UGANDA MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE

POST GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
MANAGING HR COURSEWORK
QUESTION
Please refer to the article provided:
From Personnel Managemen o HRM!
Ke" Iss#es an$ C%allenges
By S&le Flem'ng
And
Develop a six-page CRITICAL REVIEW paper b dra!ing parallels
fro" #gandan sit$ation
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S
n Names Reg'sra'on N#m(er Ema'l A$$ress S'gna#re
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)*+* Inro$#,'on! An O-er-'e. o %e Ar',le
“From Personnel Management to HRM: Key Issues and Challenges” is the title of the article, being
authored By Síle Fleming a renown scholar. He tries to raise out an argument that there is a
commitment to decentralize and devolve HR responsibilities. Allied with this strategic focus is the
concept of devolution of responsibilit for da!to!da human resource matters to line managers. He
addresses the need for informed research in relation to the professionalization of HR" and the
devolution of HR responsibilities has been given particular emphasis b the recent publication of the
fifth national social partnership agreement, the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness
#he author also outlines findings from in!depth interviews conducted with a range of $e informants
at central, line department and trade union level. %verall, the findings indicate a general view that
limited progress has been made to date in reforming HR" in the &rish civil service. At the same time,
there is a considerable level of continuing commitment for change to the e'isting sstem among those
interviewed. #he recent launch of a civil service wide performance management and development
sstem is a reflection of such commitment. #here are also e'amples of individual departments, within
the e'isting sstem, who are developing a more proactive approach to HR".
A number of critical issues that must be addressed if progress is to be achieved are identified and
discussed including development of an integrated approach to HR"( professionalization of the
approach to HR"( devolution of appropriate functions to line managers and the decentralization of
appropriate HR" issues from central departments.
COMMENT
Am not full satisfied on how the author has presented his arguments, including the methodolog,
analsis and presentation of data. #he structure of the article does not give a detailed methodolog to
show data collection techni)ues, data analsis as well as sample size. #he issues raised have not
comprehensivel pointed what must be done to overcome the challenges raised.
*hile the author points out that HR strateg should be devised during the process of business strateg
formulation, & strongl disagree with this because a business is seen as a dnamic bod that $eeps
changing with environment, and therefore strategies are not devised onl at the formulation stage, but
also at the implementation stage.
#he author presents a view that the devolution of appropriate HR" matters to line managers can free
up resources in the personnel section to develop strategic policies. Such a development re)uires that
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line managers be e)uipped with the appropriate s$ills, $nowledge and attitudes to effectivel manage
and develop staff. #he selection and development of personnel staff with appropriate e'pertise is
crucial in ensuring that the personnel section is e)uipped to ta$e on its strategic role. %verall, the
change process must be planned for and carefull managed. &t will re)uire a change to the
organization+s e'isting culture.
/*+* SUMMAR0
&ssue of drawing a distinction between 1ersonnel managemen an$ H#man Reso#r,e
Managemen 2HRM3 has been given a forefront. &n the current societ, there is no wa an institution
can be compliant without being committed. #herefore, compliance and commitment are two
inseparable features that are both within HR" and personnel manager.
#he again raise out the Bes 1ra,',e mo$els o4 HRM. & concur with his reasoning that *hile there
is no best ,fit+ or generic model of HR" which would be entirel applicable to the public sector, $e
features of some of the most influential models. However the author does not -ustif himself as to
wh he focuses on onl there parties. .oes it mean that in the public sector there are onl the
/overnment, "anagement and 0nions1 *hat about the emploees1 *hat about the public1
#he elements of 'negra'-e as1e,s o4 HRM have also be brought out. & have no disagreement at all
with the calls 2an integrative aspect of HR"3 *hat will ou consider while integrating policies with
e'ternal fit1 #hese are issues that the author needs to put right.
He has again points out the Pro4ess'onal'5'ng o4 HR 4#n,'on* However, it is true that #raining alone
will not ensure the professionalization of the HR section. 4stablished routine procedures ma be the
wa to go.
#he author also mentions the &mplementation HR" in the public sector. He however points out the
5imitations in the e'isting sstem. *hile there have been a number of attempts to reform HR" in the
&rish civil service, little change had occurred prior to the launch of Delivering Better Government in
1667. At the same time, there had been, and continues to be, an increasing awareness of the need for
change, and this is highlighted in a number of research studies.
