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Assessment Task 2: 2500 Word Essay – Total 40%

Due by Monday 18 September 2017 before 11:59 pm through Turnitin on the course website (Blackboard).

Students are required to answer the following question:

The essay question is: Should human resource management be instrumental in contributing to organisational success or should it be the key driver?

Essay Requirements

  • You are to use the six resources listed below to focus your efforts for the issues raised in the Question for Task 2.
  • Your essay must focus on three of the listed Topics covered in the Seminars (parts of topics are not permitted e.g. Talent Recruitment, Retention and Development is one topic)
  • Your essay must make use of the materials obtained in Assessment 1
  • Your essay may use additional resources to support your discussion
  • You must include a minimum of 16 academic references (including the 6 provided below)
  • All referencing should be RMIT Harvard style (Easycite < http://www.lib.rmit.edu.au/easy-cite/


Assessment Criteria for TASK 2 is based on the following parameters – each having an equal weighting:

  • Key issues relating to the question have been developed
  • Analysis and synthesis of relevant HRD literature.
  • Ideas and assertions substantiated through use of high-quality reference material and key academic perspectives/views have been used
  • Clear written style (spelling, grammar, syntax etc.) and appropriate RMIT Harvard style referencing (in-text and list of references, following the Easycite http://www.lib.rmit.edu.au/easy-cite/ (http://www.lib.rmit.edu.au/easy-cite/)guideline.

Six Resources 


Vaughan, T. 2012, Business Ethics, e-book, accessed 06 January 2017,  https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/lib/rmit/detail.action?docID=847083 or  http://rmit.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=847083

Armstrong, M. 2012, Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, e-book, accessed 06 January 2017, http://rmit.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=457565

Journal article

Carden, L. L. and Boyd, R.O., 2010. Workplace bullying: an ethical context applying duty and outcome based approaches to human resource functions. Southern Journal of Business and Ethics, 2, pp. 144-15 refer to this URL to link to the journal <http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=a574feef-2b67-4a98-b89a-cdf923f12c9d%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=58623232&db=bth >

Newspaper articles

Ferguson, A. 2016. Nation’s brave whistleblowers deserve compensation. Businessday Comment pp. 17 and 20. The Age. Fairfax Media Melbourne.  To download click Newspaperarticlethree(1).docx 


Subject Essay Writing Pages 14 Style APA


Should human resource management be instrumental in contributing to organizational success or should it be the key driver?


Yes Human resource management should be instrumental in contributing to organizational success but not necessarily be the key driver? In most organizations, HRM is charged with the responsibility of finding the best employees who are adequately equipped to take the respective organizations to the highest heights of business successes. On the other hand, the key drivers of organization successes can be specific departments that can be charged with that responsibility but the common denominator is that human beings are the driving force of such units whose sources can be traced back to the human resource department. HRM is a key component in an organizations business success strategy and it may not be the only factor that can drive the success initiative but it certainly contributes immensely to its success. This paper looks at several concepts within the human resource management system that contribute towards the successes of an organization and also the key strategies that drive the organization.

Human resource management refers to all the processes of staff employment and management in organizations. The activities covered include HRM strategies, knowledge management, corporate social responsibilities, human capital development and resourcing (selection and recruitment, workforce planning and talent management). Other HRM activities are learning and development, employee welfare and relations, performance and reward management. Through an elaborate HR structure, HRM provides the driving force in an organization (Armstrong 2012).

Human resource management is instrumental in its contribution towards organizations success and also as a driving force in terms of recruitment, development and retention of employees (Dias 2017). Human resource department also ensures that skilled and competitive employees are recruited in an organization when positions are fall vacant. Effective human resource management also ensures that the labor force is well balanced in terms of amount of work per employee so as to avoid employees overworking in some sections due to limited number of staff whereas in some sections or departments employees are left idle due to excessive number of employees (Dorney 2017).

Human Resource Management System (HRM)

Human resource management system is a process that most organizations utilize to ensure that only the best employees are recruited, trained and motivated. All organizations have policies that ensure successful operations of their business activities. The key concepts of HRM involve the development of progressive workplace policies. The management, HRM staff and top company executives are involve in the development of this policies and which are later communicated to all the company employees. Workplace policies may be about discipline process policy, dress code, vacation time and ethics policies. The following are some of the key concepts of HRM that makes it vital in a company’s success ladder;

Fundamental Concept of HRM

HRM is fundamentally the managerial utilization of skills, capabilities, knowledge and committed behaviors that people or employees contribute to an organization in a way that enables a company to continue with its operations.

