Implementation of strategic human resource management practices: a review of the national scientific production and new research paths
Keywords:Strategic human resource management, Implementation, Blibliometry
Purpose – The strategic human resource management (SHRM) emerged in the middle of the 1980s and is currently seen as a relevant research and practical field in the area of business administration (Kaufman, 2015). Its academic relevance has been receiving international attention due to the importance of the strategic performance of human resource management (HRM) (Jackson, Schuler, & Jiang, 2014). It is possible to define SHRM as a vertical connection between HRM practices and international strategy and horizontally as the congruence among the several human resource practices (Wright & McMahan, 1992). Design/methodology/approach – Taking into consideration the emerging research gaps in the area, the necessity to bring to attention the implementation of policies and strategic practices of human resource management became prominent. Our study characterizes the national scenario regarding this specific research theme. For such, we developed a bibliometric review of national journals in the area of business administration with level Qualis B2  or above, described the institutionalization of the research in Brazil and established a sociogram with research relationship networks in the country. Findings – Between 1997 and 2017, only 19 articles on the implementation of SHRM were published in the 32 journals researched. The characterization of the studies indicates a predominance of qualitative articles, which adopt as methodological approach the case study, and most of them use interviews and content analysis as techniques of data collection and analysis, respectively. The use of such investigation tools is in line with the nature of the phenomenon studied. The scenario indicates that the implementation of SHRM is still a developing theme in Brazil. Research limitations/implications – There is a lack of studies that combine the use of qualitative and quantitative approaches and focus on public organizations. Besides, the results indicate the need to diversify the methodological approaches used. Regarding the institutionalization of research in Brazil, it is possible to notice the growth of research groups investigating SHRM, even though their only focus does not rely on implementation. The academic production regarding the theme is regionally located in the state of S~ao Paulo, even though academic production is also to be found in a decentralized way in the country, with rare networks. Practical implications – This way, the main contribution of this article is the accomplishment of the first bibliometric review regarding the implementation of SHRM in Brazil, showing the scientific community that the theme still presents a gap to be explored in national studies and showing human resource professionals and the society that the transformational switch of human management to organizational outcomes – despite prolific in the academia – still has not been realized in practice. Social implications – In the articles analyzed, the most common finding was that the effective implementation of SHRM and strategic practices of HR, such as the competency management, still deserves attention of the academia through the accomplishment of deeper qualitative studies that exhibit not only interfering factors but also the initiatives that must be adopted by the organization to favor the implementation process. Originality/value – The interventions occurred in an organization can or cannot stem from an articulated HR strategy. Some policies can be implemented without a previous explicit planning, and other planned strategies may never even be effectively implemented (Truss & Gratton, 1994). As reported by Kaufman (2015), some critical success factors to a large-scale organizational change – which is necessary for the effective adoption of strategic HR models – are the commitment of leaderships and a carefully planned and managed implementation. For such, it is necessary to manage programmed organizational changes properly and to act promptly on the cultural pressure perceived by all levels of the organization (Guest, 1987). Such premises are associated with the SHRM perspective proposed by Wright and Snell (1998), in which the authors claim that the main role of HR is to implement organizational strategies. Lengnick-Hall et al. (2009) present a research agenda that highlights the need to give more emphasis on issues related to the implementation of strategic human resource management, specifically regarding the vertical and horizontal alignment of HR systems.