CRITICALLY EXAMINE HOW HRM CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE PRODUCTIVITY AND PERFORMANCE OF AN INDIVIDUAL IN THE ORGANIZATION
The human element of an organization has acquired a lot of attention in the organizational studies. The management of the human aspect of the organization has become a part of the management techniques required to effectively operate a company. Strategies and policies have now taken a new turn in the field of management. Concepts like human resource management (HRM) and personnel administration has been used in the organizational literature frequently to address the factors affecting the performance of the employees of an organization. This study will take into consideration the role of human resource management in the overall performance of the company. Specifically, the discussions in this paper will be based on the readings provided by the university as well as other recent sources found in the World Wide Web. Moreover, the arguments and analysis on the following concepts of HRM and productivity among the employees will be tackled in conjunction with other management elements present in the operations in the organization. The paper will be divided into different parts such that the discussions will be more detailed for every topic involved. At every subject being discussed, the researcher will provide a basic summation, analysis, and conclusion on the arguments provided. In this manner, the personal input of the writer regarding the topic is made clear.
II. Human Resource Management
The human resources of a company are now deemed as an important part of the operations of the organization. Traditionally, prior to the evolution of HRM process today, the employees are considered as a cost that the company incurs. ( 1992, 22) With such a treatment, the employees are thus initially considered to be items of the company that is needed to be minimized such that further loss incurred by the said cost may be averted. However, the past decades revealed a paradigm shift with the employees being considered more than a resource, an asset of sorts, for the company. This is what (1992, 251) as the soft model of HRM. According to the said scholar, the soft model emphasizes on “winning over” the employees’ commitment and motivation. In the current setting, the soft model may well be considered the predominant view towards HRM. This part of the study will take into consideration the role of the HRM model as an organizational, managerial, and business strategy. Moreover, the discussions in this part will emphasize the said roles of HRM to the performance of the employees in the company.
A. HRM as an Organizational Strategy
Organizations acquire strategies involving the entire structure in such a way that the performance of the company comes to a positive turn. Studies regarding the fusion of HRM concepts and practices to organizational studies have been used to tackle the nature of performance of the employees. To illustrate, a study made by (1992, 252) tried to measure the potential of the organizational strategy to improve its performance by using HRM techniques. Specifically, the study tried to take into consideration the strategy acquired by companies in conjunction with the consequent employment flexibility provided by the HRM techniques. This study provided evidence that organizational strategy involving HRM techniques have considerable effect on a firm with regards to its importance.
Another study that has also been considered as among those that determine the capacity of organizational strategy is made by the Center for Labour Market Studies (, 1998). Specifically, the said center took into consideration the principles of Taylorism in the context of organizational strategies. The study claimed that using such a strategy compels the company to find “one best way” to carry out their objectives as an organization. (p1) It is this efficiency requirement that serves as the measure of effectiveness of the strategy. On a more specific note, the center tried to analyze the effect of such a strategy to the individual employee by addressing discussions regarding the job designs created by the organization. As the study claimed, such an effort would allow for the company a removal of any waste in effort, reduce stock and production time. (p3) In short, an organizational strategy geared towards improving the basic elements and practices inherent to the task of the individual staff and teams in the organization will consequently be beneficial for the company as a whole.
In looking at the studies indicated above, the employment of human resource strategies creates a window of opportunity for companies in such a way that efficient and effective operations would be reachable. Nevertheless, although the presented results by the said studies appears to be all positive and wholesome to say the least, it also emphasizes the need for such practices to complement and support the organizational strategies taken by the company. (, 2002, 115)
B. HRM as a Management Strategy
Another course of action taken by organizations includes the use of management strategies. (2001) in their recent study looked into the management strategy present in the corporations in Korea. They noted in their discussions that management strategy prevails over the structure of the organization. (p7) This means that the way an organization is structured depends on the strategies that the company intends to take. They have also characterized this course of action as a means to create long-term goals.
The problem resulting in the claims provided above is the fact that the environment in which an organization revolves in is not constant. It is characterized as dynamic as represented by the findings in the work of . (1992) As presented in the said study, the environment in which Astra, Mandel and TEC has this similar dynamic attribute that they have acquired different management strategies to deal with their respective organizations. This indicates that an organization’s management strategy should be able to be subject to change in a way that they could survive or even dodge any unexpected events and unanticipated actions that will inevitably change the course of the company with regards to its goals.
