Human Resource Management

1998 Words8 Pages
Over the last quarter century, Human Resource (HRM) management has superseded the earlier and largely paternalistic, Personnel (PM) management. Much debate has centred on whether HR is merely a progression of the earlier PM with its concentration of recruitment, training, pay, and welfare at work. With the advent of employment and health & safety legislation in the 1970’s and 1980’s, much of the justification for PM was now enshrined in law. HRM focused more on business needs with a spotlight on the contribution of people resources to competitiveness and general improvement of business performance.

HRM was quickly elevated to a more senior management status given its need to be closely aligned to the overall business strategy if it were to contribute directly to the overall success and profitability of the organisation. Additionally, HRM sought to align the employees’ interests closely with those of their employer. With its emanation from the USA, HRM has to an extent diluted the role of trade unions as the insurers of employee interests. This definition of HRM, championed by Guest, was characterised by a “hard-soft” continuum that distinguished between a resource-based benign management perspective and a more rigid perspective where HR policy is closely aligned to business strategy and budgetary goals of the business. Similarly, a “tight-loose” scale was used to characterise the progression from the older reactive PM practice to the newer proactive people management approach underpinned by a strong theoretical base.

CIPD, the professional body for over 5,000 HR people in Ireland, define HR strategy as,

“an approach to the management of human resources that provides a strategic framework to support long-term busine...

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...iversal set of strategic prescriptions for all personnel management situations, at all times [pp316-317].

Over two decade ago, Farnham concluded that both ‘old’ PM and ‘new HRM models continued to coexist and cautioned that little evidence existed of a widespread adoption of a strategic approach to HRM in most organisations


Tom Redman and Adrian Wilkinson, “Contemporary Human Resource Management: Texts And Cases” (2nd edition, FT Prentice Hall, 2006)

“Strategic human resource management” factsheet, Revised July 2013, CIPT Website dated 23 March 2014

David Farnham, “Personnel in Context” (3rd edition, IPM, 1990)

Patrick Gunnigle, Noreen Heraty and Michael J. Morely, “Human Resource Management in Ireland” (3rd edition, Gill & Macmillan, 2006)
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