HR Roles And Responsibilities
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e-business, and ethics.
The first impact on the changing role of HRM is globalization. Companies are finding that to survive they must compete in international markets as well as fend off foreign competitors' attempts to gain ground in the United States (de Silva, S., 1997). To meet these challenges, U.S. businesses must develop global markets, keep up with competition from overseas, hire from an international labor pool, and prepare employees for global assignments (Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, 2003, p. 46). Employee skills have become important determinants not only of flexibility, efficiency and excellence, but also of employability, investment and the ability to adapt quickly to market changes.
For today and tomorrow's employers, talent comes from a global workforce. Organizations with international operations hire at least some of their employees in the foreign countries where they operate. Even small businesses that stick close to home often find that qualified candidates include some immigrants to the United States. Changes in the contemporary global economy highlight many of the emerging challenges facing human resource management (HRM). Many societal changes increasingly bind countries into co-dependent nations in which goods, capital, and people move freely. Between these communities, however, there remains a mixture of cultural barriers. To remain successful in this new global age, agencies must commit themselves to expanding their business. They must also create internal plans that are likely to succeed in global competition. Applying successful global strategies requires careful attention to the inconsistencies created in the management of human resources and the maintenance of complex organizational cultures.
A second development, which has shifted attention to workplace relations, is technology. Human resource management is playing an important role in helping organizations gain and keep a lead over competitors by becoming high-performance work systems. These are organizations that have the best possible fit between their social system (people and how they interact) and technical system (equipment and processes) (Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, 2003, p. 36).
As the workforce environment has changed, so has the necessities for creating a high-performance work system.
Customers are demanding high quality and customized products, employees are seeking flexible work arrangements, and employers are looking for ways to tap people's creativity and interpersonal skills (p. 36). Such demands require that organizations make full use of their people's knowledge and skill, and skilled human resource management can help organizations do this. Among the trends that occurring in today's high-performance work systems are reliance on knowledge workers; the empowerment of employees to make decisions; and the use of teamwork (p. 36).
The third kind of change affecting the role of HRM is diversity. HRM is growing more diverse in racial and ethnic terms. The greater diversity of the U.S. labor force challenges employers to create HRM practices that ensure that they fully utilize the talents, skills, and values of all employees. The growth in the labor market of female and minority populations will exceed the growth of white non-Hispanic persons (Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, 2003, p. 34). Therefore, organizations cannot afford to ignore or reduce the prospective contributions of women and minorities. Employers must guarantee that employees and HRM systems are free of unfairness, and value the perspectives and experience that women and minorities can contribute to organizational goals such as product quality and customer service, promote knowledge and acceptance of cultural differences, ensure involvement in education both within and outside the organization, and deal with employees' conflicts to diversity. When employers commit themselves to ensuring that they recognize the diversity of their internal labor force, they may gain a competitive advantage.
E-business is the conduct of business on the Internet, not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and joining forces with business partners. E-business obviously produces many HRM challenges. The fast pace of change in information technology requires that e-business companies quickly identify and hire talented employees. At the same time, competition for such employees is rigid. As companies start, struggle, and sometimes fail, they require HR expertise to help work through the stresses of downsizing or restructuring without making legal missteps (Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, 2003, p. 51).
The development of e-business has included ways to move HRM activities onto the Internet. Use of the Internet allows companies to search for talent without geographic restrictions. Recruiting and include on-line job postings, applications, and candidate screening from the company's website or the websites of companies that specialize in on-line recruiting, such as Monster.com or HotJobs. Employees from different geographic locations can all receive the same training over the company's computer network. A large amount of HR information is confidential, therefore, e-HRM usually is set up on an intranet, which is an authenticated network that uses Internet tools but restricts access only to authorized users in the organizations.
A person's actions usually cause ethical issues to arise, and business decisions are no exclusion. Business decisions, including HRM decisions, should be ethical, but the evidence suggests that is not always the case. Recent surveys indicate that the general pubic and managers do not have positive perceptions of the ethical conduct of U.S. businesses. For example, in a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, 4 out of 10 executives reported they had been asked to behave unethically (Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, 2003, p. 18).
HR managers must envision employees as having basic rights of free consent, privacy, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and the right to due process as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The morally correct actions in business are the organizations that reduce intrusions on and avoid violations of these rights. Organizations often face situations in which the rights of employees are affected. In particular, the right of privacy has received much attention in recent years. Computerized record keeping and computer networks have significantly increased the ways people can get (authorized or unauthorized) access to records about individuals. Human resource records can be mostly sensitive. HRM responsibilities therefore include the increasingly growing challenge of maintaining confidentiality (Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, 2003, p. 19).
What is evolving today in the world of human resource management is nothing short of revolutionary. The organizational function of human resource management is obviously becoming more important than ever. Line managers are becoming concerned in human resource management, and human resource managers are becoming members of the management team. In addition, because human resource management is critical to the success of organizations, nearly everyone in the organization can contribute to the management of people and the success of the organization at the same time. In contrast with the past, today's and tomorrow's depiction of human resource management reflect the more forceful levels of national, regional and global competition, projected demographic and workforce statistics, anticipated legal and regulatory changes, and significant technological developments. Transform through major changes in organizational strategy, structure, shape and technology, these environmental forces demand speed, quality, innovation and globalization for organizations wishing to survive the combat zone of international competition.
de Silva, S. (1997). The Changing Focus of Industrial Relations and Human Resource
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(Noe-Hollenbeck,-Gerhert-Wright, (2003). Fundamentals of human resource management.
Retrieved on July 21, 2007 from University of
Phoenix Online, rEsource Materials at