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As averred by Ferris, et al. (1999), “driven by a number of significant internal and external environmental forces, HRM has progressed from a largely maintenance function, with little if any bottom line impact, to what many scholars and practitioners today regard as the source of sustained competitive advantage for organizations operating in a global economy” (p. 385). Further, contemporary HRM issues include the more qualified term using strategic HRM as establishing the link towards monitoring the quality of employee performance. Another pervading concern of global organizations is the option for downsizing, specifically when external environmental pressures and competitive factors impinge on the decision-making process, to ensure survival and continued production and operation. In this regard, the current research aims to proffer issues in contemporary HRM, particularly focusing on downsizing. The objective is planned to be attained by initially defining relevant terms, such as HRM, strategic HRM, and downsizing. A concluding portion would highlight the significant issues discussed as supported by various authoritative sources from academic journals on the subject of HRM. Definition of Terms An examination of various definitions of HRM by authors, academicians, and management practitioners, shows more common elements than disparate concepts. After synthesizing these elements, the following definition is arrived at: HRM is the art and science of acquiring, motivating, maintaining, and developing people in their jobs in light of their personal, professional and technical knowledge, skills, potentials, needs and values and in synchronization with the achievement of individual, organization and society’s goals. HRM deals only with people so that they can manage the other resources within their domain of responsibilities more effectively. On the other hand, strategic human resources management (SHRM) is defined by Boxall and Purcell (2003) as “concerned with explaining how HRM influences organisational performance. They also point out that strategy is not the same as strategic plans. Strategic planning is the formal process that takes place, usually in larger organisations, defining how things will be done. However strategy exists in all organisations even though it may not be written down and articulated. It defines the organisation’s behaviour and how it tries to cope with its environment.” Authors Boxall and Purcell examined the interrelationships and extent by which organizational goals are achieved and influenced by HRM. They differentiated HRM from SHRM by indicating that “HRM was defined as including “anything and everything associated with management of employment relations in the firm” (Boxall & Purcell, 2000, p. 184). The theoretical basis for the inclusion of the word strategic to HRM was detailed using a review of various literatures from scholars on the subject. Boxall and Purcell finally averred at this definition of SHRM as “concerned with the strategic choices associated with the use of labour in firms and with explaining why some firms manage them more effectively than others” (2000, p. 185). According to Miller (2001), “HRM could not be conceptualized as a stand-alone corporate issue” (p. 348). The inclusion of strategy was regarded as a necessary addition to incorporate marketing efforts to gain competitive advantage with effective use of the
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