Human Resource Management
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The Harvard map of HRM

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

The Harvard map of HRM

A large part of this section in Human Resource Management, 4th edition is devoted to the Harvard 'map' of HRM. This is probably the most seminal model of HRM and has had a major influence on academic debate on the subject.

'We noted that the Harvard Business School generated one of the most influential models of HRM. The Harvard interpretation sees employees as resources. However, they are viewed as being fundamentally different from other resources - they cannot be managed in the same way. The stress is on people as human resources. The Harvard approach recognizes an element of mutuality in all businesses, a concept with parallels in Japanese people management, as we observed earlier. Employees are significant stakeholders in an organization. They have their own needs and concerns along with other groups such as shareholders and customers.'

The Harvard Map or model outlines four HR policy areas:

  1. Human resource flows - recruitment, selection, placement, promotion, appraisal and assessment, promtion, termination, etc.
  2. Reward systems - pay systems, motivation, etc.
  3. Employee influence - delegated levels of authority, responsibility, power
  4. Work systems - definition/design of work and alignment of people.

Which in turn lead to the 'four C's' or HR policies that have to be achieved:

  • Commitment
  • Congruence
  • Competence
  • Cost effectiveness

See Human Resource Management, 4th edition for more.

Point to consider

* Beer et al themselves did not consider that the four 'Cs' represented all necessary criteria. Why not? What else could be considered?

HRM policies and their consequences

Beer et al (1984) proposed that long-term consequences (both benefits and costs of human resource policies should be evaluated at three levels: individual, organizational and societal. These in turn should be analyzed using the four Cs.

See Human Resource Management, 4th edition for more.

Point to consider

* Although central to the Harvard Map, 'stakeholder theory' has a much wider scope than HRM and has largely been developed outside the HR literature. At first sight, it is a simple notion - those parties or groups that have an interest in the firm. But more critical attention reveals a concept that is not easy to define and that is also exposed to a number of political, ethical and other agendas. How would right- and left-wing politicians regard stakeholders? Similarly, senior managers and trade unionists, etc.

More articles in this section

HRM Textbooks

Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management, 4th edition
by Alan Price
 Covers all the key aspects of HRM. Available from: - UK pounds - Euros - Euros - Euros - US dollars - Can dollars

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management
 Shortened version of Human Resource Management - concise analysis for non-specialists and one-semester courses.
More information and prices from: - UK pounds - Euros - Euros - Euros - US dollars - Can dollars

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