Human Resource Management

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1 Synopsis Human Resource Management 1. The Origins and Nature of Human Resource Management understand what is meant by human resource management (HRM). describe the main factors which led to the emergence of HRM as a discipline. explain how HRM is related to business strategy, organisational behaviour, and personnel management. understand the difference between hard and soft HRM. comprehend what is meant by strategic HRM. explain what is meant by operational HRM. describe the main activities involved in operational HRM. 1.1 What is Human Resource Management? 1.2 The Origins and Evolution of HRM 1.3 Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives of HRM 1.4 HRM as a Strategic Activity 1.5 HRM as an Operational Level Activity The main impetus for the emergence of HRM was the perceived need, on the part of a number of large organisations, to improve their competitive position both nationally and internationally. Better utilisation of human resources through the adoption of HRM systems and practices was seen as the key to achieving this objective. Although HRM has much in common with traditional personnel management, it attempts to overcome some of the apparent inadequacies of personnel management as typically practised in the past. This is particularly true of the strategic approach adopted by HRM. Operational level HRM, which is concerned with the everyday management of people in organisations, also shares much with more traditional personnel management approaches. However, even here there are differences, due mainly to the impact of strategic HRM considerations on operational activities.

2 2. Models of Human Resource Management describe the defining characteristics of HRM models. understand the Fombrun Matching model. understand the Schuler model. describe the main features of the original Harvard approach. explain Guest s model and its relationship to the original Harvard approach. describe the Pettigrew model. evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Matching and Harvard models. 2.1 Defining Characteristics of HRM Models 2.2 Matching Models 2.3 Harvard-type Models HRM models can be classified as either matching models or Harvard-type models. The various models which have been put forward can be differentiated in terms of a number of characteristics, particularly the degree to which they take a hard or soft approach. Hard HRM sees people as basically no different from any other organisational resource, whose contribution has to be maximised while their cost is minimised. Soft HRM, on the other hand, puts more emphasis on the human, than the resource, side of HRM. Soft HRM takes the view that it is possible to develop HRM policies which will be mutually beneficial to both organisations and their employees. 3. Key Themes in HRM describe the various ways in which quality has been conceptualised in HRM. understand what is meant by TQM. compare bureaucratic and de-centralised organisational structures. explain what is meant by the flexible firm. describe different types of work teams and explain their potential benefits. understand what is meant by the learning organisation. explain the term organisational commitment and its relevance for soft HRM. explain what is meant by organisational culture and discuss its relationship with organisational performance.

3 3.1 HRM Themes 3.2 Quality 3.3 Organisational Structures 3.4 Flexibility 3.5 Team Working 3.6 The Learning Organisation 3.7 Organisational Commitment 3.8 Culture 3.9 Strategic and Operational HRM In this module, a number of key HRM themes have been examined in some depth. Quality, as one of the routes to competitive advantage, emerged as a key theme, particularly as expressed in TQM. A number of arguments have been put forward in favour of decentralised organisational structures, compared with bureaucratic ones. The theory of the flexible firm proposes that flexibility will enhance competitiveness by allowing organisations to react swiftly and effectively to changing environmental conditions. Advocates of the concept of the learning organisation emphasise the need for organisations to have the capability to adapt constantly to changing circumstances. A number of benefits have been claimed for self-managed teams, particularly in terms of enhanced commitment and improved performance. However, not only are there a number of different types of commitment, studies of the relationship between commitment and performance have generally found weak associations between the two. Successful implementation of HRM strategies may require a fundamental change in an organisation s culture. While a number of methods have been used in an effort to change culture, it is generally agreed that it is far from easy to achieve genuine culture change. 4. Analysis of Performance Requirements distinguish between organisational, group, and individual performance requirements. distinguish between end results and process criteria. understand what is meant by core abilities, skills, and motivational characteristics. explain why the trait approach to specifying performance requirements is being replaced by behaviour focused approaches. describe the major techniques of job analysis and explain the conditions under which each works best. discuss the relationship between job analysis and strategic HRM. explain what is meant by competencies and distinguish between the MCI, behavioural, and organisational approaches. identify the limitations of competency analysis.

