Please refer to the article provided:
From Personnel Managemen o HRM!
Ke" Iss#es an$ C%allenges
By S&le Flem'ng
Develop a six-page CRITICAL REVIEW paper b dra!ing parallels
fro" #gandan sit$ation
n Names Reg'sra'on N#m(er Ema'l A$$ress S'gna#re
)*+* Inro$#,'on
This is a Committee for Public Management Research (CPMR) Discussion Paper 16 entitled
“From Personnel Management to HRM: Key Issues and Challenges” authored by Sle
Sle !leming tries to raise up the need for informed research in relation to the professionali#ation
of $RM and the de%olution of $R responsibilities has been gi%en particular emphasis by the
recent publication of the fifth national social partnership agreement& the Programme for
Prosperity and Fairness. $is argument focus on a range of issues and challenges associated 'ith
the process of de%eloping a strategic approach to $RM including( the de%ising of $R strategies
during the process of business strategy formulation& The de%olution of appropriate $RM matters
to line managers can free up resources in the personnel section to de%elop strategic policies& The
selection and de%elopment of personnel staff 'ith appropriate e)pertise is crucial in ensuring that
the personnel section is e*uipped to ta+e on its strategic role and the change process 'hich must
be planned for and carefully managed"
,asically& the author outlines his findings from in-depth inter%ie's conducted 'ith a range of
+ey informants at central& line department and trade union le%el he brings out a general %ie' that
re%eal a limited progress has been made to date in reforming $RM in the .rish ci%il ser%ice" $e
issues a series of recommendations that 'ill pro%ide an appropriate approaches to deli%ering on
$RM reform& including( de%eloping an integrated approach to $RM( professionali#ing the
approach to $RM( de%olution of appropriate functions to line managers( decentrali#ation of
appropriate $RM issues from central departments"
/s much as the issues raised by the author are of great significance& am reluctant to o+ay his
argument" This is because of a number of loopholes& 'hich +ills the credibility& and the reliability
of the documented data0
F'rs! the methodology- the methods used to collect data& the population and sample si#e are
handled e)clusi%ely& neglecting +ey areas such as the operational le%el of management" 1hy did
he ha%e to include the Trade 2nions and lea%e out the public and operational employees3
.*+* S#mmar"
The author un%eils his discussion 'ith a fundamental issue of dra'ing a distinction bet'een
/ersonnel managemen an$ H#man Reso#r,e Managemen 0HRM1* $e clarifies the
distinction bet'een the t'o using four features0
• The lin+ 'ith corporate strategy(
• !ocus gi%en to the commitment of employees rather than their compliance(
• 4btaining of employee commitment through an integrated approach to human resource
• 4'nership i"e" line managers as a means of fostering integration"
/ closer loo+ to the t'o disciplines& the author has failed to bring out a clear distinction" $is
arguments" . belie%e that 'hether personnel or $uman Resource manager& the role played in the
formulation of corporate strategy is more or less the same"
.n the current society& there is no 'ay an institution can be compliant 'ithout being committed"
Therefore& compliance and commitment are t'o inseparable features that are both 'ithin $RM
and personnel manager"
/gain& the author tries to present Bes /ra,',e mo$els o2 HRM" . concur 'ith his reasoning
that 1hile there is no best 5fit6 or generic model of $RM 'hich 'ould be entirely applicable to
the public sector& +ey features of some of the most influential models" $e bases his argument on
the 'Hard' and 'soft' approaches to HRM where he identifies a range of other situational factors
which influence HR policy choices, including prevailing management philosophy, laws and
societal values. He identifies a range of stakeholder interests including unions, government and
management which he purpose, influences the HR policy choices.
To the Government& he points out that the significance of this sta+eholder influence is of
particular rele%ance for public sector organisations& because go%ernment acts as both sta+eholder
and employer" 7o%ernment may act as a +ey dri%ing force for $RM reform"
To the Management, he argues that it has the aility to ring coherence, direction and form to a
cluster of e!isting personnel policies, which are perceived y the organi"ation to e outdated or
ill fitted to new environmental demands.
