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What Is Human Resource?
Human resourcesÂ is a term used to describe the individuals who comprise the workforce of an organization, although it is also applied in labor economics to, for example, business sectors or even whole nations. Human resources is also the name of the function within an organization charged with the overall responsibility for implementing strategies and policies relating to the management of individuals (i.e. the human resources). This function title is often abbreviated to the initials 'HR'.
Human resources is a relatively modern management term, coined in the 1960s.Â The origins of the function arose in organizations that introduced 'welfare management' practices and also in those that adopted the principles of 'scientific management'. From these terms emerged a largely administrative management activity, co-coordinating a range of worker related processes and becoming known, in time as the 'personnel function'. Human resources progressively became the more usual name for this function, in the first instance in the United States as well as multinational corporations, reflecting the adoption of a more quantitative as well as strategic approach to workforce management, demanded by corporate management and the greater competitiveness for limited and highly skilled workers.
Human Resources may set strategies and develop policies, standards, systems, and processes that implement these strategies in a whole range of areas. The following are typical of a wide range of organizations:
Recruitment, selection, and onboarding (resourcing)
Organizational design and development
Business transformation and change management
Performance, conduct and behavior management
Industrial and employee relations
Human resources (workforce) analysis and workforce personnel data management
Compensation, rewards, and benefits management
Training and development (learning management)
Implementation of such policies, processes or standards may be directly managed by the HR function itself, or the function may indirectly supervise the implementation of such activities by managers, other business functions or via third-party external partner organizations.
In simple terms, an organization's human resource management strategy should maximize return on investment in the organization's human capital and minimize financial risk. Human Resources seeks to achieve this by aligning the supply of skilled and qualified individuals and the capabilities of the current workforce, with the organization's ongoing and future business plans and requirements to maximize return on investment and secure future survival and success.
Human resources management trends and influences.
In organizations, it is important to determine both current and future organizational requirements for both core employees and the contingent workforce in terms of their skills/technical abilities, competencies, flexibility etc. The analysis requires consideration of the internal and external factors that can have an effect on theÂ resourcing, development, motivation and retention of employees and other workers.
External factors are those largely out-with the control of the organization. These include issues such as economic climate and current and future labor market trends (e.g., skills, education level, government investment into industries etc.). On the other hand, internal influences are broadly controlled by the organization to predict, determine, and monitor-for example-theÂ organizational culture, underpinned by management style, environmental climate, and the approach to ethical andÂ corporate social responsibilities.
To know the business environment an organization operates in, three major trends must be considered:
Demographics: the characteristics of a population/workforce, for example, age, gender or social class. This type of trend may have an effect in relation to pension offerings, insurance packages etc.
Diversity: the variation within the population/workplace. Changes in society now mean that a larger proportion of organizations are made up of "baby-boomers" or older employees in comparison to thirty years ago. Advocates of "workplace diversity" simply advocate an employee base that is a mirror reflection of the make-up of society insofar as race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Skills and qualifications: as industries move from manual to more managerial professions so does the need for more highly skilled graduates. If the market is "tight" (i.e., not enough staff for the jobs), employers must compete for employees by offering financial rewards, community investment, etc..
In regard to how individuals respond to the changes in a labour market, the following must be understood:
Geographical spread: how far is the job from the individual? The distance to travel to work should be in line with the pay offered, and the transportation and infrastructure of the area also influence who applies for a post.
Occupational structure: the norms and values of the different careers within an organization. Mahoney 1989 developed 3 different types of occupational structure namely craft (loyalty to the profession), organization career (promotion through the firm) and unstructured (lower/unskilled workers who work when needed).
Generational difference: different age categories of employees have certain characteristics, for example their behavior and their expectations of the organization.
"The capacities of individuals depended on their access to education". Human Resources Development is the medium that drives the process between training and learning in a broadly fostering environment. Human Resources Development is not a defined object, but a series of organized processes, "with a specific learning objective" (Nadler,1984)Â Within a national context, it becomes a strategic approach to intersect oral linkages between health, education and employment.
Employee recruitment forms a major part of an organization's overall resourcing strategies, which identify and secure people needed for the organization to survive and succeed in the short to medium-term. Recruitment activities need to be responsive to the ever-increasingly competitive market to secure suitably qualified and capable recruits at all levels. To be effective these initiatives need to include how and when to source the best recruits internally or externally. Common to the success of either are; well-defined organizational structures with sound job design, robust task and person specification and versatile selection processes, reward,Â employment relationsÂ andÂ human resource policies, underpinned by a commitment for strongÂ employer brandingÂ andÂ employee engagementÂ and onboardingÂ strategies.