Companies require employees to perform several tasks that can largely be performed effectively by human beings. Machines and electronic gadgets can assist but the input of human beings must be employed in certain circumstances. For this reason one of the major concepts of HRM that make the department competitive in terms of successful business processes is competitive hiring procedures.

1). Development of hiring strategies – This provides an outline on the number of employees to be hired based on company turnover expectations. Appropriate number of employees would motivate the employees to work hard and provide the best to the company.

2). Development of employment policies that encourage multiculturalism. As globalization takes root universally most companies seek talented employees from all corners of the globe hence the need to develop policies that can accommodate diverse cultures. Successful companies promote diversity in work places so as to get the best talents in the world. Human resource departments are very instrumental in organizations successes as they provide the people behind the successes of the companies. HRM may not be directly involved in driving an organizations success strategy but they provide the manpower behind the wheels. An effective HRM department can provide the necessary human capital required to turn around a company that is facing tough times to a successful company. A company is actually made up of people as the main resource and the difference between successful companies and the ones that are not is the kind of manpower behind the two companies (Schneider 1987).

Goals of HRM

The aim of HRM is to aid the organization in achieving its objective which is primarily the development and implementation of HRM policies and strategies. To ensure that organizations are competitive HRM departments must ensure that a culture of high performance is maintained. HRM should acquire talented and skilled manpower to guide the organizations in its operations. The other objective of HRM is to develop and maintain a positive relationship among the employees themselves and also between the employees and management. An atmosphere of mutual trust is necessary for a company to succeed. HRM also encourages ethical application in its management processes (Chalofsky et al, 2014). 

The Philosophy of HRM

The HRM philosophy is that all the policies that are adopted by the HRM department should be integrated with an organizations strategic business objective. These measures are undertaken to ensure that the HRM remains competitive in its effort to add value to the organizations strategic plans. Companies should have organization’s cultures that encourage the development of valuable human capital that are consistent with that commitment of the organizations objective of creating successful companies. HRM policies should include the narrative that human resource is competitive and should be positioned as a strategic unit or department. On this end, the HRM ensures that the employment circle is punctuated by competitive recruitment processes where employee are thoroughly vetted, interviewed and trained.

HRM Theories

Resourced-based theory refers to the overall resource based view that a company’s human resource is vital in its operations successes. HRM can ensure that a company’s strategy is effective by making sure that all the HR criteria for ensuring efficiency are met.

Organizational Behavior Theory

The organization behavior theory refers to how people act individually or in teams and also how companies functions in terms of organization structure, culture and processes. These behaviors affect how HRM procedures influence the development and organization of companies and their capability.

Contingency Theory

Contingency theory refers to the relationship that exists between independent variables, that is HRM policies & Practices and dependent variables that are made up of performance metrics and which may be influenced by company size, technology, age, capital intensity or industry. Contingency theory strives to achieve congruence in an organization between a company’s HR Strategies, practices and policies and the business strategies in relation to internal and external environment.

Other Theories

Other theories relating to HRM include institutional theory, Human Capital theory and Resource dependence theory among other theories. These theories assist in understanding the relationship between an organizations management and its HRM (Armstrong 2012).  Bad relationship between managers and employees leads to a high staff turnover among the employees. Good company policies that guide the relationship between employees and their supervisors are critical to the successful operations of the HR department and the company in general.

The Key Concepts of Strategic Human Resource Management

Strategic fit in human resource management refers to the development of HR strategies that ensure achievement of congruence between a company’s business strategies and its external opportunities based on its internal strength (Husted & Allen 2006). The major aim of strategic fit is to achieve a fit between the organization and the demands of a competitive environment (Freeman 2008).

Strategic HRM (SHRM) refers to the process of development & implementation and integration of human resource strategies together with the organizations business strategies. SHRM involves the inclusion of strategic management concepts in HRM in its long term management processes.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) in companies is adhered to when organizations conduct their business operations ethically taking into consideration to the social, economic and environmental impact of their actions. The concept behind CSR is that business operations and the society go hand in hand and are interwoven. Society has particular expectations from business processes, behaviors and general outcome. CSR are actions that are undertaken by organizations in furtherance of social good that are basically beyond a company’s interest and legal requirement. Strategic CSR is the decision that an organization takes when it decides how the organization would be involved in social activities within the society besides is business operations. Among common CSR activities are environmental protection, through recycling, conservation efforts and pollution abatement.

