A Bad Hair Day Or Religious Custom Case Study

To Cover or Not to Cover: That is the Question
Jewish Hair Laws Through the Ages

By Leila Leah Bronner

What does Jewish law say about women and hair covering? The topic deserves attention, particularly in light of the renewed observance of this practice among resurgent Orthodoxy and the BaaleiTeshuva ("reborn" Jews). My interest in studying the historical and religious sources of the practice was evoked both by stimulating halakhic exchanges I came across in various Jewish publications, and by my own experiences within the Jewish community. Modern halakhic studies tend to concentrate on the dynamics of legal issues, but what are some of the social and historical aspects of this particular religious observance?

My endeavor focuses on discovering how the hair covering custom grew, developed, and eventually became institutionalized in Jewish life. In my study of the subject I hope to further elucidate the practice, since hair covering is not necessarily a matter of only halakhic interest, but, as I illustrate, is also subject to strong societal influences. I evaluate relevant biblical and Talmudic sources and their medieval and modern rabbinic interpreters from a historical and social point of view. Finally, I offer some suggestions for reinterpreting this practice in light of societal changes.

Historians and anthropologists show that hair has diverse socio-religious and symbolic value in many civilizations. My interest, however, will be to isolate the meanings hair has held specifically in Jewish civilization at different times in history. Nowhere does the Bible present an explicit command for women to cover their hair. Yet because women in the ancient Near East, as in later Greece and Rome, veiled themselves when they went outside, one can assume that the custom probably also existed in ancient Israel. However, the function and symbolic value of hair in the Bible had little to do with the way Jewish customs developed in later centuries. Early classical rabbinic literature, namely Talmud and Midrash, presents an entirely different approach to the problem of hair covering. At the time of the Talmud hair covering for women became a regular ritual matter. In the Talmud hair covering was not only a fashion or a custom, but was objectified as a rule and regulation for women to follow as a religious obligation. Later rabbinic literature of the Middle Ages further reinforced women's hair covering as an integral part of Jewish religious observance. Only in the modern period was the practice seriously challenged as it faded from general societal convention. In the western world, particularly in America where age-old traditions were frequently bucked, Jewish women questioned the validity of the practice and attempted to influence rabbis to rethink the onerous religious observance.

Woman's Hair in the Bible

The Bible presents hair as an ornament, enhancing the appearance of a woman. The attraction of a woman's hair is poetically expressed in the Song of Songs: 'Your hair is like a flock of goats from Gilead' (Song 6:5). However, hair may have been covered in biblical times, since there is some evidence that the unmarried girl, like her married counterpart, may have covered her hair. The Song of Songs reads: 'Your eyes are like doves behind your veil' (Song 4:1). The verse indicates that the maiden kept a veil over her hair, even though she appears to be unmarried. Similarly, the betrothed Rebecca demurely covers herself upon first sight of her intended husband (Gen 24:65). Because the evidence is sparse, we do not know precisely if, or how this custom of hair covering was observed.

With regards to hair, the Bible seems to indicate that cutting a woman's hair was a way to make a woman unattractive. The sole place in the Bible depicting a woman's hair being cut is in the laws of the captive woman (Deut 21:12). After a period of one month, during which time she was permitted to mourn her family, the captor might then claim her for his wife. The fact that her hair was shaved at the beginning of her captivity, whether as a sign of her subjugation or as a part of her mourning, may also indicate to what extent hair was considered an adornment to women. Some scholars have suggested that cutting her hair made the captive less attractive to her captor, perhaps even with the intent that over the course of the month his ardor would cool and he would eventually let her go.

This practice of cutting a woman's hair, which only pertained to captives during biblical times, later developed into a cultural distinctive for some Jewish women. The practice of shaving a woman's hair upon marriage, while not directly influenced by this biblical account, became prevalent in central Europe and especially Hungary in the early modern period. Under the influence no doubt of the dominant rabbinical scholar and traditionalist, Hatam Sofer (1762-1839), Jewish law required a woman to cut her hair after she wed. This shows that a fringe biblical practice that only pertained to foreign women was eventually converted into a normative religious ritual that pertained to observant Jewish women. What the Bible imposed as a sign of both subjugation and mourning was transformed by history thousands of years later into an expression of female immodesty Although many rabbis inveighed against the practice of cutting one's hair after marriage, this ritual nevertheless took hold in a number of communities.

In post-biblical Judaism, covering of the hair signaled a transition in the female life cycle, symbolizing the departure from maidenhood into womanhood.

Hair Covering: Law or Custom?