Internal recruitment can provide the most cost-effective source for recruits if the potential of the existing pool of employees has been enhanced through training, development and other performance-enhancing activities such asÂ performance appraisal,Â succession planningÂ andÂ development centersÂ to review performance and assess employee development needs and promotional potential.
Increasingly, securing the best quality candidates for almost all organizations relies, at least occasionally if not substantially, on external recruitment methods. Rapidly changing business models demand skill and experience that cannot be sourced or rapidly enough developed from the existing employee base. It would be unusual for an organization to undertake all aspects of the recruitment process without support from third-party dedicated recruitment firms. This may involve a range of support services, such as; provision ofÂ CVs or resumes, identifying recruitment media, advertisement design and media placement for job vacancies, candidate response handling,Â shortlisting, conductingÂ aptitude testing, preliminaryÂ interviewsÂ or reference andÂ qualificationÂ verification. Typically, small organizations may not have in-house resources or, in common with larger organizations, may not possess the particular skill-set required to undertake a specific recruitment assignment. Where requirements arise, these are referred on an ad hoc basis to governmentÂ job centresÂ or commercially runÂ employment agencies.
Except in sectors where high-volume recruitment is the norm, an organization faced with sudden, unexpected requirements for an unusually large number of new recruits often delegate the task to a specialist external recruiter. SourcingÂ executive-level andÂ senior managementÂ as well as the acquisition of scarce or 'high-potential' recruits has been a long-established market serviced by a wide range of 'search and selection' or 'headhunting' consultancies, which typically form long-standing relationships with their client organizations. Finally, certain organizations with sophisticated HR practices have identified there is a strategic advantage inÂ outsourcing complete responsibility for all workforce procurementÂ to one or more third-party recruitment agencies or consultancies. In the most sophisticated of these arrangements the external recruitment services provider may not only physically locate, or 'embed', their resourcing team(s) in the client organization's offices, but work in tandem with the senior human resource management team in developing the longer-term HR resourcing strategy and plan.
These indicate a general shift through the human capital point of view to an acknowledgment that human beings contribute more to a productive enterprise than just "work": they bring their character, ethics, creativity, social connections, and in some cases pets and children, and alter the character of a workplace.
Factors of production
InÂ economics,Â factors of productionÂ (or productiveÂ inputsÂ orÂ resources) are any commodities or services used to produceÂ goodsÂ and services. 'Factors of production' may also refer specifically to the primary factors, which areÂ stocksÂ includingÂ land,Â laborÂ (the ability to work), andÂ capital goodsÂ applied to production. The primary factors facilitate production but neither become part of the product (as withÂ raw materials) nor become significantly transformed by the production process (as with fuel used to power machinery). 'Land' includes not only the site of production butÂ natural resourcesÂ above or below the soil.Â Recent usage has distinguishedÂ human capitalÂ (the stock of knowledge in theÂ labor forceÂ from formal education and job training as part of labor.Â and sometimes entrepreneurship.Sometimes the overall state ofÂ technologyÂ is described as a factor of production.Â The number and definition of factors varies, depending on theoretical purpose, empirical emphasis, orÂ school of economics.Â The primary factors facilitate production but neither become part of the product (as withÂ raw materials) nor become significantly transformed by the production process (as with fuel used to power machinery).
Differences are most stark when it comes to deciding which factor is the most important. For example, in theÂ AustrianÂ view-often shared byÂ neoclassicalÂ and other "free market" economists-the primary factor of production is the time of the entrepreneur, which, when combined with other factors, determines the amount of output of a particular good or service. However, other authors argue that "entrepreneurship" is nothing but a specific kind of labor or human capital and should not be treated separately. TheÂ Marxian schoolÂ goes further, seeing labor (in general, including entrepreneurship) as the primary factor of production, since it is required to produce capital goods and to utilize the gifts of nature. But this debate is more about basic economic theory (the role of the factors in the economy) than it is about the definition of the factors of production.
TheÂ factors of productionÂ within physiocracy: capital, entrepreneurship, land, and labor.
The farmerÂ labors on land (sometimes using "crafts") to produce food, fiber, and the like.
The artisanÂ labors to produce important capital goods (crafts) to be used by the other economic actors.
The landlordÂ is only a consumer of food and crafts and produces nothing at all.
The merchantÂ labors to export food in exchange for foreign imports.
