The chapter analyses the changing roles of the human resource professionals as a strategic business partners in organizations. The study involves background of the study, research questions, the significance of the study limitations of the study, and ultimately the scope of the study.
In this era of globalization, technology, and diversity, a variety of management issues have changed the role of the human resource (HR) professional to a great extent. HR executives have become strategic partners with business management as they act as helpers of the business management for creating a future vision of success as well as assisting them to implement plans which may help to achieve the organization’s vision and overall success (Stuart, 1992).
Human resources, a profession that was once mired in administrative paperwork ; are now viewed by the senior management team as a; worthy strategic partner in the corporate sector around the world (Sparrow, 2009).
Traditionally, the role of human resource professionals was fairly and straightforward. The human resource professionals were viewed as nothing more than paper pushers or policy enforcers (Tyson, 1987; Legge, 1978).
Human resource professionals primarily focused on benefits, payroll, policies, and procedures. The personnel role involved the administrative force handling employees’ issues. Personnel managers were responsible for hiring, firing, and working on employment affiliated paperwork. Management found it difficult to ascertain how HR functions influenced a corporation’s bottom line and added any value to an organization (Tansky and Heneman, 2006).
Today’s human resource role can best be described as dichotomous. HR personnel continue to practice many of the traditional functions while struggling to take on and be successful in the new role of strategic partner. The HR profession has transformed into the business partner function of taking the responsibility of working as; change experts, organizational performance specialist, best practices consultant, legal liaison and risk manager (Laabs, 1998). “Human resource professionals are now recognized as movers and shakers. HR managers interested in contributing to the company’s strategic profile and bottom line must not wait to be invited but must simply do it” (Berea, 1988, p. 34). Organizations and human resource professionals can no longer rely on “best practices” to resolve issues. The changes that are taking place are both fast and often (Losey, 1998).
Human resource professionals must have the tools and act proactive rather reactive, anticipating changes, and become part in managing the change process (Steinberger, 2002). The research aim is to reveal the transformation of the human resources profession and capture the essence of the profession from subjects who have seen and been a part of the changes (Chiu and Selmer, 2011).
The history of the human resource profession dates back as far as the turn of the 20th century. Miles and Snow (1984) surmised the role of the HR professional has coincided with the history of business. Prior to and slightly after the 1900s, the personnel management department hand a handful of issues related to employees that had to be resolved. The issues ranged from absenteeism to an increased number of turnovers. The personnel managers tried to solve the intense issues by the use of the basic personnel management function including the strategy of employee selection, methods of training, and compensation strategy (Losey, 1998, p. 42). Employee concerns did not gain much importance. Employers believed that as long as employees received more or increase pay and benefits, employees would be willing to accept more rigid demands (Miles and Snow, 1984).
In the 21st century, human resource professionals are increasingly being asked to participate in and impact the bottom line. “Corporate profitability is increasingly being affected by employee issues, such as health care cost containment and child care. Today, HR management relies heavily on the bottom line. The role of human resource managers is to bring employees and employers together in partnership. Partnership ensures profitability in operations and improved competition in the global market (Berea, 1988, p. 42).
Human resource managers have grown to hold a significant place in the heart of the organization. The organization cannot operate without the human resource department as it enables the organization get the right people for the available posts amongst other employees related benefits. However, the professions experience challenges that are prompted by the changing organizational demands. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the role Of Human Resource professionals as strategic Partners.
The general aim of the study is to determine the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners.
- To find out the effect of globalization on the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners;
- To assess the effect of diversity on the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners;
- To examine the effect of technology on the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners;
- What is the effect of globalization on the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners?
- To what extent does diversity affect the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners?
- How does technology affect the role of Human Resource professionals as strategic partners?
The study will help organizations note the changing roles in the human resource professionals and the need to include the human resource managers in the formulation of organizational mission, vision and goals. The study will also help other researchers expand on other areas that; affect the changing roles of the human resources as business partners, or even expand on the points the researcher has discussed.
