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HRM practice in the airline industry

Discuss about the Human Resource Management And Employee Well Being.

The industry of the airline is one of the most competitive, sensitive to the safety of the customers and technology driven service industry. When compared to the other industries in the economy, this sector is an amalgamation of tourism, information technology, engineered designs but most especially the factor of the human resource makes the industry as of the challenging industry to the stakeholder (Bratton & Gold, 2017). The HRM in the airline industry consists of the manpower that strongly addresses the typical needs of the industry which is inclusive of the communication, conceptual, interpersonal and physiological skills. As machines do not operate without the human function, the human resource is important and it is easy to compare the Boeing and Airbus. Therefore, in the dynamic competitive business we are able to demonstrate the importance of HR easily.

Human resource management is basically the practice or an approach adopted by the organisation to the effective management of the organisation so that they can assist the business in gaining a competitive advantage (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). The main aim of the human resource management is to maximise the opportunities for the employees and record the performance in a view of achieving the strategic objective and the goals.

There are rationally four models of HRM practice that are used by numerous industries. However, two of them can be used by the airline industry. The modal used by the airline industry is Harvard Modal and the Michigan Model. Both the models are critical to each other in terms of their features.

The Harvard model is a comprehensive model which is involved in the comparison of six critical elements of HRM. The dimensions of the model are stakeholders, interests, situational factors, choice in the policies of HRM, the long-term consequences, HR outcomes and a loop of the feedback (Guest, 2017). There is a direct flow of the output in the organisation and the stakeholders.

The Harvard model recognises the importance of the trade-offs in both the ways such as internally as well as the externally between the groups of the people such as owners, employees, interest groups (Analoui, 2017). It emphasizes on the choices which is not affected by the situational or the environmental determinism.

Stakeholder’s Interest: the importance of the interest of the stakeholders is determined under this element. The challenge of the HR manager is to keep a track of the variance  of the thoughts and ideas of both the groups and thereby maintain a balance between the stakeholder and the other members of the group of the interests (Marchington, 2015).

Harvard and Michigan models of HRM

HRM policies: the HRM policy emphasizes on the decision and the actions of the management in the terms that the HRM can be appreciated fully. The recognition is done on the basis of the result from the interaction between the different choices adopted by the student and the constraints and the limitations (Beer, Boselie & Brewster, 2015).

HRM Outcomes: The major outcome of the HRM is to delegate the duties at the different levels in the organization to segregate the work so that the targets can be achieved easily. The flow of the ideas under the HRM is through the recruitment, selection and the appreciation as well as the termination of the employees.

Situational Factors: the situational factor influences the choices of the management and the strategy adopted by the HR. The contingent factors and the characteristics included in the model and the philosophy of the management, labour market, task technology and the social values and the beliefs all form a critical part for the human society.

Long term Consequences: The long term consequences depends upon the well-being of the organisation and the social well-being also plays a vital role in shaping and revamping the organization so that it can sustain for the longer duration in and can bear with consequences.


(Source: Management HQ, 2016).

The Michigan model is also referred to as the matching model or the best fit approach to human resource management. It does somehow relate to the Harvard model as it follows all those human resource strategy which are necessary for the development of the business.

(Source: HND business Education, 2017).

This model has also adopted the most common human resource processes which are conducted in every business organisation and involves selection, appraisal, rewards and development. It is an integral part of human resources. The main feature of this model is to entirely focus on the management of the human assets to achieve the goals which are mainly based on strategic control, organisational structure (Harney, Dundon & Wilkinson, 2018). If the work is effectively and efficiently performed by the employee than the human resource appraises the performance of the employees. Such appraisal is done by giving the rewards to the employees in the form of compensation. The employee can be promoted and an efficient training would be given so that he can perform day to day tasks easily and by putting his potential. However such model has been criticized lately as it constitutes rational decision making in the organisation, as its decisions are politically influenced in the organisation’s decision making which makes it a complex process.

Elements of the Harvard model

After analysing the working of the models the results in case of the airline industry is the Harvard model of the HRM as it considers the employees as the crucial asset of the company. This model basically determines the information to the employees to understand the organisation structure, the mission and vision, the human resource management, performance appraisal and the developments and the rewards.

The main reason for using the Harvard model is that it considers the individual influence, work systems and the flow of the human resource and the major concentration is upon the outcomes from the people, the choice of the policies of HRM, the outcomes, and long term consequences (SDB, 2012).