Systems theoryÂ is aÂ trans disciplinaryÂ approachÂ that abstracts and considers aÂ systemÂ as a set of independent and interacting parts. The main goal is to study the general principles ofÂ systems functioning, so that they can be applied to all types ofÂ systems, and in all fields of research. As a technical and general academic area of study it predominantly refers to the science of systems that resulted fromÂ Bertalanffy'sÂ General System TheoryÂ (GST), among others, in initiating what became a project of systems research and practice. Systems theoretical approaches were later appropriated in other fields, such as in theÂ structural functionalistÂ sociologyÂ ofÂ Talcott ParsonsÂ andÂ Nikola's Lehmann.
Contemporary ideas from systems theory have grown with diversified areas, exemplified by the work ofÂ Bella H. Banat, ecological systems withÂ Howard T. Odum,Eugene OdumÂ andÂ Fritjof Capra,Â organizational theoryÂ andÂ managementÂ with individuals such asÂ Peter Senge, interdisciplinary study with areas likeÂ Human Resource DevelopmentÂ from the work ofÂ Richard A. Swanson, and insights from educators such asÂ Debora HammondÂ andÂ Alfonso Montuori. As a trans disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multiperspectival domain, the area brings together principles and concepts fromÂ ontology,Â philosophy of science,Â physics,Â computer science,biology, andÂ engineeringÂ as well asÂ geography,Â sociology,Â political science,Â psychotherapyÂ (withinÂ family systems therapy) andÂ economicsÂ among others. Systems theory thus serves as a bridge for interdisciplinary dialogue between autonomous areas of study as well as within the area ofÂ systems scienceÂ itself.
In this respect, with the possibility of misinterpretations, von BertalanffyÂ believed a general theory of systems "should be an important regulative device in science," to guard against superficial analogies that "are useless in science and harmful in their practical consequences." Others remain closer to the direct systems concepts developed by the original theorists. For example,Â Ilya Prigogine, ofÂ the Center for Complex Quantum SystemsÂ at the University of Texas, Austin, has studiedÂ emergent properties, suggesting that they offerÂ analoguesÂ forÂ living systems. The theories ofÂ autopoiesisÂ ofÂ Francisco VarelaÂ andÂ Humberto Maturanaare a further development in this field. Important names in contemporary systems science includeÂ Russell Ackoff,Â Bella H. Bánáthy,Â Anthony Stafford Beer,Â Peter Check land,Â Robert L. Flood,Â Fritjof Capra,Â Michael C. Jackson,Â Edgar MorinÂ andÂ Werner Ulrich, among others.
With the modern foundations for a general theory of systems following the World Wars,Â Ervin Laszlo, in the preface for Bertalanffy's bookÂ Perspectives on General System Theory, maintains that the translationÂ of "general system theory" from German into English has "wrought a certain amount of havoc". The preface explains that the original concept of a general system theory was "Allgemeine SystemtheorieÂ (orÂ Lehrer)", pointing out the fact that "Theory" (or "lecher") just as "Wissenschaft" (translated Scholarship), "has a much broader meaning in German than the closest English words 'theory' and 'science'". With these ideas referring to an organized body of knowledge and "any systematically presented set of concepts, whether they areÂ empirical,Â axiomatic, orÂ philosophical", "Lehre" is associated with theory and science in the etymology of general systems, but also does not translate from the German very well; "teaching" is the "closest equivalent", but "sounds dogmatic and off the mark". While many of the root meanings for the idea of a "general systems theory" might have been lost in the translation and many.Â were led to believe that the systems theorists had articulated nothing but aÂ pseudoscience, systems theory became aÂ nomenclatureÂ that early investigators used to describe theÂ interdependenceÂ of relationships inÂ organizationÂ by defining a new way of thinking about science andÂ scientific paradigms.
AÂ systemÂ from thisÂ frame of referenceÂ is composed of regularly interacting or interrelating groups of activities. For example, in noting the influence in organizational psychology as the field evolved from "an individually orientedÂ industrial psychologyÂ to a systems and developmentally orientedÂ organizational psychology," it was recognized that organizations are complex social systems; reducing the parts from the whole reduces the overall effectiveness of organizations. This is at difference to conventional models that center on individuals, structures, departments and units separate in part from the whole instead of recognizing the interdependence between groups of individuals, structures and processes that enable an organization to function. LaszloÂ explains that the new systems view of organized complexity went "one step beyond the Newtonian view of organized simplicity" in reducing the parts from the whole, or in understanding the whole without relation to the parts.Â
The systems view is a world-view that is based on the discipline of SYSTEM INQUIRY. Central to systems inquiry is the concept of SYSTEM. In the most general sense, system means a configuration of parts connected and joined together by a web of relationships. The Primer group defines system as a family of relationships among the members acting as a whole. Von Bertalanffy defined system as "elements in standing relationship.