Effective Human Resource Management

Table of contents


Human Resource Management is also a strategic and comprehensive approach to managing people and the workplace culture and environment. Effective HRM enables employees to contribute effectively and productively to the overall company direction and the accomplishment of the organization’s goals and objectives.

As competitors strive to win the war for talent, effective human resource management is necessary to gain true competitive advantage in the marketplace. Three challenges faced by nations and companies in 19th century are shown in Curtis (2006) “The Century of the Self” Part 1 are sustainability, technology, and globalization.

Curtis (2006)

Sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

Globalization requires attention to “more than conducting business across national borders but also entails expanding com­petition for almost every type of organization presenting management with the challenge to operate in diverse cultural settings” (Edwards, 2006)

Globalization represents the structural making of the world characterized by the free flow of tech­nology and human resources across national boundaries as well as the spread of Information Tech­nology and mass media presenting an ever-changing and competitive business environment.

Globalization makes national culture an increasingly strategic issue that has to be faced and properly managed. The problem is the balancing of the global trends in human resource management with the influence of national culture because many aspects of HRM are affected by differences in national culture. Custis (2006) analyze the problem of balancing seemingly opposing forces (globalization and the influence of national culture) and to identify trends in HRM during 20th century across coun­tries: USA, Germany and United Kingdom.

Curtis (2006)

Technology not only changes the administration of human resources (HR), but also changes organizations and work. HR professionals must be able to adopt technologies that allow the reengineering of the HR function, be prepared to support organizational and work-design changes enabled by technology, and be able to support the proper managerial climate for innovative and knowledge-based organizations.

By far the most significant drivers of strategic change in the world today, globalization and technology innovation, are accelerating at a pace that will make them even more important in the decade ahead. Globalization is proceeding differently in different industries , driven primarily by: increasingly similar demands of end users for global products: changing needs and capabilities of global customers , underlying economics of scale and scope in research , product development , and manufacturing . Technology enables firms within an industry to capture economics of scale and scope by going global, global firms rely on technological innovation to enhance their capabilities. Technology is thus both driven by, and key driver of globalization.

Asian and Western Management Styles

Management style is the set of philosophies or principles by which the management exercise control over the workforce and bind diverse operations and functions together in order to achieve organizational goals. Earlier research found that firms which tend to employ the participative (or Western) management style favor allowing workers to enhance their professional skills. In contrast, it has been suggested that centralized decision-making, the traditional Asian management style, which is characterized by paternalistic leadership, collectivist orientation and greater power distance between managers and workers, could impede individual creativity (Thompson, 1965) and hence hold back the development of professional skills.

Western Management Education:

It is now widely accepted that HRM, as a concept, was initially popularized in the USA . In fact , the teaching of management and business as education subjects was first pioneered in the united states. Wharton Business School, which was created in 1881 .In contrast, Cranfield School of management and London Business School, which were the first two schools in Europe , were created in 1965. (Locke, 1989)

The Americans were first into the field not only of management, but also of human resource management and arguably have developed hegemony in what the subject involves and what is good practice (Brewster, 2000). HRM is viewed as a logical and rational system. From this viewpoint of seeking, Fomburn et al.(1984) state that the activity of managing HR consists in a five-step cycle: selection , performance, appraisal , rewards and development. Indeed, all firms have to manage this (or a similar) process regardless of where they are in the world. However, it is helpful to consider the management of HR not as a strict system of ‘rational’ processes but as the process of managing people. People cannot be ‘managed’ in a vaccum, they are managed within a context.(e.g. cultural, social, educational, religious, geographical, legal, historical). The process of HRM is therefore not neutral, it is surrounded by cultural, social and other norms characteristic of human behavior. Although the American development of HRM first appeared akin to a scientific process , a number of writers have since put it into context and characterized a so-called US- Model of HRM or in some formulations, a ‘uni-versalistic’ model, since its proponents argue that it can be applied anywhere in the world. It is important to spend some time reflecting on what underpins the notion of American HRM as it follows other complementary positions to be refined. (Harzing & Ruysseveldt, 2004)

The findings summarized here provide an illustration of nationally bounded collective mental maps about organizations that seem to resist convergence effects from increased professionalization of management and intensity of international business. Neighboring western nations seem to be forming fairly differentiated images of organizations and their management. This attempt to use a comparative phenomenological approach to the study of organization seems to elicit findings that cast serious doubt on the universality of management and organizational knowledge and praxis

It may be very well be that the management process in these western countries is as much culture blund as their cooking , and that international management has to avoid the trap of international cuisine. National cultures may still offer some genuine recipes.