The approach taken by post-biblical interpreters has been influenced by how they have categorized the practice, whether as law (halakhah) or custom (minhag). Was hair covering a custom in the Talmudic period, or a halakhically-binding rule? What was the force and authority of custom in Judaism? Religious authorities have disputed the matter through the centuries. The categories have not always been clearly distinguishable, particularly since custom in Judaism often receives the force of law anyway. Jewish law could even be based upon custom. For example, legal rulings sometimes cited custom as a historical, authoritative precedent.

Custom is formulated by the practice of the people, not decreed from on high by authorities. Yet custom in Judaism, unlike law, functions without preconceived intent and anonymously. This means that there is a certain anarchist, populist tendency in the process. Discomfort with the undefined lines of authority inherent in custom led some rabbis to formulate the principle that all custom actually comes from earlier, forgotten law (i.e., rather than just from the people). This represents an effort to lend greater legitimacy to what already constituted usual practice.

Custom has a force and dynamic of its own. It is one of the ways in which religious practice develops and is reinterpreted over time. However, the development of custom is not entirely allowed a free reign. Sometimes a custom was deemed inappropriate, and religious authorities stepped in to fight against it. This seems to be what has happened both in the case of modern women choosing to wear wigs or choosing to uncover their hair, as will be discussed below.

Hair Covering in Classical Rabbinic Sources

In addition to law and custom, Jewish religious practice is subdivided into other categories. In our case, the obscure concept of dat Yehudit plays an important role. Literally, dat Yehudit means 'Jewish Law;' but this explanation does not tell the whole story. The Mishna appears to say that the duty to cover hair is a dat Yehudit rather than a Law of Moses, clearly implying that there is a distinction between a 'Mosaic Law' and a 'Jewish Law' (dat Yehudit). 'Mosaic Law' is apparently considered by the Mishna to be Torah-derived, whereas 'Jewish Law' seems to be Jewish practice stemming from the people, i.e., what we have described as custom. Thus, the Mishna apparently considered hair covering to be a matter of Jewish custom. Nevertheless, the Talmud (or, Gemara) gives biblical foundation for the practice of hair covering and, contrary to the Mishna, declares it to be a Torah-derived law. Furthermore, it is interesting that the term dat Yehudit is used only in connection with women's behavior, leading some scholars to conclude that the term specifically relates to women's modesty.

Modesty laws in rabbinic literature functionally acted to render the woman inaccessible and unavailable to all but her husband. Rousselle, a cultural historian, writes in regard to ancient Rome that the veil or hood worn by an honorable woman 'constituted a warning: it signified that the wearer was a respectable woman and that no man dare approach without risking grave penalties. Although the veil was a symbol of subjection, it was also a badge of honor, of sexual reserve, and hence of mastery of the self' (A History of Women in the West, p.315). Similarly, hair covering was a sign not only of rabbinic modesty but of her belonging to a particular man, and the veil had to be worn whenever she was in mixed company or went out in public (M.Ketubot 7:6). According to the Mishna, a woman going about with uncovered hair represented unacceptable conduct. In fact such behavior is so improper, that it is considered sufficient grounds for a husband to divorce his wife without benefit of compensatory financial support (ketubah). The Mishna states:

These are they that are put away without their ketubah: a wife that transgresses the Law of Moses [dat Moshe] and Jewish custom [dat Yehudit]. What [conduct is such that transgresses] the Law of Moses? If she gives her husband untithed food, or has connection with him in her uncleanness, or does not set apart dough-offering, or utters a vow and does not fulfill it. And what [conduct is such that transgresses] Jewish custom? If she goes out with her hair unbound, or spins in the street, or speaks with any man (B.Ketubot 72a-b).

The Talmud (Gemara) attempts to minimize the distinction made by the earlier rabbis of the Mishna. They question the categorizing of the practice as being merely custom, and argue that it should instead be understood as pentateuchal. The rabbis, in doing this, made the practice of hair covering for women even more stringent, by viewing it as not only rabbinic, but pentateuchal. The Talmud selects the unhappy subject of the suspected adulteress (sotah) to demonstrate its case:

'And what [is deemed to be a wife's transgression against] Jewish practice? Going out with uncovered head.' [Is not the prohibition against going out with] an uncovered head pentateuchal; for it is written, �And he shall parah [?] the woman's [i.e., the suspected adulteress'] head [Num 5:18], and this, it was taught at the school of R. Ishmael, was a warning to the daughters of Israel that they should not go out with uncovered head.

