Human Resource Management (HRM) emerged onto the British managerial scene in the late 1980s (Storey 1995) as a direct response to new unseen levels of competition which had left other management techniques antiquated. In a fairly short period of time there were many signs that it had taken hold and contributions from American practitioners had been eagerly awaited in the United Kingdom. It is not surprising when considered that a strand of HRM known as resource-based thinking suggests that a competitive advantage can be gained from the correct use of resources (Wernerfelt 1984).
The actual meaning of HRM is difficult to define and explain, and it seems that almost all the major contributors to the HRM argument have tried to explain it's meaning and done so differently to each other. One particular definition, while rather indiscriminate and perhaps therefore unhelpful, was made by Keenoy who suggests that HRM should be viewed as a hologram (Keenoy 1999) he concludes that HRM can be regarded as 'a collective noun for the multitude of concepts-and-methods devised (particularly post 1979) to manage and control the employment relationship'.
While this seems to throw a general descriptive blanket over the topic of HRM for this essay it should surmise with explanation. HRM is based on the belief that it is the human resources that gives a firm the competitive edge, for this reason employees should be carefully selected, with their future role in mind. Human resource policies should be integrated into the strategic plan of the firm, with the business strategy either being created around HR decisions or directly contributing to it. For this reason it is very important that top management accept and be involved in HR policy making.
Although HRM has only been around some twenty years in the UK the world of...