The researcher had to carry out a pilot study to, ensure that the designed questionnaires and structured interviews would not have made the employees uncomfortable. Every organization has its trade secrets that must never be leaked. This limited the research study. The scope of the study also limited the researcher to the research objectives. The time allocated for the research limited the sample size of the study. This limited the response to the sample size. The budget allocated for the study also limited geographical coverage, and expenses of the research study.
The strategic human resource managers experience a considerable challenge of preparing the human resources to compete in the global market. Operating in the across the globe within multinationals requires a proactive human resource manager. The employees need the aptitude required to compete in the global market. It remains the responsibility of the human resource to empower the employees in the required field of experience. Succeeding in the global market requires business entities, regardless of the size to, appreciate the global corporate cultures and investment extensively in their human resources. There exist human resource problems that are typical of the global environment (Welch and Welch, 2012).
According to De Guzman et al (2011), the main problems include staffing policies, selecting, and retraining skilled employees in a way that sharpens their innovative and creativity. The employees need to familiarize with the cultural barriers and the legal procedures applicable in the global market.
The employees might experience difficulty in the living status, working environment, performance appraisal, training and management development or even compensation. The human resource managers need familiarization with matters that might interrupt employees’ productivity. This enables the strategic human resource to prepare the employees to avoid the reality shock on employees as this might affect their productivity (Mirza et al, 2005).
Globalization also played a key role in necessitating change, in HR practices. Nowadays the borders remain more open than ever before. Cities, states, countries, and continents are interconnected causing complexities never dealt with before. This has opened up global influence and competition in ways that cannot be ignored, not by HR professional (Rubis, p. 40).
Rowden (1999) asserts that; the immense growth in the global market has aggravated competition in most local markets. Small and medium companies respond to the competition level by an upgrade in their operations. Some companies have responded to competition by expanding internationally. Growth in demand necessitates creation or improvement of the global market. At this juncture, firms need to gear all its resources, including the human resources, into working up to the global market requirement, in order to achieve a competitive market. `
Advanced competition priorities in the manufacturing business, prompts products and process compliance to quality, consistency in delivery matters and with the correct speed. The rate at which organization responds to customers and the cost implications in the global market tend to shape the direction of businesses operations. Total quality management demand that organizations train their employees in a way that will ensure proper product designs to boost productivity levels and quality (Stuart, 1992).
Diversity has been one of the greatest challenges faced by human resource. This is simply because the work place has changed dramatically. Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever.
Various concept and measures affecting diversity have been discovered. Diversity concentrates on varied qualities and indices to evaluate heterogeneity. The challenge experienced by human resources professionals worldwide includes promoting a working environment that takes into consideration the varied traits of employees from diverse backgrounds (Tomlinson, 2001).
Workplace features have undergone alterations from the ancient times. The alterations will continue till infinity. The changes in the society are reflected in the workforce. For example, the United States workforce once occupied by male Caucasians has diminished in the recent times. The existing workplace involves male, female, all ages, varied ethnics population, and religious status (Tyson, 1999).
Chiu and Selmer (2011) asserts that; diversification came into existence through struggle. The changing role of human resources diversity issues originated from the Civil rights Act. The Act was enacted into law in the year 1964 initiating changes, in management and employees practices. Title VII in the Civil Right Acts demanded equality in the workforce. According to Malik and Aminu, (2011), the situation prompted the alterations in human resource practices in a bid to implement the desired changes. The implementation process prompted a rapid change in the workforce. The enactment of the civil rights acts prompted the present evolving diversity in the workforce. Human resources management practitioners set policies and procedures that encourage diversity in the organization.
