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I would like to thank Ms. Richa
Nagia, my professor, guide and
mentor in guiding me throughout
the length of this research paper.

Before getting into the evolution of HR, it is first very important to understand what
is meant Human Resource.
Human Resource is a function in organizations designed to maximize employee
performance in service of their employers strategic objectives. HR is primarily
concerned with how people are managed within organizations, focusing on policies
and systems.
Human resources are an organization's greatest assets because without them,
everyday business functions such as managing cash flow, making business
transactions, communicating through all forms of media, and dealing with
customers could not be completed. Human resources and the potential they
possess are key drivers for an organizations success.
With globalization and technological advances, today's organizations are
continuously changing. Thus, organizational change impacts not only the business
but also its employees.
In order to maximize organizational effectiveness, human potentials, individuals'
capabilities, time, and talents must be managed and developed. Hence, the practice
of human resource management (HRM) works to ensure that employees are able to
meet the organization's goals.
Definition of Human Resoure:

Edwin Flippo, author of Personnel Management, defines HR as:

planning, organizing, directing, controlling of procurement,development,

compensation, integration , maintenance and separation of human resources to the
end that individual, organizational and socialobjectives are achieved.

Michael Armstrong, in his Armstrongs Handbook of Human Resource

Management Practice, defines HRM as:

Human resource management is defined as a strategic and coherent approach to

the management of an organisation most valued assets the people working there
who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its object.

William R. Tracey, in The Human Resources Glossary defines Human

Resources as:

"The people that staff and operate an organization as contrasted with the
financial and material resources of an organization."

Human Resource Management, 4th edition provides a working

definition of HRM:

A philosophy of people management based on the belief that human resources are
uniquely important in sustained business success. An organization gains
competitive advantage by using its people effectively, drawing on their expertise
and ingenuity to meet clearly defined objectives.
Birth of HR:
The history of HRM is said to have started in England in the early 1800s during the
craftsmen and apprenticeship era and further developed with the arrival of the
industrial revolution in the late 1800s. In the 19th century, Frederick W. Taylor
suggested that a combination of scientific management and industrial psychology of
workers should be introduced.
In this case, it was proposed that workers should be managed not only from the job
and its efficiencies but the psychology and maximum wellbeing of the workers.
Moreover, with the drastic changes in technology, the growth of organizations, the
rise of unions and government concern and interventions resulted in the
development of personnel departments in the 1920s. At this point, personnel
administrators were called welfare secretaries (Ivancevich, 2007).
Some scholars argued that HRM is said to have started from the term Personnel
Management (PM). The term PM emerges after the World War in 1945 as an
approach by personnel practitioners to separate and distinguish themselves from
other managerial functions and making the personnel function into a professional
managerial function.
Traditionally, the function of PM is claimed to be hire and fire personnel in
organizations other than salary payments and training. But there were many
criticisms and concerns of ambiguity expressed about the purpose and role of PM to
HRM (Tyson, 1985) in that management planned HRM activities, and did not just
respond reactively to different circumstances and situations, but in some cases, to
demands of trade unions. In part to reflect these, none outline approaches to the
management of employees in the mid 1980s.
Therefore, the term HRM gradually tended to replace the term PM (Lloyd and
Rawlinson, 1992). However, writers argued that the term HRM has no appreciable
difference from PM as they are both concerned with the function of obtaining,
organizing, and motivating human resources required by organizations. At the same
time, writers are defining the terms HRM and PM in many different ways (Beer and
Spector, 1985).
The rebranding for the term PM to HRM was argued as due to the evolvement and
changes in the world of management and therefore a new term would seem

appropriate to take new ideas, concepts and philosophies of human resources

(Noon, 1992, Armstrong, 2000).
Indeed, some writers commented that there are little differences between PM and
HRM and it has been criticized as pouring old wine into new bottle with a different
label (Legge, 2005). Whether HRM was considered to be different to personnel
management there is a continued debate on the meaning and practice of HRM as
opposed to that of PM (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2002; Legge, 2005).

Evolution of HR:
HR has evolved over the last hundred years in reaction to significant changes in the
way organizations get their work done. Putting the evolution of business and the
evolution of the HR name changes into one table (as shown below) shows how
reactive the profession has been to changes in the social and economic realities of
the time.
The challenge for HR today is to define our own future based on the trends that are
eminently predictable now and to step up to the challenge of creating our own
future. One other key historical point: The boom and bust economic history of the
last 20+ years has formed in large part what HR was asked to support. The HR
function went from being challenged with creative recruitment, retention, and
compensation strategies during boom times to being challenged with creative
restructuring, downsizing, and outplacement during bust times and in the latest
wave of mergers and acquisitions.


The HR priorities during these bust times were not conducive to discussions of
talent and hot spots: They were more about survival and cost-cutting efficiencies.
HR has reactively dealt with the evolving business issues but has rarely
independently implemented game changing strategies for the function or for
employees. HR too often reacts to a problem or request, and has too rarely
anticipated issues and proposed solutions. We in HR did not strategically design the
changing deal between employers and employees, but we were the ones to alter
the pensions and benefits, and to execute downsizing and restructuring. It is one
thing to be service oriented (which HR must be); it is another to be a simple order
taker. The evolution we are undergoing requires not only the intellectual and
strategic capability to envision a different role, but also the intestinal fortitude to
step out, lead, and enact a new role.
Just as the role of the HR professional has changed over the years of this business
evolution, so too has the role of the line manager. There continues to be a shift in
the activities and accountabilities we expect managers to own based on their
management role, what we expect leaders to own in their leadership roles, and
what we expect employees to own as they take on greater responsibility for their
own learning, growth, and self-management. HR can be the professional HR process
designer and owner, and oversee implementation and rollup reporting, but in most
cases the work of the process is done by employees and managers (e.g.,
recruiting, selection, performance appraisal, career development, succession
planning, merit increases, stock option distributions). So, who is accountable: the
leader, manager, employee, or HR? All have a stake in the success of these
processes but companies vary greatly in the extent to which these performance
expectations are made explicit as part of a managers job.
This evolution has one other common link. Throughout the development of the HR
profession, there has been a tension between the roles of employee advocate and
business leader. This is a razors-edge predicament. HR must serve the needs of
the business (and, for example, must plan and enact downsizing and outplacement)
while serving the needs of employees (to be the fair and impartial third-party
advocate and ombudsman where needed).
Sometimes those two hats are hard to wear at the same time; yet, the recent
egregious failures and lapses by leaders of large companies in areas like
compensation and people management have shown that HR must be ready to step
up to the real issues of ethics in organizations and integrity in leadership. To be a
great business partner does not mean to be co-opted; sometimes we are the ones
who must blow the whistle.
The role of HR is forever changing as the business world continues to evolve and as
organizations discover new issues of importance. With the increased emphasis on
employee engagement, organizations are recognizing the importance of facilitating
communication between their teams.

Simply put, organizations today are realizing that people are the key to success.
After all, when people within an organization succeed, the entire company is bound
to follow suit