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HRM and the External Environment - Essay Example

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Running Head: HRM & the External Environment HRM & the External Environment HRM & the External Environment Ten years ago, the market was a local bazaar spanning a few yards. Transactions took place face-to-face, buyers and sellers not only dealt with each other firsthand, but also knew each other personally…
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Download file to see previous pages Markets have expanded rapidly, transcending all boundaries and going beyond a local and even a national scale, to a more global level. Furthermore, technological advances have also greatly influenced and shaped the socioeconomic sphere today. That is to say, market expansion and technological progress have made the economy a much more challenging one today. For example, now, it is much harder to keep track of the latest fashions and trends because the producer does not directly know the consumer, and hence cannot gauge the consumer’s latest tastes or feelings towards a product (Houseman, pp. 149-170, 2001). Moreover, since there are many indirect links in marketing today, the ‘loyalty’ factor that was characteristic of a buyer-seller relationship and that used to work heavily in favour of some suppliers is no longer there, and there is an increased pressure on the companies to do well to keep their consumers satisfied. Now, there is a much greater pressure on firms than before to deliver, in that there is increased competition and to thrive – or even survive – in their fields, firms must not only perform well, but also perform better than their competitors perform. Furthermore, trends have also changed greatly as new tastes and fashions grip society, and consumers’ demands are constantly altering, forcing businesses to adapt to them and provide products and services that fit their latest needs and demands (Houseman, pp. 149-170, 2001). Overall, in an economic environment where competition is paramount, consumer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to a business’s returns and so, to keep up with this pace, businesses must cater to new demands, and adapt to cost-cutting and more productive strategies to maximize status and profit. Naturally, to keep abreast of this faster moving market, businesses have had to address their strategies and alter their policies. These changes include an assessment of the production process, evaluation of employees, research etc., but one of the biggest changes made to the structure of the businesses has been to promote and increase greater flexibility in the workplace (Houseman, pp. 149-170, 2001). Workforce flexibility refers to “an organisation’s ability to adapt its human resources in a manner appropriate to increasingly changing environmental conditions” (Houseman, pp. 149-170, 2001). This approach allows a business to allocate tasks based on which jobs on an agenda require the most attention, for example, deciding the product that requires more work forces at a certain time. In addition, more work forces can come under hiring if demand calls. This is a very efficient strategy as unforeseen human resources staffing needs can be met without any significant loss to the business, and at the same time, workers earn more in terms of skills and training in other areas of their work as well. Need for an organisational restructure may come about due to a sudden increase in demand, or a certain, unexpected problem in the production line. For example, during a slow hour, cashiers could be used to help stock shelves, this is efficient because no workers are left idle, and a faster way to marketing can be approached (Wood, pp. 367-413, 1999). At other times, for example, if the supermarket is very busy and has a massive in-flow of customers, workers that were, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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