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The development of the personnel function since the First World War and its effect on organizations.

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The First World war, though distant in time and removed from the area of personnel function, has however influenced it in clearly identifiable and very important ways, some direct and some indirect. These effects can be classified in terms of changed attitudes of managers to labour, changed labour management practices, the development of personnel techniques, and the development of the personnel profession. This essay will first look at the development of the personnel function since the First World War and then explain its effect on organizations. According to Torrington, Hall and Taylor (2002), the origins of personnel management lie in the 19th century, deriving from the work of social reformers such as Lord Shaftesbury and Robert Owen. Their criticisms of the free enterprise system and the hardship created by the exploitation of workers by factory owners enabled the first personnel managers (in the form of welfare officers) to be appointed. The first welfare workers were mainly women, and were only concerned with the protection of women and girls, which was seen as a worthy aim. They were concerned with things such as providing employees with facilities such as canteens and looking after their personal interests. The First World War accelerated change in the development of personnel management, as it did in many other areas of working life. The number of welfare officers grew to about 1,300, largely because of the Munitions of War Act, 1915. ...read more.


This style of leadership merely sees the leader as a task-oriented person, where the leader focuses more on procedures that must be followed; punishment for non-performance and non-compliance of rules and regulations; puts figures and task accomplishments ahead of human factors such as personal bonding, interpersonal relationships, trust, understanding, tolerance and care. Whereas, HRM creates leaders who are transformational. This leadership style encourages business objectives to be shared by both employees and management. Here, leaders are more focused on people-orientation, and importance on rules, procedures and regulations are eliminated and replaced with: * Shared vision; * Corporate culture and missions; * Trust and flexibility; and * HRM needs that integrates business needs. The above is based on HRM strategy that focuses in transformational leadership, a style which encourages "participative management". This according to John Storey is an "ideal type". Here, the HR managers and the line managers are equally important in directing and co-coordinating people resources in order to achieve "bottom-line" objectives. Although, some might perceive human resource management as being nothing new because the approach and strategies are still the same as in personnel management. It can be argued that Personnel management is a more traditional, classical way of managing people; using a functional model, however, HRM is seen as a more scientific way of management (F.W. Taylor) which uses a holistic model. While the debate as to which (Human resource management or Personnel management) ...read more.


Although taking on these specialist roles is all part of personnel activity, there are various factors (internal, external, environmental etc) which can have a strong influence on the way these roles are played. When acting as facilitators, personnel staff may have to consider different aspects such as the social system of an organization - the way in which work groups are organized and the processes of interaction that take place, an organizations technical system - the ways in which the work is organized and carried out to deliver products or services to customers. When acting as consistency monitors, personnel staff may have to look at external factors such as government interventions in dealing with new legislation or making sure that environmental factors are effective and running in line with an organizations contingency theory. After having outlined in depth the various responsibilities, functions and roles of a personnel specialist, it is clear to see that the personnel function plays a major and important part in the contribution to organizational success. It contributes to the creation of added value by ensuring that people with the required competences and levels of motivation are available, thus helping to create a culture and environment which stimulates quality performance. An added value approach to personnel is directed positively to improve employee motivation, commitment, skill, performance and contribution, thus getting better value for money from personnel expenditure in areas such as training, reward and employee benefits. ...read more.

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