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Distinctively HRM

Transformational leadership is about hearts and minds, about empowering people not controlling them. The word transformation means change and transformational leadership is about empowering everyone in the organisation to learn, seek change and improvement, never to be satisfied with what is done today. It is based upon trusting skilled, dedicated, intelligent people to do what they have learned is best, to take responsibility immediately (indeed to seize it) and to share leadership throughout the organisation. The leader’s job is to facilitate increased learning, trust and understanding.

Burn’s views have some resemblance to the work of Robin Stuart-Kotze who sets out to measure the amount of transformational leadership in an organisation and compare this with the amount of transactional leadership and further with the amount of dysfunctional or negative behaviour in the organisation. New models and metaphors of organisation and management emerged to reflect a changing world, in technology and communications, consumer power and sophistication, social and geographical mobility and culture and ideology. Intensifying business competition and the introduction of new production technologies necessitated and facilitated change in classical structures and principles of organisation.

The systems approach to management (developed at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in the 1950’s) was one of the

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first to acknowledge complexity, by viewing the organisation as an open system (an entity which consists of interdependent parts and which interacts with its environment). Trist and Bamforth developed the model of the organisation as an open socio-technical system, consisting of at least three sub-systems; a structure (division of labour, authority and communication channels), a technological system (the work to be done and the techniques and tools used to do it) and a social system (the people within the organisation, the ways they think and interact with each other).

A contingency approach likewise developed as a reaction to the idea that there are universal principles for designing organisations, motivating people and so on. Essentially it depends on the total picture of the internal factors and external environment of each organisation.

From these perspectives personnel management began to be seen as increasingly involved with the full range of general business management and strategy. At the same time however, the complexity of legislation and regulation, along with behavioural and managerial theory, had lead to the development of specialisms within the personnel function. Personnel management had become recognised as a discipline in its own right, which was broadly acceptable. Policy setting and advice in areas such as labour planning, recruitment and selection, training and development, industrial relations, reward administration, employee appraisal and health and welfare came under the functional authority of personnel officers.

The need for a specialised body of knowledge – drawing on law, economics, administrative management and the social sciences – led to the establishment of a scheme of education and qualification and the professionalism of the work of the personnel manager. Human resource management (HRM) is a concept which seeks to recognise employees as an asset to be nurtured, rather than a cost to be controlled, and which views the sourcing, deploying and developing of these human resources as a key integrated element of business strategy.

HRM developed out of influences such as: the increased complexity of business processors and their dependence on employee flexibility and commitment; the need for competitive advantage; the increased power and expectations of highly skilled knowledge workers; and the identification of human relations policy as the key to management effectiveness and business excellence.

HRM terminology is often used interchangeably with more traditional management ideas, but the proactive, integrated and strategic approach is distinctively HRM. Staying current in the profession is one of the main reasons why International Personnel Management Association (IPMA) members join the organisation. Staying current often requires staying ahead of the game. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky, explaining his success on the ice, says, “I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where the puck will be.” HR professionals should also look to where the profession will be, not where it is now.

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