Eastern Management Education:

Human resources management in East Asian

With the reforms of the employment system, a new system, a new terminology of human resource management came to China in the middle of the 1980s.Warner(1995, 1997). Initially, HRM as an academic concept was introduced by joint teaching arrangements between Chinese and foreign universities as well as in management practice in foreign-owned enterprises, mainly from japan, the US and Europe (warner ,1995). The translation of HRM into Chinese is renliziyuan guanli (with the same Chinese characters as in Japanese) which means ‘labour force resources management’. But in fact , some people now use it misleading as a synonym for ‘Personnel Management’ (renshi guanli) and indeed treat it as such (Warner,1997). This form of older personnel management practice is still very common in SOEs and a fair degree of conservatism continues to pervade the administration of personnel in such enterprises. Certainly, it is still very far from the initial concept of HRM as understood in the international community (Poole, 1997).

In parallel, attempts were made to import ‘enterprise culture’, a ‘code-word’ for adopting and adapting the Japanese model (Chan, 1995). This is normally found in firms entering JV arrangements with Japanese multinational companies or where the Japanese have set up wholly owned firms on site.

East Asia has been surge economic growth since 1960s. Its cultural background has undoubtedly played a significant role in this process. There is a core value- system based on the combined characteristics of Confucianism, Daoism and war strategies which still has a strong influence on Asian HRM, although clearly exceptions also apply.

Indian Human resource Management:

Indian Management practioners and academics have developed a distinctive approach to Human Resource Development. HRD approaches are increasingly playing a role in organizational responces to issues arising from liberalization. Accustomed to operating in protected markets, organization are having to learn to manage combining the virtues of conflicting market models , rather than relying exclusively on a single set of pre-conditioned theoretically validated policies. HRD therefore addresses the need to arrest deteriorating values, building up organizational and cultural strengths, broadening the philosophy of tolerance and sacrifice and displaying deep concern for people (Rohmetra, 1998). HRD as a ‘humanistic ’ concept and a subsuming norm that guides management approaches to its employees has come to assume a critical role in Indian management philosophy , HRD involves a paradigm shift from old approach of control to the new approach of involvement and self-development (silvera,1988) and would be more closely aligned with the ‘soft’ approach to HRM.

HRD is similar to the concept about the rights and duties of human beings about which democratic constitutions the world over consider inalienable and inseparable from human nature, and has similarities to the United Nation Development Programme’s concept of a nations human development. HRD is therefore a humanistic concept that places a premium on the dignity and respect of people and is based on a belief in the limitless potential of human beings. It emphasizes that people should not be treated as mere cogs in the wheel of production, but with respect as human beings.

As humanistic concept HRD proposes that human beings should be valued as human beings , independent of their contribution to corporate productivity or profit. The various underlying attitudes symbolizing respect for people’s dignity, trust in their basic integrity and belief in their potential, should lead to the creation of an environment in companies in which individual should find fulfillment in work and seek newer horizons for themselves and the enterprise (Rohmetra, 1998).

HRD practices in Indian companies attempt to blend western and eastern ideas and systems of people management. This concept of HRD attempts to be more comprehensive and meaningfull than utilitarian concepts evolved in Anglophone countries. It has come to denote a planned way of developing and multiplying competencies, and the creation of an organization climate that promotes the utilization and development of new competencies. Culture building is seen as a part of its agenda.

(Jackson, 2002)

Future Assumptions Observed to be a part of human resource management:

Legge (1999) states that the new assumptions observed to be a part of human resource management are:

Proactive, system – wide interventions with, emphasis on fit, linking HRM with strategic planning and cultural change.
People are social capital capable of development
Coincidence of interest between stakeholders can be developed
Seeks power equalization for trust and collaboration
Open channels of communication to build trust , commitment
Goal orientation
Participation and informed choice

Management Education:

Management education in schools of business and public administration has received less attention than other aspects of the study of management.