The Talmud's claim that hair covering is a biblical injunction, is based upon the command in the book of Numbers that the priest is to parah the hair of the suspected adulteress. The word parah is variously understood. We will present four sources, two from the Talmud, one from the Tosephta, and one from Midrash, to demonstrate that opinions about the word and what exactly the priest was doing to the sotah's hair were not uniform, in contrast to the assumption held by many today that he was uncovering her hair. First, the Talmudic passage just cited explains it to mean, 'uncovered.' Some interpreters claim that this is proof that the women normally had their hair covered, or the priest would not have been able to uncover it. Even if the Talmud is correct, the biblical source cited about the sotah is only evidence that the custom was observed in biblical times; is not proof of the practice being biblically ordained for all time. The second source, an early Midrash known as Sifrei, offers two different, contradictory interpretations of this difficult word parah. The first view states that in order to fulfill the ritual of parah, the priest had to stand behind the accused. A second, anonymous opinion then adds that this biblical rule teaches that daughters of Israel must cover their heads:

"And he shall parah the head of the woman.' The priest turns to stand behind her and performs the act of parah in order to fulfill the biblical commandment of parah, the words of R. Ishmael. It teaches concerning the daughters of Israel that they should cover their heads (M.Sota 1:5).

In other words, the first view was that the word parah means unloosening the sotah's hair, while the second opinion supports the contradictory belief that it refers to uncovering her hair. The medieval commentator Rashi explicitly supports our explanation for the first statement in Sifrei, i.e., that the priest was unraveling, not uncovering, her hair. He cites Sifrei, and explains it by adding that the priest was standing behind the woman so that he could unloosen her braids. Nevertheless, he undermines the importance of this variant interpretation by concluding with the second opinion in Sifrei that from this we learn that daughters of Israel should not uncover their heads. Rashi elsewhere totally ignores the explanation of 'unloosen,' Itating that parah always means 'uncoveringhe hairhair
Our third example comes from the Tosephta. The majority of Tosephta manuscripts do not mention undoing the woman's braided hair. They say only that the priest uncovered her head (Sota 8a). A minority of the manuscripts, however, provide an explanation that encompasses both meanings of the word parah. Adopting a measure for measure sense of retribution, this view states that just as she had spread her sheets for her r, the priest takes the covering from her head and puts it under his feet; just as she had braided her hair for her r, the priest dishevels it. The Talmudic commentary on the mishnaic tractate Sota offers our fourth and final source. The rabbis question (as do we) the source of a surprising mishnaic statement that not only the sotah's hair is affected, but her bosom is to be uncovered as part of her shame. After deliberation, they come to the conclusion that the woman's hair is to be loosened, and her bosom uncovered. Hence they incorporate both meanings of parah, 'to itoover,' and 'to loosen.'

Summary of Views on Parah -- To "Uncover" or "Loosen?"

The evidence presented indicates that there was considerable difference of opinion concerning the translation of the pivotal word parah. Did it mean to uncover or to loosen? We have seen that while the majority of texts support the interpretation of 'uncover,' there is a significant minority view that accepts the meaning of 'loosen.' Mishna Sota, Sifrei and a minority of Tosephta manuscripts all include the idea of 'loosening.' The Talmud on Sota also lends itself to the interpretation of 'to loosen;' whereas the Talmud on Ketubot embraces the opposing view, 'to uncover.'

Although there is uncertainty about the meaning of the word, parah, whether 'uncover,' or 'loosen,' it is Ketubot, with its emphasis that hair covering is pentateuchal and dat Moshe and based on the biblical verse dealing with the sotah, that eventually became widely accepted. This is in spite of the fact that it contradicts the Mishna upon which it is based.

Despite the prevailing view that hair covering is biblically based, the practice is surprisingly not listed among the fundamental biblical commandments, according to the taryag mitzvot (rabbinic enumerations of the 613 commandments of Judaism). In light of the religious emphasis upon hair covering in halakhic Judaism and the claim that it is biblically based, it is rather disheartening that women who do cover their hair apparently do not reap the benefit of performing a biblically ordained mitzvah.

The Seductiveness of Eve as a Cause for Hair Covering

We have just surveyed hair covering in the Mishna and Gemara; now we turn to the Midrash to see what light may be shed on the subject. Instead of the sotah imagery employed so heavily in halakhic sources, aggadic traditions rely on an equivalent typology by employing the figure of Eve. They interpret the custom of hair covering as a sign of woman's shame and feeling of guilt for Eve's sin. The Midrash implicitly understands Eve's attractiveness as having contributed to her temptation and seduction of the man. Consequently, it became her responsibility to modestly cover her hair, considered a sexually alluring feature that men would be powerless to resist.

