Traditional vs. Strategic (HRM) Human Resource Managment

by Luke Arthur; Updated September 26, 2017

Human resource management is a discipline that factors in greatly to the overall success of an organization. Human resource management deals with the processes and decisions that affect employees. This area of management can be broken down into traditional and strategic human resource management. While they are similar disciplines, they have a few differences to consider.

Strategy vs. Operational

The key difference between strategic and traditional human resource management is that they focus on different things. Traditional human resource management focuses on the administrative tasks of human resource management. For example, this area might include putting someone on the company health insurance plan. With strategic human resource management, the company focuses on strategy and operational matters instead of simply engaging in the administrative tasks that are required for every business. This adds more responsibility to the human resources department.


With traditional human resource management, the discipline is viewed as a necessary part of doing business that has to be completed. With strategic human resource management, the practice is viewed as an essential part of the business. In fact, it is viewed as the most important part of the business because employees are the most valuable asset that a company has. Every decision that a company makes is made with strategic human resource development in mind.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Another difference between traditional and strategic human resource management is when they occur. With traditional human resource management, actions are taken only when they are necessary. By comparison, with strategic human resource management, systems are put in place to handle any potential human resource issues before they happen. This means that strategic human resource management uses a more proactive form of managing people instead of simply waiting until something needs to be done to evaluate the situation.

Organization vs. Individual

With traditional human resource management, the focus is more on the individual employee. With strategic human resource management, managers have to focus on the organization as a whole. Companies look at how decisions impact the entire workforce. They want to create a work place that is conducive to growth instead of simply working on improving the performance of one person at a time. This results in a wide-ranging view of human resource management.

About the Author

Luke Arthur has been writing professionally since 2004 on a number of different subjects. In addition to writing informative articles, he published a book, "Modern Day Parables," in 2008. Arthur holds a Bachelor of Science in business from Missouri State University.