Human Resources Management
write a business report. The report should be designed as a management document that can be used to implement recommended changes. It should include a comprehensive analysis of the current situation using HRM theory, models and frameworks. The report should clearly explain the various options available and analyse the consequences of these. Students are expected to engage in extensive research within the academic literature relating to human resource management.
Read the case below and carefully analyse, and respond to the issues presented at the end of the case study within the context of a professionally presented business report. You are required to support your argument with appropriate theoretical discussion and references.
Case study: Singing the Same Song: Multi level HRM Systems
In 2007, researchers Bartram, Legget, Stanton and Young embarked in an in-depth case study analysis of the rural health service. The hospital was given a fictitious name- Banksia Health Service. Banksia is a medium-sized hospital based in a rural location employing around 500 people. The organisation provides community, acute and aged care services. Banksia has grown rapidly since the mid-1990s from one site to several sites spread over a large geographical area. Banksia was perceived by the State Health Department as a poor performer for not achieving financial and activity targets and for engaging in industrial disputation. Several years ago, the hospital scored poorly in the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards independent accreditation process. Perceived mismanagement led to substantial scrutiny by the State Government and other health accreditation bodies. Consultants’ reports funded by the government to improve the organisation’s performance found that HR policies and procedures had not kept up with the organisation’s rapid expansion. As a response to these investigations, the organisation introduced a more decentralised organisational structure and the senior management team were employed in key functional areas. Did this re-organisation and development of new roles for the senior management team improve the organisation’s HR performance?
Views from the top
Banksia had a documented vision and mission. There were also written strategic and operational plans but unfortunately the managers and board members suggested that there was no consistent organisational strategy put into actual practice. As the organisation’s funding was from government sources there was pressure to continually respond to changing government policy. Senior management argued that this made it difficult to set clear long-term strategic plans. The long serving CEO was active in seeking out new business opportunities and this was often ad hoc and was viewed as both a strength and a weakness by the senior managers.
The senior management team thought that the HRM system was extremely inadequate. In fact, Banksia had no human resource department and be administrative functions were carried out by a payroll officer, clerical assistants and even the CEO. The CEO was hesitant to create a former HR department, instead delegating responsibility for this function to the senior management team and often personally managing the industrial relations problems that emerge from his reactive approach to change management. Banksia generated some of its own HRM policies and procedures but also imported and adapted other policies from other healthcare organisations. All managers agreed that many of these policies were ad hoc, not consistently applied nor interpreted, and not well communicated or understood by not only management but throughout the organisation.
This meant that there was no little or no clear HRM philosophy or clear HR practices on the ground. There was little agreement between a senior HR team on HR strategies, a lack of understanding of the importance of HRM to the organisation and little reporting on HR outcomes or how HR impacted the bottom line of the health service. Moreover, there seemed to be a lack of initiative to undertake HRM functions in a more strategic and systematic way. However, change is
on the way- since the restructure all of the senior management team agreed that they had greater control over operational activities, more autonomy and more control over strategic decision making.
Outcomes of the organisational re-structure
While most middle and line managers recognised the value of the new structure they still had concerns. There was still no HR department or someone who took complete responsibility for HR. This led to specific problems for managers and employees including heterogeneous interpretation and application of most of the HR practices by first-line managers. This was manifest in an increased sense of unfairness and a lack of trust in management. Middle and first-line managers remarked that this inconsistency created industrial relations disputes as staff reacted to perceived unfairness of policies. The skill levels of managers added to this inconsistency.
Managers and staff thought that it was important to create an HR department. Managers and staff where unanimous in suggesting that Banksia really needed to give everyone a sense of ownership of the change processes and allow them to take greater responsibility and accountability over their roles. They thought that an HR department was needed to create HR strategy that could get everyone working towards a common vision and set of values. Middle and first line managers thought that communication between the different sites, between different layers of management and across functional units was one of the key challenges at Banksia.
Based on the views of middle and first line managers, the restructure had not been successful. They were still confused about the organisational strategy and many of the HR policies and practices. The ad hoc nature of HR policies and the lack of HR training provided to managers meant that the policies were neither understood nor applied consistently. There was no legitimacy around the HR function. Many of the other senior and operational managers, with the exception of the CEO, did understand HR’s relevance for improving organisational effectiveness. There were inconsistent HR messages because there was no organisational or HRM strategies, which led to confused communication across the organisation. This lack of commitment, consistency and understanding of HR at the top of the organisation led to inconsistency across all managerial levels and impacted directly on the management of staff. The lack of transparency and perceived unfair distribution of rewards led to a lack of trust and low commitment by managers and staff.
Answer the following questions in business report format that
(a) Critically analyse the sources of and HR challenges at Banksia?
(b) Analyse your recommendations to fix the HR system at Banksia? Answer this question with respect to the case and not in generic form.
(c) Critically evaluate the impact of an effective communication channel on the organization’s change plan. What would be an ideal organization’s plan to communicate the change decision to the employees, managers and to other levels of the organisation?
(d) Prepare and conduct a job analysis for the position of an HR manager at Banksia. What activities, duties and attributes would you include in this role that would enable the HR manager to be successful? Your arguments while answering this question should be based on the case study.
All the answers must be written with supporting academic references