Account for the shift from personal management/industrial relations (PM/IR) to Human Resource Management (HRM). Compare and contrast PM/IR to HRM and briefly outline the challenges for HRM today.
HRM has been developed over many years and has taken many steps in the process of change from the evolution of ‘personnel management’, to industrial relations, to employee relations onto human resources. The need for control over the human resources of an organisation came about during the industrial revolution as factory production became more and more dominant in the manufacturing process. The US were gradually shifting from an agricultural based economy to one of a more industrialised nature, therefore it became a priority for companies to develop effective means of attaining, training and maintaining a skilled workforce. This, along with the spurt in immigration into different countries from late 19th century until the 1940’s lead to a necessity for organisations to have adequate structures in place to manage employees. Social welfare techniques attempted to deal with diversity in the workplace as different nationalities were working and communicating with each other while working towards the same goals. The focus then shifted more so from the human side of employment to the unionised approach to employment, looking at work-place conditions as labour unions began to dictate the management of human resources. (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_the_United_States) The protests and pressure put on organisations meant a greater need for more adequate human resource management programs to be put in place. Labour unions had existed since as early as the late 18th century and were gaining power all the way up until the start of the 20th century. The industrial welfare movement took place then which shifted employers focus onto more modern HRM techniques, as employees were being seen more so as human beings as opposed to units there to work and nothing else. Workers grievance policies were being addressed and many other functions such as administration and record keeping that were soon to be controlled by HRM departments.
The national labour relations act of 1935 in a sense professionalised the role or personnel specialists, or HR mangers. During this period the focus of HRM was shifted from the efficiency of employees and staff to the satisfaction of workers and this shift became even more prevalent after WWII when work forces were being depleted and more emphasis needed to be put on ensuring satisfaction of employees and retaining a skilled work force and creating motivated workers. Further acts brought about in the US influenced the further development of HR policies such as the ‘equal pay act of 1963’, the civil rights act of 1964 and the occupation safety and health act of 1970. (www..wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_the_United_States) The prospect of law suits being taken against organisations with inadequate HRM policies meant that an entirely new professional and legal role was in place for human resource managers. All this development was heightened through globalisation and the massive degree of population movement which created the mould for an international reform in management structures, values, and policies. (Carver T. N. 1925)
In any organisation, of any size or nature there is a need for somebody to be in charge or the management of employment relations. This could be in many cases the manager of the business or enterprise itself but as business and organisations expand there is more emphasis placed on the management and control of relations within the organisation and there develops and increased need for a trained specialist in the field of employment relations. Previously, the management of personnel and its function in an organisation was mainly a welfare based activity but in recent years it has developed into a major part of any organisation. (Niven, 1967; Watson, 1977).
Over the years...
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Salamon, M. (1999) Industrial Relations Theory and Practice. 4th Ed, Essex, Prentice Hall, P 60-67
Carver. T. N,(1995), The present economic revolution in the United States, Boston, Little Browne and Co. (P. 90-122)
(accessed through www.questia.com 12/11/2008)
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