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    Strategic HR


    Special Track Int. Human Resources Management

    Follow-up / Interfaces:

    HR Policies and Tools




    Lecture, case studies, group exercises, plenum discussions


    Term Paper

    ECTS points:



    Prof. Dr. (USA) Christian Lebrenz

    Aims and objectives: 

    The human capital of an organization is crucial to the implementation of its strategy. Even though most organizations realize the importance of linking their HR activities to the company´s stategy, creating this link turns out to be quite problematic. In this lecture, the students understand the challenge of creating the desired link and are provided with the tools to successfully align the company´s human capital with its stategy.

    General learning outcomes:

    • Students understand the necessity and the difficulties to link the activities of HR to the company´s strategy and the business model of the organization.
    • Students are familiar with the key concepts and models for linking HR activities to corporate strategy and therefore creating the desired human capital.
    • Students are able to derive a human capital stategy from the corporate stategy.

    Detailed learning outcomes:

    • Students understand the difference between operational HR and strategic HR.
    • Students are able to frame the questions that are necessary to link HR activities and therefore the human capital to the company´s stategy.
    • Students unterstand the debate between the Best Practice school and Best Fit school in Strategic HR and are able to form a synthesis of these two schools.
    • Students understand the possibilities of using the organization´s human capital as a competitive advantage and the influence of the organization´s culture in turning their employees into a cometitive advantage.
    • Students are familiar with the tools like HR scorecards used for measuring the impact of HR activities on the organizational outcomes.
    • Students understand the concept and challenges of carrying out a Strategic Workforce Planning in an organization.

    Course textbook: 

    Boxall, P. & Purcell, J. (2011): Strategy and Human Resource Management. 3rd ed. Palgrave Macmillan.


    1. Why Strategic HR?

    • The importance of Human Resources for the company´s stategy
    • What makes strategic HR strategic?

    2. The Problematic Interface between Strategic Management and Human Resource Management

    • Alternative views on strategic management
    • Alternative views on HR management
    • The 4 questions defining the interface between strategic and Human Resource Management

    3. The Best Fit versus Best Practise Discussion in Strategic HR

    • To what extend should HR practises be tailored to the company´s HR stategy?
    • Best Practise school
    • Best Fit school
    • Synthesis

    4. Human Resources as a Competitive Advantage

    • Resourced based view of strategic management
    • HR-architecture for identifying critical Human Resources
    • Corporat culture

    5. Linking HRM to Organizational Performance - The Black Box Problem

    • Methodological problems of linking HR activities to organizational performance
    • Input and output measurements
    • HR scorecards 

    6. Strategic Workforce Planning

    • Strategic Workforce Planning as the precondition for HR strategy implementation
    • Approaches to Strategic Workforce Planning
    • Implementation issues of Strategic Workforce Planning

    Recommended supplemental readings:

    see script