Doctoral Study Components
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 2
Human resource department is a critical function contributing to the well – being of
employees in any business. In the past, human resource professionals were always in
their traditional roles and played the role as an administrative expert who looked after the
day-to-day operational human resources but today human resource professionals are
becoming a more strategic role. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore
human resource professionals’ experiences and strategies that may have contributed to
the development and accomplishment of the organization objectives. The data collection
process of this study used the interviews of two line managers who are in a business
leader role. This study would help researchers, academicians, HR practitioners, business
leaders or CEOs to improve their strategic skill sets and would provide suggestions for
future research in human resource professionals’ roles.
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 3
Background of the Study
The role of human resource professionals is primarily accepted to be that of a
supportive and an administrative one involving paperwork, but not that of strategy
management. Traditionally, the role of human resource professionals in many
organizations is to serve as the systematizing, policing arm of executive management.
According to Sondhi (2013), Human Resource (HR) had to transform itself from
just being a support system to a strategic partner in business policy. HR can as well play a
role of Strategic human resource management (SHRM) by participating in the
formulation of the business strategy. Strategic human resource management involves
making decisions that define the overall vision, mission, core values, and objectives of
the organization. Human resource strategies are important because they help determine
how to manage people in relation to business strategies (Brauns, 2013). Human resource
professionals are moving towards a more strategic role today whereby they play a main
role in devising strategies for the company together with other top level managers.
Human resource professionals need to transform their roles, activities, and
responsibilities to be more strategic business partner. According to Khatri (2013), HR
transformation builds upon the excellence of HR professionals who are always ready to
execute their role to achieve the business objectives. Even though, HR functions continue
to change and HR professionals viewed as business partners, but they seem to lack
enough skills and competencies to contribute to organizational profitability.
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 4
42% of business leaders believe their HR professionals are underperforming
(Benko et al., 2014). Hence, the specific business problem is HR professionals do not
have the business skills/strategies required to help an organization increase its
profitability. HR professionals need to develop deeper business acumen to become an
effective business partner (Benko et al., 2014). Less than 8% of HR professionals have
confidence that they have the business skills needed to meet the challenge of today’s
global environment and consistently deliver innovative programs that drive business
impact (Benko et al., 2014). 95% of HR professionals’ responsibility is administrative
work that can be outsourced but most organizations would internally hold this work
because of lack of lack of confidence in the HR (Vosburgh& Resorts, 2013). The general
business problem is the most business leaders do not believe that HR professionals can
transform their roles from an administrative role to a strategic business partner.
The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to explore what HR
professionals can do to help an organization increase its profitability. HR professionals
need to learn and understand the business of organizations. They need to transform their
roles, activities, and responsibilities to be more of a strategic business partner to add
value to the organization. HR professionals have therefore, an obligation to embrace
change in this modern times (Khan, 2012). Interviews will be conducted to seek roles,
experiences, activities, and responsibilities of HR professionals with the targeted R
professional participants located in Bangkok, Thailand. The researcher will use
purposeful sampling to select the interviewee the choice of this strategy is intended to
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 5
ensure to select interviewee with experience in the field of HR. HR transformation
implication on business is to help HR professionals improve their knowledge and skills in
business and help the organization increase its profitability.
Nature of the Study
Studying the role of HR professionals required an analysis of their experiences in
an organization. Such in-depth assessment of HR professionals’ role may better align
with the qualitative research design. Qualitative research is a method of inquiry and data
collection. According to Creswell (2009), qualitative research is a form interpretative
inquiry in which researchers make an interpretation of what they see, hear, and
understand. Qualitative research is used to gather in-depth information and it is primarily
exploratory research. It is also used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons,
opinions, and motivations. Conducting a qualitative study has enabled a researcher to
analyze individual’s behaviors, opinions, beliefs, emotions and relationship. Therefore,
this research involves a phenomenological qualitative study to explore what HR
professionals should do to help an organization increase its profitability. Phenomenology
is concerned with the study of experience from the perspective of HR professionals.
