Tall Structure is an organisational permutation wherein the various positions and strata are aligned in a vertical sense, with resemblance to a pyramid. In this form of organisational structure it is common to have larger amounts of subordinates at the bottom rungs with least responsibility and an ascending series of rungs each with greater influence and responsibility, yet less in number of personnel, staging to the highest positions. This has certain effects of Human resource Management and its practices.
For example, within an organisation that is based on a hierarchy of Tall Structure HR must be conscious of communications and preserving their original meaning when disseminated through out the sequence of ranks and positions (Rao, 2008 : p.310). The various level of position, rank and responsibility all form a nexus of communication through which information is transmitted, possibly filtered, and delivered to the pertinent hierarchical levels.
The tall structure can also lead to a disconnect between subordinates and management as well as a lack cohesion between realistic, pragmatic achievable goals and those set by the upper echelons (Daft, 2008 : p. 313).
Accountability within a tall structure is easier to be observed and assessed, as well as clearer defined roles and positions (Yull, 2004 : p.9). This means that such HR tasks as role analysis and employee monitoring are conducted with greater clarity and precision, involving less ambiguity in meanings, definitions and responsibilities.
This can contrast a flat structure, which is usually reserved for smaller organisations and holds less individual levels of positions.
A flat organisation is prone to more direct, succinct lines of communication between the various strata (Yull, 2004 : p.9). This benefits HR in several ways, one being the precipitant nature in which information is conveyed and disseminated, due to their being less proxies and less barriers for information to be transmitted through. Another way is that organisational solidarity can be bolstered from the closer forms of communication and interaction between subordinates and management, as well as the feeling of having a greater impact on an organisation and its direction (Murray, Poole and Grant, 2006 : p.407).
With this flat structure, however, there is generally wider spread responsibility and overlap of roles and directives which can lead to confusion and lack of accountability (Murray, Poole and Grant, 2006 : p.20).
Centralisation is another interesting factor. This is the classification of where the main source of power or decision making is located with an organisation, or how the various members of an organisation are arranged around it (LCBM, 2011 : U10, L10, P2).
In a centralised structure the locus of decision making and power is is surrounded by the other strata’s of organisational power, influence and decision making in a diminishing concentric fashion.
A centralised structure is rather hierarchical and holds most of its decision making from the centralised point, leading to a less democratic style of management and leadership, one which more so gives orders and sets tasks (Daft, 2008 : p.373). This means that those at the subordinate levels are more disengaged from recognised input or decision making, which poses the issue of having to provide a suitable culture to Human Resource Management.
The Human Resource Management functions will also be affected by the centralised nature of an organisation in the respect of its breadth of control, understanding and ability to implement change (Gitman and McDaniel, 2009 : p.189). Having greater control and being less subject to respecting the input of subordinates, Human Resource Management will be able to effect a wider grip of management.
The decentralised structure is the antithesis of the centralised, meaning that instead of holding a high degree of decision making and responsibility in one or several specific points of an organisation, that power is distributed amongst the members of an organisation in a more democratic fashion.
The structural format of an organisation can place different strains and provide different benefits on Human Resource Management and its operations. This is due to organisational structure being the system of relationships and communications with an organisation between the various roles and power distribution. As Human Resource Management is the function of managing, regulating and allocating the human resources with an organisation it is inevitable for the layout, structure and arrangement of those human resources to not affect Human Resource Managements methods for tackling its tasks and objectives.
b) Organisation culture
Influence of Organisation Culture on HRM
An organisations culture is a representation, or inference of, its collective ideals, practices, unique qualities, languages and traits. It is determined partially by the people who constitute it, and partially determines their behavioural patterns when participating as members of it (LCBM, 2011 :U10, L9, P1).
The various documented cultures provide their own distinct impact on organisations and the influence the Human Resource Management activities of a given organisation in in different ways. I will present a few examples below of some organisational culture types and aim to highlight the influence they have on Human Resource Management activities.
One such organisational culture is Role Culture. This culture is defined by its focus on a hierarchical set of roles related to certain tasks, functions and duties. The Role Culture is regimented in its composition and adheres to procedural standards (Needham, 1999 : p.251).
Those who hold particular roles or positions within an organisation under the style of Role Culture are not expected to perform beyond, or in excess of, the stipulated duties of their particular role, this makes it a particularly streamlined affair for Human Resource Management to assign positions, conduct job and role analysis, as well as recruit and select personnel, for definitions are clear and purpose and responsibility pellucid.
Role Cultures are generally bureaucratic and fastidious in their processes and standards. Adopting formal styles of employee interaction and maintaining a structured, rigid system of operations, Role Culture can leave organisation members feeling detached, compartmentalised and segregated from their colleagues, as well as unable to offer a wholesome influence to the organisation (Norton, 2009 : p.549).
