Hard and Soft Models of Hrm

Topics: Human resource management, Management, Human resources Pages: 9 (2821 words) Published: October 7, 2011

Table of Contents


2.Literature Review of Soft and Hard HRM Models6

3.Discussion on Soft and Hard HRM Models10





Human resource management (HRM) 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" (HR) have largely replaced the term "personnel management" as a description of the processes involved in managing people in organizations. In simple words, HRM means employing people, developing their capacities, utilizing, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational requirement. Human Resource Management(HRM) is seen by practitioners in the field as a more innovative view of workplace management than the traditional approach. Its techniques force the managers of an enterprise to express their goals with specificity so that they can be understood and undertaken by the workforce, and to provide the resources needed for them to successfully accomplish their assignments. As such, HRM techniques, when properly practiced, are expressive of the goals and operating practices of the enterprise overall. HRM is also seen by many to have a key role in risk reduction within organisations. Synonyms such as personnel management are often used in a more restricted sense to describe activities that are necessary in the recruiting of a workforce, providing its members with payroll and benefits, and administrating their work-life needs. So if we move to actual definitions, Torrington and Hall (1987) define personnel management as being: “a series of activities which: first enable working people and their employing organisations to agree about the objectives and nature of their working relationship and, secondly, ensures that the agreement is fulfilled" . While Miller (1987) suggests that HRM relates to:

".......those decisions and actions which concern the management of employees at all levels in the business and which are related to the implementation of strategies directed towards creating and sustaining competitive advantage" . Academic theory

Research in the area of HRM has much to contribute to the organisational practice of HRM. For the last 20 years, empirical work has paid particular attention to the link between the practice of HRM and organisational performance, evident in improved employee commitment, lower levels of absenteeism and turnover, higher levels of skills and therefore higher productivity, enhanced quality and efficiency. This area of work is sometimes referred to as 'Strategic HRM' or SHRM. Within SHRM three strands of work can be observed: Best practice, Best Fit and the Resource Based View (RBV). The notion of best practice - sometimes called 'high commitment' HRM - proposes that the adoption of certain best practices in HRM will result in better organisational performance. Perhaps the most popular work in this area is that of Pfeffer, who argued that there were seven best practices for achieving competitive advantage through people and 'building profits by putting people first'. These practices included: providing employment security, selective hiring, extensive training, sharing information, self-managed teams, high pay based on company performance and the reduction of status differentials. However, there is a huge number of studies which provide evidence of best practices, usually implemented in coherent bundles, and therefore it is difficult to draw generalised conclusions about which is the 'best' way (For a comparison of different sets of best practices Becker and Gerhart, (1996). Best fit, or the contingency approach to HRM, argues that HRM...

References: i. Beer, M., Spector, B., Lawrence, P. R., Ills, D. Q., and Walton, R. E., (1985). ‘Human resource management: A General Manager’s Perspective’. New York: Free Press.
ii. Blyton, P. and Tumbull, P. (eds) (1992).’Reassessing Human Resource Management’. London: Sage.
iii. Boxall, P. (1996). ‘The strategic HRM debate and the resource-based view of the firm’. Human resource management Journal, 6, 3, 59-75.
iv. Cully, M., O’Reilly, A., Millward, N. et al. (1998). ’The 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey: First Findings’. London: DTL.
v. Francis, H. and Keegan, A. (2006). ‘The changing face of HR: in search of balance’. Human Resource Management Journal, 16, 3, 231–49.
vi. Guest, D., (1990). ‘Human resource management and the American Dream’. Journal of Management Studies. 27(4):377-97.
vii. Guest, D., (1991). ‘Personnel management: the end of orthodoxy?’. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 29(2):149-76.
viii. Guest, D., J Michie, M. Sheehan and N. Conway (2000). ‘Getting Inside the HRM-Performance Relationship’. Working Paper No 8, ESRC, Future of work Series.
ix. Harley, B. and Hardy, C. (2004). ‘Firing Blanks? An Analysis of Discursive Struggle in HRM’. Journal of Management Studies 41:3, 377-400.
x. Legge, K., (2005). ‘Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities’. 10th anniversary edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
xi. Locke , J. (1901). ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’. In J. A. ST. John, (ed.), The Philosophical Works of John Locke. London: George Bell and Sons.
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