In explaining the historical development of the personnel function of the Hr manager, I will begin by giving a brief description of the 6 different types of personnel manager:
The Social Reformer
Before personnel emerged as a specialist management activity at the beginning of the 20th century there were those who intervened in industrial affairs to support the severely under privileged factory workers.
The Acolyte of benevolence
The first people appointed with specific responsibility for improving the lot of the employees were welfare officers who saw there role as dispensing benefits to the deserving and unfortunate employees. The motivation was the christian charity of paternalist employers who provided these comforts, partly because employees deserved them, but mainly because he was willing to provide them.
The Humane Bureaucrat
The first 2 phases were concerned predominantly with the physical environment of the work and the amelioration of hardship among “the workers” . As organisations increased there size, specialisation was emerging in the management levels as well as on the shop floor. This led to the growth of personnel work on staffing the organisation, with great concern about role specification, selection. Training and placement.
The consensus negotiator
Personnel managers next added expertise in bargaining to there repetoire of skills. Where the personnel manager could at best be described as a remembrancer of the employees the trader union official could be their accredited representative.
Then came a development of the humane bureaucracy phase into preoccupation with the effectiveness of the organization as a whole, which should have clear objectives and a wide spread commitment among organisation members to those objectives. The approach was also characterised by candour between members and a form of operation supporting the integrity of the individual and providing opportunities for personal growth.
The last distinct historical stereotype was the manpower analyst. The humane bureaucrat was concerned to get a good fit between a particular worker and a particular job: Employees were individuals.
Next I will give a brief outline of the different eras in the development of the Hr manager in Ireland.
1940s and 1950s: The Welfare Stage It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when personnel management first appeared in Ireland. Barrington (1980:90) indicates that a personnel function had been established in the civil service after the First World War, but its official recognition in the private sector is probably best dated from the setting up of an Irish branch of the Institute of Labour Management, the forerunner of the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM), in Dublin in 1937. The meetings of the Institute of Labour Management were held in the recreation hall attached to the Jacob's Biscuit Factory and were attended by a small group of individuals, mainly women, who acted as welfare supervisors in Dublin factories such as Wills, Maguire and Patersons, Williams and Woods and Jacob's. These companies had strong Quaker traditions and were concerned with the health and well-being of their employees. The second issue which emerges from an analysis of the foundations of personnel management is its dominance in the early years by women. This appears to have resulted in difficulties for both men and women intent on careers in personnel management. For men there was the worry of developing a career in a profession with a female image. However, for many men this dilemma was resolved by the industrial relations focus which was to emerge in the 1970s in which bargaining and negotiating with trade unions became very much a male preserve and one with a much more dynamic image. For women the incursion of men into personnel management has created long-term problems.
The 1960s: Growth and DevelopmentPersonnel...