DA7 - International Journal of Manpower 20,8 494...

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Unformatted text preview: International Journal of Manpower 20,8 494 International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 20 No. 8, 1999, pp. 494-515. # MCB University Press, 0143-7720 Barriers to effective HRM Bob Kane and John Crawford University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and David Grant King’s College, University of London, London, UK Keywords Human resource management, Barriers, Competitive advantage, Australia, New Zealand Abstract In this study, scales were developed to measure the extent to which organisations exhibited ‘‘soft’’ or ‘‘hard’’ approaches to HRM, and the extent to which potential barriers to the effective operation of HRM were present. The sample comprised 549 employees, managers and HRM staff across a wide range of types of organisations in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada. While the results supported the contention that HRM effectiveness can be achieved via both ‘‘soft’’ and ‘‘hard’’ approaches, several barriers to HRM take-up were identified and there was little evidence that organisations generally operated HRM policies and practices that were seen as effective. Although very few differences between countries were found, the authors suggest the barriers identified and related ineffectiveness of HRM may be all the more detrimental to the competitiveness of Australian and New Zealand organisations in light of the recent economic downturn in the Asia-Pacific region. Introduction Australia and New Zealand are unusual in that they are attempting to support developed economies whilst being island states with limited populations. Although many other industrialised countries with small populations can be found in Europe, these countries have greater opportunities for trade across common boarders, and many have joined trading blocks such as the EU. In 1995, an Australian government sponsored study reported that Australian management had a number of deficiencies in comparison with their competitors (Karpin, 1995). It concluded that urgent action was needed for Australian organisations to become world-class and remain competitive in what it referred to as the coming ‘‘Asia-Pacific century’’. Later writers have emphasised the importance of a ‘‘strategic’’ approach to human resource management (HRM) to bring about the changes called for by the Karpin report (Fisher and Dowling, 1999; Edwards et al ., 1997). These same writers, however, have noted that progress in terms of actually implementing a strategic approach to HRM seems to have been slow. Similar calls for change in HRM have been voiced in New Zealand (Stablein and Geare, 1993), with concern also being expressed about the still slow rate of progress (Haynes and Fryer, 1999)....
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DA7 - International Journal of Manpower 20,8 494...

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