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Week 1 Discussion:

Discussion: Collaboration or Exploitation?

You are an HR executive for Supermart, a retailer that has markets worldwide. The nature of the business is that countless smaller firms are needed to supply the vast array of items offered in your stores. Competition among potential wholesalers is fierce, and many of them are willing to accept slim profit margins in order to partner with your organization. For example, one supplier is so eager for prime shelf space, that the terms they are willing to agree to seem almost too favorable for your company.

Even though you are sensitive to the idea that effective partnerships should work for all parties, the reality is that you have three considerations in partnership agreements: (1) maximizing the welfare of shareholders of the firm, (2) maximizing the potential success of the partnership, and (3) behaving ethically. Increasing returns on investment (ROI) without compromising ethical standards is the goal, but that can be hard to balance with maximizing the welfare of shareholders of the firm. In some cases, an exploitative model may emerge.

Senior leadership of your organization has identified one particular wholesaler as a likely partnering candidate, and is quickly moving into pre-buy discussions. Based on your understanding of the prospective partner, it appears that a partnership with this particular wholesaler might be heavily weighted in your favor, so much so that you are concerned that the relationship could be exploitative in nature and potentially pose great difficulties in integrating the two entities. Yet, the deal could also be highly advantageous to your company overall.

To prepare for this Discussion,

Review this week’s Learning Resources, especially:




Respond to

 two or more of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

· Ask a probing question.

· Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings.

· Offer and support an opinion.

· Validate an idea with your own experience.

· Make a suggestion.

· Expand on your colleagues’ postings.

· APA citing

· No plagiarism

1st Colleague – Natasha Mills 

Week 1-Collaboration or Exploitation?

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A partnership or strategic alliance has no standard definition. However, partnerships consist of elements such as being strategic in intent, focusing on major economic benefits and long-term goals, as well as building strong connections between the partners that are founded on support of each partner, collaboration, and future interests (Mitchell, 2013). A combination of these elements gives partnerships the reference of a marriage due to the level of commitment required. This commitment is tied in through money, and the achievements or failures of the partnerships have implications on the reputation of the partners.

Types of Business Partnerships HR Executives Manage

Various business partnerships exist, with varying levels of partnership quality, collaborative innovation, and value creation. Gibbs & Richard (2009) list eight types of partnerships, including deserters, captive sharks, cherry pickers, evolving pessimists, rebellious teenagers, no can dos, evangelists, and stable pragmatists. The scenario presented falls under the evangelists type of partnership. According to Gibbs & Richard (2009), evangelists have high partnership quality, collaborative innovation, and value creation. This stems from their awareness that the relationship has complete collaboration and that no factors can be improved based on a self-assessment of the relationship.

The association of the presented scenario with the evangelists type of partnership is due to the nature of the relationship yet to be formed. The three considerations in the partnership agreement for HR include maximizing the potential success of the business, maximizing the welfare of the firm’s shareholders, and behaving ethically. Partnership with the wholesaler, the senior leadership of the organization has identified checks all the considerations of the agreement. The only concern is that the partnership is more in favor of the organization than the prospective partner. However, this is merely a concern on the HR part. The initial part of the case study states that due to the fierce competition between the potential wholesalers, they are willing to accept slim profit margins. This means that the prospective wholesaler the senior leadership of the organization has identified will likely be satisfied with the nature of the partnership formed regardless of the conditions. Therefore, the partner, similar to the organization, will experience high value creation, high collaborative innovation, and high partnership quality, all of which are features of the evangelists type of partnership (Gibbs & Richard, 2009).

How HR Executives can Objectively Evaluate the Pros and Cons of Potential Partnerships

The best way for human resource executives to objectively evaluate the pros and cons of potential partnerships is to have a clear sense of strategic directions and priorities. Mitchell (2013) posits that this will be the driving force and motivation for the HR executives’ decisions and actions concerning the partnership. However, for more objectivity, the HR executives are also obligated to consider their partner’s interests to make the alliance more balanced. This is critical because only focusing on the strategic directions of one side of the partnership may cause the other partner to feel disgruntled, leading to low quality partnerships, collaborative innovation, and value creation. Simply put, HR executives should identify the organization’s strategic priorities and directions and figure out how to harmonize them with those of the prospective partners for objective evaluation of the pros and cons of the partnerships.   

Responsibilities of HR Executives to Stakeholders and Potential Partners

HR executives have the core responsibility of ensuring the partnerships the organization gets into increase the bottom line, both for the stakeholders and the potential partners. HR executives can achieve this through the objective assessment of the underlying factors in each partnership to understand what each partner hopes to achieve, know the strengths of each side, and maximize the bargaining position. After that, the HR executives, on behalf of the organization, should work with the potential partner to create a way to measure success (Mitchell, 2013). From this perspective, HR executives’ responsibilities to various stakeholders of the organization and potential partners can be summarized as harmonizing the interests of each side of the partnership to ensure its success.


Gibbs, R., & Humphries, A. (2009). Strategic alliances and marketing partnerships: gaining competitive advantage through collaboration and partnering. Kogan Page Publishers.

Mitchell, J. R. (2013). Strategic alliances. Retrieved

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2nd Colleague – Deidra Walker-Quarterman 

RE: Discussion – Week 1

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The role of the HR business partner is to make sure human resource policy and procedure throughout the organization fit the needs, goals, and aims of the organization and its top leadership. Nevertheless, there is less focus on administration, compliance, and management. The HR business partner works with the big picture rather than performing the day-to-day training or dealing with policy wording or the details of benefits packages and hiring. As business managers, HR professionals should recognize potential partnerships and analyze how such relationships can assist the organization’s objectives and work with senior leadership. As part of the other types of business partnerships HR executives manage, they are also involved in scenarios where competing for potential partnerships needs to be evaluated and decisions made (Lawler & Boudreau, 2009).   


An evaluation should include a set of evaluation criteria used to assess all potential partnerships, and each of these criteria should be given a weighting to score the assessment. All issues can be considered, and a particular partnership’s suitability can be demonstrated in a tangible and workable form based on these criteria. In the second step, we would design an evaluation process that specifies how possible partners’ interests will be managed and get a team to evaluate them based on the given criteria. As a final step, Brown & Hogg (2012) recommend testing the partnership with a low-risk project to determine whether it can achieve its objectives.  

Human resources practitioners have some internal and external stakeholders, points out Tesone (2012). Human resources executives are expected to design HR practices that complement each other and fully integrate so that there are no competing agendas among internal stakeholders. Additionally, HR executives advise the company’s top management on strategy and company issues. In the external environment, HR executives are responsible for proposing, designing, and implementing HR strategies that maximize shareholders’ wealth. In their approach to customers and the broader community, HR executives strive to manage external information, improve collaborations, and meet customer needs.   

Armstrong, M. (2012). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Brown, A. & Hogg, p. (2012). Successful strategic alliances: Choosing the right partner. Financial Post. Retrieved from:[1]alliances-choosing-the-right-partner

Lawler, E. E., & Boudreau, J. W. (2009). Achieving excellence in human resources management: An assessment of human resource functions. Stanford, Calif: Stanford Business Books.

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