Armstrong (2009) views that; the change process that encourages diversity in the organization was never a cup of coffee for most of the employees. The situation prompts the human resource managers to urge employees to embrace the changes. Holbeche (2009) asserts that; various employees from different backgrounds are encouraged to converse constantly in order to enhance understanding within the organizations. Human resource managers need to ensure that the workers in the organization are well aware of diversity that exists amongst organizations.
According to Weisbord et al, (1995); issues on racial and gender equality within organizations remain a challenge since the inception of the civil rights act in the year 1964. Despite the fact, diversity concept has grown significantly. During incorporation of diversity issues in organizations, HR Professionals should always look at other issues of diversification other than the racial and gender discrimination. Additional amendments have been proposed in the Civil Rights Acts; such as Age Discrimination Protection Act that; protects the interests of old employees in organizations. The introduction of the Americans with Disability Act; Family Medical Leave Act, to cater for ill workers or employees with the responsibility of taking care of a seriously ill family member amongst other Acts (Weisbord et al, 1995).
There are four generations in the current workforce; this demonstrates diversity. Employers require to, adopt a schedule that accommodates qualified disabled individuals in the organization. Other diversity problems that occur in most of the organizations include religious difference of employees, linguistic differences, and cultural practices amongst others. Human resources are left with the burden of promoting a positive working atmosphere in the organization despite the varied diversity issues that are present in the organizations. The Hr managers must ensure that individuals with different background relate and work together in the organizations for a common goal (Martín-Alcázar et al, 2012).
Technology’s impact on HR cannot be overestimated: From online recruiting to paperless payroll, technology now plays a key role in HR functions. The introduction of technology has given HR the time and opportunity to, focus on other things. By the same token, technology has introduced a host of new problems. “While the convenience and speed of new tools can increase productivity and ease tasks, they simultaneously hike pressure and demands on workers because so much can be accomplished (Shea et al, 2005, p. 38).
Technology and online business have significantly influenced the changes experienced in business face today. Computerized technology has changed the storage system of employee’s information. Numerous quantities of employees’ information can be amassed in a computer and controlled via user friendly statistical software (Armstrong, 2008).
The proctor and gamble workers are able to access their information via the internet use provided; they have the username and password to the site. Potential employees looking for a job can also access all the information required for the position through internet use. Some employers also conduct interviews via the internet use. The passing of corporate office in Cincinnati prompts the HR Manager into reaching the local area they required. The human resources managers of today utilize the computers to communicate their message, instead of spending the entire day on phone lines. Employees with issues on insurance, and pay among other issues can correct the information through the computers (Armstrong, M 2009)
E business affects business activities in three ways including business to business, consumers to consumers, and business to consumers. It is the responsibility of the human resource to ensure that the site is up to abide by the set legal procedures. Before the industrial revolution, employees worked near or within their homes (Kaufman, 2012)
Mass productive technologies introduced work locations and factories. Employees were required to converge at their working a work station termed the office. The technology today permits employees to work from anywhere. Technology has eliminated the need for individuals to converge in one place for work to take place. The use of technology and the internet allows employees to work from home (Wayne and Casper, 2012).
Some trends affect the Human resource management either directly or indirectly. Growth level of knowledge in services and products like biomedicine, engineering and robotics amongst other affect human resource management. The world of trade grows at a higher speed in relation to knowledge. Some researchers have predicted that; by the year 2015, employment growth will shift to knowledge workers (de Bruyn and Roodt, 2009).
The market places in the society today remains interconnected in the global scenario. Electronic mail, electronic conferencing and database eases communication amongst geographically dispersed employees. This eases the decision making process of the human resources professionals as it streamlines the business (Cynthia et al, 2013).
The issues relating to globalization, diversity and technology affect the Human resource management process of running organizations. The human resources professionals, therefore, require to, constantly changes to, accommodate the changes caused by the above factors. Human resource managers must remain proactive to, change processes relating to employees welfare; if they are to maintain relevance (Itzhak and Ilan, 2013).
