ESSAY1.0 To what extent do the claims and practices of HRM overcome the weakness of traditional personnel management?
Human Resource Management (HRM), unlike Traditional Personnel Management (TPM) extends scope of best practices and ‘fit’ as functions of organizational policies (Yeung et al, 1996:49-50) and best practices that are structured to ensure business systems respond timely to business needs (Gonzalez, 1997:9-10). Thus, HRM aligns professional best practices which are products of TPM to deliver convergence of employee objective interests (Smith, 1998) and organizational objective interests, via utility of convergence theory hence delivery of psychological contract. Hence, HRM ensures workforce placement derives element of ‘fit’ based on hiring (Connolly et al, 1997:11-2), promotion and employee training and development with view of employees respond to tasks and responsibilities that are fundamental in sustaining organizational value statement (CF. Gubman, 1998). HRM, unlike TPM ensures organizational forecast plans are a function of succession planning on organizational human capital that is oriented towards delivering element of ‘organizational fit’ over employee experience as opposed to TPM that seeks to employee experiences and enhancement of longevity. Thus HRM utilizes TPM in terms of application of management and leadership concepts that are instrumental in establishment of employees that are motivated to contribute towards organizational innovation process (Eisenstat, 1996:7-8). Thus, HRM helps to bring about employee motivation through integrating motivational theories hence ensuring organizational citizenship behavior is sustained and maintained.
This implies HRM is a strategic approach in organizational management which is instrumental in sustained organizational management of human capital which makes it possible for organizational business strategies to achieve organizational objective interests (Gouderham et al, 1999). HRM bridges human capital management gap as provided by TPM. TPM concerns itself with managing people in an organization whereas HRM isolates the element of management to involve different entities like the process of hiring human resource, developing employee task capabilities through conducting training need analysis which define employee task competence and capability and processes and mechanisms of compensating employee inputs based on task workload and organizational requirements (Armstrong, 1982:198). TPM considers employees as basic business resources which is not in line with HRM theoretical backgrounds. As basic business resources, TPM would consider employees as assets whose organizational performance need constant evaluation (Galpin & Murray, 1997:100-2). This weakness is identified by HRM by considering employees as individuals who have varying needs and goals to fulfill hence should not be considered as basic organizational assets since they are vital in ensuring other factors of production are organization to deliver value expectation to product or service end-user.1.1 Figure 1: The economic benefits of organizational HRM
Source: adapted from Ulrich, Dave (1998)
HRM strategies results into measures for implementation of various HRM functions that cannot be delivered by TPM (Yeung & Bob, n.d.). A HRM function is a function of recruitment and policies, disciplinary procedures and employee reward-cum-recognition policies. TPM also plays part in development of organizational policy framework that is vital for implementation of aspects of business strategies that HRM develops. The HRM strategy though it results into learning and development policies, The HRM functional areas ought to be aligned to TPM in order to bring about business strategy correspondence (Wintermantel & Mattimore, 1997:339-40). Deficiencies of TPM result in the overall business plan since TPM manages short term organizational goals through human capital management and leadership. HRM results into long term forecast planning. Hence TPM is a subset of a universal set HRM.
TPM emerged into organizational management as a possible solution towards management of employee-employer conflicts subject to consideration of employees as basic business resources (Gorsline, 1999:54-5). Thus, HRM is a product of management of employees thus exploitation of capital-labor relationships which considers employees as variable costs that can be managed to maintain or improve business profitability.
Figure 2: Change in emphasis between traditional personnel management and human resource management
Source: Adapted from Perry and Mesch (1997)
The development of HRM emerged from deficiencies of TPM in delivering business strategies subject to shift of organizational and employee objective interests to attain an equilibrium state where organization cares about employee welfare and employees recognize organizational objective goals (Guban & Dale, 1998:15-7). Thus, HRM emerged from necessity to manage employee disputes and improved industrial relations which witnessed changes in monitoring compliance to procedures and improved transparency in employee recruitment, focus on employee training and development thus delivery of psychological contract, performance appraisal, employee performance management and improved employee communication and involvement in the organizational strategy development and implementation (figure 2). Hence TPM is on large scale targeted at non-managers whereas HRM considers organizational management development as equally important concern to address (Grathton, 1998:13-14). TPM deficiencies (figure 2) emerged from personnel management consideration of organizational culture and leadership to be functions of organizational development, thus HRM utilization of Hofstede theory of culture to set up consistent human resource policies and framework that has capability of communicating organizational core competencies and organizational values that cannot be penetrated by competitors (Pfeffer, 1998). Unlike TPM, HRM is concerned with building organizational culture (figure 2) and facilitating an environment where employees share common values such that the employees displayed behavior and attitudes reflect the organizational best practices and interests which opposes TPM concern with convectional rules and procedures which have an outcome of attaining speed (Schoonover, 1999). In so doing, HRM utilizes management philosophies whose scope of best practices far outweigh TPM convectional thinking capacity via procedures and rules but is positioned to ensure employees develop their strengths through practice which is corollary to TPM that facilitates in employees development of their weaknesses (Overman, 1994:51).
