Part (a) HRM Assignment 1 Throughout the history of the evolution of personnel towards HRM there have been many landmarks which fall into a number of categories. For example, I will discuss the following headings; the welfare tradition, scientific management, the multinational influence, HRM education and U. S perspective in the 1980’s. I will discuss in each of the headings and the ways in which they have influenced HRM throughout the years. Welfare tradition – the welfare tradition was developed in Britain in a few large companies during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
In the early stages of industrialisation working conditions were poor and workers only received bare minimum benefits associated with employment for example, sick pay pensions etc. The welfare tradition was aimed at improving factory workers conditions, paying particular attention to wage, health and safety and working hours. Some difficulties arose as a result of the First World War in relation to the welfare movement in Britain the development of welfare and personnel work was abandoned in many countries due to high levels of unemployment and depression in the post war period.
The welfare tradition is seen as a caring approach to employees with issues such as working conditions, health and safety and personal problems. There has been some confusion about the position of the personnel practitioner in the managerial hierarchy “however, it is clear that modern personnel practitioners operate as an integral part of the management team and primarily represent employer rather than worker interests”. (Personnel and Human Resource Management) Scientific Management – scientific management is also known as Taylorism.
As the welfare tradition had a problem with high levels of depression etc. Taylorism became increasingly popular. “The guest for efficiency and profitability among employers led to the standardisation of work systems and to a more systematic approach to a wide range of managerial activities” (Modern Management). Employees were forced to think of new ideas and new ways of improving organisation performance, in the early 20th century. They were forced to do this as a result of companies increasing in size and complexity and because of improvements in technology. Taylor encouraged employers to adopt a more systematic approach to job design, employment and payment systems (Taylor 1947)”. Taylor puts a particular emphasis on time and motion studies, job analysis and incentive bonus schemes. “Scientific management led to a shift in the emphasis of personnel away from the employee-orientated ‘caring’ or ‘do-gooding’ agenda of the welfare tradition and towards the managerial ‘efficiency-profitability’ agenda of the work study officer” (Personnel And Human Resource Management).
Taylorism’s most significant legacy is that work planning and work doing should be clearly distinguished from each other. Although Taylorism had many benefits such as helping to improve training, work measurements and payment it was also seen as a source to many problems, for example high levels of staff turnover, absenteeism, low staff moral and motivation etc. Scientific management as i have said already focuses on employers’ efficiency and profitability – this can be achieved by paying more attention to the needs of the workers – by motivating them and improving their conditions.
Behavioural Scientific Management – the development of the behavioural sciences is a big advancement to personnel management, by creating a platform of knowledge to build many aspects in personnel work, for example, training, industrial relations, payment systems and motivation. This is most commonly associated with the work of Elton Mayo and of Roethisberger and Dickson. This lets us know that the behaviour and performance of employees was influenced by motivation and needs as well as working conditions.
The human relations schools are something of which come under great industrial criticism, however, it has in fact had some important influence on management practice, in particular personnel management. The Multinational Influence and HRM Education – “Increasing emphasis on the professional education of personnel practitioners since the 1970’s and the impact of multinational corporations in contributing to increased knowledge of personnel techniques and greater sophistication in the execution of the personnel role” (Personnel and Human Resource Management).
Ireland is allotted with multi-national companies (MNC’s) over a thousand firms from abroad are employing over 100,000 people as a result of direct foreign investment i industries in the Republic of Ireland . MNCs have been first in creating more absolute policies and procedures in management giving better advancement to the role of the specialist personnel function (Personnel and Human Resource Management). The diffusion of new personnel techniques is an important aspect of MNC investment. In the 1970’s Dublin, Limerick and Galway colleges/universities ffered the first courses resulting in membership of the Institute of Personnel Management. Ever since the most universities and colleges of higher education offer both full time and part time under and post graduate courses. “In evaluating the development of personnel management in Ireland it appears that growth in industrialisation, direct foreign investment and state sponsored activity since the sixties have contributed to the establishment of personnel as a discrete management function” (Personnel and Human Resource Management).
Personnel management changed significantly in the 1980’s, there was a major decline in business activity due to a devastating economic climate and increased competitive pressures. Due to the recessionary climate activities such as industrial relations and recruitment etc. have been reduced. Competitive pressures force personnel function to take on activities and perform under budgeted cost controls. The industrial relations environment was drastically changed by the depressing economic climate of the 1980’s – high unemployment and redundancy levels etc. Increasingly employers sought to address issues such as payment structures and levels of wage increases, the extent of demarcation and restrictive work practices and ultimately and ultimately the erosion of managerial prerogative by trade unions” (Personnel and Human Resource Management). As a result of all the competitive pressures companies faced each company wanted to have that competitive advantage over the rest.
Some firms have investigated in different alternatives to work-force management, paying particular attention to job design, employee development reward systems i. e. feeding back etc. However human resource management has developed the most over the period. “It has its roots on the United States which has been receptive to the application of organisational psychology and behavioural science principles as a means of improving organisational performance (Beaumont 1992)” (Personnel and Human Resource Management).
In my opinion the development of HRM throughout the years, and its roots, have developed as a result of the above headings. HRM as we know it today would not be the same had the past not produced things like the welfare tradition, scientific management etc. All that is explained above in my opinion gives a good insight into the development of HRM throughout the years.