In online MBA courses we learn about the relationship between strategy, structure, and HRM. In particular, we will look at the tendency, prevalent through the 1980s and into the 1990s, to decentralize responsibilities and focus activities on smaller units in order to increase motivation and entrepreneurialism, while sharpening up efficiency. We will look at how decentralization affects:

  • Structures for pay bargaining and industrial relations
  • The operation of internal labor markets
  • Corporate culture
  • The organization of the personnel function

Finally, we will consider how firms have tried to manage the conflicts between centralization and decentralization in recruiting, retaining, and developing people, and in managing their overall resource needs.
Strategy and structure in large organization
One factor in many ways should actually be the starting point for understanding pressures for centralization/ decentralization. Company philosophy, managerial beliefs, and history explain much about the pace and vigor with which decentralization is pursued. At the same time, training strategies are driven by business strategy and the competitive environment.
In Online MBA in Human Resource, we know how the link between strategy and training works out, though, is another matter. In one year executive MBA, we have cautioned against the notion of simple direct link and the fallacy of over-integrated human resource plans. These are likely to remain valid only on paper. Human resource planning needs to be flexible linked to business strategy, and training needs to remain to some extent reactive.
Thus, in online MBA course we found the time horizons for training decisions varied enormously, covering:

  • Ad hoc requests
  • Annual budgeting, on the basis of forecasts of labor turnover, recruitment, and promotion
  • Commitments to major projects, which themselves can vary up to five years ahead
  • Commitments to groups of employees, such as graduates, which involve a view of skills needs up to five years ahead and beyond
  • Long-term manpower plans, such as in the health service where length of training, the numbers involved, careers commitments, and resources require careful planning

All these will be explained in last semesters of Online MBA in HR in the sense of being driven by business need. Meanwhile, on an annual basis, individual training needs arising from the appraisal process have also to be slotted in. This variety of practice fits with the view in one year executive MBA course that strategy can operate according to different timescales. At the other end of the planning process, there remains the question of evaluation.

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