The theme of this article is to establish the nature
and importance of HRM and how it emerged, to provide some evidence of
its context, and to discuss its potential and future development. This
article is not intended to be a solely about human resource management
but includes a comparisonand analysis about its parents discipline as
well. It will also examine some of the alleged differences and
similarities between both subjects and terms.
HR requires more attention and careful management
then any other resources of the organizations. In the 1980's and early
1990's the term HRM (human resource management) came into academic
horizons. It used increasingly by the practitioners and researchers
worldwide. The last two decades have seen a marked change in HRM
particularly in those activities, which involve acquiring, developing
motivating and utilizing human resources actively in the business. The
major purpose of HRM is to increase and improve the productive
contribution of personnel to the organization in more ethical, social,
and administratively responsible way. This purpose emerged from commonly
called industrial relations, personnel administration, industrial
psychology, and personal management. HRM is not just another personnel
management fad. Research shows that its aim is to create a whole
organizational culture that binds workers to the company's objectives
with full professional commitment, integration, and quality work.
The 21 century will bring with it enormous
opportunities but also enormous pressure, if the companies will not
improve the productivity of the people and treat them "human being'
which are the vital objects of all the economic activities leading
towards industrial development. Now it is worldwide consensus that human
resource is one of the major means of increasing efficiency,
productivity and prosperity of the firm.
The present scenario of HRM did not suddenly appear.
A review of this evolution shows how the effort of early pioneer led
today's more sophisticated and more proactive method of utilization 6M's
i.e, man, money, material, machine, method and market.
Indeed, the human resources planning have been a
function of management since the origin of modern organization. In 1890,
Alferd Marshal observed that the head of the business must assure
himself that his managers, clerks and foremen are the right men for
their work and are doing their work extremely well. Human resource
planning is not a recent notion but it goes back right from the very
beginning of the social and industrial management. Division of labor,
organization of management into various levels, work simplification,
application of standard for selecting employees, arrangement of
short-term and long-term training programs and measuring the performance
were all principles applied early in industrial management. In world
wars and the post war era the human resource planning and management
focused intensified on employees productivity and efficiency.
With some difference of opinions, management
scientists now reached the consensus that HRM had its origin
overwhelmingly in USA experience along with rich literature and
strongest empirical foundation. It is argued that that the HRM
originated in USA in the early 1980's.
However the term HRM challenged frequently replaced
the previous popular term — discipline personnel management and
industrial relation (IRs). Moreover students in universities appeared to
respond more positively for the enrolment of the new course HRM,
whereas, the courses concerned personnel management/industrial relations
are also existing in academic circles with comparative less popularity.
The major American and British Business schools
introduced HRM courses in to their core curriculum. It seems that HRM
has become a fashionable and favorable topic all over the world both in
management theory and as applied management practice. The diagrammatic
overview of the model from personnel management to human resource is as
The diagrammatic overview of the model from personnel
management to human resource is as under:
• Development of PM functions.
• Acolyte of Benevolence.
• Human Bureaucrat.
• Consensus negotiator.
• Organization man.
• Man Power analyst.
Tensions within PM function.
Versus organizational interest.
• The integration.
• Employee commitment.
• Flexibility Adaptability.
(Guest-1987) Strategic Role for HRM/PM
From personnel Management to HRM: An overview.
HOW HRM IS DIFFERENT FROM PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT?
There are number of differences between human
resource management and personal management. It is obvious for the above
terminology the predominant theme which is held to differentiate HRM
from its predecessor,, personnel management, is a broadening or widening
notion. The leading advocates of HRM, who are actually behavioral
scientists in the USA, see it as an organization-wide philosophy, which
is much broader and more strategic, oriented and fewer problems centered
than personal administration. Its implications and long run goal
interpretation place it as something new and different.
George Straus has compared the messages of the
original human relations literature with that of the organization
development and change models of the 1960's and 1970's.