Blaming women for seducing men finds fuller expression in The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (ARN): 'Why does woman cover her head and man not cover his head? A parable. To what may this be compared? To a woman who disgraced herself and because she disgraced herself, she is ashamed in the presence of people. In the same way Eve disgraced herself and caused her daughters to cover their heads' (B.Ber.51a). The Midrash continues in this vein, explaining that women walk before the bier at funeral processions, heads covered, to atone for Eve's having brought death into the world (ARN). Talmudic passages dealing with hair covering do not mention the Eve story, although the notion remains that women's hair is sexually enticing. It is for this reason that one must not recite the Shema prayer in front of a woman with uncovered hair. Women, then, must cover their heads so as to not distract men from their prayers.

Hair covering From the Middle Ages to Modern Times

By the time of the Middle Ages, covering of hair as a religious obligation was firmly entrenched. This is not surprising, since it was still the general societal practice for married women�both in the Christian and Muslim world�to cover their hair (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Ishut 24:12). In the Jewish world, contemporary religious teachers added impetus to its observance. Rashi repeatedly emphasizes that the law of the sotah teaches that Jewish women were not to uncover their heads, and his teaching certainly held great weight and reinforced the practice. Maimonides, and later the authoritative code of Jewish law known as the Shulhan Arukh, speak of hair covering as the accepted traditional practice for all married Jewish women.

From Veil to Wig

The first serious challenge to traditional hair covering came from the wearing of wigs, which came into vogue among the French in the 16th century. Both French men and women wore wigs, and the fashion eventually took hold among Jewish women. The practice of wearing wigs was at first denounced by rabbinic authorities but was eventually accepted by most rabbis. Still, many pious Jewish women, accustomed to more traditional headgear, found it difficult to accept the new custom. It led to controversy in the Jewish community. Some felt that the wig itself was satisfactory head cover, while others wore a wig and put a covering over it.

Cosmetic use of wigs and hair pieces was already a feature of women's styles in the Talmudic period. However, wigs were never intended in the Talmud to be a substitute for hair covering. Many European rabbis of this period inveighed against what appeared to them a novelty and inappropriate emulation of the ways of the nations (hukat ha-goy).

The rabbis maintained that the traditional prohibition against women displaying their hair was to prevent the special feminine attraction from bringing men to unholy thoughts. The wig, they claimed, could evoke the same feelings as the women's own hair. R. Katzenellenbogen (16th century Padua) encouraged women to accept the teachings of their leaders, even when they sometimes proved unpleasant. He adjured them not to go with uncovered hair, nor to don a wig. To beautify oneself with a wig, he argued, was as if one went uncovered, since to the naked eye there appeared no difference between hair and wig. Other rabbis, as late as the 18th century, mustered an array of halakhic arguments to show that wigs should be prohibited. R. Jacob Emden (1697-1776) was among a number of others who disapproved of the wearing of wigs, even declaring that reading of the Shema in the presence of a woman wearing a wig was prohibited. On the other hand, R. Moshe Isserles (1525?-1572), in his notes to the Shulhan Arukh, declared the wig to be acceptable; and his lenient ruling was eventually accepted by Ashkenzi Jewry.

No doubt great pressure was exerted by women, whose legitimate right to make themselves attractive was recognized. Though the fashion of wigs was discontinued among non-Jews, it continued among Jews as a religious necessity. Once Jewish women experienced the relative freedom of the wig, as compared to the scarf, in giving them beauty and self-respect, they refused to resume the earlier head covering. Despite their lack of halakhic influence, the women made a statement through their continued wearing of the wig in the face of rabbinic opposition. The amount of documentation representing rabbinic discussion of the matter demonstrates the extent to which women were disobeying rabbinic objections. Between the scarf and the wig, women chose the wig and stubbornly fought for the right to wear it.

Eventually, however, there was dissatisfaction with the wig as well, which found expression in the large numbers of women who simply stopped wearing them. By the early 20th century, R. Jehiel Epstein (author of the Arukh ha-Shulhan) deplored the lack of observance of head covering among women, already claiming that the majority of women violated its observance. However, cognizant of this most unhappy reality, he makes it clear that it is permissible to pray in the presence of women whose hair is uncovered. In his Arukh ha-Shulhan he states, �Let us now decry the tragic circumstances that have befallen us in our generation�Jewish women have become lax and now appear in public with their hair uncovered�according to the Law, it appears to me that it is now permissible for a man to recite Devarim Shebikedusha in their presence.� Epstein's ruling was societally motivated by an environment in which the practice of head covering was no longer widely observed. Societal mores led some rabbis to take a more lenient stance toward head covering. R. Yehoshua Babad (1754-1838) wrote that the matter depended upon the general local practice. Jewish women should do as other women of their locale did. If the women of a region were not accustomed to going about with head covering, then Jewish women could not be considered immodest if they also did not cover their hair. There were other rabbis who tolerated uncovered hair. R. Joseph Mashash, as well as R. Gershuni, seemed lenient toward the issue of hair covering. Both Mashash and Gershuni specifically rule that modern Jewish women need not cover their hair.