TPM doesn’t foster facilitation as an element of skill development (table 1). Hence TPM revolution should realize organizational development, direct employee communication and performance management (table 1) as ingredients for nurturing managers tasks which should bear fruits through abolition of monitoring aspect. Thus, success of HRM lies in communication of organizational strategic goals and objective interests which is a product of correlation of intellectual capital and organizational success in the market place which is instrumental in development of competitive advantage and core values.1.2 Table 1: the distinguishing factors between HRM and TPM
Beliefs and assumptions
Careful delineation of written contract
Aim to go beyond contract-go by spirit of contract
Thrust on devising clear rules
Develops “can do” attitude
Guide to management action
Business and customer needs, flexibility, commitment
In line with customs and norms
In line with values and mission
Speed of decision
P & IR experts
Cultural and structural issues and personnel strategies
Integrated and key tasks
Restricted flow /indirect
Division of labour
Managing culture and organizational climate
Training and development
Controlled access to courses
Source: Adapted from Walker, 1999
TPM doesn’t result into assessment of skill sets of employees hence training need analysis cannot result into better outcomes (Walker, 1999). This is subject to application of transactional leadership (table 1) in TPM as opposed to transformational leadership in HRM. Hence HRM ensures employees are matched with respect to skills which makes it easier to conduct employee training needs analysis and implement relevant employee training and development (Ulrich et al, 1998:474). TPM (table 1) as a function of employee skill-set development restricts access of employees to secondary courses that could improve on their performance (Gorsline, 1999:55). HRM creates devolved organizational structures which are products of management rules that nurture talent through facilitation as opposed to negotiation as applied in TPM. Through facilitation, HRM subject to transformational leadership application, develops employees and exploits their talents hence nurturing employees’ desires to be good and to nurture employee deliberate practices that make them better performers. Hence HRM management is a function of application, where line managers break convectional rules as applied in TPM in order to deliver value to recruitment process as a product of employee selection (Bechet & Walker, 1993:12), motivation, orientation, and development which conforms to observation of Buckingham and Coffman, “people don’t change that much. Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw what was left in (p.9) hence HRM adoption of transformational leadership hence capitalization of what employees can deliver best as opposed to TPM model of “fixing weaker talents and abilities” (Dawn, 1998:45). HRM scores better through assessment and evaluation of individual employee talents and skills which provides basis for employee training, mentoring, guiding, coaching and development targeted at honing the employee skills which implies HRM revolves around management of weaknesses. HRM therefore makes organization to capitalize on employee knowledge (table 2). HRM, as a function of improving employee inadequate knowledge does instead capitalize on employees’ talent, knowledge and skills as opposed to perspectives of TPM (Pfeffer, 1998). HRM employee recruition satisfies talent search as opposed to experience, education or intelligence as in TPM. HRM emphasis more on strive element thus, capability of employees drive for achievement (Menon et al, 1999:22), aspiration for achievement and commitment to inject and translate beliefs into actions. Unlike TPM, HRM puts emphasis on relating element which is a function of attentiveness of employee to differences and capability to take charge of a situation.1.3 Table 2: HRM core capabilities
Source: Adapted from Ulrich, Dave, 1997
TPM didn’t result into an environment where human resource professionals were supportive of organizational line managers and supervisors. This has effect of increasing power distance hence decreasing efficiency of communication systems and viability of innovation process. Hence, TPM couldn’t manage cultural aspect of human resource (Stopper, 1999). This catalyzed growth of a working environment where line managers cannot take part in identifying human capital talent through testing and behavioral interviewing hence minimal promotion from within which had effects of suffocating organizational psychological capital. HRM helps in managing cultural element of management by fostering presence of communication systems that nurture line manager interaction with human resource personnel. Thus, HRM is instrumental in identification of talent, promotion from within organization and provision of vacancies to organizational employees hence HRM plays a pivotal role in convergence of functionality of organizational, psychological, financial and human capital (Smith, 1998). HRM makes it possible for organization to develop and set employee expectations through establishment of right measurable outcomes. Unlike TPM, HRM is instrumental in assistance of employees to develop and establish individual goals and objectives thus realization of Unitarist HRM perspective as opposed to TPM which is driven by pluralist perspective. Thus, HRM breeds employee commitment unlike TPM which revolves around employee negotiation and compliance. HRM plays a lead role in empowering employees to define expected outcomes and project outcomes of attainment of projected working goals which is vital element in determination of the way forward in delivering tasks and milestones (Simon & Davila, 1998:72).
