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Published by: latteettii on Mar 01, 2011
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Ever since the earliest theories of management, the role of people within the organisation
has been accepted and it is commonly recognised that someone in every organisation will
need to be responsible for the various matters which arise in connection with the
employment of people – commonly recognised as the 'HR function'. This traditional view of
managing the employment of people tends to be associated largely with tasks, techniques
and procedures and as a result is reactive in approach.
Approaches to people management have changed. Social, cultural and political attitudes
towards employment have been shaped by factors such as globalisation of the labour
market; fluctuations in labour availability; the place of women into the workplace; economic
fluctuations, from boom to recession and vice versa, the application of 'scientific'
management methods and control systems in places such as call centres and the people
versus technology divide.

Introduction to Strategic Human Resource Management 3

© ABE and RRC

Elton Mayo's Hawthorne experiments stressed the importance of human attitudes, values
and relationships for the efficient and effective functioning of workers, adding motivation to
the list of the traditional HR tasks such as hiring and firing. In the 1960s and early 70s
government intervention in the labour market came in the form of legislative controls over the
relationship between employer and employee and began a pattern, which continues today, of
increasing legal complexity involved in employing people. As a result, the role of the HR
manager has become more complex.
In more recent times, the need for organisations to compete not just locally but nationally and
internationally, has led most organisations to recognise the importance of the effective use of
the human resource. Human resource management, as opposed to personnel management,
acknowledges the contribution that people management makes to organisational
effectiveness and requires the HR function to be more integrated with the broader objectives
of the organisation, adopting a proactive rather than reactive approach.

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