In the shape of the summary, the following table 2
sets out the differences in the textual treatment of human resource
management and organizational practice of personnel management:
THE DIFFERENCES OF PERSONAL MANAGEMENT AND HRM
Time and planning perspective
Short-term, reactive adhoc and marginal
Long run proactive strategic and integer
Work relation perspective
Pluralist, collective, low trust
Unitarist, high trust individual
Beaureacratic centralized defined roles
Organic, developed flexible roles
Specialist and professional
Largely integrated into line management
The above table shows a comparison between HRM and
personnel management, which have been highlighted by British writer and
emphasized here the fact that these specific differences are due to
competitive, integrated nature of the product market environment; and
high performance of individual companies which accord HRM relatively
high priority; thirdly the declining level of unionization of USA and
UK, finally, the relatively limited power and status of personnel
management function in individual organizations the white collar sector
of employment is increasing.
The major four stages of growth and evolution of the
human management (HRM) function are follows:
THE REACTIVE HRM FUNCTION
Here the main purpose is seen as maintaining harmony
and avoiding disruption through strikes etc and exists generally where
organizations are operating in near monopoly situations with assured
growth — the interactions between HR and operating managers being
assured under normal situations at this stage.
THE INDEPENDENT HRM FUNCTION
Here the function is recognised as an independent
entity. In this stage, while HR is survived in setting up industrial
systems and procedures for operating managers, but is not fully
responsible for the monitoring or correcting the problems in the systems
— only being marginally involved in various processes and other
functions or results. Other functions would mostly seek HR's help in
administrative or on few specific issues, and line managers do not see
HR as a repository of expertise.
THE SUPPORTIVE HRM FUNCTION
This has its own direction with distinct status
within the organisation, and actively contributes to the efforts of
other functions in producing results. Oganistaions requiring product or
technology changes rapidly in a competitive scenario generally need such
HR involvement with high demands for qualified and competent manpower,
often in a high turnover or mobility situation. Emphasis on people
development and motivation generation comes from such HR, but their
understanding or involvement in total business perspective remains
limited or inadequate, even with higher functional participation.
THE INTEGRATIVE HRM FUNCTION
This is the stage when the competitive success of the
organisation involves HRM significantly in an integrated manner, and
demands such capabilities from the HR specialists. Their roles shift
from a facilitator to a functional peer with competencies in other
functions, and are recognized as an equal partner by the others. The
typical HRM in this case is geared to contribute to organizational
objectives of profitability for monitoring employees' satisfaction,
since it is seen as surrogate to customer satisfaction.
They went on to state that "catalyst for such
alignment" was evident from McKinsey's and-S framework model.
According to this framework, effective organisation change is a complex
relationship between seven S's. HRM is a total matching process between
the three hard S's (Strategy, Structure, System) and the four Soft S's
(Style, Staff, Skills, Super-ordinate goals). Clearly, all the S's have
to complement each other and have to be aligned towards a single
corporate vision for the organisation to be effective. It has to be
realized that most of the S's are determined directly or indirectly by
the way human resources are managed, and therefore, HRM must be a part
of the total business strategy. There is also a great deal of emphasis
about the need for "Strategic HRM" today. The first on
strategic management, the other on human relations.
The Michigan group developed the notion of strategic
HRM that entailed the interconnection of business strategies,
organisational structures and HRM, where HRM systems were best designed
to support the implementation of corporate strategy. At the heart of the
Harvard approach is the responsibility and capacity of managers to make
decisions about the relationship between an organisation and its
employees such as to maximize the organisational outcomes for key HRM
stakeholders. It focuses on manager's responsibility to manage four key
HRM policy areas: employee influence (participation), human resource
flow, and the reward systems and work systems.