Rabbi J. B. Hurewitz (1868-1935) was particularly energetic in his support of Jewish women who chose to uncover their hair, a position for which he drew considerable criticism (Yad Halevi [Jerusalem, 1933]). Hurewitz defended both innovations�the wig (although he considered it ugly) and the bare head�because he claimed that societal changes could lead to a change in Jewish custom. Following the same line of reasoning as Babad, he argued that in a place where it is acceptable to cover the hair, a woman going against the accepted custom is regarded as immodest. Men in such a place are unaccustomed to seeing a woman's hair and will become excited at the sight of her. In this instance, there is no difference between a married and an unmarried woman. Concerning unmarried girls, Hurewitz introduces various rabbinic sources attesting that in different locations they do go out with uncovered hair even though the married women cover their hair. The practice of unmarried girls, therefore, also depends on the custom of the place.

In principle Hurewitz was opposed to the use of wigs. He stated that in a place where women covered their hair, a woman going out with a wig was in transgression of pentateuchal law. Nevertheless, Hurewitz continues, the custom had spread in spite of consistent rabbinic opposition to it. Women became accustomed to the wig, and gradually opposition faded. Hurewitz maintains that women eventually became dissatisfied with the wig as well; and, gradually, many stopped wearing it. They disregarded male protests, especially in America, until it became the custom even for modest and observant women to go with uncovered heads. Who, Hurewitz queries, would dare today to say that these women are immodest and sinful? He replies to his own question by stating that the daughters of Israel are respectable and decent.

Although Hurewitz does not condone the actions of the few Jewish women who first broke with convention, he ultimately accepts the societal change that was brought about after the grass-roots movement had become wide-spread and began to represent normal practice. Hurewitz is also unique in suggesting that uncovering their hair allows women to fit into the society in which they live. Blending into the larger society, however, is not usually considered a plus in traditional circles.

Opponents of uncovering the hair, on the other hand, assert even today that hair covering cannot be changed (whether or not it is pentateuchal) because it is based on an underlying Jewish principle�modesty�which cannot be countervailed. Modesty, they would argue, is not variable, regardless of the mores of the larger society. Consequently, any change in the practice would result in a misguided custom that cannot be countenanced.


As has been shown in this essay, the Bible presents little information, only suggesting that some covering might have been worn, as was customary throughout the ancient Near East. In the Rabbinic Period, the practice became obligatory. Classical rabbinic sources illustrate great concern for the practice; however, there is no uniform opinion as to whether hair covering is pentateuchal or a custom. By the Middle Ages, hair covering was uniformly observed by Jewish women, while the modern age saw a grass-roots rebellion among women fomenting use of the wig as an alternative to hair covering. The rabbinic opposition was eventually overcome. Gradually, there was widespread disregard for the practice of hair covering itself. Nevertheless, for Jews who were religiously oriented, the problem of how to avoid hair covering within the realm of halakhah had to be confronted. There were a few rabbis who tolerated the lapse of the custom with the understanding that society had changed and it was no longer considered immodest to keep one's hair uncovered. Most rabbinic decisors, however, were determined to protect the halakhah from incursion and change.

With the resurgence of Orthodoxy in the 1950's, the majority view has become particularly burdensome for many religious women, who chafe against the hair-covering restriction, much as religious women did in earlier periods. It is, therefore, unfortunate that there has been no contemporary effort among Orthodox rabbis to directly confront and resolve this issue (although it is not surprising given the strong move to the right among many, if not most, Orthodox rabbis, and the continued inability of the Orthodox Rabbinate to solve other serious problems involving women).

Many religious women have internalized the value of hair covering and find meaning in it. For them it remains an essential and distinctive expression of their religious belief. And for these women, there is the freedom within our western society to live out their beliefs. Other Jewish women, however, find ritual head covering restrictive and oppressive. These other women feel they can remain true to their faith without donning a wig (shaytlach) or headscarf (tikhlach). Further, they feel that there is sufficient precedent in Jewish law that they can, as Rabbi Hurewitz and others have suggested, be modest, observant women with or without covering their hair. Further, they also might point to other reasons for wanting to go sans head covering, i.e., discomfort, unattractiveness, a wish to express feministic ideals, and a desire to conform to social conventions.

