Stages Through Which Human Resource Management Has Advanced

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Human Resource Management has evolved significantly; discussion on the four stages through which the discipline has advanced highlights this aspect. This is borne out in a description of each stage as well as outlining the benefits and shortcomings. It clearly shows Human Resource Management recognizes the most important element in an organization as the people and that these individuals are dynamic in nature.

Human Resource Management
Human resource management is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization's most valued assets; the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business. The terms human resource management and human resources provide a description of the processes involved in managing people in organizations. In simple words, Human Resource Management means; employing people, developing their capacities, utilizing, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational requirement. The diagram below illustrates the Human Resource Management process:

Human Resource Management therefore is the function within an organization that focuses on recruitment of, management of, and providing direction for the people who work in the organization.

With the definition of Human Resource Management in view it is noteworthy that this discipline has evolved significantly and has advanced through four stages. These stages, also known as models are; Autocratic, Custodial, Supportive and Collegial.

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The Autocratic Model
The autocratic model was the most prevalent model in organizations during the industrial revolution. As the term indicates, the autocratic model is based on power. According to this model, persons who hold power have the authority to demand work from the employees. Further, this model assumes that work can only be extracted by means of pushing, directing and persuading the employees. For example, a manager may suspend an employee for not following his orders. The autocratic model often leads to implementation of tight control over employees at work. Managers resort to unfair practices like low payment and underestimate employees' skills. So, the employees put in only minimum performance in the job since their only purpose of doing the job is to serve the basic needs of their families. In Such work environment, only a very few employees are motivated to exhibit higher productivity and that too because of their personal inner drive. Though the model seems harsh and de-motivating to employees, it had actually contributed to the growth of industrial revolution in the United States. The model does yield results but they are comparatively moderate. The autocratic model works well under certain conditions, particularly in times of an organizational crisis. However, the changing needs of employees and the values of the society have led to alternative ways of managing organizational systems.

The Custodial Model

In the autocratic model, the employees endured the ill treatment silently. The result is obviously insecurity and frustration which they vent out on their family and friends. Such behaviour jeopardizes their personal and social relationships that is unhealthy for the community at large. At the work place, they may indulge in petty but dangerous games for taking personal vendettas on their superiors. For instance, they may complete the job but increase the scrap, number of defective pieces and withhold essential information. To perk up the sagging morale of employees due to the autocratic model, employers began to offer welfare programs by the end of the 19th century. The process in which employers take care of employees' welfare came to be known as paternalism. In 1930s, employers offered fringe benefits for employee security. Employers, unions and the government worked to improve the job security of employee's and reduced then- dependence...
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