole with its human, organizational and material resources.
The importance of strategic HR management, policies and practices lies in their ability to play an effective role towards directing the performance of vital activities that affect the organization’s achievement of its goals. The correlation and harmony in the overall performance of the organization is fundamentally affected by the directions of strategic HR management in terms of the effectiveness of decision-making and the coherence of individual performance with the institutional and organizational performance paths (Lengnick-Hall et al., 2013).
Other researchers have proposed pathways for strategic HR management. Gannon et al. (2015) suggested strengthening its role during crises, building appropriate policies according to practices that are integrated in human performance and are compatible with organizational performance in crises, and building competitive advantages to maximize value and achieve integration between employees and material resources.
A study by Bagheri (2016) also demonstrated that there is an overlap and correlation between an organization’s strategic planning for HR and strategic management tools. The strategic analysis within the performance of HR management is affected by determining the nature of the relationships that constitute an organization's values and the culture of its employees. The study itself confirmed that the degree of strategic understanding available to the HR department contributes to increasing opportunities for institutional and human sustainability.
The High-Performance Model
In this HR model, the focus is on strengthening the organization’s strategy in terms of raising performance efficiency in productivity, customer service, growth, profits, and investment returns, which are matters that serve the institution’s strategy and provide key success factors. According to Beltrán-Martín & Bou-Llusar (2018), the strategic HR department, in this model, supports the capabilities of employees and motivates them to participate in promotion opportunities by linking HR policies with employee performance. The same study emphasized that the essence of a multi-level model of performance that supports high performance is that it takes into account the upward impact of three factors: skills, motivation, and enhancement of opportunities for advancement. The results confirmed the upward impact of those dimensions on increasing the contributions of individuals to support the organization’s strategy.
Other studies clarified other dimensions of this model. As indicated in a study by Podolsky (2018) the high performance model as an orientation in strategic HR practices is based on drawing clear links between the organization’s strategy and HR management practices, and the strategic business model in HR policies related to the high employee performance. This model also depends on the organizational ease and flexibility of HR as a system that establishes mutual relationships within a high-performance work system, flexibility of HR policies, and a philosophy of organizational prowess among employees (Úbeda-García et al., 2018).
A study by Villajos et al. (2019), based on the dimension of improving performance and supporting employees, aimed to verify the measurement of HR practices that aim to improve employees’ job performance practices. The results documented highly positive contributions from HR management in improving and supporting high performance by directing the objectives of human resource management practices to achieve organizational success, and to enhance employee performance by offering stimulating work and a supportive work environment.
A high-performance model developed by Patel et al. (2019) defined the dimensions of high performance by considering the impact of HR’s strategic role in lowering employee turnover and outsourcing human resources. The results found that guaranteeing high performance requires HR to be flexible, efficient, and effective in making decisions to outsource human resources, promote high levels of job satisfaction, and intensify the tasks and roles of HR managers to consolidate the philosophy of policies aimed at high employee performance.
The Strategic Fit Model
The strategic fit model defines HR’s role of a strategic perspective in terms of achieving horizontal and vertical integration, and creating integration and consensus in HR practices that, on one hand, are consistent with the organization’s strategy, and on the other, integration within HR strategy processes. According to Rachid et al. (2018) strategic fit is achieved through internal and external factors. Internal factors include employee preferences, decisions, and behaviors, developing HR structure, providing the foundations for the dynamic interaction between HR strategy and job behavior, and linking the internal environment divergence with job performance behaviors in line with the organization’s strategy. As for the external factors, the results indicated that strategic fit occurs through the development of the HR management structure in a way that can predict future patterns of the organization’s external work environment, especially the legal aspects.
A study by Allui & Sahni (2016) showed that, according to the criteria of the strategic fit model, the strategic management of HR is affected by the degree to which the organization practices a sustainable methodology for it. The results confirmed that the strategic alignment occurs through the organization’s interest in linking the institutional culture and organizational climate with changes in the nature of the labor market.
