Thursday, November 22, 2012

Human Resource Management Research Proposal

Free Research Proposal on HRM

Immediate and underlying problems and issues, which The Mountain Lodge Resort faced.
While managing The Mountain Lodge Resorts Hudson brothers faced a row of problem. There were some of them concerning HR matters. Small problems and failures play a role of the signal for upcoming risks. Problems, which Hudson brothers faced, have the reasons underneath. The underlying problem is the employees’ voluntary turnover and as a result impossibility of creation of learning and development environment to improve quality of the service. Here in the essay we will try to identify the immediate problems and difficulties, reasons underlying and possible solutions to be undertaken.

Let’s examine the case and see, what kinds of difficulties arise in The Mountain Lodge Resort management. We can see that the number of employees varies considerably depending on the season of the year. This means, that the resort cannot provide employees with the stable, constant work place for the whole year. At the same time should be considered, that most of the seasonal employees need to find own involvement during the rest of the year. If while searching they find job for the whole year – most likely they will not come back to the resort for the next season.

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As it was stated in the case, 40 % did not come back and the quantity of such employees can raise up.  Employees’ matters are made more complicated by resignation of two important specialists – local manager and the head chef. For these senior staff there were no suitable conditions for gaining experience. We can suppose that in the management there is a lack of usage of such human resources tools, as employee learning, development and career planning (De Cieri & Kramar, 2003). This would correspond with one of the points, that interest of the employee have to meet with the interest of the organization and its’ strategy and goals (Cohen, 2001). Among problems and difficulties there could also be noticed the lack of the organizational culture and shared values. Another problem is low qualified personnel and weak educational environment. We can see voluntary turnover, which is initiated by employees. Since the main driving force of the voluntary turnover is job dissatisfaction (De Cieri & Kramar, 2003), appropriate management measures should be applied. There are several possible reasons for the job dissatisfaction, which different authors outline. Job dissatisfaction in our concrete case could appear because of the personal disposition, tasks and roles, supervisors and co-workers (Peterson, 2004). Dissatisfaction could also appear when employees consider their job as only a job rather than developing enthusiasm and pride of ownership, employees often don’t see clearly objectives and goals of the organization (Chapman & Prior, 2007), what the priorities are and what they should be doing (Boyan, 1984). 

From these possible problems arise variants of solutions. Possibly there would be higher performance of the employees with changes made in selection process (Highfield, 2009).

First of all, work-flow analysis should be conducted more carefully and motivational job design approach should be used because it would lead towards higher job satisfaction, higher motivation, greater job involvement, higher job performance, lower absenteeism (De Cieri & Kramar, 2003).

One of the workable solutions would be development of the organizational culture and shared values – to find meeting points between interests of employees and organizational strategy, to reach acceptance of the organizational strategy by employees (Jones, 2004). This would definitely make an impact on turnover and behavior of employees (it would help to avoid coming to work place in poor physical state as well).

At the same time a strategy of the company should be made and introduced not only among senior staff. While creation of the clear strategy link towards human recourses management should be kept (Miles & Snow, 1978). Because human resources – is the tool for enabling the resort to reach the goal and objectives. 

Not all employees are motivated well enough. The desire of atmosphere of fun is not always the most effective motive for providing a high quality service. There are a lot of theories of motivation, a lot of research was made. Behavioral scientists, psychologists, and business people, have searched to understand what makes people do what they do (Young, 2009). This would be on of the responsibilities of the human resources specialist hired for the next season.

Organizations are constantly looking at different ways by which they can “motivate” employees, improve workforce morale and create better work environments. Sometimes there could be more use from effective award system.

The key problem for Hudson brothers was the growth of complaints from the clients concerning the human resources matters and service provided. In general the reason underlies in unqualified specialists. In this case there are two ways of solution – to advance selection criteria or to provide training and development of the staff (Jones, 2004). The last one cannot be effective in the condition of fast employee turnover. If employees are not within the company for a long time it leads towards useless education, which flows away from the company (Peterson, 2004).

This means, again, that the key solution to the problem is to create more settled team of employees, who can improve on the position and have a certain career perspective to return each season.

Hudson brothers should be willing to implement internal growth strategy, to make a higher quality service not to loose the clients and to gain more of them they need train their employees and to work closer with the criteria selection (Spector, 1997). 

Generalizing what was stated above we can mention the row of problems and their linkage between each other. The undesired result, which Hudson brothers faced – was that the profits were down by about 15% on last season and there were more complaints from the customers concerning staff. The underlying problem in this situation is ineffectiveness of such HR tool, as learning environment and training, which is necessary for making the services’ quality higher (Jones, 2004). It is a chain problem, because it is not reasonable to provide education for the employees, who are not going to work for the resort for much more time. Another way out could be changes in criteria selection, but one fact should be considered wisely: it is only season time, when there is enough of work for everyone, rest of the time, people should find their involvement by themselves. Perhaps, as an option should be considered possibility of expansion and provision workplaces during the whole year for the employees. This would make it easier to create a team and organizational culture in row with shared values.      

