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Status and Significance of HRM

Based on Chapter 24 of Human Resource Management in a Business Context (2nd Edition) by Alan Price - published by Thomson Learning

(...) Regardless of the rationale or the nature of its practice, HRM has become a common label for various forms and functions of people management. In English-speaking countries, the term has replaced 'personnel management' in many contexts. For example, academic courses, journals and textbooks formerly labelled as 'personnel management' are now described as 'human resource management'. However, and particularly at practitioner level, re-labelling does not mean necessarily that either the approach or the content have changed (Sisson, 1995: 87). The diverse interpretations of HRM are apparent when we compare practices in different countries and organizations. We noted earlier that 'personnel' and 'human resources' can co-exist and many organizations throughout the developed world follow North American practice, using the terms interchangeably.

Following a South African study by Wood and Els (2000) we can identify four distinct patterns of practice:

  • 1. A simple change in nomenclature of relevant personnel sections where, in a number of cases, staff were not seen as managers but instead they were viewed as a distinct, relatively junior, category of employee.
  • 2. A broadened personnel function encompassing clearly delineated areas such as training and development.
  • 3. HRM practitioners play an important strategic role as facilitators in the adoption of progressive industrial relations policies, rather than developing a vision for managing human resources across the organization.
  • 4. True strategic HRM.

More on pages 669-670, Human Resource Management in a Business Context

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