Historical Development of Hr Manager (Ireland) In explaining the historical development of the personnel function of the Hr manager, I will begin by giving a brief description of the 6 different types of personnel manager: The Social Reformer Before personnel emerged as a specialist management activity at the beginning of the 20th century there were those who intervened in industrial affairs to support the severely under privileged factory workers. The Acolyte of benevolence
The first people appointed with specific responsibility for improving the lot of the employees were welfare officers who saw there role as dispensing benefits to the deserving and unfortunate employees. The motivation was the christian charity of paternalist employers who provided these comforts, partly because employees deserved them, but mainly because he was willing to provide them. The Humane Bureaucrat The first 2 phases were concerned predominantly with the physical environment of the work and the amelioration of hardship among “the workers” .
As organisations increased there size, specialisation was emerging in the management levels as well as on the shop floor. This led to the growth of personnel work on staffing the organisation, with great concern about role specification, selection. Training and placement. The consensus negotiator Personnel managers next added expertise in bargaining to there repetoire of skills. Where the personnel manager could at best be described as a remembrancer of the employees the trader union official could be their accredited representative. Organization man
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Then came a development of the humane bureaucracy phase into preoccupation with the effectiveness of the organization as a whole, which should have clear objectives and a wide spread commitment among organisation members to those objectives. The approach was also characterised by candour between members and a form of operation supporting the integrity of the individual and providing opportunities for personal growth. Manpower Analyst The last distinct historical stereotype was the manpower analyst. The humane bureaucrat was concerned to get a good fit between a particular worker and a particular job: Employees were individuals.
Next I will give a brief outline of the different eras in the development of the Hr manager in Ireland. 1940s and 1950s: The Welfare Stage It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when personnel management first appeared in Ireland. Barrington (1980:90) indicates that a personnel function had been established in the civil service after the First World War, but its official recognition in the private sector is probably best dated from the setting up of an Irish branch of the Institute of Labour Management, the forerunner of the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM), in Dublin in 1937.
The meetings of the Institute of Labour Management were held in the recreation hall attached to the Jacob's Biscuit Factory and were attended by a small group of individuals, mainly women, who acted as welfare supervisors in Dublin factories such as Wills, Maguire and Patersons, Williams and Woods and Jacob's. These companies had strong Quaker traditions and were concerned with the health and well-being of their employees. The second issue which emerges from an analysis of the foundations of personnel management is its dominance in the early years by women.
This appears to have resulted in difficulties for both men and women intent on careers in personnel management. For men there was the worry of developing a career in a profession with a female image. However, for many men this dilemma was resolved by the industrial relations focus which was to emerge in the 1970s in which bargaining and negotiating with trade unions became very much a male preserve and one with a much more dynamic image. For women the incursion of men into personnel management has created long-term problems.
The 1960s: Growth and DevelopmentPersonnel management grew slowly in the 1950s and 1960s in Ireland; then as now the fate of personnel function was inextricably entwined with economic developments The 1970s: The Industrial Relations EraPersonnel management grew steadily during the late 1960s and early 1970s. A survey by the Irish Management Institute (Gorman et al. , 1974) estimated that the number of personnel managers working in firms with over 20 employees increased from around 100 to about 400 between 1964 and 1973.
Throughout the 1970s this growth continued so that by 1981 there were an estimated 770 private sector firms with a designated personnel office. The main areas of activity associated with the personnel function were outlined in a submission by the IPM to the Commission: manpower planning; recruitment and selection; employee evaluation, training and development, career development promotion etc. ; remuneration and benefits; industrial relations (i. e. policy and practices in relationships with unions and union representatives, procedure agreements covering recognition, disputes, grievances, redundancy, etc. negotiations with full-time officials and with shop stewards); employee communications and consultation; organisation development (i. e. organisation and job design, various approaches to securing higher employee involvement and motivation, opinion surveys and survey feedback, etc. ); personnel administration - contracts, attendance, turnover, medical and welfare facilities, safety at work, employee performance indices etc. The 1980s: Cost CutterBy the 1980s, personnel departments were well established in Irish organisations.
A survey by Murray (1984: 21) of 141 manufacturing firms found that 74 per cent had a personnel function and that the status of the personnel function appeared confirmed with many personnel managers having access to top management decisions. The economic difficulties of this decade are reflected in the themes of the IPM's annual conferences. In 1983 this was 'Survival Management'; in 1984 it was 'Job Loss: the Price of Being Competitive'; in 1985: Social and Political Change: the Implications for Personnel Management; in 1986 'The Uncertain Future'; and in 1987 'Meeting the Challenge'.
The 1990s: Strategic Planner and Business ManagerThe 1990s have seen attention turn to the roles that the personnel practitioner might play as business manager and human resource specialist, these roles involving an active contribution to 'competitive advantage'. The historical analysis of the development of the personnel management role raises several critical issues. Is there a dominant role in Irish organisations in the mid 1990s? Do the roles which have developed over time co-exist or have some disappeared? Are some roles better than others and, if this is the case, better for whom?
A superficial analysis of the situation suggests that there has been a great deal of continuity in personnel management over the years and that the issues that have concerned the personnel manager and the personnel profession have remained remarkably constant, although perhaps portrayed using very different language. The analysis has revealed that many of the challenges facing the personnel practitioner have remained constant and the need to manage the employment relationship, no matter the terminology that is used to describe this relationship, is one which is central to the personnel role.
The management of the psychological contract as a critical issue for the 1990s may represent for the personnel profession a return to its roots. Now we’ll examine the emergence of the Hr manager as a professional. Some industry commentators call the Human Resources function the last bastion of bureaucracy. Traditionally, the role of the Human Resource professional in many organizations has been to serve as the systematizing, policing arm of executive management. In this role, the HR professional served executive agendas well, but was frequently viewed as a road block by much of the rest of the organization.
The importance of the human resource function has become evident especially with the onset of global competition. Not only do human resource managers have to think more strategically and in step with corporate planning managers, they have had to address real and hard issues about the impact of intense competition on employment stability. It is one thing to think with executives on how the human resource section can support corporate activities. It is another to actually implement cost-savings policies with regards employment.
The role of the Hr manager must parallel the needs of his or her changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptive, resilient, quick to change direction and customer-centered. Within this environment, the HR professional, who is considered necessary by line managers, is a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor. HR directors, and occasionally HR managers, may head up several different departments that are each led by functional or specialized HR staff such as the training manager, the compensation manager, or the recruiting manager.
Human Resources staff members are advocates for both the company and the people who work in the company. Consequently, a good HR professional performs a constant balancing act to meet both needs successfully. The role of the HR professional is changing. In the past, HR managers were often viewed as the systematizing, policing arm of executive management. Their role was more closely aligned with personnel and administration functions that were viewed by the organization as paperwork.
When you consider that the initial HR function, in many companies, comes out of the administration or finance department because hiring employees, paying employees, and dealing with benefits were the organization's first HR needs, this is not surprising. In this role, the HR professional served executive agendas well, but was frequently viewed as a road block by much of the rest of the organization. The role of the HR manager must parallel the needs of his or her changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptable, resilient, quick to change direction, and customer-centered.
Within this environment, the HR professional, who is considered necessary by line managers, is a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor. At the same time, especially the HR Generalist, still has responsibility for employee benefits administration, often payroll, and employee paperwork, especially in the absence of an Hr assistant. Depending on the size of the organization, the HR manager has responsibility for all of the functions that deal with the needs and activities of the organization's people including these areas of responsibility. David O'Callaghan Carrigaline 2009
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