Human Resource Management the employer employee relationship

The main focal point of human resource management (HRM) is on managing people within the employer-employee relationship, in more specific terms, it involves the productive use of people in accomplishing the firm’s strategic business objectives and the satisfaction of individual employee needs. As HRM is a strategic process incorporating the interests of the firm and the individuals, it goes far beyond a set of activities co-ordinating human resources related practices. HRM specifically is a “major contributor to the success of an enterprise because it is in a key position to affect customers, business results and ultimately shareholder value (Gubman, 1995; Wright, McMahan & McWilliams, 1994).

HRM in a sense is classified as management, but management is more than HRM. HRM is only a sector of management which deals with individuals, whereas management also includes other functions that is marketing, research and development, etc. Managers manage people and the role of the HR Manger is somewhat changing and becoming more relevant to organisations due to our fast paced and growing society. Due to the changing trends within technology, diversity, ethics and globalisation it creates a perception of what functions the ‘modern’ HR manger undertakes in order to react to competition and create organisational success.

Some companies might consider the role of a HR manager to be only a minor driving force of their strategic objectives, whereas others may argue this case and indicate the increasing role that the HR manager plays in their strategic success. By defining the concept of HRM with relations to strategic business and people relations hopefully, this will give you a greater understanding of the roles that a HR manager performs in the workforce.

2) Summary of articles: In a paragraph or two for each study, briefly explain the purpose, how it was conducted (how information was gathered), and the major findings. When referring to an article, use the last name of author or authors and date of publication in the text. Example: Calvin and Brommel (1996) believe family communication. Communication serves two primary functions in families–cohesion and adaptability (Galvin and Brommel, 1996).

The role of the HR manager has been and is still currently changing drastically. We see that the concept of HRM has gone through many transformations in order to get to the current HRM practices that are followed today. Its’ origins erected from the Industrial Revolution where the workers did not have any protection and undertook dull jobs. As an expansion from this concept an adoption of Taylorism which seen jobs being broken down into various elements in which was the most efficient way of performing the job. Post Taylorism the Trade Union movement involved the collective bargaining process and combated against unfair labour practices and introduced laws with relevance to pay and benefits. This idea was later enhanced by the Human Relations movement and driven by Elton Mayo which identified that there are vast psychological and social factors that affect the performance of an employee, thus resulting in the productivity output. We see now that the Human Resources approach dominates the workplaces, which is based on job satisfaction and motivating employees.

This new philosophy within the HR context which focuses on the long term approaches and adopts encourages the dual contribution of management and employees in order to achieve the strategic goals of the organisations.”In the recent past, many organisations thought of the HR role as simply a support service to the real operations departments of the firm” (Buhler, 1999). There was a period when the majority of human resource activity was in processing the payroll, so that the human resource section formed part of the Finance and Administration department (Santiago, 2003).

Stone (2008) indicates that as ‘HRM becomes more business oriented and strategically focused’ in which four methods of HR can help deliver organisational excellence (Ulrich, 1997). Firstly, HR should assist with the strategic implementation with the firm (Strategic Partner). Secondly, the efficiency and effectiveness should be contributed by HR in order to increase the performance of work and as an outcome maintain the quality and be cost effective (Administrative Expert). Moreover, ensure that there is a balance of representation towards employees and senior management in order to ensure that employees contribute to the organisation to express commitment to the organisation (Employee Champion). Lastly, HR should, on a regular basis, assist in the changing process to enhance the organisations capacity to grow and react to competition (Change Agent).

According to Ulrich (1997), the key to the HR role as a strategic partner is the participation of HR in the process of defining business strategy, not merely responding to the strategy edicts presented by “senior management”. HR professionals play a strategic partner role when they have the ability to translate business strategy into action (Ulrich, 1997). In a sense, this makes leverage or way for the HR manager and facilitates them into the business team. In other words, the HR manager must be able develop business like acumen and adapt their expertise and skills and link them to the business strategy to HR policies and practices. Alas, (Nankervis, 2000) that the “strategic partner role is not being fulfilled, research indicates that executives position such as CEO’s do not adequately involve their HR managers within the business strategy field. P9:50. There is an awareness that proves that there is a necessity and growing need for the HR managers to become active in the strategic level and identify that that the significance of HRM have a competitive advantage. P9:53 (Fisher and Dowling). In saying that practices and policies in HR need to be sophisticatedly up to date and consistently need to be reviewed so that it doesn’t lead to alienation, reduced motivation and labour unrest (Jackson, 2002) P9:52. Evidently Australia comparing its statistics on a global scale (McCaw and Harley, 2003) they are behind or in other words lagging. P9:51

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Administrative expert = refers to the efficiency of HR managers and the effective management of HR activities (i.e. R&S, T&D, PM, Rewarding) so that they create value

Ulrich (1997) outlines that HR professionals must be able to re-engineer HR activities through use of technology, rethinking and redesigning work processes and the continuous improvement of all organisational processes; see HR as creating value, and measure HR results in terms of efficiency )cost and effectiveness (quality) P9:54

Employee champion = requires the HR manager to be the employees’ voice in management discussions

Be able to meet needs of employees

Ulrich (1997) achievable by being employees’ voice in management discussion by being fair and principled, assuring that the concerns of employees are being hears, finding new resources to perform jobs successfully. P10:56

Change agent = a person who acts as a catalyst for change

In other words the channel for change in the org. or firm

Can be achieved through (Brockbank, Ulrich, 1994) leading change in HR functions and by developing problem solving communication and influence skills.