In the context of the study regarding Astra, Mandel and TEC, their management strategy with respect to their labor and employment areas found out several outcomes. Specifically, (1992) noted that the modes of employment (temporary and permanent employment) acquired by the said companies triggered considerable effects on the operations of the company such that it became a “double-edged” strategy as a result. (p5) This means that although the said companies are able to acquire the possible benefits of taking on their respective employment strategies, they have to similarly sacrifice certain elements of the organization. For instance, the recruitment policy present in Astra created factions in the organization: temporary employees vs. permanent employees. To a certain extent, there has been a brewing mindset that the permanent possess ascendancy over the temporary employees regardless of the same positions they have in the organizational structure. Moreover, the permanent employees even have this disposition towards the temporary employees as cheeky and saucy. (p6) Looking at this context, the management strategies employed by the said company have taken a turn in such a way that employee attitudes have been compromised. HRM Concepts like motivation and harmonization should thus be infused in the managerial strategy of an organization such that the performance of the company would take a positive turn particularly in the context of productivity and profitability. ( 1997, 19)
This part of the paper presented that HRM has been ingrained in the consciousness of organizational studies and even in the strategies of organizations in general. The management of the human resource has constantly been equated with an improvement in the performance of the organization. That has been noted in the study of (1997). The discussions above have shown that perspectives in the organization have gone a long way from viewing employees as a cost. Now, with HRM applications, the shift towards the augmented value of the employees has come to pass. In addition, the discussions above have indicated not only the importance of infusing HRM principles as a strategy for the firm, but also for the firm to realize that the strategy should be able to adapt to the changes in the external environment of the organization. As stated in the study of (1992), organizations have to acquire different employment techniques to complement their current situation as a business entity. Organizations should know when to be flexible and should also learn to decide the appropriate instances to be rigid in their employment techniques. The important to recognize that as an organizational and management strategy, the principal ideologies of HRM should not be discounted.
III. Training and Development in HRM
Occupational mobility and career advancement are considered important elements in the context of human resource management. Some HRM theories have indicated that the perception of the employee of the possibility of improvement in his/her existing situation in the professional context is considered a determinant of the motivation. (, 2003, 32) In this manner, employees see it motivating that there is a chance to be successful in their chosen profession. Others may also indicate that income growth marks success among the employees in their respective careers. (, 1999, 1433) This drive to career advancement and achieving a successful career in a chosen profession may trigger the individual employee to seek improvement in his/her skills and other knowledge tools that could be used to move up in the organizational structure.
In a study of (1999, 251) they indicated that training in development among the workforce increases the skills required by companies and thus makes them more competitive. Moreover, their study emphasized the importance of sustaining a well-developed training system so as to provide the country a competitive position in the global community. (p256) This means that training and development among the workforce in general not only helps individual organizations to acquire an edge in their respective industries, it also provides the state favor from investors and other organizations that would grant capital and employment in the country.
On the other hand, the paper of (2000, 35) claimed that the use of training in the organizational setting places emphasis on organizational change and other issues present in the internal and external environment of the company. This means that the use of training and development in an organization provides the company the capacity to address the deficiencies present in the organizational structure, operations and other areas in the firm. Moreover, it also indicates that the use of training will allow the company to be able to combat any changes and challenges provided by shifts and other changes market. Training could provide not only improvement in productivity and performance of the organization, it also maintain the prevailing conditions that a company possess which consequently help in the realization of their organizational goals.
A. Enhancement of Staff Productivity
The productivity of the overall employees is among the outcomes anticipated from the conduct of training and other employee development techniques carried out by an organization. In the study of (1999, 265) indicated several drivers for companies to partake in training programs. These include workplace change, quality improvement, and new technology. In looking at the said drivers for employing training among the employees, it appears that these attempt to address the development of productivity on the part of the workforce in general. In the context of training towards workplace change, the focus geared towards the behavioral development of the employees in the organization. (p265) This means that the relationship among the employees is taken in hand when workplace change motivated training is initiated.
In the relations to staff productivity, workplace change training programs intends to improve the skills of the employee relation to their behavior. On the other hand, quality improvement training is triggered by the more recent TQM processes that emerged in the past years. (p265) Based on the claims of (1999, 265) it appears that training for quality management principles works closely to the improvement of staff productivity. Learning the basic processes in these types of new management techniques provide the workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out their jobs in a more efficient manner.
