Hard and Flexible approach to Human Resource Management


The hard approach to Human Resource Management (HRM) is based on the quantitative, measurable, and strategic aspects of labor force management and is carried out with such “rational” methods as are used for any other economic factor.

The philosophy of this business-oriented approach emphasizes the need to manage people with methods that would help create added value and create a competitive advantage for the organization. At the same time, people are seen as human capital, which, with the necessary investment in its development, can provide the desired income. Fombrun and co-authors (Fombrun et al, 1984) in their work give a direct definition of workers “as a key resource in the hands of managers.” Guest (Guest, 1999) commented on this last way:

“The drive to implement Human Resource Management (HRM) stems from the need for the organization to respond adequately to external threats from fierce competition. This concept becomes attractive to managers who are forced to find a competitive advantage for their companies when they finally understand that to achieve the goals it is necessary to invest not only in new technologies but also in human resources. ” Reference: “Human Resource Management for Certified HR Managers“, https://www.powerhp.net/human-resource-management-for-certified-hr-managers/

Gest also argues that Human Resource Management is “a reflection of the historically established capitalist tradition of treating the worker as a commodity.”

In this way, the given approach is focused on the following aspects:

  • Satisfaction of the interests of the management;
  • Implementation of the strategic approach, consistent with the strategy of the organization;
  • Creating added value through human resource development and labor efficiency management;
  • Need for a strong corporate culture, expressed in the missions and values ​​of the organization and supported by processes of communication, training, and management of work efficiency.

Flexible approach to Human Resource Management

The roots of the flexible approach to HRM come from the school of human relations, based on communication, motivation, and leadership. According to Storey (1989), this approach recommends treating workers as a valuable asset, creating a concrete advantage at the expense of their commitment to work, adaptability, and high quality of work (habits, ability to work effectively, etc.). n.) ”.

According to Guest (Guest, 1999), this approach evaluates workers primarily as a tool and not as a vow of management.

The main idea of ​​the flexible approach to HRM is to achieve the attachment of the “hearts and minds” of workers to the goals of the company by involving them in the process of creating favorable conditions for communication and exchange of information. Considerable attention is paid to the key role of organizational culture.

The focus of this approach is “reciprocity” – the belief that the interests of management and employees can and should coincide. In other words, this is a unitarian approach. According to Gennard and Judge (1997), companies are “harmonious and integrated alliances where all employees share organizational goals and work as a team.”

But according to Truss (1999), for all the “softness of the terminology of the flexible approach to HRM, the reality is often more brutal in the sense that the interests of the organization take precedence over the interests of its employees.”

Garton and co-authors (Gratton et al, 1999) found that in all eight companies they studied, a combined application of a flexible and rigid approach to Human Resource Management was observed. This observation has allowed researchers to suggest that the differences between a rigid and flexible approach to HRM are not as obvious as previously thought. Reference: For Certified Human Resources Manager: The Internal Environment for HR Management , https://customessaysonline.net/for-certified-human-resources-manager-the-internal-environment-for-hr-management/

Objectives of Human Resource Management

The main goal of HRM is aimed at develop the organizational capacity to achieve success at the expense of human use. As Ulrich and Lake (1990) point out, “the Human Resource Management system can be a source of organizational skills that allow a company to learn and realize new opportunities.”

Human Resources Management is aimed at:

  • Assistance to the organization in recruiting and retaining a workforce with the necessary qualifications, commitment, and motivation;
  • Maximizing and developing people’s inner abilities – their contribution, potential, and status in the labor market – by creating opportunities for training and continuous development;
  • Development of highly efficient operating systems that include; “clearly structured recruitment and selection processes, performance-based compensation and incentive systems, as well as management training and development activities related to the needs of the organization” (Becker, 1977);
  • The establishment of effective practice, oriented toward the recognition by the managers of the values ​​of the associates, is one of the main objectives.
  • Creating a climate conducive to the establishment of effective and harmonious partnerships between managers and subordinates;
  • Cultivating an environment conducive to teamwork and ensuring process flexibility;
  • Assisting the company in developing a balanced and adaptive approach to meet the needs of stakeholders (owners, government agencies, management, associates, consumers, suppliers, and society as a whole.);
  • Creating conditions for evaluation and remuneration of people based on the results of their actions and achievements;
  • Managing the diversity inherent in work teams, taking into account individual and group differences in work relationships, behavioral styles, and aspirations;
  • Creating conditions for the implementation of a policy of equal opportunities for all employees in the organization;
  • Implementing an ethical approach to governance based on care for people, fairness, and transparency of activities;
  • Maintaining and improving the physical and moral well-being of employees.

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