The author points out the role of the personnel section. He bases his argument on A recent stud b
*hite 8Administration, 9:::; who focuses on the role of the personnel section in the civil service,
and its readiness and abilit to develop a changed approach to HR". #he stud, which surveed
personnel officers at line department level, identified a number of concerns. *hile <: per cent of
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personnel officers surveed had third level )ualifications, onl 99 per cent had a specialist
)ualification in a personnel or related field.
He loo$s at the Integration of H strategies at department level as part of the agenda for change
under Delivering Better Government 81667;( guidelines were produced b the S"& &mplementation
/roup in 166< to assist departments in formulating statements of strateg under the re)uirements of
the =ublic Service "anagement Act, 166>. %ne of the $e concerns in the guidelines centered on the
need to embed the strategic management process in departments b ensuring that internal processes,
including HR", support the implementation of strateg.
*ith a view to see change in the HR" structure, the author =roposals for change in HR". He
suggests that a central theme of Delivering Better Government 8.?/, 1667; concerns the need for a
@modernization in HR"@ as a means of achieving e'cellence in service )ualit and deliver.
.?/ ac$nowledges that ,the degree of central regulation of the human resource function has been
increasingl called into )uestion+, and a range of proposals are outlined to reform HR", most notabl
thatA each personnel section should re!orient its activities to ta$e a more strategicBdevelopmental
approach, facilitated b the devolution of responsibilit for @da!to!da@ human resource matters to
line managers( this re!orientation should ta$e place in con-unction with @an incremental but concerted
process of devolving authorit from the .epartment of Finance to departments.
5essons from international e'perience are also brought out b the researcher who points out that
HR" reforms are more effective when the are mandator rather than reling on departments and
agencies to develop their own HR" initiatives. A $e concern centers on the need to stri$e a balance
between decentralization and consistenc has been proposed b the author.
#here is need for .evolution and decentralization of HR" is generall deemed to be necessar for
the development of strategic HR". #he devolution of HR" to line managers is made problematic b
the fact that man managers do not regard HR" as an important part of their wor$, $nowing as the
do that fre)uentl it is neither rewarded nor valued institutionall.
#he author also uses an e'ample of Reform of HR" in the 0C. He perceives Reform of HR" in the
0C public sector to have ta$en place in the conte't of significantl wider developments in the 0C
administration. Donetheless, some useful framewor$s and approaches were developed in relation to
specific issues, which are relevant to this stud.
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• #he Professionali!ing of H" greater professionalism amongst staff in H sections through
increased use of #ualification programmes to rid the $H image of amateurs passing through%
• the development of more robust mar&eting and communications strategies by the H section 'ith
business strategists and line managers to get (closer to the business(% and
• The development of concrete evaluation measures to demonstrate the added value of H.
Basing on the Devolution to line managers A further Eabinet %ffice consortium pro-ect, which
focused on the devolution of Human Resource .evelopment 8HR.; to line managers, also highlights
valuable lessons. #hat report 8Eabinet %ffice, 166Fb; and a subse)uent evaluation, which too$ place
one ear after the pro-ect, highlights two lessons about the respective roles, which top management,
line managers and personnel sections, should pla in the devolution process
He raises the role of the centre ! present and future #he Eabinet %ffice continues to develop and see$
new was of facilitating change and encouraging best practice at line department level. For e'ample,
the regularl hold and facilitate wor$shops for personnel officers and managers, which are set up to
consider HR" issues of common interest.
#he also continue to pla a role in monitoring and ensuring best practice in training and
development, for e'ample, through the setting of targets in relation to &nvestors in =eople 8&&=;
accreditation b departments and agencies.
6*+* A COMPARATI7E 7IEW TO UGANDA PSC
*ith respect to central level service commissions, those in 0ganda have power that is more direct in
HR" management than their &rish counterparts are. #he 0gandan sstem is, however, fragmented
between five commissions where the &rish sstem is more unified.
At the organizational level, some decentralization of HR" powers has been made. 0ganda has gone
further than &rish have on some points. #hus, e'ecutive agencies in 0ganda are rather autonomous in
HR"!matters compared to e'ecutive agencies in &rish.
