The roles, responsibilities and activities of personnel specialists in the formulation of business and HRM strategies in the Scottish financial services industry
This research project investigates the roles of Personnel/Human Resource Specialists in the formulation of corporate strategy. It aims at providing a better understanding of the current practice in comparison to "best practice" as prescribed by the leading literature. To this end a comprehensive literature review on strategy formulation and Human Resource Management (IBM) has been conducted. The core ideas from the leading literature have been concatenated in an integrated model of Human Resources( HR) in strategy formulation. This research project focuses exclusively on the first stage of the strategy process, namely formulation and blacks out the subsequent stages of implementation and evaluation. Particular emphasis is given to the rational, analytical aspect of strategy formulation. The elaborate model of integration delivered the basis for a detailed questionnaire which was used the means of collecting primary data. This questionnaire was sent out to over 100 key personnel in leading financial services companies in Scotland. The survey was the first of its kind to be conducted with an exclusive focus on the emerging Scottish financial community. The Scottish Financial sector employs 209.000 people and responses were received from 33 different companies which between them had 107.629 staff on their payrolls. The results of the study draw a detailed picture of the extent to which the proposed strategic activities are carried out by the HR functions of the leading Scottish institutions. The results furthermore indicate that Human Resources pecialists are still finding it difficult to adapt a more strategic approach towards the management of employees. This study identified the analytical part of the strategy formulation process, i. e. the scanning of a company's environment for opportunities as well as the internal analysis of the firm as a weak point in the management of HR and as an area often neglected by Human Resource specialists. Due to this self-inflicted abstinence a vacuum is created and the influence that environmental changes can have on a firm's HR might well be underestimated. This lack of facts and data also meant that HR functions are often only partially integrated in the strategic decision-making process. The study identified this lethargy as the main area where improvements can be made and makes recommendations to industry and teaching academics alike. Finally, at the level of researchers and writers, this research project gives an opportunity to either replicate or validate the research findings or to widen the field by conducting further studies in this area.