4 understand the nature of payment systems and their role in motivating the individual. 4.1 Specifying Performance Requirements 4.2 Core Abilities, Skills and Motivational Characteristics 4.3 Trait Versus Behavioural Indicators of Performance 4.4 Job Analysis Techniques 4.5 Job Analysis and Strategic HRM 4.6 Competencies 4.7 Performance and Pay The analysis of performance requirements is a critical task for operational HRM. Performance requirements can be specified at the organisational, group, or individual level and in terms of end results or process criteria. Early approaches to the analysis of individual performance requirements often focused on traits, but this is now being replaced by a behaviour-focused approach. Job analysis is a set of procedures which can be used to identify the key tasks involved in specific jobs and the human qualities needed to perform these effectively. The recent popularity of competency approaches is partly a response to the perceived narrow focus of traditional job analysis. Despite their popularity, there is a number of measurement and other problems associated with the use of competencies. The analysis of performance requirements underpins the use of payment systems as a motivational tool in organisations. Pay is an important area of HRM activity and, as the module shows, there are many complexities in the application of pay policies in organisations. This module has mainly addressed the question of how the key performance requirements within organisations might be identified. However, it is one thing to be able to define in general terms what individuals need to be able to do to perform well. It is quite another to be able to measure these qualities accurately in a person. We turn our attention to this question in the next two modules. 5. Recruitment and Selection understand the relationship between strategic HRM and selection. describe the selection paradigm and understand its relevance for selection. explain how a selection matrix is used. describe Muchinsky s analysis of the usefulness of selection devices. understand the concepts of reliability, validity, and meta analysis. evaluate the usefulness of application forms, biodata and references. distinguish between structured and unstructured interviews. understand how psychometric tests are used in selection.

5 describe how assessment centres are used in selection. 5.1 Selection in Context 5.2 The Selection Paradigm 5.3 The Process of Validation 5.4 The Usefulness of Selection Devices 5.5 Selection Tools Effective selection is crucially important for organisational performance. Selection policy will often be influenced by the general HRM strategy adopted by the organisation. The starting point for any selection exercise should be systematic job analysis. There are several alternative selection tools available to the recruiter and it is very important that the right choice of tools for the vacancy in question is made if selection is to be successful. Key parameters here are validity, fairness, applicability, and cost. Conventional application forms and references appear to have little validity, at least as currently used. Biodata are more valid, but there is a potential risk of unfair discrimination if items are not carefully checked. The interview can have acceptable validity, but only when used in a structured format. Ability tests are more valid than personality tests. Assessment centres generally have high validity, but their cost generally limits their applicability. 6. Performance Appraisal and Performance Management describe the main characteristics of performance appraisal systems. summarise the purposes and desired outcomes of appraisal systems. distinguish between results-oriented and process-oriented performance appraisal. discuss the various methods of recording appraisal information. consider the issue of who should carry out appraisals. summarise the benefits and limitations of 360-degree appraisal. summarise the main features of the appraisal interview. discuss the limitations of appraisal. explain how its effectiveness can be maximised. explain what is meant by performance management. describe the relationship between appraisal and performance management. describe the major features of performance management systems. 6.1 Determinants of Performance 6.2 The Performance Appraisal Process

6 6.3 Recording Appraisal Information 6.4 Carrying Out Appraisals 6.5 Performance Appraisal in Practice 6.6 Performance Management Systematic performance appraisal can have a number of functions including reviewing past performance, identifying training needs, setting performance targets, and influencing salary and promotion decisions. There is a number of ways in which performance appraisal systems can differ, such as who carries them out, what is to be assessed, what the objectives are, and what information is to be recorded. Appraisal systems suffer from a number of problems when they are implemented in practice. For appraisal to be effective it should be embedded in a more wide-ranging system of performance management. The scope of performance management is much broader than appraisal. It is continuous rather than episodic; it embraces team performance and organisational goals more directly; and it has much more of an enabling role than performance appraisal. Its real defining feature, however, is the way in which it is meant to integrate a number of HRM processes concerned with performance enhancement under the same umbrella. 7. Training and Development understand the role of training and development in implementing HRM strategies. understand the importance of training needs analysis. describe how training needs analysis can be carried out. explain how designers of training courses determine training content. explain how learning principles are relevant to the design of training courses. describe the different criteria which can be used to evaluate training. explain the use of quasi-experimental designs in training evaluation. explain the difference between development and training. describe the main methods used in employee development. explain the concept of development for employability. 7.1 Training, Development and Strategic HRM 7.2 Determining Training Needs and Priorities 7.3 Design of Training Programmes 7.4 Evaluation of Training Effectiveness 7.5 The Relationship between Training and Development 7.6 Methods of Employee Development 7.7 Development for Employability

