One view of the distinction between personnel management and HRM is offered by Bloisi (2007: 12) who sees personnel management as workforce centred and operationally focused. Tasked with recruitment, selection and administrative procedures in accordance with management’s’ requirements, they are functional specialists rather than strategic managers, often with little power or status, acting as a bridge between employer and employee, required to understand and articulate the needs of both. Redman and Wilkinson (2006: 3) see the rise HRM as taking place over the last 20 years, firstly in the US and later in the mid-1980’s in the UK.
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The 1990’s saw the appearance of HRM journals and university courses, with the then Institute of Personnel Management, the main professional body for personnel practitioners, re-launching its journal People Management with the subtitle the magazine for Human Resource Professionals. After 2000, the professional body became Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), emphasising the transition. Redman and Wilkinson (2006: 4) argue that the rise of HRM reflects changing concerns of management and changing power balance in the workplace with declining trade union membership and management concerns turning towards efficiency and productivity. There is also the influence of organisational change attempting to adjust to global competition with downsizing, de-layering and decentralisation. Organisations are more flexible, less hierarchical and have been subject to continuous change programmes such as business process re-engineering, performance management, culture change and the concept of the learning organisation, all areas where HRM has become involved. Armstrong (2006: 19) summarised major differences by noting HRM places more emphasis on strategic fit and integration with business strategy, based on a management and business oriented philosophy. HRM attaches more importance to organisational culture and the achievement of commitment, and places greater emphasis on the role of line managers as the implementers of HR policies. HRM is a holistic approach concerned with total organisational interest, while recognising those of individuals, but as subordinate to the total. HR professionals are expected to be business partners as opposed to administrators and treat employees as assets and not as cost overheads.
Armstrong (2008: 9) states that the overall role of HRM is to ensure organisational success through its employees, noting that Caldwell (2004) identified the role in the form of goals to be achieved. These included the management of people as assets fundamental to the competitive advantage of the organisation, aligning HRM policies with business policies and corporate strategy, creation of flatter and more flexible organisational structures capable of rapidly adapting to change, encouraging teamwork and cooperation, empowering employees to manage their own self-development and learning, and improving employee involvement. Also development of reward strategies designed to support performance, building employee commitment, and increasing line management responsibility for HR policies.
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