Evolution of HRM

Evolution of Human Resource Management – HRM 

Human resource management has emerged as a wide field in today’s scenario. It began in India in 1800 in the form of private schools and charitable trusts. Ancient Indian societies managed all aspects of human life, including the business aspect, on a similar basis.

The evolution of HRM can be described in the following phases:

1) Industrial Revolution:

During the Industrial Revolution phase, mechanization and technological improvement took place at a rapid speed. At that time, jobs were divided and workers had to do only a small part of their job rather than the entire work. 

Thus, specialization increased workers’ speed and efficiency but at the same time, jobs became more tedious. The treatment which was given to workers was like that of glorified machine tools. 

Employers’ concern was only to fulfil the targets of production not with providing fulfilling the demands of workers. The government is also not active to work for the worker’s welfare.

2) Scientific Management:

F.W. Taylor promoted the theory of scientific management to increase the performance of employees. Scientific management is a methodical analysis and breaking of tasks into many small parts and re-organizing them to get a perfect combination. 

Taylor also stated that people’s physical and mental abilities must match the tasks which are to be performed on the job. Therefore, highly proficient people must be removed and supervisors should provide training to the low-performing employees to make them highly proficient. Taylor further emphasized using incentives to motivate employees.

3) Trade Unionism:

Workers became aware of their rights and they collectively started protesting against the exploitation of employers. They also started protesting against unfair labour practices by taking the help of trade unions. 

Collective bargaining, dealing with the worker’s grievances regarding the conditions of working, wages and perks, and disciplinary procedures are the ways through which trade unions generally help the workers.

4) Human Relations Movement:

During the 1930s and 1940s, Elton Mayo along with his colleagues from Harvard conducted Hawthorne experiments which showed that job design and rewards were not the only factors that influenced the productivity of employees, but there are certain social and psychological factors which can also affect employee productivity. The wide implementation of behavioural science techniques was due to the human relations movement. 

It involves using supervisory training techniques, providing assistance to workers, counselling programs, and strategies to make the relations between management and labour stronger. These programs help the workers to share their work-related problems as well as problems related to their personal life with the counselling professionals. 

The human relations movement was also affected by the increasing power of trade unions in the period of late 1930s and 1940s. The emergence of unions in this period was because of the Wagner Act. The Act gave workers the legal right of collective bargaining with management on subjects relating to job stability, benefits, salary, and other working conditions.

5) Human Resource Approach:

In the early 60s, the ‘pet milk theory’ of human religionists had been discarded largely. According to ‘the pet milk theory’, “happy workers are productive workers or happy cows give more milk”. 

Identifying the fact that every worker is different from the other worker and has different personal needs, the things that motivate one individual may not stimulate the other. Happiness and good feeling may influence the efficiency of some employees to a very small extent. Gradually, the practice of considering employees as assets became prominent.

Evolution of HRM

“The Human Resource Approach assumes that the foremost source of satisfaction and motivation to employees is their job and their responsibility towards the organisation. This approach focuses on the involvement of individuals in the organizational decision making”. 

Further, the focus of this approach is on the following things:

i) People do not dislike their work if they are involved in the establishment of objectives that they have to attain.

ii) Many people show more self-direction, self-control, and creativity than are needed in their present jobs (Theory Y).

iii) The primary job of the manager is to exploit the full human potential to serve the organization.

iv) Healthy, safe, comfortable, and convenient work environment should be provided by the managers so that employees can fully utilize their capacities.

v) The manager must encourage employees to self-direct themselves and contribute to all significant matters of the organization.

vi) Increasing subordinates’ influence, self-control and self-direction will lead to improved working performance.

vii) Employees’ job satisfaction may increase if they will be able to make maximum utilization of their work potential.

Behavioural science contributed to management by giving new dimensions instead of giving high-level methods. It has developed a valuable way of thinking about the manager’s role, the nature of organizations, and individual behaviour in the organization.

The applicability of HRM is very wide. HRM encompasses all the areas during the service of an employee starting from the time he enters till he quits.

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