In other words how to manage change

“A past CEO of Sharp once said all companies have access to the same information and the same technology. The true difference in our firms, he suggested, is found in our people” (Buhler, 1999).

“People are the core of a company’s competitive success in the marketplace, and this is where the HR department becomes critical to a firm’s success” (Buhler, 1999).

“The HR departments today are emphasising higher value activities with company wide benefits that add value to the organisation” (Buhler, 1999).

“Achieving organisational excellence must be the work of HR” (Ulrich, 1998).

The work of HR cannot be disconnected from the real work of the firm, but rather must be clearly integrated with the work of the business

“More organisations are restructuring their human resource departments to reflect the true partnership with operational managers throughout the firm” (Buhler, 1999).

Some organisations choose to structure in a more centralised manner with a corporate HR department that supports each of the strategic business units

Including specialists providing service to SBU’s

“This structure allows for HR employees to become resident experts in their given field and the managers throughout the organisation benefit from this expertise” (Buhler, 1999).

“The most important part of the role change for HR is change in perspective of managers, meaning “managers must view their HR counterparts as true strategic partners rather than as administrative support appendages to the company” (Buhler, 1999).

“When managers utilise their human resource partners to their full extent, they can realise much higher levels of performance in their own units” (Buhler, 1999)

“The recognition that all managers in the firm are essentially HR managers” (Buhler, 1999).

There is a relationship between “line managers and HR professionals (staff) which has been viewed as adversarial in the past (Buhler, 1999). “Today however, the new perspective requires each side perceive the relationship as an interdependent one, one whereby each needs each other” (Buhler, 1999).

Saul conducted as part of Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills (1995) found major changes in the work and job design of first line supervisors. They found there had been a major shift in their role from ‘cop to coach’. This required a significant increase in leadership, communication, interpersonal and learning competencies. It also required them to be proactive and resourceful problems solvers

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In addition, the role of the HR departments is being transformed as line managers assume greater responsibility for a number of people management activities and as HR specialists focus more closely on integrating HR and corporate strategy. (Kramar 1999)

In view of the ongoing debate about the future of HR managers and departments (Pfeffer, 1994: 190-6) it will be increasingly important for HR professionals to demonstrate how they contribute to organisational effectiveness in both the short and long term.

Today, HR departments are expected to contribute to organisational performance (Ettore, et al., 1996; Fitz-enz, 1994; Matthes, 1993) and many organisations now believe that the success of the strategic management process largely depends on the extent to which the HR function is involved (Butler, et al., 1991)

To better manage this human factor, organisations continue to move toward a SHRM approach (Martell and Carroll, 1995). SHRM refers to the pattern of planned HR deployments and activities intended to enable an organisation to achieve its goals (Wright and McMahan, 1992: 298).

The trend towards and enlarged role for HR managers in strategic planning calls for researchers to gain a better understanding of the perceptions of HR managers regarding the effectiveness of their organisations and the factors they use to judge organisational effectiveness. (Zellars & Fiorito, 1999)

3) Conclusion: Briefly summarize the major findings of the studies chosen. Comments about what questions need to still be answered may be included.

4) Reference List

Ulrich, D. (1997) Harvard Resource Champions: The next agenda for adding value and delivery results, Boston, Harvard Business School Press

Zellars, K.L. & Fiorito, J., (1999), ‘Evaluations of Organisational Effectiveness Among HR Managers: cues and implications, Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol. 11(1), pp. 37-55

Buhler, P.M. (1999), ‘Managing in the 90’s – the changing role of HR, partnering with managers’ SuperVision. vol. 60(6), pp. 16-18.

Wright, P. & G. McMahan, (1992). ‘Theoretical Perspectives for Strategic Human Resource Management’, Journal of Management, 18: 295-320

Butler, J., G. Ferris & N. Napier, (1991) Strategy and Human Resource Management, Cincinnati, OH: Southernwestern Publishing Co.

Matthes, K. & S. Carroll, (1995), ‘How Strategic is HRM?’ Human Resource Management, 34: 253-267

Ettore, B., D.J. McNerney & B. Smith, (1996), ‘HR’s shift to a center of inflence’, HR focus 73(6): 12 (5)

Fitz-enz, J. (1994) ‘HR’s New Score Card’, Personnel Journal, 73(2): 84(4)

Gubman, E.L. (1995) ‘People are more valuable than ever’, Compensation and Benefits Review, 27(1), p.12; and Wright, P.M. McMahan, G.C., and McWilliams, A. (1994) ‘Human Resources and sustained competitive advantage: a resource-based perspective’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 5(2), pp. 301-26.

