Human resources management practices

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The concept of HRM

The concept of human resources management is comparatively new in the management and organizational behaviour literature. Human resources management only emerged as a planned and systematic approach to human resources in the latter half of the 20th century (Ferris, Hochwarter, Buckley, Harrel-Cook & Frink, 1999; Armstrong, 2000). It has emerged as an interdisciplinary and integrated approach towards the development of human resources. It focuses on developing the competency of the individual, throughout his association with the organization, by improving his skills, attitudes and job knowledge (Ferris et al., 1999).
The origin of HRM as a defined school of thought can be traced back to the 1970s with the development of the human resource accounting theory (Storey, 1995a). Earlier to this theory, human resources were considered a cost to the organization. Their value was seen only in terms of their ability to render services that would lead to financial gain by the organization. Human resources accounting revolutionized this thinking and brought about the idea that people represented assets of any organization. Human resources management, according to this approach, is defined as a process of identifying, measuring, and communicating information about human resources to decision makers, specifically about their cost and value of these assets.
Storey (1989) asserts that HRM models suggest that employees should be regarded as valued assets and that there should be an emphasis on commitment, adaptability and consideration of employees as a source of competitive advantage. HRM is an integrated strategy and planned development process for effective utilization of human resources for the achievement of organizational goals. Practically, HRM is the development of abilities and the attitude of the individuals, leading to personal growth and self-actualisation, which enable the individual to contribute to organizational objectives. HRM believes that human potential is limitless and it is the duty of the organization to help the individual to identify his/her strengths and make full use of them. The concept of HRM aims at understanding the needs and hopes of people in a better way.
The concept of HRM as a more effective approach to managing the organization’s key asset, its people, has attracted enormous attention and stimulated significant debate among academics and practitioners (Storey, 1992; Luthans, 1998; McGunnigle & Jameson, 2000). Much of the debate has been around the meaning of HRM. There is yet no universally accepted definition of HRM. The literature (Guest, 1989; Storey, 1992, 1995a, 1995b) suggests a range of definitions. Some of these interchange HRM with personnel management or industrial relations. Others regard HRM as a distinct approach aimed at integrating the management of people into overall business strategy and organizational goals (Storey1995b).
Personnel management characteristically focused on a range of activities centred on the supply and development of labour to meet the immediate and short-term needs of the organization (Legge, 1995). Under personnel management, the activities of recruitment, selection, rewards development and others, are viewed as separate individual functions. HRM aims to integrate all of the personnel function into a cohesive strategy. Personnel management was largely something that managers did to subordinates, whereas HRM takes the entire organization as a focal point for analysis and stresses development at all levels (Legge, 1995).
Storey (1992) proposed three “models” of HRM referred to as a normative, which prescribes the ideal approach, a descriptive model that focuses on identifying development and practices in the field and a conceptual approach that seeks to develop a model of classification. At the normative level, differences between HRM, personnel management, employee relations and industrial relations are described.
A comparison of HRM and Personnel management as developed by Storey (1995a) is shown in Table 1.2 on pages 19. From this comparison, it can be seen that personnel management is seen as a control activity that focuses on an administrative processes without any focus on the developmental needs of the individual employee. HRM on the other hand, is seen as an approach that aims to involve managers in the development of their employees and the organization. It is also suggested that HRM is engaged in an identifiable set of functions or practices that are administered on an organization-wide basis for enhancing the effectiveness of employees. The term practice is used according to Baruch (1997)’s definition that practices are all kinds of techniques, activities, methods and programs conducted by the HRM department and line managers.

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The concept of leadership behaviour

There are many definitions of the concept of leadership as there are authors on the subject (Nirenberg, 2001). Some of these authors have defined leadership as a position, a person, a behavioural act, a style, a relationship or a process. Examples of those who define leadership in terms of a person include Hosking (1988), who describes leaders as those who consistently make effective contributions to the social order. Conger (1999), also describes leadership in terms of a person. He says leaders are individuals who establish direction for a working group of individuals. According to Conger, leaders also have the responsibility to motivate the group members and to gain the group’s commitment to the direction they have set.
Other authors regard leadership as the behaviour of an individual when he is directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal. Rowden (2000) is one of those authors who define leadership as the behaviour of an individual when that person is directing and coordinating the activities of a group toward the accomplishment of a shared goal. Those who define leadership as an act include, Benis and Goldsmith (1994) who define leadership as what leaders do such as acting with integrity and competence, interpreting reality, explaining the present and painting a picture of the future.

CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING  
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1.5 DESCRIPTIONS OF CONCEPTS USED IN THE STUDY
1. 6 SUMMARY
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
2.3 HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
2.4 LEADERSHIP STYLES
2.5 TRUST IN ORGANIZATIONS
2. 6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
2.7 SUMMARY
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.3 PARTICIPANTS
3.4 MEASURING INSTRUMENTS
3.5 PROCEDURES FOR DATA COLLECTION
3.6 PROCEDURES FOR DATA ANALYSIS
3.5 SUMMARY
CHAPTER FOUR: RESEARCH FINDINGS  
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 RESULTS
CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
5.3 CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE CURRENT STUDY
5.4 IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT
5.5 DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
5.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
5.7 CONCLUSION
REFERENCES

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