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The origins of personnel management lie in the nineteenth century, deriving from the work of social reformers such

as Lord Shaftesbury and Robert Owens. Their criticisms of the free enterprise system and the hardship created by the exploitation of workers by factory owners enables the first personnel managers to be appointed and provided the first frame of reference in which they worked. Such concerns are not obsolete. There are still regular reports of employees being exploited by employers flouting law, and the problem of organization distance between decision makers and those putting decisions into practice remains a source of alienation from work. Committing time and money to

personnel activities or creating a positive and supportive employee climate would have been considered ludicrous by most employers in the pre-World War 1 era. Labor was relatively cheap and plentiful. Attracting employees was not an issue. Things began to change, however, in 1918 when the United States became involved in the global war. More than 4 millions men entered military service, Europeans returned to their homelands to fight, and the flow of immigrants was impeded substantially. Workers began joining trade association and unions to gain relief from low wages and intolerable working conditions. For all intents and purposes, inexperienced and undemanding labor was a thing of the past. Personnel activities began to appear with some frequency in the 1930s. At that time, the major functions of the personnel department was to keep employee records, in order to comply with new government demands brought about by the passage of the Social Security act of 1935. Another phase marked the beginning of a move away from a sole focus on welfare issues towards the meeting of various other organization objectives. Personnel managers began to gain responsibilities in the areas of staffing, training and organization design. Influenced by social scientists such as

F.W.Taylor (1856-1915) and Henri Fayol (1841-1925) personnel specialists started to look at management and administrative processes analytically, working out how organization structured could be designed and labour deployed so as to maximize efficiency. The humane bureaucracy stage in the development of personnel thinking was also influenced by the Human Relation School, which sought to ameliorate the potential for industrial conflict and dehumanization present in too rigid an application of these scientific management approaches. Following the ideas of thinkers like Elton Mayo (1880-1949), the fostering of social relationships in the workplace and employee morale thus became equally important objectives for personnel professionals seeking to raise productivity levels. Personnel managers next added expertise in bargaining to their repertoire of skills. In the period of full employment that followed the Second World War labour became a scare resource. This led to a growth in trade unions membership and to what Allan Flanders, the leading industrial relations analyst of the 1960s, called the challenge from below. Personnel specialist managed the new collective institutions such as joint consultation committees, joint production committees and suggestion schemes set up in order accommodate the new realities. In the late 1960s saw a switch in focus among personnel specialists, away from dealing principally with the rank-and-file employee on behalf of management itself and the integration of managerial activity. This phase was characterized by the development of career paths and of opportunities within organizations for personal growth. The final stage prior to the advent of human resource management in the 1980s involved personnel specialists developing the capacity to undertake the techniques of manpower or workforce planning. This is basically a

quantitative activity, boosted by the advent of information technology, which involves

forecasting the likely need for employees with different skills in the future. According to message (1974) it comprises three main processes:

Assessing what manpower of what different grades, categories and skills will be needed in the short and long term.

Deciding what manpower an organization is likely to have in the future, based on current trends and anticipated external circumstances.

Taking action to ensure that supply meets demand.

Most changes in the world dont take place in a vacuum, company changes their structures in response to the need to follow their customers. Therefore, to better understand human resources role in organization today, its useful to understand how companies themselves are changing and the trends that are causing these changes to occur. Perhaps most importantly, organisations today are under intense pressure to be better, faster, and more competitive. Companies are merging and downsizing, and universities are working hard to boost enrolments and faculty productivity. Why is this the case? Globalisation, technical advances, and deregulation are three of the trends accounting for these competitive pressures.

Globalisation refers to the tendency of firms to extend their business to new markets abroad, and for businesses everywhere, the rate of globalisation in the past few years has been nothing short of phenomenal. Throughout the world firms that formerly competed only with local firms now face an onslaught of foreign competitors. As one international

business expert puts it, the bottom line is that the growing integration of the world economy into a single, huge marketplace is increasing the intensity of competition in a wide range of service industries. From boosting the productivity of a global labour force to formulating compensation policies for expatriate employees, managing globalisation and its effects on competitiveness will thus be a major human resources challenge in the next few years.

Technological Advances has been forcing and enabling firms to become more competitive, It is also changing the nature of work. E.g. telecommunication already makes it relatively easy for many to work at home, and the use of computer aided design, with advances like these will eliminate many blue collar jobs, replacing them with more highly skilled jobs, and these new workers will required a degree of training and here is where human resources department comes in play to handle the training and commitment to remain competitive, jobs and organization charts will have to be redesigned, new employee selection, evaluation, and training programmes instituted all with the help of human resources management.

Trends such as the ones mentions above means that companies must be better, faster, and more competitive to survive and thrive today. Other important trends include growing workforce diversity, and changes in the nature of work such as movement towards a service society and a growing emphasis on education and human capital. Trends like globalisation and technological innovation are changing the way firms are managed. For example, the traditional pyramid-shaped organization is flattening, employees are being

empowered to make more decisions; work is increasingly organized around teams and processes; the bases of power are changing; and managers today must build commitment. Changes like these mean that organizations must depend more on self-disciplined and committed employees. Human resources activities can have measurable effects on a companys bottom line, and on making a company better, faster, and more competitive.

