The fundamental premise of strategic human resource management (SHRM) theory is that all HRM programmes and processes should integrate with a firm’s business strategies (vertical alignment) towards the maximisation of its overall effectiveness. Much criticism in recent years has been directed at HRM scholars and professionals for their apparent unwillingness or inability to provide practical evidence in support of this notion especially, in a dynamic global marketplace within which corporate governance and the evaluation of and accountability for all business practices have become paramount. In response to these challenges, both scholars and their professional counterparts have begun to gather evidence of the contributions of specific HRM programmes and activities to overall firm performance.

This issue of the journal fits neatly within this contemporary stream of research and practice, with a particular emphasis on applications in the Asia Pacific region. It contains papers from a broad range of countries, industry sectors and perspectives, and encompasses many of the primary HRM processes and their relationships with firm performance. Chanda, Bansal and Chanda, for example, explore the strategic integration of recruitment and selection processes in a sample of Indian companies, finding positive correlations, and clear links with such business indicators as growth in market share, profitability, productivity, and employee satisfaction.

Srivastav’s paper, on the other hand, analyses role stress amongst several occupational levels in an Indian public sector organisation. As might have been expected, the study found that there were many different job stressors, each with their own challenges and opportunities for astute people managers and implications for firm effectiveness. The following paper by Thang, Quang and Buyens reviews the literature on the link between training and firm performance and proposes a practical analytical framework. They emphasise the importance of employee knowledge and attitude in these endeavours.

Altarawmneh and al-Kilani researched the turnover intentions of employees in the Jordanian hotel sector, and the actual and potential contributions of HRM processes in reducing its incidence and associated business costs. Their study found that revised incentive plans and ongoing performance feedback might assist in these aspects. The paper by Islam and Siengthai on HRM practices in the Dhaka Export Processing Zone (Bangladesh) reports a ‘significant and positive association’ between a bundle of HRM practices and firm performance in this context.

In an interesting diversion from usual Western research on foreign company operations in China, Pauluzzo focuses on the HRM strategies and practices used by Italian companies engaged in Chinese operations. In particular, this study reveals the cultural diversity of Italian and Chinese approaches, and the associated HRM approaches. Finally, Kanaparo’s Practitioner Perspective presents a ‘real world’ view of the links between employment and retrenchment issues and firm effectiveness in a mining context in Papua New Guinea.

Overall, this issue of the journal presents a fascinating insight into the theoretical and practical links between HRM and business strategies in a wide variety of contexts and from several different perspectives. We hope that readers will find considerable value in the various papers, from which they may enrich their HRM research and practice.

Dr Alan Nankervis
Dr Cecil Pearson
June 2010