What sort of HR approaches do you think need to be taken to ensure ongoing strategic competitive advantage?
In the case with Hudson brothers we identified the list of problems. In order to solve them, appropriate human resources management and strategy approaches should be applied. We will discuss next, what actions should be undertaken and which approach is more effective.
One of the human resources management approaches considers organization as a prime point – human beings should not be seen as a resource rather employee development is the responsibility of the employer (Fisher & Dowling, 1999). Over the years, emerged a modified partly humanistic and partly business oriented approach. According to it development of people is the most important asset for improving performance of the organization. In this respect the emphasis shifted to developing roles, role relationships, appraisal systems, training, job design. The idea was that human resources management is important for the growth of the organization and is a good investment for the future.

In the frames of the human resources management there are several conventional approaches to reach strategic advantage among similar business organizations. In general, in order to be competitive and overcome competitors organization have to reach state of balance and linkage between three of the components: organization’s mission and values; basic strategy set; functional strategies and behavior of the organization (Miles & Snow, 1978). According to one of the classifications of the strategies Hudson brothers’ situation is now close to unstable and could easily become risky. That means that at this point more important to pay attention towards the internal growth strategy, which makes the main accent on development inside of the business, improving the service (product) which is already provided by the certain business organization. Coming closer to the problems described above we can suppose some solutions and strategy approaches.

The main problem underlying is voluntary employee turnover (which means that the leave is initiated by the worker). Voluntary turnover mostly appears for the reason of dissatisfaction of employees. Reasons of dissatisfaction could be different, but at the case we learned we can see there are several reasons: employees do not feel themselves as the part of the company and team and do not consider (or even do not know) goals and objectives of the company as those, which they personally willing to reach, don’t develop themselves (lack of training and career counseling and growth) do not see the perspective (Jones, 2004). From certain point it might be a way to search for new employees, but new people hired also depress the productivity of existing employees. For instance, existing employees have to build relationships with new people; they have to support the informal orientation that continues after hiring. Also new people would not be familiar with the job to good and would definitely need time to adapt and to get to know all details at the new job position. Sometimes these new employees would need additional training. Therefore, it is more effective to make an accent on retention of the employees already working at the resort.

First of all during the selection process, people should be tested and interviewed in order the job position and the personal qualities of the employee suit each other. Job position analysis should be made beforehand and a row of skills, knowledge and personal qualities should be dragged out in order to find out what kind of employee is in search (Foxman & Polsky, 1991). Successful and accurate job design is one of the key points for most effective and efficient use of labor, job position, employee’s skills and knowledge, etc (Davis, 1967). 

One of the most obvious tactics to avoid described above problems involve compensation and benefits, but since any organization can offer these items, they have relatively low return on investment. Considering psychological factor we will see, that money – is not the prime motivator, which influences people. According to the Maslow’s theory of needs, it is not even the direct need.

Economics today try to make retention a competitive advantage (Koslowsky, Krausz, 2002).  There are some new approaches. In the case with the resort most effective would be to make life easy: help people with errands by providing access to services on-site or near-site: day care, car wash, banking, dry cleaning, health club and convenience market. Another option could be to form a joint effort with your business neighbors (Mamede, 2009). This would help to keep personnel while out of season.

Organizational culture needs more attention. It would help employees to obtain shared values and see own role in the goals and objectives more clearly. Also it would help to build one team out of a number of employees. Sometimes social events for the personnel might be a good idea. This is a human nature: they don’t like to be inside of cold and unfriendly atmosphere. It would help to give positive emotions for people from their work and it would increase satisfaction from work.

Good professionals need new and more significant challenges and responsibilities, and they want to know that their achievements matter. It is important to build such atmosphere of recognition and feeling own preferable status in the organization as well, as in the community (Lieberman, 2004). For employees to be interested in work it is almost mandatory to give them kind of a challenge, and clarity of the tasks. But on the row with clarity it is necessary to show that this is just a starting point of their career (Highfield, 2009). Cases, when some employee’s while showing a high performance would be switched to a higher position inside of the organization could play a significant role (Seltzer & Sammartino, 2009). That is the reason for need to develop career counseling inside of the resort. At the line with the organizational goals and objective person has to see own goals and interests.     

For making services’ quality higher it is the best way to measure employees’ performance, to get the feedback from them, to analyze, what are the reasons of weakness and what solutions could be defined and implemented.

Generally, we can see, there were stated main problems and some suppositions of its solutions and approaches in solving the central problems. Most of the suppositions are part of the humanistic approach of the human resources management. By giving person opportunity to develop him\herself we give them also an opportunity to develop, at the same time, the whole organization.
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