Personnel to Human Resource Management

Essay by only1kadeeUniversity, Master's August 2008

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Personnel management refers to a set of functions or activities including recruitment, training, pay and industrial relations performed effectively but often in isolation from each other or with overall organisation objectives. In 1991, Hilmer noted that the Australian tradition of many sub-specialities or functions (industrial relations, compensation, training and pay) was out of date. The early 1990s was an are of great speculation on the future of the functions in managing people. The concept Human Resource Management (HRM) began to influence the practice of integrating functions with each other and organisation objectives. Coppleston (1991) explained "the HR function within any enterprise must first of all serve the organisation… an investment area rather than a cost to the organisation." Reinforced by other writers, human resources should be viewed as 'human capital', and that HR managers should strive to use them as investment creating an environment where the appropriate strategy is likely to emerge.

(Williams, 1991) Alternate perspectives of HRM emphasise either the effective management of employees through greater accountability and control, the greater involvement in decision making processes, or both of these. (Nankervis, Compton & McCarthy, 1993)In countries such as Australia, the personnel management function arrived more slowly than its USA counterparts and came from a number of avenues. The orientation of personnel management was not entirely managerial. In the UK, its origins were traced to 'welfare officers' where it became evident that there was an inherent conflict between their activities and those of line managers. There were not seen to have a philosophy compatible with the view of senior managers. The welfare officer orientation placed personnel management as a buffer between the business and the employees. In terms of organisational politics this was not a viable position for those wishing to further their careers, increase their status,