&n local governments in 0ganda, the politicall appointed .SEs have a high degree of autonom and
have e'ercised that autonom for a decade. &n &rish, the 4mploment ?oards have onl been
operational since 9::G. #heir members are both politicall and administrativel appointed with a
relativel strong dominance of central government staff. #hus, the HR"!devolution in 0ganda is
more radical and has been implemented for a longer time than in &rish. Here there has been
disagreement within government about a strateg for staff devolution since 1666. #his resulted in an
unclear and contradictor legal framewor$ for decentralized staff management until 9::G.
6*)* Con,l#s'on an$ D's,#ss'on
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#he author highlights a range of challenges involved in the process of developing a strategic
approach to HR". Regardless of whether an organization wishes to emphasize a hard 8control
focused; or soft 8commitment focused; approach to HR", tpicall what it wishes to achieve is
integration of HR" policies with business strateg, internall and at line management level. Ce
sta$eholders influence, and in some situations can undermine, the process of integration at these
levels. Similarl, the division of responsibilities between central and line department level shapes
and dictates the e'tent to which HR" policies provide strategic fit.
&ntegration of HR" with business strateg can assist the organization in achieving its ob-ectives.
&n turn, the integration of HR" responsibilities at line management level frees up resources in the
personnel section to develop strategicall integrated HR" policies, which add value to the
organization.
#he author raises a number of $e stages in the development of a strategic approach to HR" can
be identifiedA
• A critical evaluation of the division of responsibilities between central and line department
levels is re)uired to assess the e'tent to which it is both desirable and feasible to decentralize
HR" activities. Firstl, its abilit to pla a meaningful role in this process depends on the
belief of top management in the value, which HR" can add to the organization. Secondl,
personnel sections need to criticall audit e'isting HR" policies and develop the time and
e'pertise re)uired to devise new strategic policies.
• #he auditing of e'isting activities and development of new strategic policies can be
facilitated b a number of $e levers. Firstl, the devolution of appropriate HR" matters to
line managers can free up resources in the personnel section to develop strategic policies.
An such devolution re)uires that line managers be e)uipped with the appropriate s$ills,
$nowledge and attitudes to effectivel manage and develop staff.
• #he selection and development of personnel staff is important in ensuring that the HR section
is e)uipped to develop a strategic role. ?est practice indicates that staff should be selected
based on their competencies in a range of HR activities, including human resource planning
and performance management. *here such s$ills do not e'ist, the should be specificall
developed, assisted where necessar b e'ternal e'pertise.
• #he process of moving from personnel management to HR" implies the need for change to
the organization+s e'isting culture, and as a conse)uence, change ma be resisted b $e
sta$eholders. Accordingl, there is a need to plan for and carefull manage the change
process. #he need for change, the process involved and the benefits of such change, need to
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be clearl communicated and $e sta$eholders such as unions and line managers should be
involved.
8*+* RECOMMENDATIONS
& recommend the author to wor$ on the following issues, which will increase the credibilit of his wor$A
a; "ethodolog should incorporate the following aspectsA
o =rovide a surve of the perceptions of public servants about such practicesA what the
thin$ about their wor$!situation in terms of merit, motivation, management and certain
norms and values
o &nclude all ma-or organisational tpes of the service ! central government, local
government and e'ecutive agencies
o 0se a comparative analtical perspective to see$ to relate staff perceptions about HR"!
issues to organisational performance
o .raw on institutional and conte'tual factors to understand the surve findings
b; Analze and document the HR" practices of some of the well performing organisations in &rish.
#he results can be used as an inspirational catalogue for staff and management that reflects real
life conditions, and the can be used for training purposes.
c; .evelop a practical diagnostic tool to map and assess staff perceptions on HR" in specific
organizations. #he tool should be based on the approach of the present stud but be simplified so
as to be useful for government staff and consultants involved in organization development
assignments.
d; 4'tend, similarl, the stud to cover front!line staff in the public sector 8especiall agriculture,
perhaps education;. Such staff was not included in the present stud either. Het the are crucial
for service deliver and for attempts to introduce more participator development approaches.
#he stud should be lin$ed to relevant sector programmes to enhance its operational impact.
?asing on the presentation raised b the author, & seem to concur to a greater e'tend the arguments
brought forward. However in loo$ing at its practical applicabilit in 0ganda, there some issues that ma
not wor$. #he education sstem in 0ganda, for instance is configured to educate rather that to empower
the personnel.
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