What Is Human Resource Management?

Human resource management is a set of knowledge and practices that regulate the relationship between employees and employers with a clear definition of the nature of work. There are many functional areas that are covered by human resource management (Ackers 2002). These include staffing, which involve deploying people with the right skills, knowledge and expertise for various positions in a work organization. The common practices in human resource management are planning the resources, analysis of jobs as well as recruitment. Another functional area in this body of knowledge refers to rewards on how to design and administer the system that rewards employees (Ackers 2002).

The practices that go along with rewarding employees are job valuation and appraisal on performance as well as benefits. The third functional area on human resource management is employee development where requirements for training are analysed in order to ensure that employees have the appropriate knowledge to deliver their roles satisfactorily in their work and grow. During performance appraisal it is possible to identify key competences and skills possessed by the employees (Bratton & Gold 2012). The last functional area in human resource management is about employee maintenance in order to ensure that the workplace is safe and the employees are healthy; it also looks into welfare policies in order to establish a competent workforce without compromising statutory regulations and standards (Ackers & Wilkinson 2003).

Understanding the management of people using Fox’s frames of reference

Fox’s frames of reference are related to management of people in a work place and are pervasive from how labour is portrayed in the Victorian England paintings to the mainstream media through coverage of contemporary events (Ackers 2002). Actors make use of frames of reference in analysis of their colleagues. When person’s frames of reference reject another person’s ideology, the person tends to dismiss the ideology and regards it as rhetoric in order to support a specific interest. However, it is important to know that these frames of reference are part of the four theories that define relationship in employment. Depending on how they are applied, the four theories can serve as frames of reference (Ackers & Wilkinson 2005).

When there are common frames of reference shared by all actors in a work environment then the system of employment relation is stable. In the egoist model, scholars rely on its values as frames of reference and prefer flexible organizations to rigid ones (Ackers & Wilkinson 2005). Analysis of employment relationships through frames of reference helps see the market-based ideology as a measure that controls workers and enables them to fit into the system. This does not look into their interests only as the interests of the employees and the employers are fundamentally opposed (Ackers & Wilkinson 2005). Unitarists actors see ideologies of unitarist as valid and use them as the frames of reference (Barringer 2005).

The right to property is regarded with the importance for the firm owner in the egoist frames of reference and the managers exercise total control. In the pluralist frames of reference there is complete consideration of the stakeholders. On the other hand, in the critical frames of reference even the rights of the stakeholders are not enough to override the capitalism’s structural inequalities (Barringer 2005). Frames of reference are also important in the legal area as seen in the United States of America in the early 1900. During this time, the Lochner-era Supreme Court struck down employment laws claiming that they negatively interfered with the liberty of contract (Barringer 2005).

Why employees report to work even when they are sick

Sometimes employees report to work even when they are ill which is known as presenteeism. The employees may even be potentially contagious and cannot function at all but they still find it necessary to report to office. Mostly this happens when there is economic strain and there is a lot of downsizing in businesses with many business people trying to make savings and increase efficiency. When such a situation happens, employees do not like taking time off because of many reasons. The first reason consists in the fact that sick off days are not paid and, therefore, the employee cannot afford the unpaid sick leave. Sometimes paid time off includes sick leave but an employee may fail to regard sick leave as paid time off and instead reports to work being ill. The other reason concerns policies and culture in the workplace (Balnave, Brown, Maconachie, & Stone 2007).

The employers may deduct penalties as a way of discouraging employees from taking sick off whether it is paid or not even when the employees may be entitled to the leave. In this case the employees come to work when sick in order to protect the job. Other times the employee may be overworked and feeling overwhelmed by numerous deadlines placed on his or her responsibilities and, therefore, feels that taking sick off would make the organization suffer (Balnave et al. 2007). This may happen when there is lay off in an organization and extra work is given to the few employees left. Lack of cross-training forces some employees to report to work even when they are sick because there is no one else to represent them during the sick off. In addition, if an employee develops a perception on job protection, he or she may opt to remain in the office even when sick in order to be felt working hard with an expectation that in case there is a future lay off, he or she would be retained. Other employees come to work when sick because of denial that though they are sick they are still able to deliver the duties efficiently (Ritzer 2007).

Is scientific management dead?

Scientific management is dead. The new methods no longer address the actual skills and attitudes of people concerned. There is a lot of job dissatisfaction and the key managers are either removed from the organization or moved elsewhere. The perception that follows is that, the management is uncaring (Calder, Commander, Gilbert, Hurrell, Nickson, & Warhurst 2009). An example is the business process re-engineering, which had been introduced to increase survival of American companies but later many books were written on why the idea did not work (Balnave et al. 2007). Scientific management was only applicable in the early years of this century as the industrial tasks at that time needed little or no skill. Most work was done by men who believed in obeying orders and, therefore, engineering methods did not rely on individual craftsmanship (Nienhüser & Warhurst 2012).

A large number of people worked on simple tasks that were repetitive. An example is when Eli Whitney mass produced army riffles in 1864 by employing many men who interchanged parts using machines and templates instead of assembling each riffle uniquely. This was a true reflection of the discipline that was used in cotton plantation where Whitney had been brought up. Today most industrial tasks require a lot of mental work and therefore people cannot be managed as machines, which is the basic principle of scientific management (Nienhüser & Warhurst 2012).


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Ackers, P & Wilkinson, A 2005, “British industrial relations paradigm: a critical outline history and prognosis”, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 47 no. 4, pp. 443-56.

Balnave, N, Brown, J, Maconachie, G, & Stone, R. 2007. Employment relations in Australia, Wiley & Sons, New York.

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Calder, I, Commander, J, Gilbert, K, Hurrell, S, Nickson, D, & Warhurst, C. 2009. Role stretch and low pay amongst female classroom assistant in Bolton and m. Houlihan (eds) work matters: critical reflections on contemporary work, Palgrave, London.

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Ritzer, G 2007, The McDonaldisation of society, Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks.

Thompson, P & McHugh, D 2009, Work organisations, Palgrave, New York.

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