To the #nions, the author points out that the nature of $RM is to ma)imi#e employee
commitment to organisational goals& may be %ie'ed by unions as a threat to their traditional
negotiating and representati%e roles"
.t6s 'orthy that the understands that there is no best or 'orst mode of managing people"
$o'e%er the author does not 8ustify himself as to 'hy he focuses on only there parties" Does it
mean that in the public sector there are only the 7o%ernment& Management and 2nions3 1hat
about the employees3 1hat about the public3
/nother aspect the author has tried to raise out is %e 'negra'4e as/e,s o2 HRM* $e raises
facts fact from different scholars 'ho loo+s at the heart of $RM to comprise an integration at
three le%els0 $RM policies 'ith business strategy $e!ternal fit%( integration of a set of
complementary $RM policies $internal fit% and integration of $RM into the line management
. ha%e no disagreement at all 'ith the calls 9an integrati%e aspect of $RM: 1hat 'ill you
consider 'hile integrating policies 'ith e)ternal fit3 1hat proper policies can 'or+ 'ith the
complementary $RM policies3 1hat line management functions 'ill form the integral part3 /ll
these are issues that the author did not clarify"
/nother +ey aspect that the author has raised is the Pro2ess'onal'6'ng %e HR 2#n,'on* . totally
agree 'ith the issues he brings out pertaining the achie%ement of the three integrati%e aspects of
$RM" $e pictures out the centre-line structure such as that 'hich e)ists in the .rish ci%il ser%ice&
the le%el of allocation of responsibility for $RM 'ill also influence the role of the personnel
section and its ability to de%elop integrated $RM policies" $is argument is that the de%elopment
of a re'ards-based performance management system may be limited if pay policies are
determined at central le%el" $e bases his arguments on /rmstrong (1;;<) to outline a
competency profile 'hich might be used to select& appraise and de%elop personnel specialists0
strategic capability& business a'areness& professional de%elopment and understanding& internal
consultancy s+ills& organisational effecti%eness& *uality and ser%ice deli%ery"
. strongly concur 'ith 'hat the author has tried to raise out that .rrespecti%e of 'here the
employee comes from& it is important that a systematic approach be adopted to select& train and
de%elop staff for positions 'ithin the personnel area" $o'e%er& it is true that Training alone 'ill
not ensure the professionali#ation of the $R section" =stablished routine procedures may be the
'ay to go"
The final aspect that the author tries to portray it6s the Im/lemena'on o2 HRM 'n %e /#(l',
se,or* $e suggests that it is necessary to consider the rele%ance of the foregoing themes to the
public sector& since it is fre*uently argued that there are uni*ue dilemmas& 'hich characteri#e
management in the public domain" $e defends his /rgument by outlining three responses to this
*uestion0 Strategic management may be percei%ed to be of secondary importance to the public
ser%ice manager( Management practices& including $RM& may be percei%ed to be generic and
e*ually applicable to the public sector" !inally& they describe a ne' public management (>PM)
model& 'hich differs from both public administration and pri%ate management"
Sle !leming 'inds up his article by loo+ing at the Current profile of $RM in the .rish ci%il
ser%ice" $e loo+s at the =)isting structure 'ith ho' Recruitment is conducted by the Ci%il
Ser%ice Commission (CSC) on behalf of departments and offices& 'hile internal promotion is
carried out by indi%idual line departments"
$e also loo+s at the Pay and grading structure 'here The Department of !inance e)ercises the
responsibility for the management and de%elopment of pay policies for the ci%il ser%ice and the
'ider public ser%ice" $e points out that Pay policies are negotiated through the Conciliation and
/rbitration Scheme& 'hich comprises public sector unions and Department of !inance
&raining and development comes up also as a +ey element of The Ci%il Ser%ice Centre for
Management and 4rganisational De%elopment (CM4D) 'hich is seen as a part of the
Department of !inance plays a central role in relation to the pro%ision of training and
de%elopment for the ci%il ser%ice" CM4D comprises a number of units including 4rgani#ation
De%elopment Ser%ices& a number of .T units& and $uman Resource De%elopment Ser%ices
3*+* Con,l#s'on an$ D's,#ss'on
The author presents an e)tensi%e re%ie' of literature highlighting a range of challenges in%ol%ed
in the process of de%eloping a strategic approach to $RM" Regardless of 'hether an organi#ation
'ishes to emphasi#e a hard (control focused) or soft (commitment focused) approach to $RM&
typically 'hat it 'ishes to achie%e is the integration of $RM policies 'ith business strategy&
internally and at line management le%el" $e points out that it is 'orth noting that ?ey
sta+eholders influence& and in some situations can undermine& the process of integration at these
le%els" /ccordingly& there is a need to plan for and carefully manage the change process"
The need for change& the process in%ol%ed and the benefits of such change& need to be clearly
communicated and +ey sta+eholders such as unions and line managers should be in%ol%ed"
Partnership can be a %aluable mechanism in in%ol%ing sta+eholders& but to be successful& it
re*uires a significant change in mindset among the %arious groups in%ol%ed"