While there have been efforts by halakhists through the ages to alleviate difficult problems, sadly, hair covering has not generally been viewed as deserving of halakhic reconsideration and restructuring. Recently the publication of books dealing with this very issue has stimulated more discussion (see Lynne Schreiber's book, Hide and Seek, which provides numerous Orthodox views on the matter). Perhaps the near future will show another concentrated effort of women to bring about the reinterpretation of this practice of Jewish law that so intimately relates to them.

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Presentation on theme: "© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 © 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning All rights reserved.

2 Chapter Objectives After studying this chapter, you should be able to
Identify the advantages of integrating human resources planning and strategic planning.Understand how an organization’s competitive environment influences its strategic planning.Understand why it is important for an organization to do an internal resource analysis.Describe the basic tools used for human resources forecasting.Explain the linkages between competitive strategies and HR.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

3 Chapter Objectives (cont’d) After studying this chapter, you should be able to
Understand what is required for a firm to successfully implement a strategy.Recognize the methods for assessing and measuring the effectiveness of a firm’s strategy.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

4 Strategic Planning and Human Resources
Procedures for making decisions about the organization’s long-term goals and strategiesHuman Resources Planning (HRP)Process of anticipating and making provision for the movement (flow) of people into, within, and out of an organization.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

5 Strategic Planning and HR Planning
Strategic Human Resources Management (SHRM)The pattern of human resources deployments and activities that enable an organization to achieve its strategic goalsStrategy formulation—providing input as to what is possible given the types and numbers of people available.Support strategy creationStrategy implementation—making primary resource allocation decisions about structure, processes, and human resources.Create functional strategy to implement corporate strategy© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

6 Linking Strategic Planning and HRP
Strategic AnalysisWhat human resources are needed and what are available?Strategic FormulationWhat is required and necessary in support of human resources?Strategic ImplementationHow will the human resources be allocated?Human Resources PlanningStrategic Planning© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

7 Linking Strategic Planning and Human Resources
FIGURE 2.1Linking Strategic Planning and Human Resources√√√√√√√√√√√© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

8 Step One: Mission, Vision, and Values
The basic purpose of the organization as well as its scope of operationsStrategic VisionA statement about where the company is going and what it can become in the future; clarifies the long-term direction of the company and its strategic intentCore ValuesThe strong and enduring beliefs and principles that the company uses as a foundation for its decisionsThese elements set the culture for the organization and its employees.Sets the ethics. What is right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable.How to treat customers, suppliers, and each other.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

9 Step Two: Environmental Scanning
The systematic monitoring of the major external forces influencing the organization.Economic factors: general, regional, and global conditionsIndustry and competitive trends: new processes, services, and innovationsTechnological changes: robotics and office automationGovernment and legislative issues: laws and administrative rulingsSocial concerns: child care and educational prioritiesDemographic and labor market trends: age, composition, literacy, and immigration© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

10 X Five Forces Framework FIGURE 2.2
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11 Step Three: Internal Analysis (3 Cs)
CultureCompositionCapabilitiesInternal Analysis© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

12 Culture: Auditing Values, Beliefs, and Attitudes
Cultural AuditsAudits of the culture and quality of work life in an organization.How do employees spend their time?How do they interact with each other?Are employees empowered?What is the predominant leadership style of managers?How do employees advance within the organization?Before any HR planning can take place, managers have to gain a clear idea of how employees view their organization, which is what the cultural audit helps do.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

13 Capabilities: People as a Strategic Resource
Core CapabilitiesIntegrated knowledge sets within an organization that distinguish it from its competitors and deliver value to customers.Sustained competitive advantage through people is achieved if these human resources:Are valuable.Are rare and unavailable to competitors. (Not individuals, but groups of people.)Are difficult to imitate.Are organized for teamwork and cooperation.Does your company today have these HR resources?© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

14 Composition: The Human Capital Architecture
Strategic Knowledge WorkersEmployees who have unique skills that are directly linked to the company’s strategy.Example: R&D scientistsCore EmployeesEmployees with skills to perform a predefined job that are quite valuable to a company, but not particularly unique or difficult to replace.Example: salespeople© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

15 Composition: The Human Capital Architecture (cont’d)
Supporting LaborEmployees whose skills are of less strategic value and generally available in the labor market.Example: clerical workersExample: manual labor factory workersAlliance PartnersIndividuals and groups with unique skills, but those skills are not directly related to a company’s core strategy.Example: consultants© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