According to Creswell (2013), phenomenological study focuses on describing what all
participants have in common, as they experience a phenomenon. It is also based in a
paradigm of personal knowledge and subjectivity, and emphasizes the importance of
personal perspective and interpretation. Phenomenology primarily uses interviews with
individuals and observations to collect data. Other researchers have used
phenomenological qualitative study to conduct their research and succeed in achieving
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 6
their objectives hence, the choice of this method (Sedivy-Benton, Strohschen, Cavazos &
Central Research Question
The objective of this research study is to explore how HR professionals’
transformation contributes to increased productivity. In line with the statement of
purpose, this study addressed the following research questions.
Research Question 1: What is the transformation for HR professionals as
seen through their roles and as experienced in HR activities in the organization?
Research Question 2: What is the strategic plan in the transformation of HR
professionals’ role to help an organization increase its profitability?
Research Question 3: What is the strategy being used and made changes in
business by HR professionals to help an organization increase its profitability?
Significance of the Study
The study provides a framework for exploration of human resource professionals’
strategic roles. It study supports the organizations to create business value and
competitive advantage. The study also provides insight into human resource
professionals’ perceptions of strategic business partner role. It as well suggests human
resource strategy to help the organization improve its performance for HR practitioners,
business leaders, and CEOs. Moreover, this study will focus on the mastery of business
acumen and HR strategic skills. Business leaders and HR professionals can learn more
about HR professionals’ strategic roles. Furthermore, business leaders and HR
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 7
professionals can apply the concept of this study for their business practice. The study
can lead organizations in areas such as organization development, strategic utilization of
employees to serve business goals, talent management and development. It can also make
an impact improvement on management such as performance management, business
development and skill improvement in the organizations.
Human Resource Department is a critical component of employee well – being in
any business. HR responsibilities include payroll, benefits, hiring, firing, and keeping up
to date with state and federal tax law. Historically, HR has grown up in a void of
unaccountability. In the past, or up until recently, (need a temporal component here) HR
leaders have not been held accountable for delivering metrics that show the value of their
programs or investment (Robb, 2011). HR in business must focus on aligning itself with
the business and think about key business challenges as well as design HR plan to
respond to the challenges. Strategic human resource management (SHRM) is a link
between HRM and strategic management processes of an organization (Sondhi & Nirmal,
2013). The most general implementation (of SHRM) challenge facing HR professionals
reflects an interesting challenge. Executive business leaders expect human resource
professionals to lead organizational initiatives and change efforts that can produce value
to the organization.
Arachchige and Weerasinghe (2012) stated that traditional role of personnel or
HR as a HR administrator is now not sufficient for survival in the highly competitive
modern business environment. Brauns (2013) stated that human resource strategies could
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 8
help determine how to manage people in relation to business strategies. The way in which
people are managed within organizations need to be aligned with the strategy of the
business. Moreover, Florah et al. (2013) argues that strategic human resource
management provides a direct and economically significant contribution to a firm’s
performance. However, the transformation towards strategic human resource
management is a goal of most HR departments today (Glarino, 2013). HR professionals
began to evolve and become strategic business partners by adding value to the firm. In an
organization, SHRM means accepting and involving the HR functions as a strategic
partner in the formulation and implementation of the companies’ strategies through HR
activities (Jain, 2014). HR professionals have to work together with top executives to
make competitive business strategies and to figure appropriate HR strategies to support
the business strategies (Khatri, 2013). Khan (2014) illustrated that in the business partner
role, HR helps various units in implementation of their business model. For HR
professionals to have a major role in business strategy, they need to have critical skills,
such as, business understanding, strategic planning, and cross-functional experience.
Business leaders and HR professionals are all critical to the creditability and capability to
engage in business decisions.
Hr professionals are expected to contribute to the business strategy through their
domain expertise Khan, 2012). HR professionals need to spend time understanding the
business strategy, competitors, technologies and customers, to help the firm gain a
competitive advantage using HR practices (Loshali& Krishnan, 2013). In addition, HR
role has changed from administrative services to business partner, and that the newest
view that is less developed in most corporations is that of a strategic partner. HR
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 9
professionals bring business, change, consulting and learning to their partnership with
line managers, so that they can create value (Saleem and Perwez, 2012). To make HR
professionals more available for participation in strategic decision-making process, HR
professionals should be delegated to line managers as they have direct and frequent
contact with employees (Sani, 2012).
