Managing Human Resources – Assignment One
Many key academics have defined two separate versions of HRM; these are defined as hard and soft HRM. Storey (1989) distinguished between hard and soft forms of HRM, these were developed and typified from the earlier models derived from the Harvard System and the Michigan Model. Human resource management is implemented in different ways, these are the hard and soft versions of HRM, which were developed by Storey (1993), he stated that HRM is a softer approach to human resources and PM is a harder approach. The differences being that the HRM i.e. soft version of human resources has an emphasis on motivating employees through the use of communication, bonuses and rewards and by simplifying work activities. It has a balance of interests and a pluralist approach it is based on the notion that employees are self motivating by seeking satisfaction form there jobs in order to motivate themselves and will hence be committed to their jobs. HRM takes a more calculated and qualitative approach i.e. the hard approach to human resources where employees are seen as a component of the input/output equation and the purpose of HRM is to increase utilisation of employees. This approach by passes trade unions and is a unitary approach. The hard version of HRM has been defined as; ‘a process emphasising the close integration of human resource policies with business strategy which regards employees as a resource to be managed in the same rational way as any other resource being exploited for maximum return.’ Karen Legge (1998). The hard version of HRM focuses on the ‘resources’ aspect of HRM. It emphasises costs in the form of employee costs and places control firmly in the ands of management. The role of management is to mange numbers of employees effectively in order to keep the level of the workforce closely matched to requirements of the organisation in terms of bodies and labour. The focus of hard HRM is on managing people in a logical and quantative way. The focus is on the numbers as oppose to people and ensuring that the performance of individual’s gives added value to the companies output giving the company an edge over its competitors. ‘Hard HRM is based on the business case of a need to respond to an external threat from increasing competition. It is a philosophy that applies to management who are striving to achieve competitive advantage and appreciate the need to invest in human resources to do this’ Guest (1999). In hard HRM employees are seen as a commodity which needs to be exploited in a logical and controlled manner similarly to any other resources, for economic benefit to be gained in terms of return on labour capital. This can be obtained by developing employees through a process of performance management. Hard HRM takes a pluralistic view which is based on the notion that the needs and interests of managers are inherently separate to those of management and hence workers need to be controlled to be made to work. Features of hard HRM would include the following; •
Objectives would be quantitative and strategic to the business in terms of the criteria that managers would abide by, •
Performance management and other forms of controlling and monitoring employees would be implemented and emphasised to create a sense of competition, •
The strategic objectives of the HR department and the overall business strategy of the organisation would be closely linked. Storey (1989) stated that ‘hard strategic HRM will emphasise the yield to be obtained by investing in human resources, in he interest if the business.’ Soft HRM is opposing to hard HRM and stresses the human aspect of HRM. It is concerned with communication and motivation, people are led rather then managed and are involved in determining and realising strategic objectives. Karen Legge (1989) defined soft HRM as ‘a process whereby employees are viewed as valued assets and as a source of competitive advantage through their commitment,...
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