Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management





HRM Definitions

• ‘HRM involves the productive use of people in achieving the organization’s strategic objectives and the satisfaction of individual employee needs’ (Stone 2014, p. 4).


• ‘HRM is a strategic approach to managing employee relations which emphasizes that leveraging people’s capabilities and commitment is critical to achieving sustainable competitive advantage or superior public services. This is accomplished through a distinctive set of integrated employment policies, programs and practices, embedded in an organizational and societal context’ (Bratton & Gold 2012, p. 7).


•HRM ‘refers to the policies, practices and systems that influence employees’ behavior, attitudes and performance. Many companies refer to HRM as ‘people management’. To achieve effective outcomes in terms of individual and ultimately organizational performance, these practices need to be linked with the organizational goals, or organizational strategy’ (Kramar et al 2014, p. 6).


•Human resource management is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through the strategic deployment of a highly committed and capable workforce using an array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques (Storey 2007, p. 7).


• ‘Our conception of HRM covers the policies and practices used to organise work and to employ people. In other words, HRM encompasses the management of work and the management of people to do the work’ (Boxall & Purcell 2008, p. 3).

•Work policies/practices: way the work is organised (e.g. low-discretion jobs where supervisors exercise a high degree of control).

•Employment policies/practices: manner in which firms hire and manage people, including:

•management activities in recruiting, selecting, deploying, motivating, appraising, training, developing and retaining employees

•processes for informing, consulting and negotiating with individuals/groups

•disciplinary activities, contract termination and workforce downsizing.


Critical Issue 1: Globalization

Following the recent Global Financial Crisis and associated financial problems in the EU, what might HR professionals do, both strategically and operationally, to ensure that their organizations’ HRM systems and practices are fully transparent and accountable?


Critical Issue 2: The psychological contract

What do you think has changed in Gen X and Gen Y employees’ psychological expectations of their employers, and vice versa? What do HR professionals need to do to address these new expectations?


Critical Issue 5: HR ethics

Choose a current ethical issue in organisations (for example, bribery, corruption, discrimination or harassment) and discuss its implications for HRM policies and practices.


Critical Issue 1: Terminology

What are the key terms used in the modern organisation, and what signals do they send about the intended nature of the employment relationship?


Critical Issue 2: Responsibilities

To what degree are HR managers and their departments responsible for the organisation’s knowledge of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the new institutions and minimum standards in Australia?

How should they alert other managers and their employees to these changes?


Critical Issue 3: The future of unions and employer associations

Do the industrial relations framework and the economic context

make unions and employer associations redundant?


Critical Issue 3: Strategic HRM

Consider the reasons why HRM strategies are sometimes not well-aligned with business goals and objectives, from the perspectives of both senior managers and HR professionals.



Critical Issue 2: Environmental scanning

Discuss the key issues associated with present and future skills shortages in Australia’s economy.


Critical Issue 3: GFC

Consider the benefits and disadvantages of retaining or retrenching employees during difficult periods such as the GFC and the EU crises.


Critical Issue 4: Labour demand forecasting

Consider the labour implications of the recent mining boom (and possible future bust) in Western Australia and Queensland, the decline of manufacturing across Australia, and the challenges online retailing creates for traditional shopfront retailers. What are your predictions of

the future shape of Australia’s workforce?


Critical Issue 5: Labour supply analysis

Consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of global versus local labour markets in relation to an organisation of your choice.

Global Labour

· Market knowledge

· Wider talent pool to choose from

· Diversity



· Local network

· Local business practice

· Built reputation



· Retraining (labour barriers)




Critical Issue 6: HRIMS

Argue the cases for: 1) maintaining an HRIMS wholly within the organisation; (2) integrated HRIMS, including internal and external service providers; and (3) an entirely outsourced HRIMS.


Critical Issue 1: Job analysis

Does effective job analysis require a strategic approach to HRM? Justify your answer. What role should line managers play in job analysis and what skills do they require in order to do this effectively?


Critical Issue 2: Job competencies

‘Personality traits and attributes are the most important factors in determining competencies for jobs. Qualifications, information technology and manual skills can be acquired, and are not essential to job performance; but an ability to get on with people, or to be innovative and creative, is essential and cannot be taught.’

How accurate is this statement?


Critical Issue 3: Job descriptions and person specifications

‘The use of position descriptions to define jobs is limiting, and acts as a disincentive for performance.  They should be thrown away, allowing roles to be more fluid.’

Debate this statement.


Critical Issue 5:  Alternative workplace

Outline the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely, from the perspectives of both employees and employers.

Advantages Disadvantages
· Keep yourself focused

· Cost efficient

· Release HRM from looking after system> control data within organisation


· Miss out

· No social structure

· Balance family + work

· Interactions can be difficult to manage




Critical Issue 4:  Team development

How can you manage a virtual team that you can’t see?

