. .


Human Resource Management


Politics & Piolicy 

The technological and scientific developments have already reached to a peak, the future growth and success lies in the only other available factor of HRM.

Oct 02 - 08, 2000

The contribution of Human resources to the success of an organization has been emphasized through the doctrine of 'Excellence', 'quality', 'innovation' and 'enterpreneurship'. These developments placed the management of people firmly on the priority attention and created the conditions for the emergence of a new-style theory of personnel management. The need of HRM is felt much more now than ever before. The technological and scientific developments have already reached to a peak, the future growth and success lies in the only other available factor of HRM.

In the most recent years there has been a shift and dramatic increase in management development activities within and outside the country. The activities have extended across a wide spectrum of training initiatives, advanced studies programmes of various durations for practicing managers and supervisors at all levels, with the provision of courses leading to award of professional and academic qualifications and degrees. These modern studies generally do provide a suitable balance between academic rigour and practical business related relevance, but still need improvement to meet the changing requirements of the present business development.

The modern human resource management encompasses the following distinctive features:

• HRM suggests that management and non-management have a common interest in the success of the organization. Its purpose is to ensure that all employees are aware of this objective and committed to common goals.

• Employees be viewed as subjects with the potential for growth and development; the purpose of human resource management is to identify this potential and develop it in line with the adaptive and changing needs of the organization.

• Human resource planning be proactive and match with corporate level planning; human resource issues are treated strategically in an integrated manner, and not in isolation.

• A focus on horizontal authority and reduced hierarchy; a plurring of the rigid distinction between management and non management.

• Wherever possible, responsibility for people management is to develop line managers; the role of personnel professional is to support and facilitate line management in this task, not to control it.

Human resource management may be more useful if it is seen to have more modest aims, in particular the development of a better understanding of the holistic nature of organizational practices. The interrelation between different personnel policies, the relevance to other management activities are the development tools for the analysis and evaluation of human resource requirements in specific organization and settings.

International challenges

During 1970s and 1980s it is apparently noted that US and UK industry failed to compete effectively at the international level due to market penetration of Japanese manufacturers. When the professional managers investigated and analysed the growth factor of Japan for inspiration, they noted and realized that Japanese manufacturing success was rooted in the people and the way in which they were managed. Japanese industry believes that success stem from extensive employee involvement in the business and resulting high level of commitment. What the Japanese industrialization growth suggested was that people at work are indeed the key assets of the business and that the management of people was a central strategic issue, rather than a necessary inconvenience.

A similar reference is the experience of West Germany, the notable success story of western industrial nations, where attention was drawn to workers participation and involvement through mechanism such as workers councils and board level representations and the need to bring people into the equation: to think of them as a source to be valued, developed and actively managed a potential of competitive advantage.

The Japanese style of management provided proof that proponents of the Human Relations styles of Management had long sought to convince skeptical attitude of corporate leaders of the value of 'treating people right.'

Human resources psychology

Human Relations asserts that individuals are motivated not merely by sole factor of financial benefits or fear of punishment, but also by psychological and social rewards such as recognization: sense of belonging and the opportunity to contribute to decision making, the responsibility assigned and authority delegated. This requires to design the jobs in such a way as to allow discretion in the work task and the opportunity for individual development and progressive within the organization, individual responsibility are expected to change as conditions change, and teams, not individuals, are the organizational unit accountable for performance.

The relative strength of an individual's identification and involvement in a particular organization is the real commitment such as (1) a strong belief in the organization's goals and values (2) a willingness to exert considerable efforts on behalf of the organization; and (3) a strong desire to continue as an organization valuable member.

The attraction of Human Relations ideas for HRM is the insight, it provides into motivation and commitment and how these can be fostered to build a sense of 'mutuality' within the organization, to generate high levels of trust and to encourage flexible, adaptive and innovative behaviour. These are the qualities to be needed to fight industrial decline, productivity improvement, enhance efficiency and competitiveness.

Strategic management theory

Strategic management theory emerged in 1970s from the combination of long-range planning and research proven strategic success analysis. The strategic management theory has placed a key role, according to which resources could be allocated rationally, relative to environment conditions, to secure competitive advantages.

The rational approach describes and prescribes techniques of identifying current strategy, analysing environments, resources and gaps, revealing and assessing strategic alternatives, choosing and implementing carefully analysed and well thought outcomes. The rational approach has limitation and do not say how to achieve that outcome at a desired level. It has no process concept within it of how and why to create the strategic outcomes. Thus the strategy is defined as a process of calculated decision making intended to guide the direction in which the organizational effort is directed.

Flexibility and quality

Flexibility can be exercised at two levels; at the level of work practice and at the level of organization structure. At plant level beneficial for the employees who cooperate with management in ensuring maximum capacity utilization and the efficient use of manpower, this includes changed working practices, so as to encourage versatility and flexibility. In practice it seems that most development in terms of this form of flexibility have involved the relaxation of restrictive demarcation practices. Flexibility has been seen as a vital means of responding to changes in economic and technical environments, and reduction in cost by maximizing the utilization of employees skills. The flexibility, refers to the ability of the organizations to re-structure their work forces so as to retain workers with key skills as direct employees. Less essential and minor functions which can be subleted or be managed through part time vendors and contractors. In this way the organization reduces its direct administrative and supervisory costs and responds to changes in its market / budget. Functional flexibility, also concerns the practice of 'multi-skilling', whereby workers are encouraged to acquire a range of different skills as against the preserved single occupation assigned.

Humanistic approach to HRM

HRM involves all management decisions and actions that affect the nature of the relationship between the organization and its employees — its human resources. Humanistic approaches exhibits a strong sense of unitarianism. This gives good flavor of what this approach entails; (1) High commitment whereby the employees will be motivated to "hear, understand and respond" to management communications relating to the organization. Resulting mutual trust enables management message to be more believable to the employees and to enable management to be responsible to employee's legitimate concerns a stakeholders. (2) High Competence — this creates attitude towards learning and development and give employee an opportunity of versatility in skills and perspective to take on new roles and jobs as needed. (3) Cost effectiveness meaning thereby the direct and indirect cost savings, reduce turnover, and grievances can be kept equal to or less than the competitors. (4) A good adjustment of understanding is a reflection of policies and practices which bring about a higher coincidence of interests among management, shareholders, and workers.

There can be no standard or universal ready made theory or method of HRM which can be applied in toto to each organization, a need for analytical knowledge of basic principals and how these can be adapted and developed innovatively to meet a range of individuals, organizational and social outcomes.

In developing an understanding of the possibilities and prospects of HRM, it is essential to think in terms of the detailed content of specific policy objectives and the formal ways in which these can be combined and integrated with other policies of the organization HRM initiatives should be approached from an understanding of specific organizational realities, rather than from a priorly set prescriptions.