Separating transactional from strategic HR not cut and dry

‘Mundane’ tasks often key to strategic success, sought-after executive laurels
By Kunle Akingbola
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/10/2004

As early as the 1960s, practitioners and academics were concerned that human resources would become irrelevant if HR professionals did not highlight HR’s contribution to the performance and bottom line of the organization.

Although it took some time, HR found the solution and introduced strategic human resources management. Strategic human resources management places the practice of HR on a pedestal, highlighting its relevance and contribution to organizational effectiveness.

One consequence of the advent of strategic human resources management is the bifurcation of HR functions into “strategic” and “transactional.” The consensus is that human resources management must forego, share, de-emphasize or outsource transactional functions and concentrate on the strategic ones. The argument is that these transactional functions limit the role of human resources practitioners to reactive and firefighting activities and therefore prevent the positioning of human resources professionals as strategic business partners.