This may cause issue for Human Resource Management in employee morale, which is generally a problem approached with various means. Providing adequate compensation or remuneration, offering job security, providing routes of recourse for grievance or other social or psychological issues or things such as perks (Rao, 2008 : p.310).
Necessity in attending such issues as these may arise as a negative consequence of Role Culture.
Person Culture is a culture generally dependant on organisation type. This tends to be non-profit organisations, charities, foundations etc.. The construct of an organisation operating under a Persons Culture is normally centred on and individual or group of individuals wherein the individuals are the central theme or attention (LCMB, 2011 : U10, L9, P4).
According to Elwyn, Greenhalgh and MacFarlane (2004 : p26) a Person Culture can result in a state which is hard to manage. Authority, influence and direction is neither concentrated nor centralised, but dissipated amongst its members, whom are usually advanced or experts in their particular capacity. This can present a contentious or unwieldy workforce with little hierarchy, if any, for Human Resource Management to apply its practices to.
The characters or tendencies of the members of the organisation, or the main individuals with in it, are a big factor of the organisations style and the impetus behind it, meaning Human Resource Management has to be accommodating.
Task Culture is another manifestation of organisational cultures. It is recognised by its focus on team efforts to achieve particular tasks and objectives, and by the objective or task setting the precedent for conduct and action (Needham, 1999 : p.251). This generally results in concentrated teams of specialisation operating to achieve a particular objective set by management.
With the task being the locus of activity and arrangement of HR, an organisation under the system of Task Culture is able to apply flexibility and react expediently to changes in environment or objective (Norton, 2009 : p.99). This can affect Human Resource Management in that the breadth of role descriptions are applied with less precision than in Role Culture and an employee is utilised as and where required if the suitable skills are possessed. Recruitment of personnel, role analysis and HR allocation are less fastidious and more accommodating to wider application.
Elwyn, Greenhalgh and MacFarlane (2004 : p.26) write that although the Task Culture provides a flexible and responsive arrangement of HR, that it tends to result in internal competition over various resources, financial or human, and that it can also culture demoralisation. This leads to similar issues of Human Resource Management having to fare with morale building that cropped up in Role Culture.
Whether it be the clear lines of communication leading to effective management and precise HR allocation, or the lack of subordinate influence on the organisation and the demoralising effect that may have to be anticipated by Human Resource Management in Role Culture or the adaptability and responsiveness causing greater ease for Human Resource Management to allocate and assign personnel in Task Culture, it can be seen that the particular culture under which an organisation operates directly affects how Human Resource Management must proceed with its tasks and manage its affairs.
2) Discuss three methods of monitoring the effectiveness of human resource management in organisations.
Monitoring in regards to an organisation and its undertakings, especially Human Resource Management practices, is the process of maintaining a vigilant eye on the policies enacted within an organisation and assessing, evaluating and measuring there successes, failures, strong and weak points, and above all the efficacy of them (LCBM, 2011 : U10, L11, P1).
Applied as a condition of organisational operations, monitoring can provide units of measurement, comparison and a tool for calibration and appraisal.
Below I will discuss three methods of monitoring the effectiveness of Human Resource Management, Safety Monitoring, Performance and Reward Monitoring and Staff Turnover Monitoring.
Methods of Monitoring
Safety Monitoring is the procedure of implementing a safety policy which abides to local laws as well as organisation culture and values, considers the unique internal and external environments of a given organisation and maintains a vigilant process of observation on any accidents, mishaps and any other unplanned destructive circumstances occur and recording them (Norton, 2009 : p.417). Safety Monitoring also extends to keeping persistent checks on adherence to safety rules and regulations stipulated in a Health and Safety Policy.
By Monitoring the Safety of an organisation it can be seen if HR Management and Policies have been effective in their implementation and conduct and appropriate measures can be taken to minimise further risks.
Performance and Reward Monitoring is the process of monitoring the productivity, output and effort of an individual within an organisation and the compensation offered in relation to the performance (Broussine and Geurrier, 1983 : p.66).
Rewards are recognised as two types, the intrinsic and the extrinsic. Intrinsic rewards are the self-derived gratifications for accomplishment of certain goals or objectives and generally emanate from a persons own perception of their achievements. Extrinsic rewards are those awarded by others as commendation for the performance or standard of a task or duty being completed, these can be corporeal or intangible in nature (Daft, 2008 : p.622).
Monitoring the rewards awarded for performance of staff able
Monitoring of Performance and Rewards can help establish if the policies enforced are effective in maximising performance and rewarding appropriately. This can reflect the attraction, motivation and retention of employees (Sharma, 2009 : p.145).
The turnover of staff is the nominal volume of staff departing an organisation in a given time frame, for which ever reason. There are various causes and reasons for staff departure from an organisation and they can all be categorically identified by one of two classifications, Normal Staff Turnover or Abnormal Staff Turnover (LCBM, 2011 : U10, L11, P3).
