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Human Resource Management (1980s)

Strategic approach to managing people, replacing personnel management. Went from welfarist phase in early 20th century, through industrial efficiency (1930s), personnel administration (1940s), industrial relations phase (1950s) to professionalisation and HRM on 1970s. Concerned with motivation, communication and behavioural sciences. CIPD 2000 and devolution of transactional HR responsibility to line management.


Unitarist perspective

No fundamental difference of interests between employees and their organisation and that conflict is avoidable. Conflict is seen as detrimental and should be eliminated.

Motivation and behavioural theories contradict this. Acas conciliatory service has to work with differences.


Pluralist perspective

Accepts that conflict is natural and inevitable. Given that organisations are made up of different groups of people the diversity can be useful and productive.

Strategic HRM apparently does not support this perspective but diversity and inclusion is central to most organisations!


Storey (2007) Reading 1 ‘HRM today: an assessment

HRM can be viewed by some as any system of people management, or a useful and distinct approach that sees people as its most valuable assets. If managed well can provide a competitive advantage.

IR vs HRM; procedure-business need, pluralist-unitarist, monitoring-nurturing, slow-fast, transactional-transformational, separate-integrated


Legge 1978 Conformist vs deviant innovators

Conformist - shape policies around business plans

Deviant - asserting a distinct set of principles bases on values eg. fairness, ethics and procedures.


Marchington and Wilkinson (2013) different roles in constructing a building analogy

Transactional administrative work - now with LM to ‘the architect’ who has the most discretion and concerned with strategy at senior level. Aims to create the correct business culture for the organisation.


Caldwell (2003) Reading 2 ‘The changing roles of personnel managers: old ambiguities, new uncertainties.

Storey (1992) used empirical research and devised acuseful way of differentiating 4 roles of personnel managers based on research conducted in mid 80s:
Advisors - facilitators, internal consultants, non-interventionist.
Handmaidens - reactive support to LM
Regulators - interventionist, ensure compliance and manage discontent.
Changemakers - interventionist with strategic agenda. Enhance employee commitment and motivation.

Offers a benchmark to provide a before (Ulrich is the after) model of change


Ulrich (1997) 4 roles of HR professionals

To be competitive HR must consider both strategy and operations, processes and people. In doing so the roles are:
Strategic Partners- execute business strategy.
Admin Experts - improve organisational efficiency
Employee Champion - maximise employee commitment and competence
Change Agents - transform the organisation and ensure the right culture

Offers a prescriptive model, however given its overlap with Storey, it is so radical? Not empirical.


Brockbank and Ulrich (2005) 5 HR competencies that make a difference

Business knowledge
HR delivery
HR technology
Personal credibility
Strategic contribution

Concerned with the HR specialist but what about the full range of HR functions? Priorities differ at each level:
CEO - strategy
LM - staff motivation and achievement
Employee - welfare, support, pay, conditions and rewards

More value is attributed to strategic function and business knowledge. Others are important and if lacking is an issue.


Nestle example of global organisation using 3 legged stool model (1997)

Shared service centres (outsourcing) - pension, payroll - shift risk and use external expertise
Centres of expertise - NHS- recruitment and selection
Business Partner

E-HRM has enabled sscs and centralising


Marchington and Wilkinson (2012) Reading 5 ‘increasing LM responsibility for HRM

Talk about how LM feel HR specialists are out of touch in 4 ways:
1. Out of touch with commercial realities
2. HR constrains LM autonomy - law!! New fangled policies.
3. HRMs are slow to act - wanting to hire quickly but there are constraints and fair transparent procedures to follow.
4. Policy fine in theory but not in practice. Legge (1995) ‘vicious cycle of personnel management,. HR not involved early enough therefore people issues downplayed, then HR have to pick up the pieces.


Hutchinson and Purcell (2007)

Studied 663 organisations and found LM significantly involved in implementing HR policy. Creates tension, especially in clinical setting when operational focus remains critically important. Overworked, under resourced.


Maxwell and Watson (2006) Hilton International’s UK hotels

LM more involved with:
Motivation and morale
Communication and team briefings
Health and Safety was
Identifying training needs
Employee selection
Performance appraisals