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Human Resource Management in UK - Essay Example

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Human resource management (HRM) is a concept which is of a rather ambiguous nature. There is wide academic debate with regards to its actual meaning, what factors characterise it and make it different from other forms of people management. Definition of the concept is important when considering its origin as what one organisation describes as HRM may not configure with another organisations understanding of the concept…
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Human Resource Management in UK
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Download file to see previous pages It would appear that the dynamic business environment at that time certainly had great influence, if in fact not actually being the catalyst towards an overall full scale adoption of HRM or at least the embracing of a number of elements of the concept. HRM is a good example of how the macro environment can influence change within an organisations micro environment. Essentially it is an organisations response to macro environment factors which will determine success. In the 1980's in the UK the macro environment produced a range of political, economic, social and technological factors which favoured a movement towards a HRM approach to people management and it is also true to say that the macro environment still has a very powerful influence over the extent to which HRM is practiced and types of HRM implemented today.
The term 'human resource,' first emerged in the USA in the 1950's, coined by Peter Druker in one of his seminars and traces back to organisational development and human capital theory. HRM is controversial and debatable surrounded by great academic diversity. Confusion is caused because of the 'ambiguous pedigree' of the concept (Noon, 1992). There is a lack of clarity, the term can be viewed as being broad. HRM is a concept regarded as being enigmatic / obscure due to ideological, empirical and theoretical reasons and in many cases because of micro politics (Storey, 1992). Difficulties in defining HRM and the lack of a universally accepted definition implies that HRM is an innovation that takes on the meaning of whatever the person speaking at the time wants it to be (Torrington, 1989). Questions arise over the existence of HRM (Armstrong, 2000), over its meaning and status; is HRM a 'map,' 'model' or 'theory' (Noon, 1992) and of whether it is distinct from the traditional rhetoric of personnel and industrial relations management. Or is HRM simply old wine in a new bottle, a catch all term which basically re-labels the generic activities of personnel management (Torrington, 1989; Poole, 1990; Storey, 1995).

Until the emergence of HRM, debatable as it is, the traditional approach to people management was personnel management. Personnel management is based on compliance, management control over employees, it was pluralist and concerned with adverse relations and thus operating via collective relationships (Trade Unions and employee representatives) and it is characteristic of a bureaucratic style of management. Personnel management tends to be reactive, tactical and concerned with short term objectives. Personnel management tends to have more pragmatic objectives, concerned greatly with cost effectiveness. In contrast HRM is proactive and strategic, it integrates personnel /industrial relation considerations with strategic decision making. HRM is based on commitment, it is unitarist with no conflict of interests thus focusing on an individual relationship between employee and line management. HRM concentrates on people as a vital resource and focus' upon greater utilisation of this asset through its policies so as to achieve organisational ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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