Case study-human resource management strategy

This is Human Resource Management Strategy Master level subject. And this is case study. It requires 15 peer reviewed journal articles, the timeframe of these references should be between 2007 and 2013.


Description Assessment task 1 requires the writing of an academic essay. This essay should be an ‘argumentative/ academic essay’, and must therefore contain an argument that is used as the structuring element of the paper. The assignment is based on a case study that describes the impact of business scenario on managing human resources in organisational context. The purpose of the essay is to identify the roles of strategic HRM and other HRM challenges in managing human resources. Students are expected to engage in extensive research within the academic literature relating to strategic human resource management and other relevant areas (work life/ family balance, flexible work arrangements etc.). 


Details The assessment item is based on the case study titled The Probuild Constructions Story. The case itself, and assignment requirements are presented in the document and can also be accessed through the course website under Assessments tab. You should read, and carefully analyse, the case and respond to the issues presented at the end of the case study within the context of an argumentative/ academic essay. You are required to support your argument with appropriate theoretical discussion and references.


The assignment should be a properly constructed academic essay. It should contain an effective introduction, discussion body (answering the three questions) and conclusion. The introduction should introduce the essay, thesis statement (main objective of the assignment) and include your argument. The main body of the assignment should present the evidence you have collected to support your arguments for the three questions and the conclusion should restate your arguments, summarise the evidence and make a conclusion regarding your arguments.


The assignment should contain a coherent, but necessarily restricted review of the academic literature on the Strategic Human Resource Management topics in question. The literature review should be integrated into the assignment, not a separate section. A reference list formatted in the prescribed Harvard style is compulsory. Do not include a bibliography


This assessment item involves researching your assigned topic to enhance your understanding of Human Resource Management (HRM) concepts, strategies and utilisation of academic literature. Whilst you should avoid using only textbooks, the prescribed textbook for the course should be cited in regard to broad human resource management strategies. You will be expected to present information and evidence from, and cite, at least twelve (12) relevant peer-reviewed journals or other academic references (books, book chapters etc.) (minimum requirement). Refer to your recommended readings for examples of academic journals. While you can cite these references, you must find twelve (12) peer reviewed journal articles and/ or other academic references not listed in the course materials. The quality and number of citations will demonstrate the breadth and depth of the literature used to answer the questions. Your marker is interested in the analysis that you have developed from your review of the literature and how well you use the literature to respond to the topic. Avoid presenting a descriptive account only of your readings. What is required in this assessment is a critical evaluation of the academic literature as it relates to the specific details of the case study. Your marker is interested in the conclusions that you arrive at from your evaluation of the literature and of the case study.


Case Study: The Probuild Constructions Story

Prebuild Constructions was established in 1987. The company has been involved in such major projects as the new Grandstand at Flemington Racecourse, the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre and Toyota’s corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne.

In May 2005, Probuild successfully applied for a Victorian Government Better Work and Family Balance grant. The company wanted to investigate work-family balance at Probuild and develop a program that would work for the employees and the company. A working group made up of staff, union and management representatives was established to oversee a survey of all staff and the development of initiatives as part of a work-family balance program.

The survey, distributed to all 150 employees in Victoria, was designed to:

 Gather information about the work, family and life pressures currently impacting on them and their families.

 Assess initiatives already in place to assist staff to manage these pressures.

 Identify new initiatives that would have the greatest impact on staff satisfaction.

To gain a picture about the impact working at Probuild was having on families, a separate survey was also prepared and circulated to the partners/ wives/ husbands of all employees.

The response to the surveys was very good, with a 57 per cent return rate from employees and 70 per cent return rate from their partners/ wives/ husbands. Overall, employees reported that they were happy working for Probuild but that the constant pressure and long hours made it very difficult to successfully combine work and family. Several responded that the long hours- particularly working Saturdays- were having an adverse impact on their personal relationships.

And the response from employees’ partners/ wives/ husbands was even stronger. They reported that the long hours and workload meant that they had to take almost full responsibility for day-to-day household management and family care, even though many were engaged in paid work. Probuild decided that the response from partners required further discussion so invitations to take part in a focus group were sent home via payslips. Sixteen partners/ wives/ husbands took part in the focus group. This led to recognition that the company’s work-family balance strategy needed to include:

 Flexibility for different employees and their families to make choices that suited them best, with acknowledgement of the differing needs of salary and hourly rate.

 Reassurance that taking up work-family balances options would not undermine anyone’s employment or position with Probuild.

 A commitment to reducing the number of Saturdays employees are required to work.

Working from all the information gathered by the survey and the focus groups, the working group met regularly to move the Probuild project to its next steps. A work-family policy was developed based on these five guiding principles:

 All initiatives must be of mutual benefit to the individual and company.

 Achieving better work and life balance is a team effort involving individuals and managers.

 There is not one solution that will meet everyone’s needs.

 Hard work can be done flexibly.

 Good communications are fundamental to success.

All employees and their partners/ wives/ husbands were invited to attend a major launch where they received an information pack outlining how the company intended to develop a better work and family culture. The pack contained a booklet to provide practical information for staff and their partners so they could assess their own needs and then set and achieve goals to bring about better work-life balance. Following a launch, specific action plans were developed to address key issues. An intensive training, development and coaching program was instigated for managers and performance review processes were changed to ensure that every employee’s work and family needs are documented.

Probuild Constructions was an Award Winner at the 2009-10 National Work-Life Balance  Awards, in recognition of its outstanding achievements in providing innovative work-life balance solutions in the construction sector. Probuild was also awarded the overall National Award Winner of the 2009-2010 National Work-Life Balance Awards, acknowledging its outstanding achievements in providing innovative work-life balance solutions in the construction industry. For Director of Probuild, Ted Yencken, the new work-family balance program is a key element in Probuild’s ability to retain and attract employees. Ted suggested that “the development of our work/life balance policy, principles and programs are the fundamental steps to creating a workplace culture which will be more supportive of work and life balance and which will deliver better outcomes for business.”

(Extract taken from the Probuild Constructions case study, “Better work and family balance- moving to a more family friendly construction industry’,

Task: Based on the above case study, write an essay that answers all the questions:

  1. Why do employees value opportunities for workplace flexibility? Would this strategy work in all organisations and industries?

You should critically analyse your answer in terms of work-life balance theories.

  1. Is it possible for companies to be competitive and at the same time create a workplace that provides for flexibility and work-family balance?

You may relate your answer to the flexible work arrangement theories, business competitiveness theories.

  1. What other flexibility and work-family balance strategies could Probuild have adopted? What do you believe the productivity outcomes and benefits of such a program would be to Probuild?

You may develop your arguments in terms of work life balance/ contextual, culture and job restructuring at the workplace, impact of work-life balance on employee wellbeing, performance, satisfaction, employee retention strategies etc.

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