TPM results into performance of work that is under constant supervision which has capability of decreasing flexibility element of task performance and undermines efficiency of workgroups. This doesn’t provide employees opportunity to chart mechanism of delivering tasks hence fuels employee turnover subject to incapacitated employee potential to contribute to organizational performance subject to inability of employee to draw upon their talents or participate in innovation process (Corporate leadership Council, 1997). Thus, TPM is characterized by managerial orientation where managers establish unique pathway for task delivery and check for feedback hence TPM fails in its investment towards micro-managing employees. TPM contributes to demoralized employees who engage in high turnover rate leading into organizational loss of talent, competitive advantage and lost innovation team which arises subject to inability of the manger to trust potential and capability of his employees (Armstrong, 2006). HRM supports participative approaches to task performance which breeds teamwork spirit hence creating room for management by coaching. This is crucial in mentorship and prepares employees to management and leadership qualities. HRM, through task participative approach, result into formulation of criteria for rewarding development of teams and production of stated outcomes which is instrumental in development of organization-wide objectives that drive organizational performance excellence (Kaplan & Norton, 1992).
HRM results into employee capacity development by improving on who the employees are through investment in development of employee unique strengths. This is achieved via focusing on employee strengths and management of employee around their weaknesses (Kaplan & Norton, 1992). HRM strategy is based on identification of what motivates the employee and provision of the hygiene factors or motivators on the work environment of the employee. For instance, employees that seek challenging tasks are provided with challenging tasks which makes it possible to identify what employee likes doing in order to create employee excellence in that area (Gouderham et al, 1999). TPM fails to deliver this demand subject to failure to provide a mentor to a weaker employee who would have been instrumental in bringing strengths that can develop the employee. TPM fails when it recognizes the only way to promoting an employee is through up-the-promotional-ladder. HRM recognizes that employee promotion ought to be horizontal, through expansion of the employee responsibilities (Dawn, 1998). This is because TPM up-the-ladder promotion has been criticized as a form of promoting employees to levels of incompetence. This implies TPM promotions don’t result into the right job fit for employees. HRM therefore seeks to ensure organization derives element of “best fit” through attraction and retention of employees thus, HRM excels more than TPM in managing “fit” between the organizations employees and general strategic direction of an organization (Simon & Davila, 1998).
TPM is structured around organizational ideas for performance hence less regard on examination of employees in the workplace as opposed to academic theory perspective of organizational performance. The premise of academic theory of HRM posits that employees aren’t machines which therefore necessitate incorporation of inter-disciplinary assessment of employees (Yeung et al, 1996:53). The academic theory of management affirms HRM strategy and organizational corporate strategy correlate by striking a balance through delivering ‘best fit’ and ‘best practices’ which implies, HRM is oriented towards achievement of clarity of organizational goal that are communicated to employees for implementation (Galpin & Murray, 1997:104). HRM hence rhymes employees’ personal needs and organizational objective interests as opposed to TPM. For instance if an electronic company corporate strategy is to increase Television sales by 20% over a period of three years, a HRM strategy would be structured to provide mechanism through which the 20% increase in sales would be achieved. Thus, HRM results into development of inter-organizational department shared business visions by ensuring the marketing, finance and production departments have shared strategic goals and objectives which is different from TPM where finance department could seek reduce costs while marketing department seek to create brand awareness (Ulrich, 1998). This means, through application of HRM, the organization is streamlined to ensure specific HRM functions are structured to deliver corporate goals. For instance, recruitment, selection, recognition, learning and development policies are structured to deliver common business strategy outcomes. HRM plays a lead role in fostering close co-operation between human resource and senior management in developing organizational corporate strategy (Overman, 1994). In a TPM setting, line managers and human resource representatives are not present when organizational corporate strategies are being structured which reduces feasibility and applicability of the strategy to manage organizational change since its organizational personnel that ought to construct and provide a service. They understand organizational opportunities and threats better that the human resource managers, hence HRM is vital ingredient in continuous monitoring of a corporate and business strategies, fosters employee feedback which is vital foundation through which Theory Of Constraint could be applied to identify bottlenecks in production (Simon & Davila, 1998:76). Unlike TPM, a HRM strategy falls under two categories, the employee strategy and human resource functional strategy. The employee strategy is fundamental in correlation of HRM policies and action plan implementation which is internal driver for realization of corporate strategy. Thus, employee strategy determines success of corporate strategy (Yeung et al, 1996:52). The human resource functional strategy finds application in human resource functional system and seeks to achieve management of employees within the functional area to ensure departmental objectives, which form foundation of organizational objectives, are realized.
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