2.2 Theoretical review
2.2.1 Human Resource Management Professionals as Strategic Partners
According to Weisbord et al (1995); the executive leadership identification of the value the organization gains from the human capital prompts inclusion of the human resources in the chief level suite. When organizations allow all departments to participate in the organizational decision making procedure, the results are likely to favor both organizational growth and individuals.
Martín-Alcázar et al (2012) asserts that; nowadays, organizations demand that the human resources accept their role as strategic partners if the professionals require to, guarantee the organization of their validity and ability. The role provides the human resources with an opportunity to develop and accomplish organizational, and business objectives and plans.
The human resource department bases their objective son the strategic business objectives and plans. The tactical representative of the human resource department requires an exclusive understanding and knowledge on the best design that encourages individuals ‘success in the organization (Armstrong, 2008).
In relation to accreditation to a strategic partner, Armstrong (2009) views that; the human resource department ensure that the manager understands the work stations design, rewards, hiring, strategic pay and recognition of well performing employees, performance nurturing and appraisal strategies, career development of individual employees coupled with succession planning, without forgetting employees development programs. The alignment of human resource activities with the organizational plans and objectives the strategy supplements business achievement and success.
The human resources require a perfect knowledge on finance and accounting. The professionals need to think like business professionals. There remains a need for accountability if the human resource wants to attain credibility and remain relevant to the business entity. The human resource professionals require cutting costs and realistic understanding of the HR processes and programs. The human resource professionals need to ask for permission, to sit at the table with executives they have to earn that trust displayed by their knowledge in business practice (Kaufman, 2012).
Initially, the human resource department roles concentrated on individual employees, duties, and practice. The role assumed that individual improvement improves organizational performance in the long run. During the 1990s, strategy became the order of the day and the value of the HR systems gained acceptance. The benefits of aligning Organizational strategy with organizational strategy received recognition from researchers and practitioners (Soo Siew, 2010).
Today, Human resource is considered the standard that benchmarks separate HR functions like recruitment, selection, training, compensation strategy, and performance appraisal are connected with each step and also with the business strategy (Collins and Clark, 2003).
The past years neglected the worth of HR practices in enhancing organizational success. Therefore, the human resource function received the least attention in most companies. The changing times has prompted the change of view regarding the human resource function. Human resource roles and power within the organizations has significantly increased (Boldizzoni and Quaratino, 2011).
The human resources are now perceived as having four major roles according to Ulrich Four models of HRM. The model came into existence through Corner and Ulrinch (1996). Later, in the year (1997) Ulrich developed the model. Ulrich supplied the conceptual framework with the four models with two critical dimensions (Pichler et al, 2008)
The first takes into consideration the variety that starts in the operational focus to a strategic future. The model flows from the present needs to the future needs. The second dimension displays the conflicting demands of the processes against the people’s demands. The model states that human resource excellence can be easily achieved through adherence to the four methods attached to the model. Firstly, Human resource must partner with management to assist in strategy implementation. Secondly, the human resource is required to provide proficiency to deliver competent and effectual quality of work (Manoela and Andreea, 2012)
The practice ensures reduced costs and quality maintenance. The Human resource professionals require to, link the employees with the executive management. The practice ensures that the concerns of employees reach the top management. The human resource management should also ensure close working relationship with employees to improve their skills and commitment to the organization. Lastly, Human resource professionals constantly act as change agents. They also help the organization increase the bussiness capacity required to influence change (Entrepreneurship Conference Paper Abstracts’, 2005).
2.2.2 Human resource Functions
The role of HR function proves paramount as it determines delivery and development of HRM objectives. The document recognizes HR function and HR Department as a terminology with the same meaning (Mateos de Cabo, 2012).
HR function refers to the physical location where employees responsible for execution of HRM duties converge. Varied organization has unique HR function with unique activities throughout the function. The HR function carries out varied activities; the significant activities are six in number (Marks and Mirvis, 2011).