The role of HR has become strategic with increasing competition, creating a
motivating workforce, facilitating change management, recruiting, and retaining the most
efficient employees (Sondhi and Nirmal, 2013). These functions make HR professionals’
key players and increase their role as part of strategic business partners within their
organization (Mitsakis, 2014). However, Ugheoke et al. (2014) states strategic human
resource management has a direct impact on the achievement of the business goal and
performance improvement. HR professionals have shifted the role of an operational HR
to be more strategic partner to the organization by getting more involved in strategic
decision-making (Yousoff, 2012).
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 10
Arachchige, B. J. &Weerasinghe, B. L. (2012). Role Transition of HR Professionals in
the Sri Lankan Banking Sector: A Study. The IUP Journal of Management
Benko., C., Bohdal-Spiegelhoff, U., Geller, J. & Walkinshaw, H. (2014). The Reskilled
HR Team: Transform HR Professionals into Skilled Business Consultants.
Deloitte University Press.
Brauns, Melody (2013). Aligning Strategic Human Resource Management to Human
Resources, Performance and Reward.International Business & Economics
Research Journal, 12(11).
Creswell, John, W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed
Methods Approaches 3 rd Ed.
Creswell, John. W. (2013). Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among
Five Approaches. 3 rd Ed. Los Angeles: Sage.
Florah, O. M., Nyagol, M. O. & Susan, R. (2013). Strategic Humane Resource
Management Practices and Performance of Sugar Manufacturing Firms in
Western Kenya. International Journal of Research in Social Sciences, 3(4).
Glarino, G. G. (2013). Strategic Human Resource Management: Influences on Perceived
Organizational Support and Job Attitudes. International Journal of Business and
Social Science, 4(12).
Jain, Mitushi (2014). Organizational Success through Strategic Human Resource
Management. Journal of Social Welfare and Management, 6(1).
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 11
Khan, B. M. (2012). A Study on the Emerging Dimensions of Strategic HRM in Different
Subsectors of IT Industry.The IUP Journal of Management Research, XI(2).
Khan, D. M. (2014). HR as a Strategic Partner: A Critical Review. International Journal
of Human Resource Studies, 4(1). doi: 10.5296/ijhrs.v4il.5129.
Khatri, B. (2013). Modifying HR to Meet Advanced Business Prospects. International
Journal of Management Research and Review, 3(11).
Loshali, S. & Krishnan, V. R. (2013). Strategic Human Resource Management and Firm
Performance: Mediating Role of Transformation Leadership. Journal of Strategic
Human Resource Management, 2(1).
Mitsakis, F. V. (2014). Human Resources (HR) as a Strategic Business Partner: Value
Creation and Risk Reduction Capacity. International Journal of Human Resource
Robb, Drew. (2011). Creating Metrics for Senior Management. Society For Human
Resource Management, 56(12), 109-111.
Saleem, S. M. &Perwez, S. K. (2012). The Human Resources Role and Challenges in the
Hotel Sector in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. International Journal of Management
Research and Review, 2(10), 1758-1763.
Sani, A. D. (2012). Strategic Human Resource Management and Organizational
Performance in the Nigerian Insurance Industry: The Impact of Organizational
Climate. Business Intelligence Journal, 5(1).
Sedivy-Benton, A., Strohschen, G., Cavazos, N., & Boden-McGill, C. (2015). Good Ol’
Boys, Mean Girls, and Tyrants: A Phenomenological Study of the Lived
DOCTORAL STUDY COMPONENTS 12
Experiences and Survival Strategies of Bullied Women Adult Educators. Adult
Learning, 26(1), 35-41.
Sondhi, V. &Nirmal, P. S. (2013). Strategic Human Resource Management: A Reality
Check. Review of Management, 3(1/2), 4-10.
Ugheoke, S. O., Isa, M. F. & Noor, W. S. (2014). Assessing the Impact of Strategic
Human Resource Management on Tangible Performance: Evidence from Nigerian
SMEs. Management and Business Research, 1163-1173.
Vosburgh, R. M. & Resorts, M. (2013). The Evolution of HR: Developing HR as an
Internal Consulting Organization.Human Resource Planning.
Yusoff, Y. M. (2012). The Path from an Administrative Expert to a Strategic Partner
Role: A Literature Review. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research