Industrial Relation

Strategic Human Resource Management – Integrating Universalistic, Contingent, Configurational & Contextual perspectives.

Purpose: After strategic human resource management’s inception at the end of 1970s, several numbers of models & explanations proposed grew exponentially, especially after some theoretical revisions presented in the 1990s. The objective of this paper is to analyze the evolution & current state of the art in the field of SHRM research. To do this researcher classifies literature theoretically into four generic perspectives & try to make a conclusion that despite the differences among the universalistic, contingent , configurational & contextual approach it is possible to make their contributions compatible balancing their limitations.  

The Universalistic Perspective:

The universalistic perspective is the simplest approach to the analysis of human resource management strategies. It starts, in all its explanations and prescriptions, from the premise of the existence of a linear relationship between variables that can be extended to the entire population. Linear relationship means a reactive approach so we can say that it is a traditional view. Researchers can, therefore, identify best human resource management practices that are characterized by: (1) having demonstrated capacity to improve organizational performance and (2) having to be generalizable. Regarding the level of analysis, universalistic models have focused mainly on a subfunctional point of view, analysing how certain isolated HR policies are linked to organizational performance. In other cases, they analyze more than one best practice, defining what have been called high performance work systems. The universalistic perspective does not study either the synergic interdependence or the integration of practices, and the contribution of these practices to performance is analyzed only from an additive point of view. As a result, this view implicitly denies that the different...