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The Application of Strategic Human Resource Management in Improving Attraction and Retention of Teachers

Ashiedu, Jennifer Ayebaye (2009) The Application of Strategic Human Resource Management in Improving Attraction and Retention of Teachers. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Many industries have successfully linked human resource functions and strategic management processes to provide competitive advantage, improved performance and quality of work life (Lansbury 2003; Cascio 2006). This thesis investigates the uptake of Strategic Human Resources Management (SHRM) and whether SHRM practices can improve the attraction and retention of teachers within the school sector in Western Australia (WA). The State, like other areas worldwide, has an ageing teacher workforce and faces the threat of longer-term teacher shortages (Department of Education, Science and Training 2003) and implementing SHRM might be one way of addressing these shortages. Aligning a strategic planning process, a clear mission, strategic objectives and a dedicated Human Resources (HR) department to vertically and horizontally integrate HR functions (Tompkins, 2002) as suggested by the SHRM model, should improve teacher attraction and retention outcomes.

This multi-method qualitative research used an exploratory Delphi study and two case studies. The Delphi study drew on eight participants from school agencies and academia. One case study involved principals or HR staff from the private and public school sectors; the other case study included serving and retired teachers.

Currently SHRM uptake is variable, with the strongest evidence from the larger private schools and the public sector centrally, though this was poorly devolved at the school level. The smaller private schools had the weakest evidence of SHRM uptake. Respondents agreed that SHRM could improve teacher attraction / retention by enhancing working conditions, such as appraisal and performance management, professional development, recruitment and selection, and reward. SHRM could also foster important influences on teacher attraction and retention, such as personal characteristics and a supportive culture and in addition, respondents recommended implementation of further specific SHRM strategies.

The study generalisability may be limited by the unique characteristics of WA or there could be some respondent bias. Nonetheless, this study is one of the first to investigate the level of implementation and role of SHRM in improving attraction and retention of teachers. A model of SHRM in education would not only benefit WA schools, but also could broadly apply to or add insights for other education systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Supervisor(s): Scott-Ladd, Brenda and Entrekin, Lanny
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