A survey of the functions and challenges of personnel management has shown that with proper support the contention that the modern personnel manager must operate at these major forces with the changing mix of the work force, the changing personal values of the work force, the expectation of citizen-employees, the level of productivity and the demands of government.

Roles and responsibilities of the line managers in human resource practices.

According to one expert, The direct handling of people is, and always has been, an integral part of every line managers responsibility, from president down to the lowestlevel supervisor.

Line managers responsibilities for effective human resource management under the following general headings:

Placing the right person on the right job Starting new employees in he organization (orientation)

Training employees for jobs that are new to them Improving the job performance of each person Gaining creative cooperation and development smooth working relationships Interpreting the companys policies and procedures Controlling labour costs Developing the abilities of each person Creating and maintaining department morale Protecting employees health and physical condition

In small organizations, line managers may carry out all these personnel duties unassisted. But as the organization grows, they need the assistance, specialized knowledge, and advice of a separate human resources staff.

The human resources department provides this specialized assistance. In doing so, the human resources manager carries out three distinct functions:

The function of human resources management within the organizations is, in a nutshell, to develop policies and provide the technical competence necessary to attract, retain, compensate, develop, and maintain a climate within which employees can become highly motivated and productive. The department generally holds a staff position in the

organization, giving service to the line departments.

Authority is a key factor in any management position.

In the managerial context,

authority takes the form of influence, including the power to take action and direct or coordinate the action of others. There are essentially three types of authority: line, staff, and functional.

Line Authority- Line authority involves the power to direct subordinates and to reward or take disciplinary action, if necessary. Line authority is exercised vertically over

subordinates in the chain of command but cannot be exercised horizontally over workers in other departments.

Staff Authority- involves being empowered to give authoritative assistance, counsel, advice, or service to other management functions. Staff authority is derived not only from the proximity of the individuals position to the power base, but also from the individuals knowledge or expertise. Managers with staff authority usually do not have the power to direct; instead, they must rely on their power to persuade and their reputation for solid expertise in order to have their recommendations implemented.

Functional Authority Functional authority involves the power to direct others on matters pertaining to the performance of their particular function. The power of

functional authority is similar to that of line authority. It is generally more powerful than staff authority, although the ability to utilize functional authority effectively depends on persuasions. Human resources managers normally posses line, staff, and functional

authority. Because human resources is primarily a staff department that is, it provides services to the line the human resources manager has staff authority with managers in

departments other than human resources. Within the human resources department, however, the managers exercise the line authority. Depending on the size of the

organization, the human resources department may employ only one person; or, it may employ a sizable group. Because of this, the human resources manager must be able not only to persuade but also to manage effectively. In addition to using staff and line authority, the human resources manager also must exercise functional authority with other managers in matters pertaining to organizational policy. The ability to perform effectively in so many different roles is not common. It is no wonder that competent human resources managers are in such demand today.

The broad concept of human resources management casts the human resources executive in the role of a high-level specialist with advisory responsibilities throughout the organization. The human resources director becomes an integral management consultant, helping management at all levels to solve people-related problems. management in areas such as: He assists

Diagnosing and addressing employee morale, motivation, and productivity problems.

Developing and evaluating employees.

Participating in the development of top management philosophies and business strategies.

Serving and advising line managers is the bread and butter of the human resources managers job. For example, human resources assists in the hiring, training, evaluating, rewarding, counselling, promoting, and firing of employees. It also administers the various benefit programs (health and accident, insurance, retirement, vacation, and so on). It assists line managers in their attempts to comply with equal employment and occupational safety laws. And it plays an important role with respect to grievance and labor relations. As part of these services activities, human resources also carries out an innovator role by providing up to date information on current trends and new methods of solving problems. There is interest today in instituting reengineering programs in providing career planning for employees. Human resources managers stay on top of such trends and help their organizations implement these programs. In assisting line

managers, though, human resources cant forget its employee advocacy role. Human resources must take responsibility for clearly defining how management should be treating employees, make sure employees have the mechanisms required to contest unfair practices, and represent the interests of employees within the framework of its primary obligation to senior management. An example of human resources responsibilities of line managers and staff managers in five areas: recruitment and selection, training and

development, compensation, labor relation, and employee security and safety. In the area

of recruitment and hiring its the line managers responsibility to specify the qualifications employees need to fill specific positions. Then the human resources staffs takes over. They develop sources of qualified applicants and conduct initial screening interviews. They administer the appropriate tests. Then they refer the best applicants to the supervisor (line manager), who interviews and selects the ones he or she wants. The need for cooperation between line and staff mangers in accomplishing these tasks is a joint line and staff coordinating effort. The bottom line here is that human resources management is an integral part of every managers job and to get the commitment from people one has to have a good working knowledge of human resources concepts and the techniques to get the desired results.