“From architecture to audit” Harvard Business Review (January-February 1998):

Ulrich, Dave: “A new Mandate for Human Resources”

Pfeffer, J. (1994), Competitive advantage through people. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press

Pfeffer, J. (1997) Does Human resources have a future in D Ulrich, M. Losey and G. Lake (eds), Tomorrow’s HR management, (pp.190-6). New York: John Wiley & Sons

Sheldrake, P. & Saul, P. (1995) First line managers: a study of the changing role and skills of first line managers. In industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills, Enterprising nation: renewing Australia’s managers to meet the challenges of Asia-Pacific Century. Karpin Report, Canberra-AGPS

Kramar, R. (1999) ‘Policies for managing People in Australia: what has changed in the 1990’s, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 37(24), pp. 26-32

Seven (7) dimensions of effective people management (HRM) that produce sustainability enhanced economic performance:

Employment security

Rigorous selection

Self managed teams and decentralised decision making

Comparatively high compensation linked to individual and organisational performance

Extensive training

Reduced status distinctions

Extensive sharing of financial and performance information throughout the organisation

Pfeffer (2008) P44 (8)

Other indications of extensive research within the field illustrate that ‘such high performance HR management policies and practices generate profitability gains, share price increases, higher company survival rates increase sales, higher export growth and lower labour turnover

P44 (10)

In other words the ‘new sources of sustainable competitive advantage available to organisations have people at the centre – their creativity and talent, their inspirations and hopes, their dreams and excitement (Stone, 2008)

Stone (2008, P9) indicates that as ‘HRM becomes more business oriented and strategically focused, four key roles for the HR manager can be identified:

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Strategic partner

Administrative expert

Employee champion

Change agent

Human resource management (HRM) is basically the policies and practices that influence employees’ behavior, attitudes, and performance within an organization. There are several important practices involved in HRM: analyzing work and designing jobs, attracting potential employees (recruiting), choosing employees (selection), teaching employees how to perform their jobs and preparing them for the future (training and development), evaluating their performance (performance management), rewarding employees (compensation), creating a positive work environment (employee relations), and supporting the organization’s strategy (HR planning and change management) (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2007, p. 19).

These practices have now begun to branch into the different trends that makeup many organizations today. E-business has been a huge part of human resources. A lot of companies have adopted a web-base system know as the Oracle Human Resources Management System (HRMS). This allows access to centralized workforce data through a core HRMS system not only enables companies to measure and leverage their workforce capabilities, it also allow them to manage risk by monitoring and recording compliance with statutory, regulatory, and industry requirements relating to their employees.(AME Info, n.d.). The stronger use of technology has allowed HRM professionals to invest more time in counseling, outreach, more careful selection, and coaching managers and front-line supervisors. Senior level human resource executives are being brought into the CEO’s office as corporate leaders recognize how critical human resource capability is to their success.

The growing integration of economies and societies around the world has resulted in most organization to rely on globalization. To guard against the downside of global competition, HRM must be more proactive in recruiting and maintaining a responsive and efficient work force. Planning should start at the early stages so that organizations do not bloat needlessly. Human resource managers must be able to map out human resource strategies such that flexible, dynamic employees are attracted, selected and then trained and motivated to be more productive than the competition (Santiago, in press).

In every organization ethics should be include in business decisions as well as HRM decisions, but the evidence suggests that is not always what happens. Recent surveys indicate that the general public and managers do not have positive perceptions of the ethical conduct of U.S. businesses (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2007, p. 19). In the context of ethical human resource management, HR managers must view employees as having basic rights. Such a view reflects ethical principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ethical, successful companies act according to four principles. First, in their relationships with customers, vendors, and clients, ethical and successful companies emphasize mutual benefits. Second, employees assume responsibility for the actions of the company (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2007, p. 19).

Third, such companies have a sense of purpose or vision that employees value and use in their day-to-day work. Finally, they emphasize fairness; that is, another person’s interests count as much as their own (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2007, p. 19).

HRM has a key role in transforming the organizational culture so that it more closely reflects the values of our diverse workforce. Some of the reason why diversity has become such a key word in human resources is that Women and minorities are now playing a significant role in society. Women are now major bread winners for the family as they takeover roles of leadership and decision making positions. A large majority of the working population now balances career responsibilities as well as dependent children. There is also an increased number of dual income families as well as changes made to the ‘conventional’ family structure with single parent families (Small Business Bible, n.d.). Some of the skills needed to understand diversity are: an understanding and acceptance of managing diversity concepts, recognition that diversity is threaded through every aspect of management , self-awareness, in terms of understanding your own culture, identity, biases, prejudices, and stereotypes ,willingness to challenge and change institutional practices that present barriers to different groups (Berkeley, n.d.).

In conclusion, HRM policies and practices influence employees’ behavior, attitudes, and performance within an organization. Some companies might consider it to be an important part of the company’s strategic plan as well as aiding in developing and implementing the organizational goals. It is safe to say that HRM is the key to helping organizations deal with the rapid change of technology, diversity, e-business, and ethics and growing demands to better serve customers and to better differentiate themselves from competitors.

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