Why does knowledge of different generic approaches to strategy matter

For long term sustainable growth organizations need to follow a well charted out business plan which defines the strategy derived from organization’s vision and mission and transforms the strategy into business activities and actions in all departments including HR. Defining and designing strategy is a complex task. It is derived not only from the vision and mission of the company but various internal and external factors also need to be taken into account for developing an appropriate and well designed strategy. There are many different generic approaches to strategy. HR being considered a strategic partner, these approaches to strategy also has its implications on Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM). This paper aims at studying the different approaches to strategy and their implications on SHRM. For the critical analysis of this issue it will make use of the recent literature as well as any empirical evidence available from the real world. Strategy and its Importance What is strategy? The above discussed definition of strategy is a very broad one. Defining the phenomenon of strategy is a difficult assignment. There are various ways in which the definition of strategy can be approached. Application of different approaches may yield conflicting results about how to act, yet each will be based on a reasoned and possible approach. Strategy itself can be based on four basic conceptions that is rational, fatalistic, pragmatic and relativist. Each concept will be suitable for a given set of internal and external environment (Goldman, 2006) . Only an effective strategy ensures sustained profitability and growth. Approaches of Strategy Today’s highly competitive world demands commitment to change and a clear and well defined direction charted out through strategy. There are four basic approaches to strategy namely Classical, evolutionary, processual and systematic (Whittington, 2001). These four approaches of strategy are mapped against some critical elements of strategy. These critical elements identified are leadership, decisions, planning, innovation, diversification, internationalization, organization and strategic change. Sloan influenced classical approach is driven by policy. It is authoritative and centralized in nature with major focus on economics only. It is rooted in the elitist mentality and hence an authoritative view of the world and the concerned issues. This approach does not encourage involvement by the workers and hence Human capital management is not emphasized. This classical approach sets long term targets and goals and it is believed that managers have the capability and the willingness to adopt and practice those profit maximizing strategies devised by them through rational long term planning. In short it is top down driven strategy with very minimal role or almost no role for SHRM. The concept behind evolutionary approach is that managers are free to adopt any method but in the long run only the top performers will survive. It is based on the theory of survival of the fittest hence named evolutionary approach. It is believed that achieving the best fit between internal and external factors can yield organizations profits in the short run whereas investing in the long range activities can be counterproductive. This theory is strictly against long term

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