Another study by Uslu (2015) identified the features of the strategic alignment model from the perspective of supporting a culture of innovation, and of supporting employee’s intellectual property. The results showed that the strategic fit is based on the quality of job performance and HR management’s degree of interest in spreading the culture of innovation consistent with the organization's strategy. The results also highlighted that strategic fit by encouraging job satisfaction supporting the innovation culture among the employees. In addition to supporting the results, the intellectual property of the employees from the psychological dimension is one of the critical factors for building a strategic alignment step between organizational factors and job satisfaction of human resources.
A study conducted by Ardito & Petruzzelli (2017) identified a model for strategic fit in the role of HR management based on a moderate role for strategic practices consistent with the expansion of external knowledge and the innovation of the organization's activities and products. The results of the study highlighted that this model is based on consensus in terms of making use of external sources of knowledge and integrating them into employee performance. Adopting organizational mechanisms in HR management practices influences the relationship between external search strategies in sources of knowledge and innovation performance in individuals' tasks. The model highlighted the importance for the HRD to align its strategy and policies with knowledge of external matters concerning the field of the organization’s work.
The High Commitment Model
This model is based on HR’s strategic role in finding ways to promote employee commitment without the institution imposing on them. Success using this strategy comes through career path, job flexibility, motivation, work teams, and job relationship stability. Latorre et al. (2016) highlighted that there is an impact of highly committed HR policy practices on these areas of work and the associated job performance. The results indicated that there are other auxiliary factors that enhance this model such as job satisfaction, organizational support expected by the workers, job security, support through teamwork, and teamwork style. The results concluded that these factors taken together represent HR management’s strategic role in supporting the high commitment model.
On the other hand, a study conducted by Chang et al. (2019) showed that the parameters of the high commitment model are affected by HR’s management’s practice of supporting entrepreneurial trends. The results confirmed the essential nature of HR policies in building a competitive advantage by developing organizational capabilities related to innovation. This model promotes high performance commitment practices by directing HR management’s main task paths towards pioneering orientation at organizational and individual levels.
A study conducted by Chang & Chin (2018) highlighted the high commitment model within e-commerce, in relation to evaluating job commitments of employees performing online, and the extent of their commitment to the industry-specific aspects of job performance such as communicating product information and dealing with customer responses. The results demonstrated the impact of HR management on employee performance targets. The results also confirmed that the nature of the organization's website has a significant impact on the attitude commitment, and performance of employees. The study also identified dimensions within the HR management strategy to assess the level of commitment in the performance of employees depending on job tasks and the speed of response in achieving them.
The high commitment model requires the HR department be prepared to face sudden financial crises and to hedge against them to avoid sudden dismissal of employees. A study conducted by Bellairs et al. (2014) confirmed that the practice of strategic HR management, based on the organization’s human functional commitment policies, can mitigate the negative effects of shocks that appear in the external work environment of the organization. The study also showed that the dimension of commitment in HR policies improves employee performance if it is related to the exercise of the employee's emotional responses to vacations, which in turn lead to achieving positive behavioral results in the performance of employees.
Mahjoub et al. (2018) discussed the factors affecting the achievement of high employee commitment practices and how to develop HR strategies to support it. The results demonstrated that building a model for high performance commitment requires HR policies and strategy to focus on linking organizational and functional performance with factors that achieve the success of the organization's projects in terms of talent management, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment, which are all factors that help in strengthening the HR strategy, in turn leading to the achievement of high commitment and performance that meets targets.
The Best Practice Model
This model highlights how HR enhances the overall strategy of the organization. Some of the factors that provide success factors for the corporate strategy highlighted in this model includejob security, selection, self-work teams, linking motivation and salaries to results, structured training, equality, and the availability of performance-related information.
A study carried out by Guan et al. (2016) noted that the best practices model focuses on HR’s strategic competence in managing job roles, job diversity, job support, and job adaptability. The results strengthened the essential effects of the strategic competence in terms of enhancing the best practices in the organization (professionality, job diversity and organizational support), in addition to the essential relationship of capacity for job adaptation, and the nature of job supervision tasks in applying best practices in HR management.