The first one involves compensation and benefits activity. At this juncture, employees salary , unemployment compensation, flexible benefits accounts and pensions plans are put into consideration. The line managers and human resource managers join efforts during interview sessions, training activities and developmental activities. Career planning procedures, disciplinary methods and performance appraisal methods also involve the joined efforts of the line and human resource managers. Human resource function affects finances of the organization. Various literatures suggest that the HR practices and baseline profits are directly related (Kaifeng, 2012).
HR functions have received constant criticism on dormancy towards organizational objectives. The stereotyping that exists in the society today involves beliefs that the HR functions are overstaffed, exercise reactive style of leadership and utilizes the rule of books without compromising with the situation (Mark et al, 2013).
2.2.3 Human Resource Professionals
Human resource professionals require to have undergone certification to qualify in the professional category. The Human resource certification institute (HRCI) remains responsible for the accreditation award. Individuals with the certificate hold prove that the person posses both the theoretical know-how and the field experience required. The holders of Human resource certification are able to pass the examination that shows mastery of knowledge required to, successfully participate in the profession. The Holders of Senior Professional Human Resources Certification (SPHR) demonstrate a high profile strategic mastery in the HR knowledge body (Dimoka et al, 2012).
Candidates who qualify for the Professional Human resource exam require a minimum qualification of two years of professional experience. The candidate requires to have immense focus in execution of the program.The candidate reuires possesion of the tactical and logistical orientation. The candidate needs to have worked under the supervision and control of another human resource professional in the organization of question.The chandidate should have a minimum of two to four years experience in exempt-level work experience as a human resource generalist. The candidate can hold the breadth and depth of a generalist in a senior level position. The candidate requires to, concentrate his/her impact in the Human resource department rather than other departments in the organization. Ooze respect displayed on the level of credibility and knowledge in the use of policies and baselines in decision making (Jabbour and Santos, 2008).
Personnel management employed the use of reactive approach to issues affecting the organizations. The strategic human resource manager aims at changing the perception to a proactive manager. The strategic manager aims at integrating human resource activities to fit in the organizational direction. Strategic managers envision a situation where they will be able to influence organizational goals and provide an agenda that suits the employees in the organization needs. The human resource function also known as the functional resident of the human resource professional that will add value to organizational system (‘Business Policy and Strategy Conference Paper Abstracts’, 2010).
Professionals in the field need to depict the credibility in the knowledge level pertaining occupation and compensation management, education and training process and development of employees in the organization. Professionals require a sound d understanding on the issues affecting the workers safety, health and wellness, employee relations, Human resource planning, Human resource information system and administrating issues amongst other matters that affect the human resource department (Festing, 2012).
2.2.4 Transformation of the Human Resource Function
The human resource function has experienced a significant level of transformation since time inception. Despite the introduction of new human resource concepts, the original duties and responsibilities of the human resource experienced minimal alterations till the 1970s (Festing, 2012).
Foukes (1975) invited companies to discuss the contemporary social and individual values in the office settings. Foukles provided a highlight on the values received in reactive, progressive and respectful human resource policies. Foulkes actions prompted the broad acceptance experienced by the human resource management in relation to the concept and practice framework. The respect is accorded both in academics and business world (Academy Of Management Perspectives, 2013).
Human resource management theories have eliminated the practices enforced by the personnel management. Strategic HRM models are now operational in the organization favoring employees’ needs (Chung-Jen and Jing-Wen, 2013).
The literature that exists in the recent times confirms the value added by employees in organizational settings. The theoretical literatures are confirmed by research studies. The studies realize that employers employing the use of strategic and creative HRM practices attract and retain talented employees. The organization performance shoots to excellence as the employees exercise efficiency and effectiveness in the production process. Pfau and Kay (2002) assert that advanced HR practices realize profitable financial results. The implication forms the basis by which Urlinch model operates, the human resource departments experiences constant pressure that demands rethinking, re evaluation and re-definition n of their roles. Human resource departments need to keep in touch with the current proposed roles that favor the human resource function (Zheng, 2013).
