Diversity: Human Resource Management Essay

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The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art For most of its history, Human Resources has mainly focused on the administrative aspects of Human Resource Management, except recently, with the strident call for HRM to become a strategic business partner (Ulrich, 1997; Brockbank 1999; Lawler III & Mohrman, 2000; and Lawler III & Mohrman, 2003). Some scholars therefore, are wont to differentiate between the traditional HRM and SHRM (Strategic Human Resources Management). Traditional HRM is transactional in nature, concerned essentially with providing administrative support in terms of staffing, recruitment, compensation and benefits (Rowden, 1999; and Wei, 2006). Ulrich (1997) argues that the HR function has been an administrative function headed by personnel whose roles are essentially focused on cost control and administrative activities. Managing people is therefore the responsibility of HR manager. HRM is then a “formal system for the management of people within the organization” (Bateman & Zeithaml, 1993:346). For Inyang (2001:8), HRM is simply “organization’s activities, which are directed at attracting, developing and maintaining an effective workforce”. The many transactional or administrative activities involved in managing the human resources of an organization – training and development, staff motivation, compensation, staff commitment, quality performance, etc. are meant to be carried out effectively to influence the achievement of corporate objectives (Inynag, 2008).
Strategic Human Resource Management is the proactive management of people. It requires thinking ahead, and planning ways for a company to better meet the needs of its employees, and for the employees to better meet the needs of the company. This can affect the way things are done at a business site, improving everything from hiring practices and employee training programs to assessment techniques and discipline. SHRM is that of a strategic business partner. It now supports the company’s competitive advantage by providing high quality people and by helping business managers strategically plan the functions of the human capital within the organizations (Rowden, 1999). Unlike the traditional HRM which covers a wide range of employment practices, including recruitment, selection, performance appraisal, training and development and administration of compensation and benefits, SHRM reflects a more flexible arrangement and utilization of human resources to achieve organizational goals, and accordingly helps organizations gain competitive advantage (Wei, 2006). For Becker & Huselid (2006:899) the traditional HRM differs from SHRM in two important ways: “First, SHRM focuses on organizational performance rather than individual performance. Second, it also emphasizes the role of HR management systems as solutions to business problems (including