16 X Mapping Skills of Your Human Capital FIGURE 2.3
© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

17 Forecasting: A Critical Element of Planning
Forecasting estimates the number and type of people needed to meet organizational objectivesForecasting involves:forecasting the demand for laborforecasting the supply of laborbalancing supply and demand considerations.How do you forecast HR needs?What is the forecast based on?© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

18 X Model of HR Forecasting FIGURE 2.4
© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

19 Forecasting Demand for Employees
Quantitative MethodsQualitative MethodsForecasting Demand© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

20 Quantitative Approach: Trend Analysis
Forecasting labor demand based on an organizational index such as sales:Select a business factor that best predicts human resources needs.Plot the business factor in relation to the number of employees to determine the labor productivity ratio.Compute the productivity ratio for the past five years.Calculate human resources demand by multiplying the business factor by the productivity ratio.Project human resources demand out to the target year(s).Be very careful with quantitative analysis. It implies more accuracy than is possible. How are the operational managers going to use it, if they use it at all? Some of this is engineering envy.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

21 X Example of Trend Analysis of HR Demand FIGURE 2.5
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22 Qualitative Approaches
Management ForecastsThe opinions (judgments) of supervisors, department managers, experts, or others knowledgeable about the organization’s future employment needs.Delphi TechniqueAn attempt to decrease the subjectivity of forecasts by soliciting and summarizing the judgments of a preselected group of individuals.The final forecast represents a composite group judgment.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

23 1HR Planning and Strategy Questions to Ask Business Managers (How Will You Answer?)Workforce planning requires that HR leaders periodically interview their managers to gauge future workforce needs. Here are some sample questions to ask.What are your mission, vision, and values?What are your current pressing business issues?What are our organizational strengths?Who are our competitors’ organizational strengths? How do we compare?What core capabilities do we need to win in our markets?•What are the required knowledge, skills, and abilities we need to execute the winning strategy?What are the barriers to optimally achieving the strategy?What types of skills and positions will be required or no longer required?Which skills should we have internally versus contract with outside providers?What actions need to be taken to align our resources with strategy priorities?What recognition and rewards are needed to attract, motivate, and retain the employees we need?How will we know if we are effectively executing our workforce plan and staying on track?© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

24 Forecasting the Supply of Employees: Internal Labor Supply
Staffing TablesMarkov AnalysisSkill InventoriesReplacement ChartsSuccession Planning© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

25 Forecasting Internal Labor Supply
XForecasting Internal Labor SupplyStaffing TablesGraphic representations of all organizational jobs, along with the numbers of employees currently occupying those jobs and future (monthly or yearly) employment requirements.Markov AnalysisA method for tracking the pattern of employee movements through various jobs.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

26 X Hypothetical Markov Analysis for a Retail Company FIGURE 2.6
© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

27 Internal Demand Forecasting Tools
Skill InventoriesFiles of personnel education, experience, interests, skills, etc., that allow managers to quickly match job openings with employee backgrounds.Replacement ChartsListings of current jobholders and persons who are potential replacements if an opening occurs.Succession PlanningThe process of identifying, developing, and tracking key individuals for executive positions.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

28 An Executive Replacement Chart
FIGURE 2.7An Executive Replacement ChartThink of planned and unplanned replacement.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

2XSuccession-Planning ChecklistRATE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR SUCCESSION PLANNINGFor each characteristic of a best-practice succession-planning and management program appearing in the left column below, enter a number to the right to indicate how well you believe your organization manages that characteristic. Ask other decision makers in your organization to complete this form individually, compile the scores, and compare notes.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

30 X Assessing a Firm’s Human Capital FIGURE 2.8
© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

31 Step Four: Formulating Strategy
Strategy FormulationMoving from simple analysis to devising a coherent course of action.SWOT analysisA comparison of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for strategy formulation purposes.Helps management understand the major facts and forecasts from internal and external analysis.Use the strengths of the organization to capitalize on opportunities, counteract threats, and alleviate internal weaknesses.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

32 X An Example of a SWOT Analysis
FIGURE 2.9An Example of a SWOT AnalysisValero Energy Corporation (Valero) is one of the largest refiners in North America. Its core activities include refining and marketing of petroleum products. With a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3.3 million bpd, Valero is the 15th largest company on the Fortune 500 list. Valero’s large refining capacity gives it a significant competitive advantage. However, rising material and labor costs could affect the company’s margins.StrengthsWeaknessesLarge refining system Leader in conversion capacity and feedstock flexibility Strong revenue growth and capital expenditureWeak performance in Canada Litigations High dependence on the United StatesOpportunitiesThreatsGrowing diesel demand Strategic refocus Rising petrochemical capacity in the Middle EastMaterial and labor cost Stringent regulations© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