2.2.5 Changing Competency in the Human Resource Professional
The human resource skills have a direct impact on the human resource function effectiveness. Hence there is the need to analyze competencies in the research study. Contemporary models require new skills and competency level adaptation in human resource professionals. Competencies take into consideration the individual’s skills, know-how, and personal characteristics responsible for job performance. Becker, Huselid and Ulrich (2001) quoted the results discovered in HR competency studies that took place in University of Michigan, in the school of business that lasted for ten years between years 1988 to 1999 (‘Organization and Management Theory Conference Paper Abstracts’ 2010).
The competencies that were realized via the three phases of the study; branch into five domains. The human resources need a proper knowledge and understanding of the business. The business entails organizational structures, financial indicators of business prosperity and competitor analysis. The human resource practices delivery remains paramount and can be measured via effective communication, restructuring process delivery and appropriate employee attraction. Change management proves vital to any organization. The value of taking a proactive function in change process, enforcing trust and credibility can never be ignored (‘Human Resources Conference Paper Abstracts’ 2010).
Culture management requires the human resources to share know-how across organizational boundaries, translates the required culture into behaviors and alterations of the status quo. Personal credibility requires the manager with track records of success, trustworthy, and enforces confidence levels in employees. The changing nature of the human resource profession requires strategic management enforcement. Strategic performance management competency requires critical casual thinking; comprehend the principles required in proper measurement, a proper estimate of casual relationships, and relaying information concerning strategic HR performance to head line managers (Haines and Lafleur, 2008).
2.3 Chapter Summary
This chapter discusses the strategic roles of human resource in the organizations. Issues such as globalization, diversity, and technology were discussed in relation to the human resource strategic role in the literature review. The theoretical review tackled the Human resource functions, professionals and the competencies required by the human resources in strategic human resource management. The goals of the organizations need to be included human resource needs for effective strategic human resource management. The trends that affect the strategic roles of the human resource management function were realized and discussed. The competencies and skills required to be assimilated as human resource professional came in handy. The ultimatum of the chapter proves that the human factor will remain a vital part of organizational growth and development (Uen et al, 2012).
Considering the nature of the study, a mixed methods approach seems to be the most appropriate method of data collection because it provides the reader with insight to the experiences of several HR professionals as well as statistical data to support the experiences. Some experts in the field believe all research can be quantified because anything can be counted, even verbal responses, which can then be sorted by comments into similar groups. All research is also qualitative, because even the firmest numeric questions may conceal a hidden meaning. Although the survey quantify the data, it is necessary to propose a mixed methodology. A mixed methodology allows an even more in depth view of the changes in human resource roles and functions. Using a mixed method of data collection process, the author will collect quantitative data through survey questionnaires while the qualitative data will be collected through semi-structured interview questions.
The current study is designed to research the role of human resources managers as strategic partners. Studies and survey will be conducted that will chronicle the journey of the Human Resource profession. A profession that had its beginnings mired in administrative duties have now been thrust almost center stage in many organizations. In order to get a fair assessment and historical perspective of human resources it is necessary to develop a survey aimed at tenured (10 years or more) human resource professionals. This study is a contrast and comparison of the individual experiences of human resource professionals over the past 30 years. The purpose of this study is to analyze the changes that have taken place over the past 3 decades. The study will include obstacles and roadblocks that stood in the way of progress. This research will provide data to the organization interested in continuous improvement, and will provide useful history and background to those just entering the profession.
Although the survey will quantify data, a mixed methodology will be appropriate to allow an even more in depth view of the changes in human resource roles and functions. The current research will provide the human resource professionals the opportunity to discuss how they feel about the changes that have taken place and if they believe these changes have been conducive in the growth of human resource professionals. A qualitative study will also assist in outlining best practices that can perhaps be used throughout the organization. This chapter includes the following sections: (a) research design, (b) sample, population, and participants, (c) instrumentation, (d) data collection method, (e) research hypotheses, and (f) data analysis.