· Need to have adequate IT structures

· Training so teams can collaborate and use it

· How to control teams> how much work to do

· Rewards> contribute online= more points


Critical Issue 5: Work–life and diversity

1) ‘There are no generational differences, and employers should not be expected to design jobs any differently for any employee, irrespective of age.’ Debate this statement.

· It all depends on the job description

· Older works are more expensive

· It is good for employees to work at an area they are comfortable with and have knowledge about that particular area

· Depends on what experience you have – not necessarily the age difference.

2) ‘The implementation of work–life balance strategies in the workplace only creates more equity and discrimination issues among employees. Employees with children and families get all the benefits, while the single employees get no benefits – it’s unfair.’ Debate this statement.

· Doesn’t matter what commitment you have outside of work

· You should always be flexible around everyone.


Critical Issue 1: The challenges of supply and demand

What career development strategies can an organisation effectively implement during a time of labour shortages?

HRD is a key retention. Learning development and investing in other people is a need.




Reflective question (Bratton & Gold 2012)

Who should have responsibility for ensuring a supply of skilled people – the government, individuals or employers?

Employers should have a responsibility as they have the skills needed. Government should also have responsibility at the macro level.


Critical Issue 2: Talent retention

•How important are career development and management in the retention of a diverse workforce? Explain.

Very important.

•What skills do managers and leaders need to retain a diverse workforce?

· Problem solving as a leader.

· Listening.

· Having empathy towards employees.

· Promoting awareness.

· Create barriers.


Critical Issue 7: Talent management

•‘Cross-cultural learning and development for managers is largely unnecessary these days, as business practices have become similar across the world.’  Is this statement correct? Explain your answer.

No. Everyone has different cultures and learning abilities. There are still problems from what one country might believe in to another.


Critical Issue 3: Induction follow-up and evaluation

Who should carry out the induction of new employees? Explain your answer.


Critical Issue 4: A systems approach

What factors should be taken into account when planning the implementation of a learning program for the following year?

Four stages

1- Needs analyses: write down everything.

1) ORGANISATIONAL ANAYSES- external environment, cultural aspects.

2) TASK ANAYSES- looking at tasks on hand, virtual/ face to face.

3) JOB ANAYSES- personal, what you what to get and what we actually get.


2- Design: learning objectives that you can actually see people perform, content and materials, resources involved> budget line, learner group> who they are and how you progress them.


3- Implementation: how you implement- online/ face to face.


4- Evaluation: what has the program achieved, how do you evaluate how some ones behavior has changed. (key challenge because businesses don’t know how to do it), getting evaluation information is very important.



Critical Issue 5: Mentoring

Should a mentoring scheme be one in which the mentors are selected by the organisation, or should they self-select? Justify your answer.

Key things> need to have a good relationship, mentors have to be very generous with their time to guide you.


Critical Issue 6: Technology-based learning

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the use of technology in the development of employees?


· Time management

· Convenience (work up to your own standard)


· Lack of face to face

· Expensive (materials and IT services)

· Discipline- procrastination



Critical Issue 8: Ethics

‘The incorporation of ethical considerations into HRD strategies exists merely to meet EEO requirements – it will always be difficult to cater to the developmental needs of all sectors of the workforce.’ Debate this statement.


Critical Issue 1: Performance management process

‘Any performance management process must start with the organisation’s strategic plan and flow through each layer of the organisation until it cascades down to each individual employee. ‘

The above statement makes performance management sound quite simple.

Is this statement too idealistic?  Why or why not?


Critical Issue 2: Ineffective performance

‘In many cases, managers will assume that under-performance or non-performance will require disciplinary action.’ Is this really a valid assumption?


Critical Issue 3:  Counselling

Managers will often fall into the authority trap. They believe they are best-equipped to handle personal and workplace counselling simply on the basis that they are the manager. Is this a sensible approach to counselling?


Critical Issue 4: Disciplinary action

What do you understand by the concept of due process?

Why is it so important to understand this concept?


Critical Issue 1: Pay-setting methods

‘Pay-setting by means of individual agreement-making is good for business; pay-setting by means of collective agreements is bad for business.’  Discuss this statement.




Critical Issue 2: Pay equity and comparable worth

Why does the gender pay gap persist, who is responsible for it, and what (if anything) can be done about it?


Critical Issue 3: International reward management

How can a multinational business ensure that the rewards it offers to host-country professionals working beside home-country expatriates in a low labour cost country, such as India, best address the need to attract, retain and motivate these local employees?


Critical Issue 4: Incentive pay

Should teachers be paid for individual performance?

If so, how? If not, why not?


Critical Issue 5: Executive pay and organizational justice

If we are happy to see film stars, rock stars and sports stars receive astronomical incomes, shouldn’t we also be willing to see ‘celebrity’ CEOs rewarded in a similar way?


Critical Issue 6: Reward communication

Which is best from the organisation’s perspective: pay openness, or pay secrecy? Why?

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