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Human Resource Management in a Business Context

Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 3rd edition
by Alan Price
 Human Resource Management in a Business Context provides an international focus on the theory and practice of people management. A thorough and comprehensive overview of all the key aspects of HRM, including articles from HRM Guide and other sources, key concepts, review questions and case studies for discussion and analysis.
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Resourcing Information

 Resourcing information

Effective in-house resourcing requires accurate and comprehensive information. Strategies and human resource plans must be translated into actual jobs, and people found or developed to perform them. Some basic questions can be asked:

* What tasks are involved?

* What skills or competences are required to do the work?

* Are they to be found within the organization?

* If not, should extra people be recruited?

 Researching the job

Conventionally, the first question is answered by a job analysis. Reminiscent of Taylor's techniques of 'scientific management', it is a more-or-less detailed examination of the sub-tasks within an identified job. Jobs vary between the 'crystallized', such as manufacturing assembly where the job is precisely defined, to managerial and professional jobs in which individuals have considerable freedom to vary their work. The degree of freedom is determined partly by technology or personal expertise and partly by the organization. Job analysis is geared towards tasks that are already being done in some form or can be easily extrapolated from current activities.

Job analysis techniques vary from the rudimentary to the sophisticated. The latter require specialist skills and are more commonly used in the USA, where equal opportunities legislation is more stringent than in most countries. Long-regarded as a somewhat tedious aspect of the personnel or work study function, job analysis has been highlighted as a valuable technique in ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination legislation in the USA. Conversely, the move towards flexible working has turned many organizations elsewhere away from closely defining jobs.

Pages 362-363 of Human Resource Management in a Business Context describe the main types of job analysis techniques.

 The job description

...the common outcome of job analysis is the job definition or description. In the past, job descriptions have been used as quasi-legal documents, with employees declaring the contents to be a definitive list of the tasks they were expected to perform. Uncooperative employees would refuse to do anything that was not on the list and unions and employers would enter into trench warfare over any changes. Today.in a climate of change and flexibility, employers are reluctant to agree to a rigid list of tasks, prefering the employee to be ready to take on any required function. Job descriptions are out of date almost as soon as they are written (...)

 Researching people

Depending on the method used, job analysis provides a detailed description of the work to be performed but may not indicate the knowledge, skills or abilities needed to do it. (...) Personnel specifications served to translate task requirements into these human qualities. Sophisticated forms of job analysis, for example those based on competencies typically generate personnel specifications as part of the package. (...)

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