A survey will be distributed to ascertain the impact of certain events and changes that have made in the field of human resource. The survey questions will be reviewed and analyzed to determine the importance and impact of each event. Surveys are studies that are cross-sectional and longitudinal that use questionnaires or interviews for data collection. The purpose of a survey is to estimate the characteristics of a larger population by using a small sample from the population (Brewerton, 2001)
The specific population for this study will consist of approximately 30 human resource professionals from a variety of industries. The male and female participants having a minimum of 10 years experience with at least a bachelor’s degree will be invited to take part in this study. The participants will be located throughout the United Kingdom. Method of contact will be telephone, email, fax, and face-to-face contact.
It is said that all research is quantitative, because anything can be counted, even verbal responses, which can be sorted by comments into similar groups. All research is also qualitative, because even the firmest numeric questions may conceal a hidden meaning. Although the survey quantified data, it is necessary to propose a mixed methodology. This study utilized both research methodologies. A mixed methodology will allow an even more in depth view of the changes in human resource roles and functions. The current research will provide the human resource professionals the opportunity to discuss how they feel about the changes that have taken place and if they believe these changes have been conducive in the growth of human resource professionals. A qualitative study will also assist in outlining best practices that can perhaps be used throughout the organization. Quantitative research will be conducted in the form of a survey, and the qualitative research will be conducted in interview form.
The focus of this study was on human resource professionals who have been in the field at least 10 years. The study focused on all areas of human resources in several organizations. This will include human resource directors, coordinators, compensation specialists, regional vice presidents, senior executive level vice presidents, and human resource assistants. The participants spoke to their experience within their current organizations and former places of work. Professional Human Resource Professionals (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certificates are invited to participate. The following human resource participants were surveyed:
- Currently work in the human resource profession
- Have at least 10 years in the profession
- Work at all levels of the organization
- Use only the answers to the survey
- Provide all participants the opportunity to exam results of the data
The survey will be distributed to over 50 human resource employees. The goal was to receive at least a 50% response.
A questionnaire was constructed to gather data respective to the research questions indicated. The composed questions were designed to elicit responses that speak to the enormous changes that have taken place over the past three decades in the field of human resources. The questionnaire consisted of 10 open-ended questions. Interviews allowed a great deal of flexibility.
It can be used at any stage of the research process: during initial phases to identify areas for more detailed exploration and/ or to generate hypotheses; as part of the piloting or validation of other instruments; as the main mechanism for data collection; and as a ‘sanity check’ by referring back to original members of a sample. Interviews can also be readily combined with other approaches in a multi-method design, which may incorporate, for example, questionnaire measures or observation. (Brewerton, 2001 p. 69)
The interview consisted of several questions that centered on specific changes in the world of human resources. All responses were hand written and reviewed by the participant prior to submission.
A survey was distributed to ascertain the impact certain events and changes that have made in the field of human resource. The survey questions will be reviewed and analyzed to determine the importance and impact of each event. Surveys are studies that are cross-sectional and longitudinal that use questionnaires or interviews for data collection. The purpose of a survey is to estimate the characteristics of a larger population by using a small sample from the population.
“Reliability requires that the same results would be obtained if the study were replicated” (Morse & Richards, 2002, p. 168). A pilot test was conducted for reliability prior to use of the qualitative instrument with all subjects in this research.
Each human resource participant was required to have an email address and means to access to a computer to complete the survey. Fifty potential participants were asked to participate in the research by email. Once the researcher has received acknowledgement from at least 25 willing participants, the survey will be forwarded to participants via email. A 3-day suspense date will be given to the participants to complete and return the survey via email or fax. The interviews took place via telephone and face-to-face office meetings. A full explanation of the study will be given, including the participant’s right to refuse further participation in this research.