7 In addition to being core operational level activities, training and development are critically important for the successful implementation of a number of HRM strategies. Training needs analysis which is systematic and the determination of training priorities should constitute the first stage of any major training programme. For a programme to be effective, appropriate training content and process have to be determined. Formal evaluation of training outcomes is essential and this involves decisions about which criteria to use and about how best to collect the necessary information. Development differs from training insofar as its scope is broader and it has a longer-term perspective. A variety of techniques can be used to develop individuals, including: action learning; coaching and mentoring; and planned work experience. Development for employability attempts to motivate individuals by providing them with transferable skills so that they can more readily change organisations with a view to advancing their careers. We concluded the module by touching on the interface between employee development and the individual s lifetime career both within the organisation and outside of it. It is to this last question which we turn in the next and final module of this text. 8. Careers and Career Management distinguish between individual and organisational perspectives on careers. describe Holland s theory of career choice. describe the concept of career anchors. understand what is meant by career stages. explain the theory of work role transitions. explain what is meant by the psychological contract. describe techniques which can be used to help individuals to manage their careers. compare the career choices and opportunities of men and women. understand what is meant by the glass ceiling effect and its possible causes. 8.1 The Concept of Career Management 8.2 Individual Perspectives 8.3 Organisational Perspectives 8.4 Gender and Careers Career management can be differentiated from employee development by its longer time perspective and the greater onus it puts on the individual to take responsibility for managing his or her own career. Theories of career choices and decision making provide a number of insights into the career process from an individual perspective. The theory of work role transitions highlights a number of ways in which major work role changes impose strains on

8 the individual and suggests how these can be minimised. A number of techniques can be used to help individuals to manage their own careers, including coaching and mentoring, development centres, fast track schemes, and career workshops. The psychological contract consists of an implicit set of assumptions held by individuals and their organisations about what each side has to offer the other and can expect to receive in return. Recent changes in HRM practices seem to be making it more difficult for organisations to deliver their side of the psychological contract, particularly in terms of job security and opportunities for career advancement. As far as the latter is concerned, there is clear evidence that female managers are under-represented in senior positions in organisations compared with men. A number of reasons have been put forward to explain this phenomenon including various ways in which women may be disadvantaged in terms of career opportunities. 9. Employee Relations understand what is meant by employee relations. describe different philosophical approaches to employee relations. be aware of the role of employee involvement in employee relations. appreciate the legal framework within which HR managers working in this area must operate. describe the growth and decline of the unions influence in employee relations and their role in current HRM. understand the role of formal grievance and discipline procedures in organisations. describe the main organisational threats to physical and psychological well-being and discuss what can be done to minimise these. summarise the main methods organisations can use to increase employee involvement. 9.1 What is Employee Relations? 9.2 Philosophical Approaches to Employee Relations 9.3 The Legal Framework 9.4 Employee Relations Themes 9.5 Unions and Collective Representation 9.6 Grievance and Discipline 9.7 Health and Well-being 9.8 Techniques for Increasing Involvement at Work The term employee relations refers to those policies and procedures which are applied to employees collectively. The way in which an organisation pursues its employee relations activities will be influenced by the political and legal context, by the frame of reference it adopts and by its preference for collectivism as opposed to individualism. A key theme

9 underlying much of modern employee relations is involvement. The decline of the influence of the unions in the 20th century and the growth of new HRM philosophies and techniques has meant that the role of unions in modern organisations is being re-appraised. Health and well-being at work continues to be an important element in employee relations, and there are a number of steps organisations can and should take to maximise well-being at work. There are a number of techniques organisations can use to increase employee involvement, although it appears that the piecemeal nature of some organisations interventions in this area limits their effectiveness.

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