BBC Company’s Human Resource Management

Executive summary

The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the models of human resource management and analysing the present issues occurred in the BBC due to relocation, redundancies and introduction of new technologies. The study is focused on solving the issues and for adopting the best Harvard model suited to the case.

Compare and contracts two models of Human Resource Management, one of which must be the Harvard module (Beer et al)?

HRM Models

There are several HRM models which give importance mainly for developing HR strategy and business strategy. It involves HRM practices and strategies for developing human resource in the organisation. Traditional personnel management and HRM of today is showing difference in many ways. It can be seen that HRM is focusing on the strategic planning with development and personnel management give much emphasis on work and pay method. Today HRM is focusing on attaining skilled employees. “Personal and national successes are increasingly correlated with the possession of skills. Skilled individuals can command a premium salary in periods of high economic activity. Worldwide, unemployment levels remain high, while organizations have difficulty filling vacancies which require specific expertise. A shortage of skilled people can act as a limiting factor on individual organizations and the economy as a whole.” (Price, 2007).

Guest Approach

It is of the view that the Guest approach is focusing on Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM). This approach focuses mainly on four features of Harvard model such as commitment, competence, congruence and cost effectiveness. This approach had identified crucial factors of traditional personnel management and HRM for comparative analysis. This approach also contributed much for the development of labour management theories. Motivation is also an important aspect in Guest approach for employee commitment. “Strategic Human Resource (HR) management is the process of planned HR deployments and activities towards accomplishment of long term organizational goals.” (The Human Resource Environment: Overview 2008).

Pettigrew Approach

It mainly focuses on the prescriptive elements of the Harvard model. This involves extended framework which includes broader external environment as well as internal organisational factors.

HRM models of Pettigrew and Guest gave much emphasis on the HR strategy and general business strategies along with traditional personnel management.

Beer et al Approach

HRM model developed by Beer et al is similar to that of Guest’s development in HRM field. Harvard model offered by Beer includes factors such as broad situational factors, stakeholders’ interest, HRM policies, HR outcomes, long-term consequences and its Feed back loop. The situational factors have a major role in selecting HR strategy. This model involves various characteristics such as workforce characteristics, management philosophy, labour market regulations, societal values and patterns of unionisation. Stakeholders’ interest plays a crucial role in making decisions regarding organisational goal with regard to employees, unions and organisation. HRM policy choice plays a major role in taking management decisions and is framed by taking into consideration the available resources and feasible study. HR outcome leads to high performance by employee commitment as well as it involves cost reducing decisions and measures. It is assumed that talents of the employees can be fully utilized only when employees are committed towards work or towards organisation. Employee’s commitment is the crucial factor in bringing outcome. Long term consequences identify the individual, organisation and society at different levels. It is of the view that long term output is the reflection of the works effort which can be gained only from providing psychological reward to the employees. It is a fact that survival of the organisation itself depends on the input of the employees. Societal concept is that utilizing the workers’ skill alone will satisfy the employment and growth of the nation. A feed back loop is the final component of the Harvard model and through which feedback outputs flow directly into the organization and to the stakeholders. Long term outputs can influence the situational factors, stakeholders’ interests and HR policies.

The Harvard model can be considered as an effective method as it involves analytical as well as prescriptive model. Analytical model for the study of Human Resource Management contains elements that are analytical which involves situational factors, stakeholders, strategic choice levels and prescriptive model involves factors of commitment, competence and so on.

Strength of the Harvard model lies in the classification of inputs and outcomes at both the organizational and the societal level, and by creating the basis for a critique of comparative HRM. Weakness of this model is that there is no theoretical basis for measuring input or output for attaining performance.

Which of these two models would better prepare an organization for managing change?

Harvard Model

Harvard Model is also known as soft model. Soft model is the approach which gave emphasis on the human value within the organisation. It is attained by employee recognition and reward programs. It is viewed that employee’s commitment towards organisation is a crucial factor in brining success to the organisation. Committed employees will be more loyal and committed toward the organisation for achieving goals of the company. In the hard model approach, employees are considered as economic factor which needs to be controlled or monitored frequently. So it adopts rational approach for managing human resources that is controlling employees for reducing cost.

