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Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management

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Published by Bishakha Das

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Published by: Bishakha Das on Oct 08, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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SEMESTERSET 1Q.1 Trace the phases of evolution of humanresource management.
The historical background to the management techniques of human resourcesare in vogue since ancient times. It's only in the past 100 odd years that thetechniques and study of human behavior at work has become formal andstructured with certain basic practices established as core and a host of otherpractices left to design and implement as per their individual business drivenpractices. As per Fisher, Schonfeldt and Shaw, in their book titled HumanResources Management, they have characterized the history of HRM as havingevolved through four broad phases, the Craft system, the scientific system,the human relations approach and the prevalent organizational science-humanresources approach.
The Craft system
refers to early trends noticed in Egypt and Babylon, whereskills based training was provided to people to ensure a steady flow of craftsmen required to build huge monuments. By the 13
century,subsequently the trend was noticed in Europe and later craft guilds evolved toensure not only the skill acquisition but regulate the conditions of employment, level of skill and improved production techniques. Most relevantin the domestic industry where generations of skilled workers trained andbecame experts in a particular skill.
The Scientific Management approach
was a key part of the industrialrevolution typical of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It wasinstilled in the principles of mass production and organization of work --simple work skills and supervisory/managerial skills. This rapidly emerged asthe assembly line approach to managing work flow, which later Fredrick Taylor
(1856-1915) pioneered based on the philosophy that employees wanted to beused efficiently and money being the primary motivator. Over a period of timethis was proved wrong as employee dissent grew and union issues surfaced. Itwas during this phase that employee welfare as a key HR practice emergedwhich redressed employee issues like recreational facilities, medical programand employee grievance systems.
The Human Relations approach
was an outcome of the famous studiesundertaken by US social scientist Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger at theWestern Electric's Hawthorne plant in Chicago.
The Hawthorne Studies
As described in virtually every book written aboutmanagement, the human relations or behavioral school of management beganin 1927 with a group of studies conducted at the Hawthorne plant of WesternElectric, an AT&T subsidiary. Curiously, these studies were prompted by anexperiment carried out by the company's engineers between 1924 and 1932.Following the scientific management tradition, these engineers were applyingresearch methods to answer job-related problems.Two groups were studied to determine the effects of different levels of illumination on worker performance. One group received increasedillumination, while the other did not. A preliminary finding was that, whenillumination was increased, the level of performance also increased.Surprisingly to the engineers, productivity also increased when the level of illumination was decreased almost to moonlight levels. One interpretationmade of these results was that the employees involved in the experimentenjoyed being the centre of attention; they reacted positively becausemanagement cared about them. The reason for the increase in the productionwas not the physical but the psychological impact of the employee's attitudetowards the job and towards the company. Such a phenomenon taking placein any research setting is now called the Hawthorne effect.As a result of these preliminary investigations, a team of researchers headedby Elton Mayo and F.J. Roethlisberger from Harvard conducted a lengthyseries of experiments extending over a six year period. The conclusions theyreached served as the bedrock of later developments in the human relationsapproach to management. Among their key findings were the following:· Economic incentives are less potent than generally believed ininfluencing employees to achieve high levels of output.· Leadership practices and work-group pressures profoundly influenceemployee satisfaction and performance.· Any factor influencing employee behaviour is embedded in a socialsystem. For instance, to understand the impact of pay on performance, youalso have to understand the climate that exists in the work group and theleadership style of the superior.
Leadership Style and Practices
As a consequence of the HawthorneStudies, worker attitudes, morale, and group influences became a concern of 
researchers. A notable development of the nature occurred shortly after WorldWar II at the University of Michigan. A group of social scientists formed anorganization, later to be called the Institute for Social Research, to studythose principles of leadership that were associated with highest productivity.Finally the Organizational Sciences approach to human resourcesmanagement has brought the focus to the scientific process withinorganizations that can impact employee experience, and less on just theindividual. Today's organizations focus on building their processes and policiesand compete to emerge as 'preferred employers' (best employer). It is notuncommon for competing organizations to encourage the employees throughadvertising more and better employee-friendly initiatives like work-from-home jobs, careers for married couples, global work assignments and internal jobpostings and world class workplace infrastructures from in-campus cricketgrounds to gymnasiums for employee well being. This is the HR that we nowsee around us.
Q.2 Explain the various techniques and methods usedin selecting employees.Answer:
There is no shortcut to fair and accurate evaluation of a candidate. As mentionedearlier, the hiring procedures are therefore, generally long and multiple. Organizationsare constantly evaluating the selections tools they use to hire and keep innovating toensure they hire quality candidates.The following are popular methods commonly used:1 Initial or preliminary interview2 Application blank or blanks.3 Check of references.4 Skill / Psychological tests.5 Employment interview6 Approval by the manager.7 Medical examination.8 Induction or orientation.1. Preliminary Interview: The more non-selective the recruitment program, the morelikely it is that a preliminary interview will be required. This initial interview is usuallyquite short and has as its object the elimination of the obviously unqualified. In manyinstances it is a over-telephone / short face-to-face interview conducted at a desk. The

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