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HR competencies: a contingency approach : a quantitative study into business context factors influencing HR competencies

Rekers, narc (2013) HR competencies: a contingency approach : a quantitative study into business context factors influencing HR competencies.

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Abstract:This study (an extension of the research of Marsman, 2011) investigates the relationship between a specified set of HR competencies and seven business context factors across four dimensions; ‘Personal credibility’, ‘HR technology’, ‘HR integration and innovation’ and ‘Strategic focus’. The business context factors are selected on the basis of quantity of empirical evidence. Investigated contingencies were organizational culture, type of industry, firm size, organizational structure, use of technology, internationalization and type of strategy. The paper’s originality stems from the identification of contingencies of HR competencies specifically, the historical perspective and the formulation of scenarios implying different needs in HR competencies-sets. Every good HR professional wants to improve, which starts with the desire to improve, followed by the requirements to achieve that desire. The field of HRM is evolving. The historical overview of HRM shows that HRM does not develop autonomously. The premise of this paper is that several factors from the environment influence the development of HRM. In order to sustain within the changing environment, the HRM function changes, and hence HR professionals need to develop a new set of HR competencies. It has been shown that there is a gap between the competencies an HR professional possesses and what business requires. How can this gap be closed? To provide insight, a contingency approach has been taken. The goal of the research became the identification of business context factors influencing HR competencies. The research question is formulated as follows: What business context factors influence the HR competencies for HR professionals? Literature review is conducted to gain insight in HR competencies research. From a historical perspective, the six rounds of the ‘Human Resource Competency Study’ (HRCS) and the research of Marsman (2011) are compared. The comparison of the six HRCS and Marsman (2011) has led to a new set of HR competencies, more unique, distinctive and clear. Possible contingencies are identified from HRM literature. The seven hypotheses concerning the influence of the business context factors upon the set of HR competencies have been investigated through an online survey within a sample of Dutch HR professionals. 58 useful questionnaires were retrieved in three months time. The data show that the respondents scored lower on all dimensions of HR competencies than the respondents of the HRCS 2012. Six factors influenced HR competencies across three, two or one dimensions: organizational culture, type of industry, organizational structure, use of technology, internationalization and type of strategy. Several scenarios lead to changes in the required HR competencies-set. Particular types of strategy, culture, structure, industry and firm size were related to the level of HR competencies. Firms pursuing a prospector strategy should require their HR professionals to be more competent. It seems that the mission culture has a negative influence upon the HR competencies-set; HR professionals working in a mission culture scored significantly lower on ‘Personal credibility’, ‘HR technology’ and ‘HR innovation and integration’. HR professionals working in micro organizations with 10 employees or less seem to require less HR competencies. It means that in every particular situation, a specific set of HR competencies is needed, influenced by contingencies. The research contributes in several aspects: - A new, unique and more distinctive set of HR competencies was developed. - Six business context factors were identified to be related to HR competencies specifically. - Several scenarios lead to changes in the required HR competencies-set. - A historical and complete overview of the development of HRM was set. - A major argument for the best-fit approach was accomplished. Implications for business life are that the application process could run faster, since both the HR professional and organizations can look at the business context about what suits them in terms of type of organization and profile of HR professional. In general, businesses should watch the business context more carefully because now it is shown how important it is. The choice of a particular culture or strategy implies the need for different sets of HR competencies. The issues HR professionals should pay attention to when they want to improve themselves have been identified. This paper paves the way to conduct more research in HR competencies and their relationship with business context factors to gain deeper understanding. An exploration of more business context factors, the investigation of the found relationships outside the Netherlands and a new investigation of the business context factor ‘firm size’ can be important foundations for future research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62843
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