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Human Resources Management

Human Resources Management (HRM) is an encompassing term that would relate to various ways of “people management” in and out of an organization or institution. An organization usually attains its vision through appropriate and efficient utilization of its people. HRM ideally intends at recruiting competent, flexible and dedicated people towards organization expansion and profit while simultaneously developing and improving those people’s skills and abilities throughout the process.

For the past years, through careful research and analysis, most organizations have adopted specific human resource strategies as an answer to the call of increasing global competition in the markets they...

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... serve(Akdere, 2006). Human resource strategies continually evolve as societies and organizations’ needs change. With existing theory-based strategies and sprouting researches on the said matter, options are available for organizations. Proper execution and timing would be vital for the success of the strategies an organization chooses to implement to increase its performance (Smith, 2004).

The human resources (HR) background of the Middle East is said to be distinguished by several features, some of which are adopted from developing countries especially for internationally-based business groups while some are distinctive to the region. As a developing country which is among the major oil suppliers in the world, Middle Eastern States still are capable of adapting to changes through investments in newer technology that further advances the shape of Human Resources Management.

This has been possible despite the divided HR strategies across Middle East because of the presence of unequal distribution of affluence due to the existence of oil-producing and non oil-producing regions, our HR Management is said to be still on the rise. As previously stated, a critical assessment and evaluation of specific theory-based HRM strategies before implementation will ensure quality management and better outcomes for yielding benefits both for the organization and its workforce.

There have been various documented HRM theories supported by careful researches and measurements which have contributed in shaping the trend of HRM strategies for the past years. The Harvard Theory of HRM is possibly one of the most significant models that have proved major impact in the development of human resource strategies all over the world and intellectual discussions as well. The Harvard Model uniquely perceives employees as resources. Human resources are recognized as primarily poles apart from other resources in the sense that they have to be dealt with differently.

Primarily, the issue here is the traditional notion of majority that employee groups are literally human resources basically just representing the workforce of an organization and nothing more to it. The theory recognizes that employee groups play a vital role in an organization’s progress. It recognizes employee’s rights and privileges along with other groups such as clients or stockholders (Price, 2004). It is also categorized as a “soft HRM approach” because it focuses on matters such as communication, leadership and motivation based on literature studies. The Harvard Map summarizes four fundamental areas of HRM system.

This includes Stakeholder’s interest (stakeholder, employee groups, management, community, unions etc. )/ Situational factors (workforce characteristics, business management conditions, management philosophy, labor market unions, societal values) in accordance with the suitable and effective HRM Policy choices (employee influence, reward systems, work systems, human resource workflow) will yield positive HR outcomes (commitment, competence, congruence and cost-effectiveness) that will in turn produce Long-term consequences such as individual well-being, organizational well-being and societal well-being (Beer, et al, 2001).

Another HRM theory is the Guest Model. It, on the other hand, has three (3) key points: HRM Policies (strategies and practices), HR Outcomes and Organizational Outcomes. It discusses that with the right policy formulation such as communication systems, reward systems, or appraisal/training development human resource outcomes will yield better quality performance and better problem solving skills. This will also result to slow turnover, low absences rate and increase profit for the organization. In effect, there will be full utilization of human resources.

It mainly has four goals, integration, employee commitment, flexibility and adaptability and quality (Cakar, et al, 2001). However, the model is very rigid in the sense that it stands on the supposition that HRM is specifically different from traditional personnel management. The employee-organization relationship is seen as one. The organizational outcomes are one with the individual outcomes. This model is said to be idealistic, completely embodying the principle that fundamental elements of the HRM of approach such as commitment have a direct relationship with valued business consequences (Price, 2004).

These theories emphasize the significant role of human resources to a better organizational performance and vice-versa. The organization in turn is responsible in formulating and implementing human resource policies that will cultivate their skills and competencies. Comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the organization on the needs of its human resources will effectively help in selecting appropriate methods or human resource strategies. Although human resource policies, such as rewards system and communication system, are of great value, compensation package may directly or indirectly affect the workforce’s performance.

When it is true that reward system helps positively by increasing the morale of the employees, appropriate compensation package for employees may yield tremendous change in one’s performance and attitude towards work. HRM strategies cannot be standardized. There is no known universal strategy being used by organizations. This is mainly due to the fact that selection and implementation of specific HRM strategy is still based on the vision, priority and geography of an organization.

Culture and tradition usually dictates what specific strategy would an organization to adopt, hence standardization may take sometime before it can be realized. It is but too risky to adopt a strategy without proper considerations. Take for example the HRM strategies not only in our company but the general strategies commonly used in the Middle East – competitive compensation package, rewards system, annual performance appraisal, and utilization of the Internet etc.

These may be appropriate and considered in our region but these strategies may or may not be used by other organizations in other regions or elsewhere in the world mainly due to the unavailability of resources, lack of initiative and empowerment of the organization to implement such policies and lack of proper training and continuous education to disseminate newer and more effective strategies in an organization. In a fast-paced and ever changing society, HRM in our region should keep up with changes and be flexible enough to discover innovative and enhanced HRM strategies through, training, formal education and technological developments.

The existence of a culture—shared norms, beliefs or values of the members of an organization also determines what HRM strategy is appropriate. As a rising organization in the Middle East, it has been helpful that our employee workgroup shares the same beliefs and tradition. Although there are minorities present in our company, a certain culture based on the majority’s belief still exists. Our organization culture fosters respect and high regard for the employees that encourages them to participate in decision-making thus creating autonomy and better work performance.

Our company does not tolerate harsh or uncaring treatment by the management to our most important resource—our human resources. In line with this, our company has long formulated and implemented various HR policies that serve as an important tool in increasing the morale and self-esteem of the employees. These policies are continuously enhanced and improved to better suit their needs. Human Resource Development (HRD) coined by Len Nadler (1970) provided an umbrella term that unified the three-fold concept: training, education and development.

The term provided a direction and a goal for the field while opening the possibility of future studies on this field. This three-fold concept is a noteworthy basis that can result to improved organizational performance if given extra attention. HRD also focuses on improving the work-related knowledge, skills and capability of the people. It sees employees working as individuals with the ability to work as teams for the organizations towards its vision and mission (Smith, 2004). The capacity of an organization to produce positive and improved outcomes depends upon the working attitude of its employee group—so to speak, the “human” resources.

The employee group can either resist or adapt to change. They can be a hindrance or a bridge to connect the present and the future of HRD (Smith, 1986). There is, however, existing literature that argues that HRD is initially designed to improve organization performance through learning-based strategies. It recognizes that the HRD practice should be quantified through its contributions to organizations contrary to the concept of HRD benefiting the individual (Johnston, 2001). When speaking of development, one cannot deny its direct relation to technology. Technological development plays a vital role for the future of HRD here and abroad.

Technological development cannot be completely understood without extracting the real essence of the term technology. Technology can be viewed as a process, as a product and as a mixture of both. Technology as a process is a systematic application of knowledge to practical tasks. However as a product, it refers to outcome of the applied knowledge. It is also a mixture of both in the sense that the two are actually interdependent. Information technology advancements would be a good example for this noting that the hardware is always connected to the software and vice-versa (Streumer et al, 1999).

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