Human Resource Management (HRM) is the function within an organization that focuses on recruitment, management, and providing directions for the people who work in an organization. Human resource management can also be performed by the line managers. HRM is the organizational function that deals with the issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organizational development, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.
The hard-soft dimensions in HRM exist primarily within normative, or prescriptive models of human resource management. The earliest examples where this terminology is used are in the work of David Guest and John Storey. Guest in seeking to define HRM, identifies two dimensions, hard-soft and loose-tight. Similarly, Storey plots existing interpretations of HRM along the two dimensions of hard-soft and weak-strong. Guest and Storey in their definitions of soft and hard models of HRM view the key distinction as being whether the emphasis is placed on the human or the resource.
Hard HRM, stresses ‘the quantitative, calculative and business-strategic aspects of managing the “headcount resource” in as “rational” a way as for any other factor of production. ‘(Storey). The hard approach emphasizes the resource element of HRM. Human resources are planned and developed to meet wider objectives of the organization as with any other resource. It involves managing different functions to maximize employee effectiveness and control staff costs. The soft approach emphasizes on the human element of HRM.
It is concerned with employee relations, the development of individual skills and the welfare of staff. It is used on developing:Dealing with HRM at Ford, the human element is accounted for throughout the organization. Therefore, the soft approach is applied whether dealing with the human or the resources element in the organization. Ford’s comprehensive Pulse survey showed improvement in the overall employee satisfaction and minor improvement in one performance area (supervisor satisfaction) while a minor decline in the other three performance areas.
FLEXIBILITY WITHIN THE WORKPLACE 2. 1 There are three types of flexibility that firms seek – functional, numerical and financial. Functional flexibility: Employees can be easily moved between different activities and tasks. This can include moving workers between indirect and direct production jobs. As products and production methods change, functional flexibility implies that labour force changes accordingly. Numerical flexibility: The hire and fire policies of the organization can be more easily implemented.
This also means that the number employed exactly matches the number needed for effective operations. Financial flexibility: It is sought so that the pay and other employment costs reflect the supply and demand in the external labour market. Atkinson laid down the core and periphery workforce model. Workers in the core group are full-time permanent employees i. e. managers, technical sales staff and quality control staff. Terms and conditions of employment are designed to promote functional flexibility.
But the central characteristic of this group is that their skills cannot be easily moved. The peripheral group workers are also full-time employees, but enjoy a lower level of job security and have less access to career opportunities. This group seeks to achieve numerical and functional flexibility through a more direct approach. Ford’s employees are the most immediately affected by their restructuring. During 2005 and 2006, Ford took painful but necessary steps to reduce the salaried and hourly workforce as part of their efforts to return their North American operations to profitability.
While working on these steps, Ford had to take in account all the three forms of flexibility. In this process, Ford did not make any changes in the core group of their workforce, instead redundant peripheral group. 2. 3 The term flexible working refers to working practices, mutually agreed between employees and the employer, which cover working hours, locations or patterns of work. Such arrangements have to comply with the law on working time, including hours, rest breaks and the working week.
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