Human Resource Management

The science of human resource management encompasses the entire human aspect of management in industry, and therefore, it is not an easy task to define the term “Human Resource/Personnel Management is the recruitment, selection, development, utilization of accommodation to human resources by organizations.” Human resources of an organisation consists of all types of employees regardless of their status and role in the organisation. Thus, management of human resource is concerned with the management of people in the organisation. According to Prof. E.F.L. Brech “Human resource/ personnel management is that part of management progress which is primarily concerned with the human constitution of an organisation.”

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In the words of Edwin B.Elippo, “Human resource/personnel management may be defined as the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the procurement, development, compensation, integration and maintenance and separation of human resources to the end that individual, organizational and societal objectives are accomplished.” Thus, human resource management is concerned with the planning, organizing, controlling and maintenance of the human resources in the organisation.

Human resource management is a major sub-system of all organisation-big or small, economic or social recruitment, selection, development, maintenance, utilization and motivation of people at work are common functions of all organisation and also are integral aspects of any organized efforts whether or not there is a department in the organisation by that name. Human resource management is a major element of managerial process.


Management of human resources is not the only task of personnel department. It is important activity of every manager. Every manager in the organisation is responsible for the recruitment, selection, development and maintenance of human resources of the people at work. The HRM department simply assists them or guides them by training various policies and programme.

Human Resource Management is a relatively new term and has got currency only since seventies. In India, the term human resource management has attracted the attention of academicians and business managers during the last 15 years or 80. Human resource management, as John Stoney has held, has its ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ dimensions. The hard aspect place emphasis on the idea of resource-that is something to be used dispassionately and in a calculative, formally rational manner. The soft usage lays emphasis on the term ‘human’, thus conferring up echoes of human relations movement and a stress on employee development, group relations and constructive supervision. Since HRM is still an emerging area of business studies and applications in India we shall use the two terms-personnel management and human resource management interchangeably.

Nature of Human Resource Management

The above discussion makes the nature of human resource management very clear as follows:

  • Human resource management is a specialized branch of general management and therefore all the principles of general management apply to this branch of management also.
  • Over and above the general principle of management there are definite principles and policies of human resource/personnel management which help overall development of human force.
  • Human resource management is the management of human resources in the industry. We can get the best possible results by managing this source of power in an effective manner.
  • Human resource management is concerned with the development of employees. The word employee includes not only the workers at the lowest level but the employees at all levels and types of management such as craftsmen, foremen, operators (low level), departmental manager (middle level) and general manager or chief executive (top level) are included in it.
  • Human resource management considers the development of individuals at work, as an individual and as a member of the group. Therefore in formulating personnel polices, and solving the human problems of an organisation intelligently their individual character and the entity as a member of the group are considered so that the intrinsic abilities of the workers may be developed to the best use of the organisation and the goal of the organisation is attained to the maximum possible extent.
  • The whole philosophy of human resource management is based on the assumption that labor is a human being and humanly treatment should be given to them. It also emphasizes labor force as resource. Being a resource, it should be used dispassionately and in a calculative, formally rational manner.
  • It is pervasive function of management. Therefore managers at all levels, perform these functions from managing director to the foreman.
  • It is not ‘one-shot’ but continuous function of HRM.
  • Human Resource Management is a pervasive function of management. It is performed by all managers at various levels in the organisation. In other words, every manager, from top to bottom, performs the personnel function on continuous basis.


Scope of Human Resource Management

The scope of Human Resource Management is quite wide. It includes the following activities:

Human Resource / Manpower Planning

It involves determining the number and types of the personnel required to fill the vacancies at different positions in the organisation. It is the process to ensure that the right number and types of people are to be placed at the right place and at the right time so as to achieve the organizational goals.


Recruitment and Maintenance of Manpower

This activity includes the attracting (recruiting), screening, testing, hiring and inducing right type of man on the job. This is the employment function of the management.

Training and Development of Employees

Training is required to prepare the employees to meet the challenges of new job or techniques and to maintain and improve the quality of the existing job. It develops the skill of the employees. It helps supplying qualified a personnel from among the employees.

Job analysis and job description

It involves the studies of job requirement of the enterprise and assignment of well defined function to jobs so that qualified employees may be hired. It forms the basis of wage determination.


It includes, determining wage rates, incentive systems, rating of employees and performance standards.

Keeping personnel records

It includes collection of bio-data of all employees pertaining to their work, i.e., training, job performance, aptitude, payment records etc.

Importance of Human Resource Management

From the very beginning, labor had been an important factor of production. Even today, technical developments could not undermine the place of labor in industrial field. Being an active factor of production, labor engages the other factors of production in the best possible manner in order to achieve the organizational objective. And, therefore, in order to get the work done by the people, it is necessary to direct, motivate, develop na manage their activities. Otherwise labor relations will reason and may jeopardize the growth and stability of the enterprise because growth and stability cannot be imagined without the wholehearted co-operation of the people at work. The importance of labor has rather increased in industries where most sophisticated machineries are used because the efficiency and profitability of the organisation is most concerned with the best efforts of the labor force to make the best utilization of such costly plant and machinery. In the words of Mr. Appley, “Management is the development of the people and not the direction of things…. management and personnel administration are one and the same thing”. Pigou and Meyrs have observer, “good management means getting effective results with people.”

The behavioral school of management introduced the concepts of psychology, sociology and other behavioral sciences to extend the managers knowledge of human behavior in the work environment. As a matter of fact, the more complex organisation and creation of complex industrial structures, the understanding of human behavior has assumed great significance. Every manager who wants to get success in managing must possess the skill to deal with human behavior at work, this is an important part of human resource functions.

Through human resource department does not produce anything tangible, it helps the other departments to contribute towards organizational objectives. One aspect of human resource function is procurement, development, compensation and motivation of the personnel at work which has been recognized as the spatiality of the personnel department.

Labor-force is a non-wasting asset for the industry. It increases with the lapse of time rather than to decrease like other assets. The appreciation in this asset is only possible under effective leadership of the personnel manager. The personnel department is responsible for training and development of the people working in the enterprise.

The concept of personnel management is applicable not only to factories and wage-earners, but it is also equally important in officers, sales department, laboratories and in the ranks of management itself, where top management must win the cooperation of their subordinates. Now good personnel management is something needed by private industry alone. Industries in public sector, non-profit institutions, government and the armed services require human resource managers.

From the above discussion, it is clear that the role of human resource management cannot be undermined. It is the key to the success of the whole organisation and related to all other activities of the management. Personnel management is a part of all functional management, i.e., production management, financial management, marketing management etc. Every functional manager has some responsibility towards the maintenance of personnel.

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