Yet another school of thought called "open"
or "contingent" approach argues that competitive advantage
will accrue to those best able to exploit environmental opportunities
and avoid or survive threats; and that the strategic management of human
resources will assist organisations in this by encouraging and
generating the appropriate sorts of behaviours, attitudes and
competencies from employees. Whichever way it may be defined,
ultimately, a strategic approach to human resource management must
culminate in the implementation of policies and practices designed to
enable, support and engender behaviours consistent with organisation's
strategic intent. This demands achievement of a good fit between HR and
the business strategy. Once the strategic plan is formulated, the focus
has then to shift to strategy implementation — a process of aligning
the functions of an organisation with the strategy in order to achieve
the business results. This valuable academic debate is useful for
determining policy and direction and to decide for each organisation the
course best suited to meet their vision and mission. They have to
formulate. The above may sound quite theoretical, but one of the issues
that often exists and need to be corrected, is the identification of the
stage of HRM that is best needed for the results in any organisation,
and the actual situation that exists. It has been my experience that
there are considerable differences in what is stated or structured, to
what is the actual situation, and specially compared to what is best
required. In fact, to a large extent these are personality driven
depending on or varying with personal relationships and the trust
between each of the top management members, and are often based on their
individual competencies and limitations, and not necessarily as designed
or intended. At a practical level we must anticipate and prepare for the
likely HR challenges in general that exists, or may be expected in the
coming future — the main purpose and theme of this article. They are:
Consequent to the vastly increased competition for many, and likely in
future, due to rapid development of technology, especially, the impact
of IT, and internal necessities, and/or resulting from above stated
With technology upgradations, much greater use of it
and forthcoming e-commerce etc. new breed of 'knowledge workers' in
'learning organisations' will make the differentiation. This
intellectual capital will demand much nurturing from the enterprise, in
order to give back in the shape of superior results. Considerable work
will be essential in building a positive organisational climate, within
which improving performance level is not only appreciated and rewarded,
but becomes a way of life. The HR team will be only one of the important
pillars, and the other functions will certainly and equally have to do a
lot of upgrading for improving the organisational results.
Team work, will therefore, be a key driver in any
organisation, that will demand and result in high performance both at
all individual levels and also across functions and teams continuously
and consistently. It goes without saying that the effective management
of Industrial relations will continue to demand a very high priority —
not just to 'do well', but now for the very survival of both the
organisation as well as employee jobs. Flatter organization structures
are getting to be the order of the day, instead of fatter organisations
— empowerment and modern management information systems has made the
increase in span of control, delayering and restructuring with optimum
manpower utilization possible. Managerial productivity has been a
neglected area for most, and value addiction from this area will demand
far greater attention.
Use of modern HR techniques and tools will become a
necessity to change from the managing by instinct" syndrome. These
will include strategic measurement systems, score cards, surveys etc. as
a base to help make quality decisions. Building of self-driven and
committed employees with competencies necessary for high level of
sustained performance has always been major challenge to HR and top
managers of any enterprise, and this is getting accentuated day by day.
Retention and motivation of key employees, and their backups, will
therefore, be a major challenge for which career planning will be
important. Creating an open organisation culture with empowered
employees, as the foundation to build such commitment, will be another
major policy challenge for the HR people in particular. No organisation
can remain an island, and therefore the leadership will have to play a
greater role in contributing and anticipating actively in the
environmental and society issues — yet another important challenge.
Similarly, planning to manage any disaster — both internal and
external — will tax the HR managers, who will have a much larger
contributory role in this area in the coming future, along with others.
The performance of HR managers along with their other team members will
be an important key and a vital success factor. They will need far
greater support and involvement from the top management and other
functions towards maintaining and ensuring the future success of the
twenty-first century organizations.
HUMAN RESOURCE CHALLENGES
As the time moves on steadily and relentlessly in the
new millennium we need to review the challenges for the HR function and
its responsibilities in organizations to cope with the new trends. In
the start of the century it is a very convenient to know how far and in
what direction we are progressing, but also give the distance to our
destination, and are often excellent anchors to take time off to
re-examine the future course of action for the organization and resource
It can now be said that we have moved to the era of
not just change, but an accelerated rate of change. As compared to the
past, the twenty-first century corporations are getting to be globally
market driven ones with 'invest anywhere and share everywhere' concept.
In short, the early practices of jobs forecasting
succession planning has broaden into a concern with establishing a more
explicit linkage between human resource planning has broadened into a
concern with establishing amore explicit linkage between human resources
planning and the larger organization strategy and business planning of
the organization. Moreover the idea of selection, training, performance
appraisal and compensation decisions being heavenly centered on the role
of individual employee, with their details job description, has guided
that effective team working and participative decisions are playing
important roles to achieve the effective performance in business
organization. In conclusion, still there is a strong contention and race
of struggle to take the lead in the academic and professional field but
obviously only time will fill which of these and other possible rival
scenarios will offer more accurate description of the reality in future.