[Business and Management] -> [Human Resource Management]: To what extent is HRM different from conventional Personnel Management?Is it the same phenomenon in a different name and modern version?
Submit date:11/10/2005
Document level:Master
Language: English
Username:100009 (View other documents by this user)
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Words:3825 / Pages:11
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Keywords:HRM,Critical Human Resources Management


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To capture the theme of my essay, I will first distinguish between HRM and Personnel Management. Thereafter I will provide a general overview of management, interrogate the four dimensions of HRM, ie, inception, development, motivation and maintenance. It is also my intention to delve into the peculiarities of personnel management, which has at some stage grown both as an academic discipline and as a field of application in work organizations. Whether the two disciplines are similar or different, that will be discussed just before the conclusion.


According to Pieters, M.A. (1996:4), Human Resources Management can be defined as a process consisting of the dimensions of :
(i) “inception (getting individuals into the organization)
(ii) development (preparing employees to work effectively and efficiently)
(iii) motivation (stimulating employees by caring for their needs)
(iv) maintenance ( keeping employees in the organization by providing suitable working conditions)”.


Megginson, L.C. (1981:6) defines personnel management as the “performance of all managerial functions involved in planning for, recruiting, selecting, developing, utilizing, rewarding, and maximizing the potential of the human resources of an organization”. The implication here is that all managers, at all levels, have a duty to perform the personnel function.


Bateman, T.S. & Snell, S.A.(1999:6) define management as “the process of working with people and resources to accomplish organizational goals. Good managers do these things both effectively and efficiently. To be effective is to achieve organizational goals. To be efficient is to achieve goals with minimum waste of resources, that is, to make the best possible use of money, time, materials, and people”. It must be noted that some managers fail on both criteria, or get fixated with one of the two at the expense of the other. Those who are good at managing, apply both criteria successfully.

Management has four functions : planning, organizing, leading and controlling.
According to Pretorius, L.A., Swanepoel, F.A., & Visser,G.M. (1999:7), “planning is aimed at achieving a goal and is future-orientated. On the other hand, planning is defined by Bateman & Snell (1999:7) as a “management function of systematically making decisions about the goals and activities that an individual, a group, a work unit, or the overall organization will pursue in the future”. One cannot help but note that an objective should be set before hand, and it is a basic quality of planning. There should also be a way of determining the resources needed to achieve the organization’s goals.
(ii) Organizing
According to Rue, L.W. & Byars, L.L.(1980, the function of an organization is “the grouping of activities essential to attaining common objectives and the assignment of each grouping to a manager who has the authority necessary to supervise the people performing the activities”. This shows that through organization everybody is allocated a specific directive, together with an indication of what exactly is expected of him. It can be regarded as a function of management which involves the allocating of responsibility to workers under appointed managers, supervisors and production workers, to achieve the main objectives of the undertaking.

(iii) Leading
According to Hellriegel,D.& Slocum,J.W.(1993:11), leading “involves communicating with and motivating others to perform the tasks necessary to achieve the organization’s objectives. And leading is not done after planning and organizing end, it is crucial to those functions, too”. This shows that leaders can thus tell their subordinates what to do and also influence them with respect to the manner in which the instructions are to be executed.

Bateman et al (1991:7) see leading as a way of stimulating people to be high performers. One can say that it is a way of motivating subordinates to set and achieve their goals, using for example, the leader’s reward power.

(iv) Controlling
Hellriegel et al (1993:12) define controlling “as the process by which a person, group, or organization consciously monitors performance and takes corrective action”. On the other hand, Bateman et al (1991:8) define controlling as a “management function of monitoring progress and making needed changes”. One can summarize these definitions as implying that controlling has to with the integration of the various work activities with the whole, so as not to disrupt each other and to minimize duplication. Actual outcomes must be consistent with the goals of the organization.
Document introduction:

According  to  Beardwell, I. & Holden, L.(1997:21), these  are  the  differences :
HRM  goes  beyond  contract  and  is  not  rule  bound. Workers  should  be  nurtured. HRM  has  adopted  a  unitarist  approach, hence  conflict  is  de-emphasized. The  role  of  management  focuses  more  on  transformational  leadership  and  communication  is  direct. It  seeks  to  achieve  competitive  advantage  through  the  strategic  deployment  of  a  highly  committed  and  capable  workforce, using  an  integrated  array  of  cultural, structural  and  personnel  techniques. Pay  is  performance-related. HRM  follows  a  descriptive  model, salaries  are  non-negotiable.

It is  rule-bound  and  pluralist, and  there  is  no  flexibility. Conflict  is  institutionalized  and  communication  is  indirect. PM  realizes  that  you  can  treat  people  like  other  material  objects  in  the  workplace. It  is  a  reaction  to  possible  challenges  from  the  workers. It  follows  a  critical  evaluative  model  which  is  radical  perspective. 


One  can  conclude  that  the  two  styles  of  management  have  one  principle  in  common, ie, that   a  workplace  should  be  managed  in  order  for  the  organization  to  achieve  its  goals. HRM  is  an  improvement  on  Personnel  Management  in  that  employees  are  now  regarded  as  an  important  asset  of  the  organization.

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