Cappille (1999) stated that Mc Kinsey gave the concept of seven Ss that emphasized on the requirement of aligning the seven key variables of an organization namely, shared values, strategy, structure, systems, staff, style and skills.
However, in today’s competitive world, the importance of the professional development of staff as a way to maximize competitive advantage has dramatically increased.
In order to study the concept and best practices for ensuring an effective alignment of the two strategies, study has been conducted for three multinational firms, each belonging to a different industrial sector: namely, Information Technology (IT), Manufacturing and Retail.
An analysis of these different sectors will answer the question of whether it is necessary to align business strategy and corporate strategy with human resource strategy and if so, what the benefits achieved from such a linkage are.
Thus, in today’s intensely competitive and global marketplace, maintaining a competitive advantage by becoming a low-cost leader or a differentiator entails having a highly committed and competent workforce.
Competitive advantage lies not just in differentiating a product or service or in becoming a low-cost leader but in also being able to tap the organization’s special skills or core competencies and rapidly respond to customer’s needs and competitor’s moves.
In other words, competitive advantage lies in the management’s ability to consolidate corporate wide technologies and production skills into competencies that empower individual business to adapt quickly to changing opportunities.
Organizations have been forced to reevaluate the importance of human resources due to the transition from a labor-intensive approach to a more knowledge-driven approach of the business world.
It has frequently been argued that leveraging the human resources of a firm can result in generating capabilities through which a firm can easily achieve success even in the toughest market conditions.
However, all of us have seen that in the recent economic crisis many organizations selected the route of downsizing and other cost-cutting measures that negatively affected the employee value proposition.