Human resource development management & training as antecedents for strategy integration.

AuthorJha, Sumi
PositionReport - Statistical data

This study develops a model by establishing the relationship of strategy integration with human resource development management, training, leadership and organization structure. The study was conducted by a structured survey questionnaire on 402 managers of manufacturing organizations in India, employed in both private and public sector firms. The data was analyzed using SPSS 20 and AMOS 18 for structural equation modeling. The results of the study indicated that the exogenous variables were human resource development management and training. The intervening variables were leadership and organization structure. The endogenous variable was strategy integration.

Introduction

In emerging economies, markets can expand in many directions as opportunities are abound. Emerging economy firms while planning for their strategic aspects are bestowed with the choice of setting foot towards multiple directions. This is because growth can be expected in products serving the big fat bottom of the pyramid or the substantial nova rich at the highest end of the market. The market at the top or the bottom can be supported by the products manufactured by firms and the services served by firms. In emerging economies it has been widely understood that firms that are in manufacturing sector are of pivotal importance. The high growth registered by China and the impetus of the Indian Government towards manufacturing sector are testimonies to this thinking.

Manufacturing firms can benefit from cost leadership as well as innovations in products and services in emerging economies. The presence of wide market choices provide manufacturing firms and their competitors varied options for following distinct strategic paths. The entry of a firm in the wrong segment of the market might lead to poor return on investment to resources committed (Isobe, Makino & Montgomery, 2000). In manufacturing industries as compared to services sector there has been higher level of investments and also a greater gestation period, therefore, commitments made are often costly (Watson & Everett, 1999). In some cases a wrong move might be a competitive strategy disaster for the entire firm (Grant, 1991). Any competitive strategy commitments for a manufacturing firm required considerable investment in the manufacturing processes. A delta shift in strategy required change in the manufacturing strategy. In emerging markets because of rapid technology changes it has become important that firms respond quickly to the market through products. Timeliness of product launches and availability of products in the market is vital. Thus, the firm level manufacturing process should be flexible enough to accommodate required market end product production and product mix demands.

It is imperative for firms to strike the right strategy from the beginning. Strategy literature advocated that if a firm takes a wrong strategic path it has to learn fast and make quick course correction. Redefinition and recombination of organizational resources and capabilities in the modern day strategic decision making in emerging markets is of existential importance. Strategy integration is the concept of nurturing and responding to dynamic market needs through the continuous alignment of firm level manufacturing capabilities and capacities. In emerging markets where rewards are often uncertain and non-linear, strategy integration takes centre stage.

Strategy integration as a theoretical concept has been viewed in literature as a consequent construct (Swink, Narasimham & Kim, 2005; Burgelman & Doz, 2013). Literature indicated that those cases in which the organization structure supports coordination, cooperation and informality, promote flexibility for matching business strategy with manufacturing strategy (Tsai, 2002). Organizations where leadership has a knowledge driven focus and work cohesively with subordinates to attain organizational goals(Singh, 2008) are better poised to cater to the changing business and manufacturing strategy of the firm. The concept of training and human resource development management helps employees to enlarge and enrich their skill base (Kirkpatrick, 1998; Khandelwal, 2005). This prepares the employees to become multifunctional so that they align themselves with the different manufacturing strategy process roles as demanded by the market dynamics time to time (Swink, Narasimham & Kim, 2005; Hayes & Pisano, 1994). This study is an attempt to examine the antecedents like human resource development management (HRDM), training, leadership, organization structure (OS), and influence strategy integration (SI).

Strategy Integration (SI)

Strategy integration in the context of manufacturing organizations has been conceptualized by the work of Swink, Narasimham and Kim (2005). Researchers proposed that, to implement the concept of strategy integration in manufacturing organizations, the firm shall have a well networked integration mechanism within the organization. This will bring different skill sets of employees and departments to focus and attain organizational goals and address the dynamic external environment. SI is practiced when firms manufacturing strategy is in synchronous to its corporate strategy (Wheel Wright, 1984). The strategic manufacturing goal of firms if well-defined implied that the presence of SI gets reinforced and the firm would be able to stretch and leverage its existing base of capabilities (McGrath, 2013; Wheel Wright, 1984). The work of Rosenzweiga, Rothb and Dean Jr (2003) indicated that in the consumer products segment coordination with supply chain partners helps in the betterment of firm level performance. Sen, Pokharel & YuLei, (2004) argued that in catering to various parts and facets of the global markets (where the con text of emerging markets can be extended) firms should reorient its supply chain to better integrate with market thus practicing SI.SI also entailed that the firm's manufacturing goals were clear and well communicated to all employees of a firm (Griffin, & Hauser, 1992; Swink, Narasimham & Kim, 2005). Finally, the presence of SI also became better attuned when the manufacturing strategy of a firm was frequently reviewed and revised (Hayes & Pisano, 1994). The effect of emerging market volume growth and segment expansions compounded with the rapid change in technology has a bearing on SI. Market dynamics and uncertainty lead to frequent revision of business strategy, which in turn effect the configuration of manufacturing strategy. If one took cognizance of this market-business-manufacturing strategy dynamic equation then one could ascertain the importance of SI. It can be argued that the practice of SI made the alignment of manufacturing strategy to business strategy and ultimately to the market. Literature is abound with researchers advocating that for effective and meaningful SI, internal organizational fit and consistency is pivotal and can be justified at the first baby step towards a broader integration with all value creating stakeholders (Stevens, 1989; Handfieldand Nichols, 1999:Swinket al., 2002). The work of Swink, Narasimham and Kim (2005) indicated that organizational level variables constitute SI.

Training (TR)

Training has been a vital function for an organization (Kirkpatrick, 1998; Khandelwal, 2005). Training is imparted for specific duration to employees across all organizational hierarchies and functions (Khandelwal, 2005). In emerging economies, especially in Indian manufacturing sector, major part of production is because of the contribution of part-time contract workers (Mishra, 2012). The concept of training in organizations as explained by Booth (1991) indicated that provision of training is not just restricted to the full time employees, but even for those who are part-time. Researchers indicated that training should not be seen in terms of hours of training but rather as quality of inputs given to the employees (McColl-Kennedy& White, 1997; Laird, Holton & Naquin, 2003). Further, training of employees should attempt to impart a quality consciousness amongst employees (Cappelli et al., 1997; Picchio & Van Ours, 2013). Quality consciousness in employees helped in developing and producing quality products and services in firms (Kalleberg & Moody, 1994; Doz & Prahalad, 2013; Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2013). This would help firms to attain competitive advantage (Barney, 1986). Quality consciousness stands for not just basic training but rather training encompassing advanced forms so as to effect the employees at a cognitive level (Jacobs, 2003). In competitive market environments like in the emerging economies the culture of training should be driven right from...

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