HR Studies and Strategy Formulation

Strategy is important in HR studies. In fact, a model known as the SELF Model is often used by most human resources professionals and you can learn about it in many human resources certificate courses. The SELF Model is used for analyzing the strategic, ethical, legal and financial issues that an organization may be considering. The model is used to ensure that decisions are made clearly and responsibly.

You can use the SELF Model (strategic, ethical, legal, financial) whether you are in a leadership role or not, and HR professionals use it to make effective decisions at all levels of their organization. One of the main reasons why the SELF model is so helpful is because it helps people analyze potential decision outcomes. One of the important skills you learn in HR studies is to determine the risks and trade-offs associated with big decision making.

As you may learn in human resources certificate courses, the SELF Model is based on four functional perspectives which include: strategic, ethical, legal, and financial. Human resources managers and leaders in the organization can use it to determine the interdependence between the outcomes that may occur. If you take courses in HR studies they will allow you to go into depth about the relationships between the four perspectives.

For example, a disagreement between a CFO and the CEO of an organization may correlate to the strategic and financial perspectives within the SELF Model. This is demonstrated in the model because the CFO is naturally concerned with the financial issues of the organization, while the CEO is focused on the strategic outcome. As you may learn in HR studies, this can be tricky because both the CEO and CFO have different goals and both concerns could be legitimate; often a difficult decision needs to be made. Experts say that in this type of situation it is important to make sure that whatever decision is made is based on what is in the best interest of the company. If the CEO has a great strategic idea, it may not be in the best interest of the company financially to follow through with it, and vice versa. This is where the SELF model can really help to determine the risks involved and ultimately make the best decision.

Some of the other tensions that can occur within the structure of an organization could include ethical versus legal perspectives, financial versus ethical perspectives, and legal versus strategic perspectives. It's important to look at the trade-offs involved, experts say. Many human resources certificate courses train future HR professionals on how to handle these situations appropriately and successfully. In order to have an effective impact on your organization it is helpful to understand the SELF model and know how to implement it accurately. You can have a very successful career in human resources if you understand how to manage these relationships and tensions. Overall, the key is to learn how to use the SELF model as a proactive tool to prevent dilemmas within the organization.

David Shoemaker is Vice President of Learning Solutions and Innovation at eCornell. For more information on hr studies, human resources certificate, or eCornell, please visit

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