Question michelle Business & Management

Differences between human resource management and personnel management

What is the development of human resource management and can you describe how it differs from personnel management, also explain this this using different approaches

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Answer Internal Staff

The definition of terms such as ‘personnel management’ and ‘human resource management’ constitute one area of particular confusion and irritation to general managers. HR management can be defined as “the process of analysing and managing the organisation’s human resource needs to ensure satisfaction of its strategic objectives” (Hellriegel et al. 2009). The development of HR management is the overall concept for helping employees develop their organisational and personal knowledge, skills, and abilities. This includes opportunities/approaches such as employees’ career development, performance management, coaching, mentoring, employee training and more.

This is in contrast to personnel management, which, instead of focusing on acquisition, development and maintenance of human resources in the organisation, focuses on employee welfare and labour relations. Personnel management can be defined as the planning, organisation, compensation, integration and maintenance of people for the purposes of contributing to organisational, individual and societal goals. It comprises the areas of recruitment and selection, employee welfare, pay and conditions of service, training and development (to a lesser extent than HRM development), industrial relations etc.

Another key difference is that HRM development assumes people as an important valuable resource for achieving the desired output whereas personnel management assumes people as input for achieving desired output. As a result, HRM development focuses on productivity, culture and employee participation whereas personnel management is concerned with increased production and satisfied employees.

It should be noted that HRM is a strategic function with decisions made based on employee’s participation, authority etc. Personnel management, in contrast, is a routine function with decisions made at top management as per rules and regulations of the organisation


Hellriegel, D., S. Jackson, J. Slocum and G. Staude Management.
(Oxford University Press, 2009) third edition. Chapter 13 ‘Managing human