Dave Ulrich’s Human Resource Model Development


One of the most, if not the most, successful model of human resource management, the approach suggested by Dave Ulrich must be viewed as a breakthrough in the understanding of the HRM significance (Becker & Huselid 1999). Traditionally defined as “the basic model which predicts the formation of an accretion disc of particles orbiting a central object due to accretion with rotation” (Mendoza et al. 2009, p. 579), Dave Ulrich’s Model is based on the so-called concept of four roles (Francis & Keegan 2006). Much like any other successful concept, the model developed by Dave Ulrich was a synthesis of the already existing approaches that were slightly altered so that they could help a company allocate its human resources in the most efficient manner possible (Voermans & Veldhoven 2006).

Personnel Management and HRM

The development of the concept of personnel management and HRM was obviously the first step towards the creation of Dave Ulrich’s model (Pritchard 2010). Indeed, the model incorporates the key elements of the personnel management theory, primarily, personnel function (Swift 2012, p. 2). A very basic concept, it still works its way into Ulrich’s framework.

Story’s Four Roles of HR Practitioners

Naturally, when talking about the design of Dave Ulrich’s Model, it is impossible not to touch upon the concept of Story’s Four Roles of HR Practitioners. Taking a single glance at the model is enough to understand that it includes the four elements of HRM defined by Story along with the above-mentioned elements of the theory of personnel management and HRM. Indeed, Ulrich’s model features the roles of the consultant, the so-called handmaiden, who handles non-strategic services, the formulator, who establishes a code of conduct for the staff to comply with, and the change maker, who addresses the innovativeness issues within an organization.

Monk’s Four Roles of Employee Management

Likewise, it is essential to bear in mind that the process of employee management were just as significant for Dave Ulrich’s Model development as Story’s Four Role of HR Practitioners were. Although the concept developed by Monk is rather old, the idea of splitting the roles of a manager into the administrative, industrial, innovative and sophisticated is impressive in its potential. By considering each of the roles, one is capable of managing the schedule, the efficacy and the cooperation in each working team flawlessly. The incorporation of both frameworks allowed for a considerably greater amount of objectivity and a more comprehensive evaluation of the performance that the human resources of an organization deliver. The specified features allow the model to distribute the responsibilities and tasks among the staff members within a company (Ulrich 2013). As a result, an increased efficacy of the staff’s performance and, therefore, a steep rise in the company’s revenues, can be expected (Caldwell 2008, p. 289). Therefore, Monk’s Four Roles have played a major part in the design of Ulrich’s Model (Friedman 2007).


There is no need to stress that Dave Ulrich’s Model has had a huge effect on the evolution of the HRM theory. More importantly, the framework suggested by the researcher has had a range of practical effects (Kirkbirde 2003). It took, however, an impressive amount of time to develop the model (Rüel et al. 2004), and, as a result, it incorporates a range of concepts that were defined prior to the creation of the model by other scholars.


Becker, B E & Huselid, M A 1999, ‘Overview: Strategic human resource management in five leading firms,’ Human Resource Management, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 288–301.

Caldwell, R 2008, ‘HR business partner competency models: re-contextualising effectiveness,’ Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 275–294.

Francis, H & Keegan, E 2006, ‘The changing face of HRM: in search of balance,’ Human Resource Management, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 231–249.

Friedman, B A 2007, ‘Globalization implications for human resource management roles,’ Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 151–157.

Mendoza, S, Tejeda, E & Nagel, E 2009, ‘Analytic solutions to the accretion of a rotating finite cloud towards a central object – I. Newtonian approach,’ Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 393, pp. 579–586.

Pritchard, K 2010, ‘Becoming an HR strategic partner: tales of transition,’ Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 175–188.

Rüel, H, Bondarouk, T & Looise, J K 2004, ‘E-HRM: innovation or irritation. An explorative empirical study in five large companies on webbased HRM,’ EconStor, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 363–364.

Swift, G 2012, ‘Human resource service delivery,’ Managing people and organizations, CIPD, New York, NY, pp. 1–22.

Ulrich, D 2013, Human resource champions: the next agenda for adding value and delivering results, Harvard Business Press, Boston, MA.

Voermans, M & Veldhoven, M v 2006, ‘Attitude towards E-HRM: an empirical study at Philips,’ Personnel Review, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 887–902.

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