Does HR Influence Organizational Culture? #AHRD2015

Does the human resources (HR) function influence organizational culture?

To review all four roles of Ulrich’s (1997) HR function model –  administrative expert, employee champion, change agent, and strategic partner – our 2015 AHRD abstract presents the results from our literature search to identify scholarly publications from 1997 until 2014.

ulrichs-matrix

In human resource development (HRD) research, organizational culture is “limited to the rational managerial perspective on culture, employees and organization” (Plakhotnik & Rocco, 2005, p. 97). The HR function impacts organizational culture, that is, the set of beliefs, values, assumptions, and perceptions that influence organization members; however a comprehensive review of the research further identified HOW organizational culture has been impacted by HR. This has also taken into consideration human resource management (HRM) and organizational development (OD), as strategic partners with HRD in discussing the HR function.

Copyright © 2015 Mariya Gavrilova Aguilar, A. Esther Joshua-Gojer, Denise R. Philpot, & Laura A. Pasquini

The critical importance of utilizing the HR function towards organizational culture influence, identified two key themes:

  • The role of the Human Resources function is evolving.
    • Performance is influenced by employees’ perceptions & interpretations of their organization
    • HRD can support change, changing organizational culture, connecting with organizational stakeholders, and approaches/strategies
    • OD activities focus on changing or improving organizational culture; limited research done how these activities actually impact organizational culture
  • The HR Function is a Change Agent.
    • A direct link between HR and social common structures such as climate and culture
    • Organizational effectiveness depends on its culture;  developed by various HRD measures incorporated in everyday organizational life

Implications for HRD and Practice

Organizational culture is positively affected by the HR function, specifically in the areas of recruitment, selection, training, development, performance appraisal, progressive discipline, and organizational diversity, and inclusion. This means that HRD scholars and practitioners will need to consider  to secure and develop talented employees through effective organization implementations and interventions. For the HR function to best support organizational culture, it will need to align its practices with the strategic organizational goals and develop innovative approaches.

References

Plakhotnik, M. S., & Rocco, T. S. (2005). Organizational culture: A literature review of the AHRD 1994-2005. Proceedings of the 2005 AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas. Miami, FL.

Ulrich, D. (1997). Human resource champions: The next agenda for adding value and delivering results. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

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