Models of Human Resource Management play a vital role in an organization. In every organization there are soft and hard models of approaches in functioning of the human resource management. The precise ingredients of these approaches are unique to each and every organization which intact the implications of the factors such as the external and internal environment of the organizations which support its strategies, culture and structure. Thus every aspect has a great role to play in the building up of the HRM operations. “Two of the most widely adopted models of human resource management are the hard and soft versions. These are based on opposing views of human nature and managerial control strategies.” (Truss et al 2003, p.53-57).

Every model is of great importance as it signifies the importance of human resources and their values in an organization and thus these models constitute the human resource management. “It is observed that empirical observations have shown that, while organization’s rhetoric, reflected in management’s language and vocabulary is soft, the reality, reflected in management action and behaviour can be hard depending upon the prevailing changes in the environment in which organizations operates.” (Kidombo).

The level of importance of human resource holdings differ from organization to organization but businesses consistently rely on human resource professionals to help them through high growth times and turmoil. Human resource is about creating systems, processes and environments where employees perform better and are satisfied and there are various career paths and opportunities in the profession. Every function of human resource management has got its own values and morale. Human resources management and other functions must work together to achieve organizational success and to compete locally and internationally. In order for an organization to be successful by achieving prosperity and attaining more profits reasonable goals in each of these components must be achieved. Staffing is the process involved in finding right person for right job with perfect skills and abilities. Employee evaluations are done through performance appraisals.

Compensation and benefits are the pay which employee gets for their work. Training and development helps the employee of an organization to have a clear picture of their work and how to develop with their own motivational concepts. A good employee and labour relation should be maintained. Employees are promoted with works and special safety and health schemes are provided for their better enrichment and researches are done for the better efficiency and nourishment of human resource management in an organization. All these processes will affect the turnover and can have a significant impact on the morale and productivity of an organization. The major aim of the HRM is to help an organization to meet strategic goals by attracting and maintaining employees and also to manage them effectively. Employers who treat employees’ morale and motivation a priority, often get the benefits in return with high productivity and better quality. The communication processes are of great importance and it involves passing of information from management to employees. Employees are the most important and valuable asset and foundation of an organization.

Diversity is a reality in a business organization. Managing diversity well provides a distinct advantage in an era when flexibility and creativity play the keys to competitiveness and thus it provokes to maximum focuses on the ability of all the human resources to contribute to achieve the organizational goals. Challenges can be broad ranging from basic communications and language difficulties to complexities in decision-making processes and team management. Managing cultural diversity in effective way enables organizations not only to overcome such challenges but also to fully exploit the opportunities of cultural synergy to strategic advantage. Employees, teams, managers and leaders all perform better in open communicative environments.

The motivation, behaviour and performance of all employees in the multicultural workplace are improved by effective people management. By removing barriers and facilitating workplace communication and by creating open accepting organization diversity, culture and management programmes increase productivity and efficiency of all employees. Critical features which are performed well in the human resource management model involve commitment, competence, cost effectiveness and congruence. Every feature should be well cared as the behaviour patterns of the human resources vary and change simultaneously. “The strategic management of people does not automatically involve the implementation of practices associated with human resource management.” (Storey 1998, p.397-406).

Today management of change is one of the top issues of managers. Changes are occurring in the business environment due to competition, technological advancement, and customer demand and so on. It is an important duty of the HR department to cope up with the changes taking place in the environment and to help the employees to adjust with it for organisational effectiveness. Changes can be made in part of the organisation. For instance, it can be technological or organisational behaviour pattern or relocating the organisation itself to another place and so on. In order to implement changes effectively, managers need to be constantly in touch with the employees by way of coaching, leading, monitoring and motivation.

Resistance to change is the common behaviour of human beings. It is the manager’s duty to handle conflicts and he should be able to convince the employees and guide them towards the goals of the organisation. Globalisation is bringing so many advantages as well as some disadvantages to the organisation. In order to attain success, it is important to cope up with the changes. “The process of urbanization has significant implications for business in the region: It creates operating difficulties; it presents challenges which necessitate solutions; it brings societal responsibilities to the fore; and, most interestingly, it presents a range of potentially lucrative business opportunities”. (Phantumvanit 1992, p.12-16).

