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Warren G. Bennis’ Contribution to Strategic Human Resource Management


Several scholars have had their share of contributions to the field of strategic human resource management. They have tried to point out the different factors that play an important role in the ensuring of an efficient Human Resource Management strategy. Among those whose contributions have stood the test of time include Warren G. Bennis. This writer made several contributions to this field in his article Organizational Revitalization. This paper will therefore point out all the contributions made by this writer.

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One important factor that Bennis stresses in strategic human resource management is the inevitability of change. According to him, changes have always existed as far as human existence is concerned. Change has always been witnessed in all aspects of lives including in schools, at work places, in the residential areas, in our professions, etc. This means that as good managers. Changes should always be anticipated and catered for in all the plans and strategies of human resource management.

In his description of the future of strategic Human resource management, Bennis highlights several important aspects of the human life that would be essential for a manager when setting up their human resource plans. He identifies social changes, the working atmosphere and the creative system of an organization as the key players that must be put into consideration before any strategic human resource management decision.

Social changes

Bennis points out that bureaucracy is an aspect of organizational structures that has been employed by many organizations. However, this is one issue that he finds an impediment to an effective management of human resources. Contemporary realities make bureaucratic structures faulty. He points out that with the expected changes in shapes and models, the emerging organizations will be forced to refocus their strategic human resource plans to fit the changing models. While this contribution by Bennis was predicted many years ago, the business world has experienced several changes in the management structures where companies have successfully done away with the bureaucratic structure and employed a lattice model and succeeded greatly. Among them is WL Gore which boasts of no manager or supervisor. All the workers are referred to as associates and the organization is ranked among the greatest performers.

This organizational structure will be triggered by what Bennis terms as the organizational revitalization. This is the process that involves the examination of the behavior of the organization and reconsidering the relationship between the managerial and scientific branches of the organization. This is meant to better the performance of the organization. He points out that for an impressive human resource strategy, it will call for the organizations to identify the abilities of an individual and scrutinize it under the context of the organization’s environment. With the organization having different needs that require different capabilities and skills, the managers are likely to find the importance of working closely and in conjunction with the scientists in order to improve on the production of the organization. It is from such needs that the bureaucratic system which calls for routine practices would fail.

Other factors that would lead to failure of the bureaucratic system are enumerated by Bennis. These also belong to the category of social changes. Among them is the issue of integration. Here, Bennis purports that an individual will only perform to his maximum if he feels that he is appreciated and also if the organizations shows concern of his well being in terms of work hygiene and in terms of his integrity and personality. Secondly, he identifies the issue of social influence. Here, Bennis purports that an individual will perform exemplarily and in an outstanding manner if he perceives that he wields power to certain extend. He argues that commitment and efficiency of a worker is determined by the extend to which he can make decisions concerning his fate when solving a given problem. In addition, he identifies the problem of collaboration. This is inevitable as human beings will always have a tendency of forming certain groups and networks within the organization that would work towards segregation of others. This might be important because such rivaling cliques within the organization might reduce cooperation and hence reduce productivity. It is the role of managers to ensure that appropriate conflict resolution means are put in place so that no suppression or inhalation is expressed on the weaker side. Finally, he points out that maintenance of brain power in an organization will be very essential in any strategic human resource management. While initially the organizations concentrated power at the helm of the bureaucratic pyramid, the survival of contemporary organizations will depend on good management of brains rather than concentration of power on the top management level in a bureaucracy.

Working Atmosphere

Secondly, Bennis identifies the working atmosphere as another very essential aspect of performance that managers of performing organizations will have to put in consideration during strategic human resource decision making. In this approach, he argued that future organizations will be characterized by increased job mobility. Due to the efficiency of transport, the low expense costs and other dynamics of the environment, the aspect of roots in a certain job or ownership of jobs would be a forgotten issue. The organizations will experience job shifts by employees who will change employers as often as possible. With this increased mobility, the organizations will experience changes in values. In addition, the workers will respond more aptly to the surrounding environment than from the traditions that existed in the organizations. This is a very essential contribution by Bennis because managers are forced to ensure that the culture of the organization is formulated in a way that ensures that employees are satisfied and hence offer positive influences to each other. This would also reduce employee turn-over.

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Creative Systems

Finally, Bennis suggests that the creative systems of an organization are very essential in the effort of strategic human resource management. He refers to such structures as organic adoptive structures. These structures would ensure that organizations have temporary mechanisms for solving problems. These mechanisms should be adaptive and be comprised of different specialists. This will call for more collaboration in order to tackle complex tasks. Considering that each task would call for different skills, new collaborations will be required often. The employees will therefore be called upon to develop quick adapting skills so that they can cope with the new requirements. The managers will be required to ensure that they identify the appropriate mix of skills for the organization.


In conclusion, Warren G. Bennis made several contributions that still apply to the current practices of strategic human resource management. These include the social changes, organizational atmosphere and the creative systems of the organizations. These contributions are very essential for any human resource personnel because they are the cornerstone of employee retention and motivation. Failure to do this would result into high employee turn over and lack of motivation. In addition, the organization will be unable to meet the contemporary challenges that abound in every organization.

Reference List

Bennis, W. (n.d).Organizational Revitalization. California Management Review. 1970. Vol.9 no. 1.

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StudyCorgi. "Warren G. Bennis’ Contribution to Strategic Human Resource Management." November 4, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Warren G. Bennis’ Contribution to Strategic Human Resource Management'. 4 November.

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