33 Corporate Strategy Go-it-alone Corporate Strategies Corporate Strategy
Strategic Alliances and Joint VenturesGrowth and DiversificationMergers and AcquisitionsCorporate StrategyGo-it-alone Corporate StrategiesCooperative Corporate StrategiesHR has input to corporate strategy, but as a department it is rarely a driver of the strategy like R&D or Ops is.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

34 Business Strategy Value Creation
What the firm adds to a product or service by virtue of making it; the amount of benefits provided by the product or service once the costs of making it are subtracted (value = benefits — costs).Low-cost strategy: competing on productivity and efficiencyKeeping costs low to offer an attractive price to customers (relative to competitors).Differentiation strategy: compete on added valueInvolves providing something unique and distinctive to customers that they value.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

35 3 Key HR Activities Associated with Merger or Acquisition (M&A)
© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

36 3Key HR Activities Associated with Merger or Acquisition Phases (cont’d)HR is a critical and often overlooked part of an M&A strategy. Cultural compatibility is crucial and HR can identify that, but rarely can they do much about it.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

37 Business Strategy (cont’d)
Functional Strategy: Ensuring AlignmentExternal Fit/AlignmentFocuses on the connection between the business objectives and the major initiatives in HR.Internal Fit/AlignmentAligning HR practices with one another to establish a configuration that is mutually reinforcing.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

38 Step Five: Strategy Implementation
Taking Action: Reconciling Supply and DemandBalancing demand and supply considerationsForecasting business activities (trends)Locating applicantsOrganizational downsizing, outsourcing, offshoringReducing “headcount”Making layoff decisionsSeniority or performance?Labor agreementsOften dictated by seniority.Global cultural/legal issues.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

39 XFIGURE 2.10The 7-S Model© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

40 Step Six: Evaluation and Assessment
Evaluation and Assessment IssuesBenchmarking: The process of comparing the organization’s processes and practices with those of other companiesHuman capital metricsAssess aspects of the workforceHR metricsAssess the performance of the HR function itself© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

41 4 Ten Measures of Human Capital Your most important issues
Human capital value addedHuman capital ROISeparation costVoluntary separation rateTotal labor-cost/revenue percentageTotal compensation/revenue percentageTraining investment factorTime to startRevenue factor© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

42 Measuring a Firm’s Strategic Alignment
Strategy Mapping and the Balanced ScorecardBalanced Scorecard (BSC)A measurement framework that helps managers translate strategic goals into operational objectivesFinancialCustomerProcessesLearning© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

43 X Building the Metrics Model FIGURE 2.11
© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

44 X Assessing Internal Fit FIGURE 2.12
5 = Strongly supports the priority, 0= Neutral, –5 = Strongly counterproductive© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

45 Ensuring Strategic Flexibility for the Future
Organizational CapabilityCapacity of the organization to act and change in pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage.Coordination flexibilityThe ability to rapidly reallocate resources to new or changing needs.Resource flexibilityHaving human resources who can do many different things in different ways.© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

46 Balanced Scorecard (BSC) benchmarking core capabilities core values
cultural auditsenvironmental scanninghuman capital readinesshuman resources planning (HRP)management forecastsMarkov analysismissionorganizational capabilityreplacement chartsskill inventoriesstaffing tablesstrategic human resources management (SHRM)strategic planningstrategic visionsuccession planningSWOT analysistrend analysisvalue creation© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

47 Discussion Questions (page 85)
#3 What criteria must be met if firms are to achieve a competitive advantage through their employees?#5 What competitive environmental forces influence a firm’s strategy?© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

48 Case Study in External Analysis—Bangladesh (7/17/10 NYT)
Cheap labor competes with China, particularly in garments. 20% increase vs 5% decrease in China.China’s low-paying jobs being exported to Bangladesh, Cambodia, Viet NamBangladesh minimum wage $24/month (in China $117-$147/mo)China has much better education (92% literacy vs 55% in Bangladesh), better transportation, better electricityMore efficient productionVery complicated analysisChina demanding higher wages, so are other countriesHigher wages mean higher costs for machineryIn Bangladesh, companies say if minimum wage goes to $71/ mo, they will close down. Even if $43/month many will close.What does this mean for HR management?© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

49 Page 89 #2, Bad Hair Day Religious Custom
Case StudyPage 89 #2, Bad Hair Day Religious Custom© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

50 X© 2010 South-Western, a part of Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

51 Employee Turnover Rates

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