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The Role of Internal Communication in Translating HR Strategies into HRM Systems

Analyzing and evaluating the human resource management system of a selected company to achieve strategic goals.

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Added on  2023-04-23

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This paper discusses the association between SHRM and performance from a process perspective, analyzing the role of organizational communication as a factor that moderates the implementation of an HRM strategy.

The Role of Internal Communication in Translating HR Strategies into HRM Systems

Analyzing and evaluating the human resource management system of a selected company to achieve strategic goals.

   Added on 2023-04-23

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The views of Spanish HR managers on the role of internal
communication in translating HR strategies into HRM systems
Natalia García-Carbonell*, Fernando Martín-Alcazar, Gonzalo Sanchez-Gardey
Business Management Department, University of Cadiz, Faculty of Business and Management, Glorieta Carlos Cano S/N, 11002, Cadiz, Spain
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 16 May 2015
Received in revised form
16 November 2015
Accepted 20 November 2015
Available online 22 December 2015
Keywords:
Strategic human resource management
(SHRM)
System strength
HR implementation
HR communication
a b s t r a c t
Although the literature has broadly examined the effects of strategic human resource management
(SHRM) on performance in the past two decades, the way the relationship manifests and the conditions
the strategies must meet to influence organization-level outcomes are still unresolved. This paper dis-
cusses the association between SHRM and performance from a process perspective, analyzing the role of
organizational communication as a factor that moderates the implementation of an HRM strategy.
Applying partial least squares modeling to a sample of 120 Spanish HR managers, we confirm the
moderating role of communication, and suggest that communication makes the outputs of the strategic
decision-making process explicit and fosters a shared understanding of HRM in Spanish firms.
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Although strategic human resource management (SHRM) as a
discipline has evolved rapidly and has demonstrated its relevance
in the past few decades, inconsistent results concerning the way in
which human resources contribute to achieving strategic objectives
are still common (Guest, 2011; Lengnick-Hall, Lengnick-Hall,
Andrade, & Drake, 2009; Monks, Kelly, Conway, & Flood, 2013;
Woodrow & Guest, 2014). Specifically, Huselid and Becker (2011)
criticize most studies for focusing on HR content. Fewer models
explain the process through which the HRM strategy is formulated
and implemented, even though these internal dynamics have
important implications. In this line of research, this paper proposes
a process model that aims to extend prior research on HR
communication to include the formulation and implementation of
HRM systems. As explained below, success in the implementation
of an HRM strategy requires that the system is implemented to be
distinctive, consensual and consistent (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). For
this to occur, the HRM system should not only be designed on the
basis of the vertical (external fit) and horizontal (internal fit) con-
ditions, but should also be communicated adequately.
However, one of the most relevant problems in this context is
the notable disparities between what senior management teams
want to transmit, what is communicated (Khilji & Wang, 2006), and
even what is finally perceived by managers and employees (Nishii
& Wright, 2008). It is possible to generate an HR message at the
strategic apex of the organization that will be transmitted to the
rest of the company through different hierarchical levels and
managers. In this long and complex dynamic, the central meaning
of the message may change, producing different and in some cases
conflicting HRM information: formulated at the top level, imple-
mented at the operating level and perceived at the individual level.
This pitfall leads us to pay special attention to the importance of HR
communication processes, where the generation of consistent
messages to avoid ambiguous interpretations and the transmission
processes to maintain their original meaning require further
attention.
Considering these arguments, the purpose of the paper is to
examine, through HR managers' opinions, the influence of appro-
priate internal communication when translating HR strategies into
HRM systems. In this analysis, we attempt to contribute to the
existing SHRM literature exploring the moderating role of
communication in the proposed model.
To show how the analysis was conducted, the remainder of the
paper is organized into three sections. The second section (Litera-
ture review) examines previous work on SHRM to explain the
complete process and presents the foundation on which the
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: natalia.carbonell@uca.es (N. García-Carbonell), fernando.
martin@uca.es (F. Martín-Alcazar), gonzalo.sanchez@uca.es (G. Sanchez-Gardey).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
European Management Journal
j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w . e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / e m j
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2015.11.007
0263-2373/© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
European Management Journal 34 (2016) 269e281
The Role of Internal Communication in Translating HR Strategies into HRM Systems_1

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