It is essential to modify from time to time the organisational structures, procedures, technologies, system and practices of the organisation for attaining growth to the organisation. Changes cannot be adopted in a day or two. Before adopting changes it is essential to collect data, monitor feeds back, and study the probable effect of changes. After studying the present situation, steps can be taken for execution of the planned changes for transformation. And then, changes are analysed for taking corrective measures to attain desired objective. The key to success lies in management for guiding, motivating and evaluating the team performance towards the goal.

Human Resource Management

Every business organization comprises of people who are the human resources of the business. A business becomes successful only when these human resources are effectively managed. In order to maintain the competitiveness and profitability of the business some of the key factors of the human resources include their quality, how effectively they work with the impact from their training and development programs. For the effective running of an organization there should be proper relationship between the human resources and the work. As the organization has to bring the people together to achieve a common goal they need to have certain parameters, guidelines and accepted norms to decide what and how their goals are to be achieved. So it requires a well unique human resource management in an organization. “The economic potential of a country is determined largely by the quality of its labour force and the availability of people with the right mix of skills to work in high growth industries. Companies looking at overseas investment opportunities are increasingly drawn to locations offering a ready supply of well educated, versatile people who can contribute strongly to the bottom line.” (Human Resources Environment. 2004).

Every business has its own unique culture, morale or values set. Culture in any organization indicates the roles, values, beliefs and the behaviour patterns of the people working in it. Organizational changes vary continuously and these changes impact not only the business but also the human resources involved. “The Human Resources (HR) function provides significant support and advice to line management. The attraction, preservation and development of high caliber people are a source of competitive advantage for our business, and are the responsibility of HR.” (Importance of human resource management related articles and resources 2008).

Effective human resource management must be practiced both strategically and day to day levels. The human resource strategy should be evolved from a transactional supportive role with their co-partners in the organizational business strategy. Human resources must take steps to be aware of the employees’ problems and must try to solve them more systematically and creatively. The field of human resource management and its development continues to go through a process of discovery and transformation. “HRM comprises a set of policies designed to maximize organizational integration, employee commitment, flexibility and quality of work.” (Guest and David 2008).

The functions of human resource management may be defined as a strategic, integrated collection of employees with centered activities and processes whose objective is to help the organization to meet its short and long term activities and to help in managing and developing the people in an organization. Some of the major things required to improve employee satisfaction includes respect, career growth and development and appreciation. An employer or management that reacts well to the employee’s ideas and suggestions is enough for the employees to be retained. There is no reason for the employee to hop jobs if he is satisfied with the employer.

Management can assign extra responsibilities to their employees and appreciate them on the completion of the given tasks. This will induce a sense of pride in the employee and will improve the relationship between the management and the employee. Properly introduced and maintained evaluation process involved for the employees nature of work can help lay the foundation of fair and orderly pay structures and thus improve relationships between the resources. Job evaluation may therefore be appropriate in the crucial circumstances of the organization. “Human Resource Management is based on ideas and techniques developed to enhance worker motivation, productivity and performance.” (What is HRM).

In your analysis you should explore, in depth, one or two of the change issues detailed in the article entitled, ” Program for Change” taken from people Management 1st may 2008?

BBC is facing many challenges due to its development activities. The company adopted new technology which is digital with high-defecation capabilities and also the company is relocated. Changes are essential for brining success to the organisation. As part of development, BBC adopted a plan which is a technically advanced operation needing less employees, and therefore, it is not possible to retain all of their employees. BBC has to reduce employees due to this technological development. It is known fact that some technological development will affect the employees negatively. Besides, BBC was forced to move their employees to the new building with advanced broadcast and production facilities at a far place due to these developments. They made several changes in the office atmosphere with wider developments. But the fact is that, many of the employees are dissatisfied for moving in to the new premises. It is just because they are away from shopping centres and restaurants.