The use of qualitative data inquiry “is one in which the inquirer often makes knowledge claims based primarily on constructivist perspectives. It also uses strategies of inquiry such as narratives, phenomenologies, ethnographies, grounded theory or case studies. “Creswell, 2003, p. 18). Qualitative data analysis consists of examine, categorize, tabulate or otherwise recombine the data collected evidence to address the initial purpose of the current study (Yin, 2003). The qualitative data from the interviews was analyzed using the content analysis technique. Content analysis i.e., textual analysis) is a standard methodology in the social sciences on the subject of communication content. Ole Holsti (1969) defined content analysis as “any technique for making inferences by objectively and systematically identifying specified characteristics of messages”(Wikepedia, 2006). To accomplish the current study’s goal, a coding process will be employed to assist in the data analysis. Brigette’s Technology Consulting and Research Firm used the HyperResearch 2.6 software, an electronic coding tool designed by Research Ware Inc, to employ the following:
- To analyze patterns in the qualitative data collected.
- To delineate the coding categories.
- Emerge codes to theme
- Generate reports to show the frequency of each code
The use of quantitative data will be analyzed to provide basic statistical description. Quantitative research “is an inquiry into an identified problem, based on testing a theory, measured with numbers, and analyzed using statistical techniques. The goal of quantitative methods is to determine whether the predictive generalizations of a theory hold true” Creswell, 2003, p. 18)
Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
The sequential transformative strategy will be employed to “confirm, cross-validate, or corroborate findings” (Creswell, 2003, p. 217). During the interpretation phase, both forms of data will be compared to strengthen the knowledge claim that diversity, technology, and globalization have a major impact in the changing role of the human resource professional. In his book Research Methods Knowledge Base, William Trochim (2002) recommended using the following guidelines when deciding on a research approach:
- Choose a more quantitative method when most of the following conditions apply:
- The research is confirmatory rather than exploratory i.e. this is a frequently researched topic, and (numerical) data from earlier research is available.
- You are trying to measure a trend (almost impossible with qualitative research).
- There is no ambiguity about the concepts being measured, and only one way to measure each concept.
- The concept is being measured on a ratio or ordinal scale.
- And choose a qualitative method when most of these conditions apply:
- You have no existing research data on this topic.
- The most appropriate unit of measurement is not certain (Individuals? Households? Organizations?)
- The concept is assessed on a nominal scale, with no clear demarcation points.
- You are exploring the reasons why people do or believe something.
Traditionally qualitative and quantitative research strategies have been kept separate. It has long been a belief that both methods could not work simultaneously. Qualitative and quantitative researchers often operate with a different set of assumptions about the world and ways of learning about it. Because of this, researchers have shunned the idea that each method of research could be used for the same problem statement or question. These assumptions have been seen as mutually and inevitably irreconcilable. Often researchers are taught to master only one type of method and, so, become comfortable with their expertise in handling either quantitative or qualitative analysis, but not both. As a result, the two major approaches (qualitative and quantitative) are seldom combined and their respective strengths are ignored.
The strategies should not be viewed as incompatible, but viewed as complementary (Trochim, 2002). The use of both methods of research will be instrumental in gathering data, analyzing data, and understanding the results of that data. Instead of either ignoring or defending a particular research paradigm, it is possible and to view the similarities of qualitative and quantitative methods as part of a continuum of research techniques. Each research method can be appropriate depending on the research objective.
Chapter 3 presented significant data for this research project. The data was analyzed using appropriate tools of measurement. The results will be used to develop best practices as well as learning tools for newcomers to the human resource profession. Chapter 4 will present the findings of the survey and the interview taken by the participants. These findings will be instrumental in providing human resource professionals and managers with suggestions, recommendations and ideas to move forward. The findings will also determine if globalization, technology and diversity impacted the role of the human resource professionals.