Arguments against CSR suggest that companies have no business in social interest as the objective of a business enterprise is to make profits. They further argue that corporations only have limited artificial responsibilities  and businesses generally have no general responsibilities towards the society only the people hence CSR has no room in the society. Business managers have responsibilities that are limited to making profits for the owners of the business as long as they operate within the legal framework (Karnani 2010)

Successful implementation of CSR requires self-regulation within the industry it’s operating in. Penalties and fines should be meted out to companies that go against the companies’ regulations and policies (Carden & Boyd 2010). An effective regulatory framework that incorporates all the stakeholders in the industry should be established to ensure that all the industry players operate and abide by the laws created. Corporate Social Responsibilities involves philanthropic, ethical, legal and economic responsibilities (Crane et al, 2014). The key successful concepts of CSR extend beyond the definitions of CSR.



Business Ethics

Organizations with unethical and unfair business strategies promote unfair business strategies that go against business ethics that are often regulated by industry players (Vaughan, 2012). Companies should develop policies that ensure that employees have confidence in the management and that issues can be raised by the employees (Carroll & Buchholtz 2015). Whistle blowers should be encouraged to share their views with the management so that by ensuring that HRM policies are employee friendly.

Workplace bullying is a problem that multi-national companies have to deal with especially where there is diversity and where companies operate in many countries (Carden & Boyd 2010). Workplace bullying is associated more with ethics and it involves assessment, control and monitoring of employee behaviors and integrity (Trevino and Nelson, 2014). For organizations to be successful employees must be made to feel safe.

The development of a sound whistle blower protection policy in an organization has been attributed to more attachment of employees to organization and also contributed positively to the company’s retention efforts (Ferguson 2016). The same case has been noted with companies that have sound employee anti-bullying policies (Smith 2016). These efforts non-the less have increased the cost of business operations in most organizations but the efforts in most instances have resulted in more financial profits and improved company profile (McKenzie & Baker 2016).  Bullying is largely perpetrated by supervisors or senior managers in most organizations and occurs in organizations that lack commitment to protect employees from bullying.  Bullying often occurs in countries that have no structures for protecting employees from harassment due to different reasons like gender, whistle blowing or other forms of discrimination (Ferguson 2016). As much as whistleblowers are protected, rewarded and celebrated in the US in Australia whistleblowers are mistreated, vilified and scorned (McKenzie et al, 2016).

 Australia is yet to fully appreciate the role and importance of whistleblowers. In the US, whistle blowers have assisted by the government to uncover such vices as corruption networks or to save lives, money and damage to the environment (McKenzie et al, 2016).

Human Capital

Human capital refers to the knowledge, skills or the abilities that the employees possess in organizations. All employees have characteristics that can be classified as human capital. The notion of human capital can also be referred to basically as intellectual capital. It’s an intangible asset and it is associated with human resources and it represents all the human factors in organizations (Wyatt & and Hermann Frick 2010). Human capital is critical and companies that are successful have elaborate strategies that ensure that workers are provided with environments that motivate them towards optimal company performance.

Other Concepts of HRM

The other concept of HRM is the determination of the right compensation for particular employees. The benefits that employees are awarded should be fair and one that meets the standards of the companies in that industry.  Adoption and implementation of Employment laws form part of the key components of the concepts of HRM. The compensation and pay structure of all employees must abide by the country’s employment laws. Issues like minimum wages payable and statutory leave periods must be observed and granted without any problems or delays.

Low turnover strategies are also one of the concepts of HRM that involves motivation of workers to remain in their stations of work for a longer period and to prevent high employee turnover in a company. Fair compensation is a critical factor in employee retention besides poor working environment, organization cultures and job challenges. Methods of retaining employees involve the provision of incentives like training and capacity development. Training and development is one of the key components of HRM. Developing qualified and competent employees is a major goal for HRM. Organizations with competent employees always perform better and are more successful that organizations with less competent staff. For effective HRM, training and development must be included in its recruitment and employee development processes.

