Evolution of Personnel Management

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1. Introduction

2. Objectives

3. Main contents

4. Origin of personnel management

5. Evolution of personnel management

6. Definition of personnel management

7. How Human Resource Management emerged in a chronological order

8. Conclusion

9. Summary

10. References and other resources

By the end of this unit you should be able to:
* Define personnel management
* Identify its origin
* Trace its evolution over time
* Show how Resource Management has emerged in a chronological manner


Many concepts and terms in the management sciences have slightly varying definitions depending upon who is defining them. Personnel management, which is our concern here, takes place in differing environments or milieu. For example, we are here concerned with personnel management in the public sector, i.e. in the environment of government organizations. Personnel management also takes place in the private sector, i.e. in organizations not owned by the government, e.g. the Lever Brothers Plc. makers of Omo washing powder, the Zambia Breweries Plc makers of Mosi lager, etc. One of the definitions which I have put together after going through so many texts is this: Personnel Management is the process of obtaining and maintaining a satisfactory and a satisfied work force The following definition was proffered by a well respected personnel management theorist by name Edwin B. Filippo, in his popular and widely read book,', Personnel Management,' 'which he has issued now for at least the sixth time. This definition is contained in the sixth Edition issued in 1984. There he defined personnel management thus: Personnel Management is the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of the procurement, development, compensation, integration. maintenance, and separation of human resource to the end that individual, organizational and societal objectives are accomplished.

The origin of personnel management is the same as that of all managements. At the beginning of management practice, everything was done without the niceties of the subdivisions we now have today, e.g. public administration, business management, financial management, personnel management etc. Be this as it may, we shall attempt to trace the origin of management including personnel management and later isolate personnel management and trace its evolution. Paul Mali, in his work - Management Handbook, says that "...the process of getting things done through people" and the various practices which make it up have been around almost since the dawn of time. He said, next, that the art or sciences of planning and control, materials scheduling system, organizational hierarchy, were behind the construction of the pyramids in Egypt in the years 5.000 - 1,600 BC. He also said that the science of span of control is said to be the invention of Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, in the year 1491 BC. You will note here that when Paul Mali talks of management as getting things done through people, which is what it is, personnel i.e people, plays a centre stage. Therefore we can say that personnel administration also dates as far back as the dawn of time.

Although there has always been a human side to general management what characterizes modern management and distinguishes it from its historical antecedents, is the fact that the latter paid little attention to the human side i.e., personnel management. Paul Mali notes that from the period of the construction of the pyramids to the early years of the Industrial Revolution in England, i.e. from 5,000 BC to the years 1,700 - 1,785 AD, the handling of men at work was characterized by slavery and repression. In order to give you a vivid picture of the type of slavery and repression with which the human side of enterprise was treated, an example is cited...
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