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Strategic Human Resource Management in Small and Growing Firms: Aligning Valuable Resources

by Michael B. Hargis and Don B. Bradley
published by Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 2011
Ref ASMJ10-12

The knowledge, skills and abilities of employees is one of the primary factors a business can rely on to differentiate their products or services and build a competitive advantage, write the authors of this article. However, they point out, there are few studies available to guide managers of small and growing firms through the people management issues they will have to face during the lifecycle of their business. Most relate to large businesses that often have more capital available than their smaller counterparts, while small businesses and entrepreneurial companies are fundamentally different in many ways.

This article presents the results of two studies that examined the selection, training and compensation practices of a sample of small business managers. The article also includes an evidence-based framework to guide small and growing firms on their human resource strategy and ensure that it aligns with and builds on their overall business strategy.

The authors found that the companies they studied did not always implement their human resource strategy in a way that would help to build a competitive edge. Managers, they write, must think about two forms of strategic alignment, firstly between each individual human resource initiative, and secondly between their human resource strategy as a whole and their overall competitive strategy. These forms of alignment can help to create employees that are capable of fulfilling their role in a way that helps the company to develop a strong competitive advantage. 

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About the author

Michael B. Hargis is Dean and Associate Professor of Management at the University of Central Arkansas.

Don B. Bradley, III, is Professor of Marketing at the University of Central Arkansas.?

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