American Strategy in WWII - A Reconsideration by K. Greenfield


By K. Greenfield

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Many companies do not think hard enough about the HR requirements for integrating acquisitions until after a deal is consummated. Until the point of deal consummation, the strategy is still essentially contingent. Nevertheless, a company or group can be easily burdened by even one major acquisition or by an over ambitious organic development programme. An example in recent years is BMW’s cross-border acquisition of Rover Group. Strategies that may emerge therefore need to be anticipated just as much as existing, deliberate strategies.

For instance, if we take a major hotel chain like Intercontinental, by having a genuinely superior standard of customer service we are able to: 30 a) build customer loyalty – thus leading to further sales, and cost avoidance (as new customers cost money to acquire), and b) charge premium prices (over lesser hotels). Alternatively value might be captured by lowering the cost base. In both cases – differentiation or low cost strategies, complex interdependencies may also need to be orchestrated to avoid undermining the overall strategy.

However, this does not rule out an issues based process of strategic thinking about HR (or ‘O&P’) which might help considerably in coping with the degree of fuzziness around corporate strategy. 9 Conclusions The linkages between corporate and Human Resources are much more complex than suggested by earlier literature, making notions of linking these through ‘strategic fit’ seem naive and simplistic. HR strategy (or rather O&P strategy) could potentially play a major and proactive role in corporate strategy formulation at the corporate level (and not merely or primarily during implementation).

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