Human Resource Management

Topics: Human resource management, Management, Human resources Pages: 7 (2235 words) Published: May 22, 2013
Executive summary
There are various functions of human resources management and there are different approaches taken by the management in terms of managing the human capital. The soft and hard approaches are often implemented by different organisations depending on their structure. As such, this paper sought to compare these two philosophies in a bid to establish the advantage as well as disadvantages of each approach. A critical analysis of the case study of Toyota which uses the soft approach showed that there are various benefits that can be derived from treating the employees as valuable assets to the organisation. This approach helps the employees to be committed to their work which contributes to the overall performance of the organisation as a whole.

Table of contents
1.0 Introduction3
1.1 Part A: Comparative analysis of hard and soft philosophies of HRM 3 1.2.1 Advantages and disadvantages of the soft and hard approaches to HRM4 1.3 Justification of the soft approach5

1.4 Part B: Five soft approaches used by Toyota5
2.0 Harvard model of HRM 6
2.1.1 Towards defining HRM7
2.1.2 HRM theories8
2.2 HRM strategies9
2.3.1 Continuous improvement and respect for people 10 2.3.2 Effective teamwork10
3.0 References11

1.0 Introduction
The origins of our efforts to manage people lie in the way we view others and make judgement about them (Hall, 1988). For Hall (1988), the philosophies of human resources management (HRM) are those assumptions about people and the workplace and their abilities and needs and these form the foundation of managerial actions. From this assertion, it can be noted that there are mainly two philosophies namely the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ approaches to HRM which are applied by different organisations. As such, this paper seeks to provide a comparative analysis of the soft and hard philosophies of HRM as used in American and Japanese corporations. The main discussion is based on the given case of Toyota. The paper starts by outlining the differences between these two philosophies and it attempts to highlight the advantages as well as disadvantages of each philosophy. The second part of the paper will focus on the concept of HRM applied at Toyota. 1.1Part A Comparative analysis of the hard and soft philosophies of HRM

The main difference between soft and hard philosophies of HRM is that the soft approach is employee oriented where there is a balance between work and their interests while the hard approach is performance based where organisational productivity is given priority. The other difference between the two is related to the structure of the organisation which has a bearing on the HR functions. A soft approach can be applied to an organisation with a flat structure like Toyota while a hard approach is applicable to organisations with tall structures. In an organisation where a soft approach is applied, employees can contribute towards the decision making process while in a hard approach they are not involved. The other notable difference between the two is that teamwork is encouraged in an organisation which encompasses the soft approach while the one with a hard approach emphasises the element of increased performance. The other difference is that the soft approach encourages innovation while the hard approach inhibits innovation. Table 1 Differences between soft and hard approaches to HRM

Soft approachHard approach
Employee orientedProduction/performance centred
Suitable in flat organisation structureIdeal for tall organisation structures Involvement in decision makingEmployees not involved in decision making Teamwork is encouragedTeamwork is not promoted

Innovation is promoted Does not promote innovation

1.2.1Advantages and disadvantages of soft philosophies of HRM AdvantagesDisadvantages
Workers are...
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