Normal staff turnover is the result of common, organic organisational processes such as retirement, death or resignations, generally matters that are out of direct influence by HR or the organisation. Abnormal staff turnover, contrarily, is the result of such issues as staff finding preference in alternative organisations, lack of affinity with an organisations policies or culture or employee dismissal.
Staff Turnover Monitoring provides an organisation with the information necessary to evaluate the requirements to ensure staff retention rates are optimised. Through assessment of the information gleaned and gathered by Turnover Monitoring, Human Resource Management may build a picture or a model of what the fundamental causes of loss of employees is, the time frame and periods in which employee departures occur and general organisational sentiment regarding employee departure and make appropriate preparations or amendments to preclude this (Sharma, 2009 : p.7).
Sharma (2009 : p.22) ï¿½Monitoring over time enables departments to fine tune Human Resource Management plans based on accurate information rather than guesswork and memory.ï¿½
This implies that the management of HR in an organisation is itself not a higher function, above accountability or reprisal, that it also must be subject to scrutiny, evaluation and persistent oversight as to keep its directives aligned with organisational strategy and ensure it is hitting the mark in its objectives to the standard of the organisation.
3) Recommend four ways of improving the effectiveness of human resource management in organisations.
Suggestions of HRM Improvement
Here I will provide four methods or activities that I believe may improve the effectiveness of Human Resource management.
Possible Means for Improving HRM Effectiveness
I feel that one way an improvement could be made to the Human Resource Management effectiveness would be for temporary exposure of Human Resource Management personnel to pertinent and particular roles within an organisation. Not only for them to be on a type of day/week release, for example, but for an HR manager to assimilate a role of someone that they would usually regulate and place them in the lowest rungs of that role or department, as so they can gain first hand experience of the practical aspects of the positions they recruit for, remunerate, evaluate and regulate.
I say this based on my own experience, and it stands to reason that a person in a position of authority can make far more astute judgements on the value and practicality of a role or activity if they understand the stresses, daily dilemmas, dynamics and intricacies of it.
What general would be appointed to command troops if he had not served in the thick of war himself?
I believe that this would culture a greater respect for the HR manager, and or personnel, from the perspective of the employees and, likewise, provide the HR personnel with an invaluable insight into the crafts and professions they administrate.
Another improvement could be borne from an encouraged, open dialogue or forum between Human Resource Management personnel and the members of a particular department. If a periodical forum was conducted where in it was compulsory to attend, department staff could openly, and in the comfort of their group, air grievances, requests and make known other relevant issues. Equally, Human Resource Management personnel will have the opportunity to present their own agendas, provide reasoning for any areas of conflict as well as share their grievances.
In such exchanges not only do issues have the opportunity to come to light in a public, less clandestine way than with one-on-one meetings and discussions, but also provides opportunities for the thesisï¿½ raised to be met with opposing antithesis and for the two groups, Human Resource Management personnel and the given department, to mutually and communally construct a synthesis from which Human Resource Management can develop final revisions of protocol, policies, processes and amendments to practice.
This can provide greater intimacy between Human Resource Management and various departments as well as bolster the feeling of influence and involvement in the mechanisms of an organisation by the staff.
HRM could effectiveness could be improved if in particular organisations with many departments with different focuses an Human Resource Management was assigned to each department to deal directly with that department directly. Functioning as a liaison officer as well as being trained, if not already relevantly qualified, experienced or skilled, in the craft or purview of that particular department the Human Resource Management with a specific department under his or her watch would function as the proxy of communication between Human Resource Management and the department providing a personnel with foots in both ends of the spectrum.
This could lead to a greater affinity or connection between the Human Resource Management personnel and the staff of the department, if the presence is felt as a frequent but concerned force, and also give HRM an Argus insight into the nuances and sentiments of that department.
The staff could feel a greater level of support as well as feeling that they have someone ï¿½in their cornerï¿½.
The Human Resource Management department may be able to increase the range of their foresight and develop measures to meet future requirements with greater acuity.
A final suggestion I have would be to impart greater accountability on Human Resource Management in terms of what is achieved by the staff they recruit, the teams, units and departments they assemble and resources they allocate.
If for example it is seen as fit conduct of practice to reward and compensate staff for achieving targets and goals it could be said to be just as fair to reward Human Resource Management in the same breath for those very same achievements. At least the Human Resource Management personnel that were directly involved in the management of the staff that made the progressions and achievements.
This would be cognate with the previous suggestions of assigning an Human Resource Management personnel as a direct point of contact with particular departments.
Such a practice may enhance the pressure on Human Resource Management to recruit the best possible staff and ensure monitoring is conducted with greater perspicacity and that motivation and morale of staff is regarded with heightened zeal.
The hypothetical means for improving the effectiveness of Human Resource Management practices may be proved to be specious when applied pragmatically, although I feel they hold merit and can provide as a progenitor for creative thought.
The suggestions I promulgated can be taken as seminal concepts for consideration and hopefully they reflect some light on some weak points of Human Resource Management operations.
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