Human Resource Management

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Review Questions and Case Study

Review Questions

The first chapter of Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 3rd editionhas 9 review questions. The following notes are intended to help students using the book to get started on the questions. The questions are not shown here - you need access to the book.

  1. This question is intended to create a conceptual bridge between your understanding of issues commonly dealt with in a prior 'Organizational Behaviour' course and the present 'Human Resource Management' module. Start by jotting down the similarities and the differences between the concepts represented by the two keywords in the question.
  2. Think about the issues of 'managerial' leadership and control which would have been particular to a pre-industrial time and those which are constrained by nodern opportunities, aspirations and legislation. What elements are 'universal' and would apply in any context?
  3. This is question asks you to think about the capacities and limits of individuals - including their 'span of control' - in managing other people. At what point in a growing business is it appropriate to delegate people management and to consider constructing a management structure and specialist HR service? Is there a specific number of people or does it depend on the nature of the business, diversity of work, different locations, etc.
  4. Think about scientific management versus human factors/relations and the management theories listed in the chapter plus any others that you consider to have major significance. Were they 'dead ends' or major contributors to modern ideas.
  5. This is a review question, the differences between HRM and personnel management are examined in the chapter. Summarize them in your own words and bring in more perspectives from wider reading.
  6. This question asks you to consider whether HRM and 'traditional' personnel management are truly different in any meaningful way. Does it matter in practice?
  7. There are close parallels between HRM and some aspects of traditional Japanese management practice. But what cultural tradition has HRM come from and how has it been modified in different countries?
  8. You have a wide range of theoretical developments to consider. Some are almost contrary to the rhetoric of modern HRM - for example, Scientific Management seems crude and authoritarian. But how does that relate to the wide use of 'lean production', 'just-in-time', monitoring of activities and so on.
  9. Management theory has become something of a fashion industry, driven by people with agendas - if only to sell books or promote their 'motivational' and other services. What are the real merits of these ideas?

Case Study - George Cadbury

The George Cadbury case (largely a Victorian eulogy) is intended to illustrate the commonality of people management problems throughout the ages - and the value of good corporate PR. The case can be viewed at a number of levels, therefore, and may serve to illustrate a variety of points. One point is that some (many?) management theories can be considered to be little more than commonsense dressed up with fancy terminology. That terminology may have been absent in days when people management problems were being tackled from 'first principles'. But remember that problems have always been dealt with in the context of their time, and the solutions came about within the prevailing social and ethical framework?

More in this section

Human Resource Management in a Business Context 
Human Resource Management in a Business Context
by Alan Price
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