A study conducted by Yong et al. (2019) looked at the role of HR management in identifying applications that connect green intellectual capital and green HR management policy. The results demonstrated that building a strategy compatible with the environment is a contemporary best practice approach.
A study conducted by Villajos et al. (2019) presented a best practice HR model based on several control factors that encourages employees to deliver their best performance. The results of the study showed the essential effects of HR management in practices enhancing the best practices of employees and giving them full support to achieve organizational success through policies that facilitate improvement of job performance, application of best practices and, verification of a comprehensive method for measuring HR practices effectiveness in providing employee support.
In another context, a study conducted by Geary et al. (2017) concluded that the best practices model for managing HR in international companies is affected by its transfer to the company’s branches in other countries that provide harmonization and adaptation factors and find solutions that facilitate the successful transfer of practices, taking into account the impact of social and cultural factors on Other countries on the nature of the employees and the degree of their acceptance to apply best practices transferred from the parent company. The study emphasized the necessity for HR management to work on achieving an approach to cultural and social differences to successfully transfer and implement best practices.
The concept of organizational agility has been linked to recent trends in organizational literature and organization theory. A study conducted by Tallon et al. (2019) confirms that organizational agility was intended to help organizations respond to unexpected environmental threats and opportunities and to exploit the available capabilities in the field of information technology. The results of the study confirmed the impact of the relationship between information technology and organizational agility based on the speed of the organizational structure in responding to unexpected changes.
Another study (Llanos et al., 2016) confirms that the concept of organizational agility emerged as a result of the complexity of the business environment and the rapid development of technologies and their applications, which posed an organizational challenge for institutions to find ways of accommodating these technologies, and to redesign work procedures and the documentary cycle in a flexible manner that enables quick adaptation to these developments.
The emergence of the concept of organizational agility coincided with modern practices in organizational behavior and institutional performance, and because of rapidly emerging, dynamic challenges and changes that required institutions to adjust their institutional and organizational conditions in order to adapt (Carmeli et al., 2017).
The results of a study conducted by Liu et al. (2018) showed an understanding of the dimensions of organizational agility, which appears in the form of rapid, vital, and strategic decision-making on measures that would otherwise hinder the utilization of opportunities in the internal or external work environment. The study also reinforced the importance of relying on aspects of IT, especially cloud computing, to achieve effective organizational agility.
Other studies (Zhou, et al., 2018) have linked employee efficiency with organizational agility. The study found the efficiency of roles and tasks performed by the workers to affect the flow and ease of work procedures between the organizational units of the institution. The study also encouraged enhancement of HR policies to implement organizational agility.
Certain factors help in establishing and applying organizational agility. One of the most important of these factors, according to one study (Koenigsfeld, 2018), is leadership role and style. Another is the extent to which the organization keeps pace with technical progress and achieves so-called technical excellence in operational performance. These results highlight the impact of leadership practices on organizational agility and smooth institutional performance. The study highlighted the importance of developing the work environment and HR in line with organizational agility.
It is evident that the high performance model is based on achieving horizontal and vertical integration in the management of HR and the strategy of the institution in predicting future growth (Beltrán-Martín & Bou-Llusar, 2018), and involves several factors. These include: practicing a sustainable methodology for strategic management and integration between institutional strategies HR policies (Úbeda-García et al., 2018); strategic alignment and spreading of a culture of innovation consistent with the organization’s strategy (Villajos et al., 2019); and identifying strategic knowledge and linking it with human resource policies (Patel et al., 2019). In addition, the origin of strategic HR management practices is based on creating correlation and harmony in the overall performance of the organization (Lengnick-Hall et al., 2013), maximizing added value from use of the organization’s resources, and achieving integration between employees, and financial and organizational resources (Gannon et al., 2015). These factors demonstrate the role of the high performance model in the service of consolidating organizational agility. As studies have confirmed, this depends on how prepared an organization is to respond immediately to unexpected changes (Tallon et al., 2019); the speed of absorption of developments (Llanos et al., 2016); acceleration of the flow of work procedures (Zhouet al., 2018); and the ability to face sudden changes without any negative influence or loss (Koenigsfeld, 2018).
