Human Resource Management

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Management Development

Based on Human Resource Management, 4th edition, by Alan Price

Management development

In principle anyone can become a manager, and many do so without any formal training or development. However, graduates typically aim for organizations with formally designated management trainee positions, structured development programmes and steady progression through the management ranks. General management traineeships are rare; most are functionally based and applicants join functions such as marketing, production or human resources. (...)

The trend has been away from long induction periods and work-shadowing towards immediate 'real' jobs in which trainees perform useful activities, often with management responsibilities. Traditionally, trainees remain in particular functions for fixed periods of time - perhaps six months, a year or longer. Of late, competence- driven development programmes have required trainees to achieve a certain standard before moving on.

Storey (1995) justifiably observes that 'the panoply of HRM technology is seen in its fullest form in the management of managers'.(...)

Management and professional education

Many development programmes involve formal business education, including diplomas, business degrees and, above all, the Master's in Business Administration (MBA). MBA programmes have emphasized rational decision-making and a top-down strategic approach to business. It is worth noting that introduction on to the Harvard MBA was crucial to the growth of HRM. (...)

Developing management competences

What are management competences? There are two main perspectives on the skills necessary for management:

  1. 'One best way.' The generic approach assumes that there is a range of competences or portable techniques which can be learned and used in a variety of organizational settings.
  2. 'It depends.' The contingency view holds that running an organization efficiently requires competences or methods unique to that enterprise. This approach emphasizes common sense, experience, rule-of-thumb techniques and wisdom. It acknowledges the complexity of the business environment. It also recognizes that what has worked once in a particular situation is likely to work again. (...)

Developing the international manager

...the growth of international trade demands managers who are able to function effectively in a range of countries and cultures. Rothwell (1992) concluded that international managers have the following development needs:

  • proficiency in their existing task or business specialism;
  • language training;
  • experience of living and working abroad;
  • cultural awareness and interpersonal skills;
  • knowledge and information. (...)

Developing senior managers

Where do senior managers come from? This section compares results from cross-Europe studies of large companies that showed:

  • Not a single British chief executive was found with a production background - they tended to be from finance, marketing or general management.
  • Conversely, German companies tended to be controlled by people with engineering or science qualifications and a production background.
  • French senior managers tended to be grandes ecoles graduates, many having a state enterprise background.

Developing women

The low numbers of women in management have produced a case for special consideration to be given to the development needs of female managers. For example, the provision of career breaks, refresher training, job-sharing and extended childcare facilities can make a considerable difference in career progress. Hammond (1993) identified three critical stages in women managers' careers:

  • joining organizations;
  • establishing competence in management jobs;
  • strategies to progress up the management ladder into more senior jobs. (...)

Development Initiatives   > HRD as an Activity


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