This assignment traces the history of Human Resource Management from the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century to present times.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION. 2 A HISTORICAL REVIEW. 2 THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION 2 ADAM SMITH. 2 TRADE UNIONS. 3 FREDERICK WINSLOW TAYLOR. 4 THE HAWTHORNE STUDIES 5 THE HUMAN RELATIONS MOVEMENT 5 CONTEMPORARY HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. 6 CONCLUSION 6 REFERENCES 7 INTRODUCTION. This assignment traces the history of Human Resource Management from the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century to present times. The assignment discusses key periods and movements in this field and expands on their contribution to modern Human Resource Management. In discussing the history of Human Resources Management it is important to offer a definition of the subject. Human Resource Management can be described as "The comprehensive set of managerial activities and tasks concerned with developing and maintaining a qualified workforce - human resources - in ways that contribute to organisational effectiveness." (DeNisi and Griffin, 2004) A HISTORICAL REVIEW. The Industrial Revolution. The momentum for the industrial revolution grew through the 17th century. Agricultural methods were continually improving, creating surpluses that were used for trade. In addition, technical advances were also occurring, for example the Spinning Jenny and the Steam Engine. These advances created a need for improved work methods, productivity and quality that led to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Adam Smith. In 1776, Adam Smith wrote about the economic advantages of the division of labour in his work The Wealth of Nations.
Babbage analysed and documented the manufacture of a pin and broke the process down into seven elements to illustrate his point. This study became important to employers in that they only had to pay for the amount of skill required to complete a task (www.accel-team.com, 2004). Trade Unions. During the late 1700's and early 1800's governments began to feel pressure from the working class masses who started to question and defy the power of the aristocracy. The working class began to form workplace combinations and trade organisations to provide a collective voice for their rights. Governments tried to fight this using legislation such as the Combination Acts of 1799/1800 in the UK, which banned everything from meetings to combinations. "There were also attempts to form general unions of all workers irrespective of trade. William Benbow (a Lancashire shoemaker), Robert Owen and many others looked upon trade unionism not just as a means for protecting and improving workers' living standards, but also as a vehicle for changing the entire political and economic order of society. Owen experimented with co-operative ventures and 'labour exchanges'; both attempts to bypass the existing order of wage slavery." (Trade Unions Congress, 2004) Trade Unions were and are still an influential force, working for continued economic and social development of workers and societies in many countries around the world.
The Human Relations movement boasts some of the world's foremost management thinkers and theories in its ranks: - Abraham Maslow. The Hierarchy of Needs. Presented in the US Psychology Review in 1943 - Douglas McGregor. Theory X and Theory Y. Published in the book 'The Human Side of Enterprise" in 1960. - Frederick Herzberg. The Hygiene-Motivation Theory. Published in the book "The Motivation to Work" in 1959. (www.accel-team.com, 2004) Contemporary Human Resource Management. In modern business the Human Resources Management function is complex and as such has resulted in the formation of Human resource departments/divisions in companies to handle this function. The Human resource function has become a wholly integrated part of the total corporate strategy. The function is diverse and covers many facets including Manpower planning, recruitment and selection, employee motivation, performance monitoring and appraisal, industrial relations, provision management of employee benefits and employee education training and development. CONCLUSION The history of Human Resource Management has progressed through the ages from times when people were abused in slave like working conditions to the modern environment where people are viewed as assets to business and are treated accordingly. The Human Resource function will have to adapt with the times as staff become more dynamic and less limited in their roles and bound by a job description. In future we may see employees being measured on the value they contribute to a business and not their cost to the business.
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