The strategic-fit model achieves integration between HR management, enterprise strategy, and future directions (Rachid et al., 2018), sustainable provision of strategic management, integration between institutional strategies and their integration into HR policies (Allui & Sahni, 2016), quality assurance of job performance, a culture of innovation consistent with the organization’s strategy (Uslu, 2015), and linking strategic knowledge with HR policies (Ardito & Petruzzelli, 2017). These are all factors that show the strategic-fit model in the service of consolidating organizational agility, which, as previous studies have confirmed, depends institution’s preparedness in responding immediately to unexpected changes (Tallon et al., 2019), quickly absorbing developments (Llanos et al., 2016), accelerate the flow of work procedures (Zhou et al., 2018), and successfully dealing with sudden changes (Koenigsfeld, 2018).
The high commitment model for strategic HR enhances self-commitment in employee performance and organizational support (Latorre et al., 2016), building effective practices among employees in sustainable commitment to high performance, and supporting pioneering guidance at an organizational and human level (Chang et al., 2019), enhancing self-commitment in human performance (Chang & Chin, 2018), and linking organizational and functional performance with factors that achieve the success of the organization, especially with regard to organizational commitment (Mahjoub et al., 2018). These are all factors that show the high commitment model in service of consolidating organizational agility which, as previous studies have confirmed, depends on organizations’ preparedness in responding immediately to unexpected changes (Tallon et al., 2019), quickly absorbing developments (Llanos et al., 2016), accelerating the flow of work procedures (Zhou et al., 2018), and facing sudden changes without any negative occurrence, impact, or losses (Koenigsfeld, 2018).
The results of previous studies show that the best practices model for strategic HR leads to strategic competence, job roles, job diversity, organizational support, and job adaptability (Guan et al., 2016), establishing standards of intellectual capital in job performance, innovation, and creativity (Yong et al., 2019), and discovering and exploiting organizational and cognitive innovation as an entry point for better achievement practices (Gill, 2018). Best practices are also achieved through improving organizational culture and work environment, the comprehensiveness and integration of diversification in HR management practices, and taking advantage of organizational capabilities (Buengeler et al., 2018). These are all factors that show the best-practice model in the service of consolidating organizational agility.
With regard to the hypothesis of this study, “the HRM modern models are expected to lead to increased organizational agility”, it is evident that there is a relationship between the modern models for HR that increases the consolidation of organizational agility for institutions in line with the results of some previous studies and the hypothesis variables and the relationship between them.
Based on the results of the current study, we can formulate a number of recommendations. Firstly, those organizations should prepare and implement HR strategies based on the dimensions of the four strategic models discussed in this study, including their implementation policies. HR strategies also need to be designed to include policies that promote sustainability and increase its value, alongside the development of operational measurement indicators that can be monitored and verified. Additionally, strategic analysis studies should be conducted in order to predict future patterns in human performance in the specializations of the organization according to the four strategic models, and link them to the organization’s annual training plan.
HR management should develop a plan for institutional change based on the dimensions of the four strategic models. By evaluating their existing organizational conditions and processes, and verifying the bottlenecks that impede flexibility in performance, organizations can provide the agility required to respond to unexpected changes in the internal and external work environment. It is also necessary for HR to harmonize and amend its management policies in a way that facilitates procedures for the performance of employees to the organizational procedural role in the administrative units of the organization's structure.
Finally, work procedures and documentary roles should be designed in a manner that is flexible and enables the rapid absorption of developments and the speed of vital and strategic decision-making. This will avoid delays caused by procedures that impede the use of opportunities in the internal or external work environment.
The results of the current study discussed the issue of the impact of modern models of strategic human resources management on enhancing organizational agility of institutions, in order to answer the main question of the research about what is the impact of modern models of strategic human resources management on enhancing organizational agility of institutions. By analyzing and studying the four research hypotheses, it became clear from the results that enhancing the practices of the high-performance model of the strategic human resources department, the strategic-fit model, the high commitment model, the best practices model increases the consolidation of organizational agility for institutions, and the validity of research hypotheses, in line with the results of some previous studies.
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