Human Resources Management in its present form has evolved through the years. There are several significant milestones in this transition. Essentially, they have been observed in the last two decades. Let us now see these significant milestones, what are their contributions to the development of Human Resources Management as a subject of study?
Early years: Before the twentieth century, there were vague efforts at organizing labor. For the first time, organizations realized the need to organize people. Such an organization was considered essential in order to perform jobs. The efforts to organize people gained momentum in the beginning of the industrial revolution.
Anna University Chennai 4 DBA 1653 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Mid Years: Between 1900 and 1946 the importance of Personnel Management was recognized. With this, came the realization that there is a need to manage employees in order to maintain them on the jobs. This, in turn, was considered crucial to the success of the organization. Between 1910 and 1920 the focus was on keeping the right person on the right job. Based on Taylor’s Scientific Management, work processes were defined more clearly and an attempt to define jobs in terms of sequential activities was begun. The importance of selection was recognized. Organizations attempted to use appropriate selection devices to get the right persons to fit into well defined jobs. Simultaneously, Industrial Psychology developed as a subject interest to psychologists. Scientific experiments were conducted to understand the influence of work conditions and work groups on productivity. One of the most famous studies is the Hawthorne study. The results of these studies have wide raging implications for practicing managers. They are instrumental in understanding work behavior even today.
With the onset of the Great Depression of 1930, organizations could not maintain the labor employed. As such, there was large-scale retrenchment during the 1940s. The ill-effects of World War II were reflected in the human resources management practices world over. It was widely observed that organizations were insensitive to the needs of their employees. Of course, some organizations had no choice either. They had not planned for such eventualities. Therefore, they could not keep employees on the rolls even if they desired to. It was at this time, that some of the techniques that are still in use in developing human resources came into existence. In particular, mention must be made of the use of discussions, role-plays, and case method both for developing the skills of employees and sensitizing employers.
Later years: During the period between 1946 and 1970, government intervention in human resources management in almost all organizations was observed. Government initiatives concentrated on enactment of laws. It was also preoccupied with its enforcement. Welfare measures were also taken up. Together, they did improve the employees’ work life. Some of the laws that helped give a new face to the management of employees are the Factories Act, the Industrial disputes Act, the Workman’s compensation Act, the Maternity Benefit Act, the Payment of Gratuities Act etc. These laws have been amended several times to keep pace with current requirements. Welfare measures include the need to provide housing facilities, educational assistance, crèche, subsistence allowance etc. The nature of the welfare measure has also undergone tremendous change. Yet, the spirit behind these still continues.
The early 1970s was witness to an increased intervention by the government in employee’s welfare. It was then that Personnel Management was redefined in broader terms as Human Resources Management. It was at this time that trade unions were perhaps most active....