HRM is traced back to the 19th century with the beginning of the Welfare System. The Welfare System was an important development in terms of voluntary initiatives undertaken to improve conditions of factory workers, in relation to pay, working hours and health and safety. The voluntary initiative originated from Quakers. Welfare officers were appointed and became the forerunner to HR practitioners. The early 1900’s saw the appointment of welfare officers in Irish companies such as Jacobs and Maguire & Patterson in Dublin. The impact of the Welfare approach is still apparent in HR practice in terms of dealing with issues such as health, working conditions and personal problems.
Another early influence on the emergence of HRM was Taylorism (Frederick Taylor). Early 20th century improvements in technology and the increase in company sizes made way for new advancements in creating a system which focused purely on efficiency and profitability whereby workers were treated as economic machines. Scientific Management led to a shift in the emphasis of HR away from the employee caring approach towards the more managerial, efficiency and profitability benefits to be gained through greater standardisation of work systems and methods.
The emergence of the Behavioural Science Movement gave a great impetus to HRM by establishing a body of knowledge to underpin many aspects of HR work such as selection, motivation, training, industrial relations and payments. Elton Mayo, Roethlisberger and Dickson were associated with the Behavioural Science Movement through their research which focused on employees low morale and working conditions.
The growth of Industrial Relations emphasis in HR was a direct result of the increasing influence of Trade Unions. In 1913 a new unionism emerged arising from the conflict between employers and employees which resulted in the Dublin Lockout.
This accelerated the development of TU and employers...