Safety at workplaces is a major cornerstone in HRM activities. Federal laws ensure that employees’ welfare systems involve the safety of workers at their station of work. HRM concepts must include safety requirements for employees and other protective provisions as provided for in the constitution. The protection extend to protection of personal and private employee information, heating and ventilation specifications and protection from hazardous chemicals. Communication is also a key concept of HRM as all the information must be communicated effectively to all employees to ensure optimum production and employee performance.


Human resource management should be instrumental in contributing towards organizational success and also be part of the driving process. HRM is charged with the responsibility of finding the best employees who are adequately equipped to take the respective organizations to the highest heights of business successes. On the other hand, the key drivers of organization successes can be specific departments that can be charged with that responsibility but the common denominator is that human beings are the driving force of such units whose sources can be traced back to the human resource department. HRM basic functions of recruitment and capacity development makes it one of the important contributors to company successes and also among the top drivers of organizations winning strategies. Good Corporate Social Responsibilities measures and fair business trading activities also contribute immeasurably to corporate successes.



Armstrong, M 2012, Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, e-book, viewed 06 January 2017, <http://rmit.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=457565

Carden, L L & Boyd, R O 2010, Workplace bullying: an ethical context applying duty and outcome based approaches to human resource functions. Southern Journal of Business and Ethics, 2, pp. 144-15 viewed August 15, 2017 <http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=a574feef-2b67-4a98-b89a-cdf923f12c9d%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=58623232&db=bth >

Carroll, A & Buchholtz, A 2015, Business & society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management (9th ed.). Mason, Ohio: South-Western/ Cengage Learning.

Chalofsky, N. E., Rocco, T. S., & Morris, M. L. (Eds.), 2014, Handbook of human resource development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Son.  Fenwick Chapter 10

Crane, A., Matten, D., & Spence, L 2014, Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context (2nd Edition), Routledge, New York, USA)

Dias, LP 2017, What is human Resources retrieved August 3, 2017 from https://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/2807?e=portolesedias_1.0-ch01_s01

Dorney, G 2017, This is How HR can Lead, Says One of the World’s Best CEOs, HMOnline retrieved August 5, 2017 from http://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/featured/hr-lead-one-worlds-best-aron-ain/

Ferguson, A  2016. Nation’s brave whistleblowers deserve compensation, Businessday Comment pp. 17 and 20. The Age Fairfax Media Melbourne. 

Freeman, R E 2008, Managing for Stakeholders’, in T Donaldson & PH Freeman, R.E. (2010) Strategic management, a stakeholder approach, Cambridge University Press, UK.

Husted, B & Allen, D B 2006, Corporate Social Responsibility in the Multinational Enterprise: Strategic and Institutional Approaches, Journal of International Business Studies Vol. 37, No. 6,

Karnani, A 2010, The Case against Corporate Social Responsibility, Wall Street Journal, 23 August 2010.

McKenzie, N & Baker 2016, High cost of doing the right thing.  News Pg. 1 and 6. The Age. Fairfax Media Melbourne Viewed August 15, 2017 Newspaper article one (1).docx 

McKenzie, N, Bachelard, M, and Baker, R 2016, Americans Pay Millions to Whistleblower at BHP; We Hound Them Out of Their Jobs, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed August 15, 2017 < http://www.smh.com.au/business/americans-pay-millions-to-whistleblower-at-bhp-we-hound-them-out-of-their-jobs-20160824-gr0b6a.html

Schneider, B 1987, The people make the place, Personnel Psychology, 40 (3), pg. 437–53

Smith, F 2016, ‘Workplace bullying: why management backlash is behind Australia’s steep rise’ Guardian sustainable business social equality Australian Edition, The Guardian Australia Sydney viewed August 15, 2017 < https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/dec/05/workplace-bulling-why-management-backlash-is-behind-australias-steep-rise?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other Accessed 5 December 2016

Trevino, L & Nelson, K 2014, Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right (6th Edition), John Wiley, USA

Vaughan, T 2012, Business Ethics, e-book, accessed 06 January 2017, viewed August 15, 2017 < https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/lib/rmit/detail.action?docID=847083 or http://rmit.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=847083

Wyatt, A & Hermann, F H 2010, “Accounting for Investments in Human Capital: A Review.” Australian Accounting Review 20.3; 199-220. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web. 31 Jan. 2011.




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