To fulfil the objectives of the organisation the Harvard model provides the extra powers and the authority to the line managers. Majorly it involves the incorporation of the stages such as the recruitment, selection, development and the dismissal of the employees in the organisation. Managers have to make sure that the right employee is placed at the right time. Under the Harvard model a reward system is also introduced for the employees who include the pay, bonus, holidays, health insurance and empowerment.  Therefore, the airline industry is using this model. However, the industry is not confined to one model only. There are several airlines which use the model different from the Harvard as their needs and goals are different. The models used by the airline industry depend upon the size and the nature of the industry. For example the British Airways uses the Resource based model which is based on the Value, inimitable, rare and non-substitutable resources. The retention of the  strategic components that is , costs reduction, superior services, better concentration and the agility to meet the objectives of the business, is what this model provided.

The model is focused on incorporation of the interests of the individual, organizational strategies and the need of the society and the community as the whole. In these model stakeholders are the people who are the major persons having interest in the organization. On the other hand the situational factors involve the workforce, representations from the union, rules and regulations, labour market, business environment and the technology.

The setup of the organization can be efficient as well as effective in case of the work system and its usage. The work can be completed through the different channels and medium of communication and also through the use of the innovative technology and mechanism. The line managers are the people to whom the power and the authority has been given so that they are able to take the quick decisions on time. The airline industry is busy in developing the new strategies that would fit with the strengths of the organization and the Harvard model has its own pros.

The Michigan model and its features

It applies the four c’s which are the congruence, cost effectiveness, the commitment and the competence to provide the opportunities it the organization for the longer duration. Yet the Harvard model is also prone to certain cons as it does not consider the HRM approach at times. The HRM model has been practically applied only where the focus is on the employees and to bring more social loafing and to ignore the clashes the model needs to amend certain factors.

The airline industry concentrates on providing the facilities to its customers and the Harvard model helps the industry in aligning their basic goals and the objectives.

Therefore from the above theories and models it can be concluded that the human Resource management is ultimately responsible for the growth of the particular industry or a company. The human resource management in the airlines industry plays a vital role for the success of the industry. As per the detailed discussions above it can be said that the human resource management has developed such plans and policies to improve its customer satisfaction according to the modern day environment. The Harvard model is basically running in the two important factors wherein the first factor is that it assist the managers to accept the responsibilities by aligning the HR policies with the competitive strategy and secondly the mission of the HR policy which helps in giving a structure to the human activities, by reinforcing them with the process of reward and recognition. Hence the Harvard model is suitable for the airline industry.


Analoui, F. (2017). Politics of Strategic Human Resource Management: A'Choice'Model. In The Changing Patterns of Human Resource Management (pp. 13-31). Routledge.

Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Beer, M., Boselie, P., & Brewster, C. (2015). Back to the future: Implications for the field of HRM of the multistakeholder perspective proposed 30 years ago. Human Resource Management, 54(3), 427-438.

Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2017). Human resource management: theory and practice. United States : Palgrave.

Guest, D. E. (2017). Human resource management and employee well?being: Towards a new analytic framework. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(1), 22-38.

Harney, B., Dundon, T., & Wilkinson, A. (2018). Employment relations and human resource management. In The Routledge companion to employment relations (pp. 122-138). Routledge.

HND business Education, (2017).  Michigan Model. Retrieved from

Kaufman, B. E. (2018). Great in Theory but Tough in Practice: Insights on Sustaining Advanced Employee Involvement at Delta Air Lines. In Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, 2017: Shifts in Workplace Voice, Justice, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Contemporary Workplaces (pp. 57-89). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Lee, K. H., & Hyun, S. S. (2016). An extended model of employees’ service innovation behavior in the airline industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(8), 1622-1648.

Malik, A. (2018). Strategic HRM & ER: Best-Practice Versus Best Fit. In Strategic Human Resource Management and Employment Relations (pp. 23-34). Springer, Singapore.

 Management HQ, (2016). Human Resource Management Models

Marchington, M. (2015). Human resource management (HRM): Too busy looking up to see where it is going longer term?. Human Resource Management Review, 25(2), 176-187.

 Retrieved from

Santana, M., Valle, R., & Galan, J. L. (2018). How National Institutions Limit Turnaround Strategies and Human Resource Management: A Comparative Study in the Airline Industry. European Management Review.

SDB., (2012). British airways HR Management. Retrieved from

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