Lastly, staff productivity is enhanced by HRM by providing training for the use of new technology. (p265) Innovation on this aspect of the organization subjects the workforce to products or processes that appears to be unknown to them. Learning how to create, understand, and to adapt to these innovations would simply elevate the level of productivity of the employees. Normally, training on this type requires what is termed as “on-the-job training.” (p266) This means that the employee is directly subjected to the operations of the company using the process and products featured by the training program. New products and processes for this matter may be used to improved productivity on areas such as customer service, familiarity to new hardware and software, or even a new system used in the operations of the company. Either way, the outcomes that these training drivers present points generally to the improvement in the productivity of the employees of the organization.
B. Enhancement of Staff Performance
Another outcome that training and development attempts to achieve is the improvement of the performance of the employees. However, studies have shown that the improvement of staff performance, especially when they are subjected to training programs, depends on several factors. A study made by (2000, 25) indicated that organizational commitment, motivation, and flexibility is necessary to render a successful training program in an organization. The possession of these attributes among the employees defines what (2000) claimed to be more a satisfied, productive and adaptable employees. This means that training standards should inherently possess these attributes as a part of their overall goal and learning outcomes from the employees. (2000, 31) pointed out the importance of the role of the trainer to adhere to the principles of HRM to acquire the broader outcome of staff performance.
On the other hand, (1999) indicated specific organizational attributes that affect the training and consequent development in the performance of the employees. Contrary to what (2000) claimed as staff performance relying on employee attributes, (1999) recognized organizational attributes that link training to performance. These attributes includes enterprise size, industry traditions, occupational structure, industry relations, management attitudes, and government training policy. In looking at the claim of (1999), it appears that training outcomes geared towards the improvement in the performance of the staff is also dependent on specific attributes presented by the organization as a whole.
The training and development attributes provided by HRM policies points towards the development of the individual employee. More specifically, the assumption on the use of training as an HRM technique seeks to improve the overall organization through developing the specific skills and qualities of the individual employees. As indicated in the discussions in this part of the paper, the overall development rest not only with the specific qualities inherent to the individual employee, the overall conditions prevailing within the organization is equally relevant. On this note, the subsequent discussions will look into the culture present in the organization and how it affects the productivity and performance of the firm.
IV. Corporate Culture
Before trying to motive the staff, an organization must initially take into consideration the kind of culture the organization possesses. Attempts to describe organizational culture have acquired a quantity of diverse apris,( 2002) Some concentrates on heroes and villains, ceremonies, customs, fables and legends that inhabit organizations. Culture is similarly socially built and emulates implications that are made up in interaction and that shape generally established descriptions of the situation. (, 2002) Culture is representative and is explained by narrating accounts concerning how one consider about the organization. A symbol corresponds to something more than itself and can be a lot of things, but the bottom-line is that a symbol is endowed with meaning by the people and provides types of understanding acquired from the past collective encoun ( 1994) The sociological perspective is that organizations subsist in the mentality of the members. Narrations on the subject of culture demonstrate how it operates as a sense-making instrument. Culture is uniting and connotes to the procedures that unites the organization collectively. The notion of corporate culture strengthens the unifying forces of central goals and generates a sense of familiar duty. (, 1997)
Culture is holistic and connotes to the actuality of the firm; what it is like to actually work in the said setting, how individuals contend with each other and what actions are accepted. ( 2002) All of these basics are interconnected. Culture is anchored deep in unconscious sources however is embodied in superficial customs and behaviour systems. A fit organization is one in which an understandable attempt is made to get individuals with diverse backgrounds, capabilities, and aptitudes to work as one toward the objective or intention of the organization.
A. Individual Performance and HRM
On the other hand, motivation in a business perspective is examined to realize why individuals conduct themselves the manner that they do in office, if a worker has been assigned a task and it is not performed adequately, this letdown may well be by reason of a lack of motivation, instead of the lack( of , 2002) Diverse motivation models have dissimilar concepts on what motivates individuals at work, making the occupation fulfilling. Among the major components of poor motivation is an unchallenging job with disagreeable working circumstances and low pay. This is the most frequent reason. Pay levels and others have an effect on the motivation of workers.
Motivation models are classified under a couple of divergent approaches. This includes content theories which describe those particular components which essentially motivate the person at work and the process theories which are the elements which interrelate and control human behaviour. l(, 2001) It is imperative that the personnel are motivated as well as possible. This brings about a more contented and productive setting. Employees would commonly be motivated by acquiring the maximum likely wages even though this is not constantly the case. The content theories of motivation take account of Maslow's hierarchy of needs model and Herzberg's two-factor theory, which have dissimilar methods to motivation.