There is a contradiction on Management Education which is not being adequately confronted. As attempts is made to change organizations or some part of them to more democratic structures, so the ability of education and training to facilitate that change seems to be losing ground. There is no single reason for this, yet it seems to be chiefly because our collective skill in the design of education or training experiences has outstripped our understanding of some of the fundamental process involved. In particular, it seems to have overlooked the function which education servers in preparing people for membership work organizations.

Research in management education has not been a source of inspiration, Although problems abound , certain basic issues are generic. One issue is the criterion problem in management education research. Criteria that have been utilized have often been chosen for convenience rather than for therotical or practical relevance.

Freedman and cooper (1982)

Challenges for the management education:

One of the challenges for the management educator is to make a judicious choice amongst the teaching methods is to ensure that individually or in combination they facilitate translation and / or transfer , and that this facilitation is not achieved to the general detriment of either of the learner reactions identified. Meeting this challenge, teaching methods require a certain robustness , contributing to the solution of two separate if related problems , whilst achieving their goals and maintaining their appeal to an audience which is most likely to be heterogeneous in respect of the learners reactions it displays.

To meet the challenge the management educator must be able to justify the learner reactions of participants prior to observing their consequences. Reflecting on past courses, conferences or other learning events, we can often identify participants whose behavior, in one or more sessions conforms to the broad descriptions, almost stereotypes, that have been outlined. Fortunately, a number of sources other than observation can also be used to estimate the extent and nature of an audience’s heterogeneity. Evidence for the range of orientations can be gleaned from pre-event questionnaires. Such questionnaires, by identifying the balance of participants are a useful aid when determining the particular mix of teaching methods which can be effectively used.

The need for the continued growth of knowledge and practice in the field of HRM and management education is a viewpoint and collaboration between management scholars, academicians and practitioners and also between the disciplines of business, psychology, engineering and economics. Specifically, ones need to develop and incorporate into ones thinking an appreciation for the practitioners and academicians share the same concern for accurate description of present work conditions, yet the data itself needs to be provided by the practitioners.

Beck and cox (2003)


One means of ensuring that HR practices are consistent with labor-market requirements be to staff the HR function with host country nationals. This paper shows differences in HR practices in different nations.

European history has been charged with conflict and alliances for two thousand years. Yet, from the beginning, there have been attempts to unify Europe. It may be that, in future as flexibility, adaptability and agility increasingly become sources of competitive advantage , the value of coherence and unity enjoyed by countries such as the USA and Japan is lessened and the value of diversity increases. If so, then regions like Europe, with its capacity to draw on substantial diversity , may be in a better position to respond to the challenges of the modern era.

Social entrepreneurship has significant potential to make positive and sustainable changes for the betterment of society’s long-lasting and problematic issues, such as pervasive poverty and widespread hunger.


Brewster, C. (2000), ‘European Human Management’, in M. Warner (ed.), International Encyclopedia of business and management: Management in Europe . London: Thomson. Pp. 81-93.

Beck , J and Cox, C. (2003), Management education, Department of management Sciences , The university of Manchester Institute os science and technology chapter 1.

Curtis, A. (2006) The Century of Self. [Online] available from <http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12642.htm> [accessed on 13 July 2011]

Edwards T., Rees Ch., (2006). IHRM: Gloaba­lization, National Systems and Multinational Com­panies. Prentice Hall 310, pp.

Freedman, R.D and Cooper C. (1982), Management Education Issues in Theory , research and practice, university of Manchester UK chapter 1.

Fomburn, C., Tichy , N. and Devanna, M. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management , New York : wiley.

Jackson, T. (2002) ,International HRM: A cross-cultural Approach, London, 2002, Chapter 10, pp.

Legge,K. (1999) Human resource management Critical perspectives, vol: 1, pp209 – 260.

Locke, R. (1989). Management and higher Education since 1940, The Influence of America and Japan on West Germany , Great Britain and France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rohmetra, J. (1998) Human resource development: Experiences, Intervention, Strategies, New Delhi.

Silvera, D.N. (1998) ,Human resource development New India publications.

Thompson, A. (1965), Bureaucracy and Innovation, Administrative Science Quarterly, chap: 10, pp1-20.

Warner, M. (1995) The Management of Human Resourses in Chinese Industry, London: Macmillan.

Warner, M. (1997) The Management- Labour Relations in the new chinese Economy, Human Resource Management Journal, 37(4), pp. 30-34.

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