For solving this problem BBC assured their employees to set up a new restaurant of world class quality. There are several adjustment problem and employees did not appreciated the hot desk which is open plan as they were earlier in cellular building. Majority disliked the open plan in which no individual owns a desk. There was also a strong focus on internal communications, including regular newsletters, change surveys, a variety of events in which staff were brought to the site, including family day. BBC needs to make sure that all the technology is working promptly otherwise it would not be able to broadcast. It is also essential to involve huge investment for training. It is of the view that new building made much more scope for collaboration because of the open dynamic space, and the building really supports creativity. So it is clear that it is the new building and technology which transform into a new phase of development. It is a fact that it is difficult to retain all of their talented staff when relocation takes place. Besides, majority of the staff may be worried about changes and likely changes of their roles in the company.

In order to adjust with the changes, managers need to consider Harvard model of human resource management. The six factors of Beer et al Harvard model can be considered for minimising the issues of developmental changes adopted by BBC. It is the manager’s duty to assure organisational effectiveness and societal well being along with individual well-being. Beer et al’s Harvard model of HRM firstly emphasises on long term consequences which is essential for long run of the business. Stakeholders’ interest plays a crucial role in the development of BBC and managers of BBC need to deal with government policies, unions, employees as well as society to adjust the changes occurred with the development decisions.

In the situational factors BBC have to focus much on factors such as workforce and task technology. Relocation is affecting the BBC mainly in the workforce and work environment. Human resource outcome of Harvard model can be applied here for making employees committed along with competence. Human resource policy choices are a way for influencing employees. It is applicable to BBC in work flow, reward systems and work system.

The hard model focuses on close integration of human resources policies, systems and activities with business strategy and on such human resource systems used to drive the strategic objectives of the organization. BBC requires that personnel policies, systems and practices are not only logically consistent with and supportive of business objectives. In contrast the soft developmental humanism model emphasises the importance of integrating human resource policies with business objectives and this model involves in treating the employees as valued asset and act as a source of competitive advantage through their commitment, adaptability and high quality. Effective training and development activities are essential for the employees to cope up with the problems of new environment situation. Employees are proactive and they are capable of adopting development, which can be achieved by BBC through effective participation. Thus it enables commitment via communication, motivation and leadership.

The focus of the individual would be profession rather than the organization and the task of the organization is to create conditions favouring growth and development so that the employees will remain there. BBC has adopted several developmental measures and it is essential that it should meet the career aspirations of the employees and changes should be adopted at the correct time to avoid any problem. Strong work culture and practices serve a basic integration function with the most effective control manner. Everyone has his own opinions and attitudes which are highly toned emotionally by influencing the intelligence that the human resources determine in what they think and how they act upon, and BBC is also in the same situation.

The relation between work culture and climate of the organisation and its functions and how it eventually leads to increased productivity on the short and long run is clearly distinguished. Appropriate measures can be taken to cope up with the minor issues on hot desk or any case like that. These have worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore can be applied in the new development activities of BBC to retain their human resources as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to these problems. BBC has taken broad changes including relocation as well as working atmosphere. The Harvard model selected should be flexible for the employees as well as for the management for managing changes effectively.


Development and change is an essential part of an organisation. The success of the organisation depends on how effectively the management is able to manage the changes in the organisation. It is essential on the part of mangers to make appropriate changes at the appropriate time without affecting the regular flow of work of the organisation. In order to attain a regular flow of work with unusual changes, it is important to provide training to the employees. Resistance to change is usual in employees and Harvard model can be adopted at the required stages to cope up with the changes. Harvard Beer et al model is broader in term and can be taken at the desired level. For managing change, Harvard Beer et al model is better as it focuses on several factors which are required to be considered in different level of implementing changes. There are several theoretical models developed by behavioral scholars and defined HRM analytically by describing fundamental traits, concepts and key factors.

So it is essential part of the managers to utililse the HRM models which are appropriate to the situation. The situation in the business is not always similar in all cases. Therefore, it is the efficient manager who understands the situation and appropriate HRM models are adopted for solving the issues. Soft model is generally considered better than hard model, but in certain cases hard model will work better than soft model. The most appropriate model must be selected only after evaluating the problems and then only it will serve the purpose.


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