Motivation in an organization is recognized by measuring it with HRM tools such as performance appraisals. Accordgin s (1989), performance appraisals are basically used to measure what appear to be satisfactory performance from the employees specifically those that are not readily measurable. However, it could also be used as a way to measure the existing level of motivation among the entire workforce. With interviews being the predominant method used in the appraisal methods, the results could provide the firm with the specific problems and concurrently allow them to pinpoint the solutions needed to address them. Uncovering the way the workforce is motivated in doing their work, and inherent part of HRM, would allow the organization to take on courses of action that would inherently grant success for the firm.
B. Organizational Culture and HRM
The relationship of the organization’s predominant culture and its productivity and performance has acquired a lot of attention from the academic community. However, there has yet to be concrete evidence how this is actually related. The study of (1997, 8) proposed the use of a measuring tool to determine the predominant culture existing in an organization. However, a recent study made by (2002) claimed that a rather high surge on the interest relating to this topic has emerged throughout the years.
On the said study of (2002), they even classified the existing literature into a couple of categories. Basically, the said authors have commissioned themselves to present an existing issue in the context of organizational culture and whether the personnel are aware of the existing culture in their organization. Specifically, they have presented arguments on whether culture could be managed (optimist view) or otherwise (pessimist). The findings of their study presented a considerable difference in the level of awareness on the part of the management and employees with regards to the culture of the organization. (2002) presented that the front-line employees are those who are more aware of the existence of the culture in the company as compared to the management level employees. This may pose a considerable problem considering that it is the managers who should be aware of the conditions prevailing in the culture of the organization. (2002, 189) claimed in his study that the managers should be able to have some sort of control over what he claimed to be the tangible elements of the organization’s culture: information flow, supervision and meetings.
The discussions above presented what appear to be the intangible and internal elements of HRM, organizational culture and employee morale. As it is discussed above, the two are inherently related. The recent studies have indicated that organizational culture is directly related to the morale of the organization. ( 2002, 189) This means that knowing the level of organizational morale may lead to the discovery of the overall culture of the organization. The awareness of the level of both HRM factors thus possibly entails a considerable improvement in the performance and productivity of the firm. What the said discussions similarly imply is that there is a rather optimistic prospect on this area of HRM providing the fact that it shows that certain attributes of culture could be controlled and manipulated so as to complement the goals and objectives of the organization.
V. Environmental Issues
Along with the internal factors that affect the performance of the firm, HRM practices may well be affected by other elements external to the operations of the organization. One of the possible external issues that may cause this is recessions. Normally, the course of action that companies undertake when this takes place is to retrench the workforce. (, 1998, 35) To consider the fundamental cost and asset factors underlying such occurrence, letting go of some of the employees may be appealing. However, not all companies have the option to take on retrenchment procedures and thus allowing for other belt-tightening measures for the company. (1994, 129) indicated that some companies reduce their training responsibilities to the employees at times of recession. On the two accounts, recession inevitably affects the HRM activities of the organization.
Another occurrence that may have an implication in the organization is the scarcity of skilled labor in the labor market. The supply of skill in this context is addressed by the study of (2003, 135) provided evidence from other studies regarding the presence of what he called skill mismatch. On this context, the burden is placed on the part of the employers simply because their job to find the pertinent and appropriate individual to specific positions in their organization is rather difficult. To this end, organizations have to hire less skilled individuals to satisfy the labor requirements of their operations. Moreover, the presence of skills mismatch presented the requirement to intensify training so as to even out the needed skill requirement from the hired individuals.
The discussions above regarding HRM techniques have established how it could contribute to the productivity and performance not only of the individual employee, but of the entire organization in general. The discussions above have established the fact that HRM techniques provides the organization the flexibility it needs to empower the individual employee through the amalgamation of HRM, organizational strategy and management strategy. On the other hand, the training and development programs provided by the firm as required by HRM methods serve as both a precursor to the improvements in employee performance and the subsequent improvement in organizational productivity. The study has also established the importance of considering both internal and external factors that could affect the organization as a whole. Internal factors such as organizational culture and motivation, and external elements such as recession and skill shortage should be closely considered by every organization so as to adapt to the changes that may ensue once these internal and external elements become huge enough to implicate the operations of the organizations. To this end, it is seen that HRM is not merely a process that materialized from a fad in the 70s and 80s, it is actually an evolution in the context of organizational studies. Its theories, applications, and even contradictions are significant contributions to the advancement of the current ideologies on management as organizations gear towards the realization of its respective goals.
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