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How Effective Are 'cultural' And 'ideological' Perspective In Helping Us To Understand The Distinct Features Of National People Management Practices

2641 words - 11 pages

The concept of HRM emerges in the USA in the 1980's. The term has been used before for over fifty years as an alternative name for personnel management. It is then not a new concept; it is a rethink of approaches toward the management of people. HRM took on a new connotation significantly different from traditional personnel management. It was identified with a strategic approach, linking the management of people to the achievement of business objectives. One definition could be'a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organisation's most valued assets - the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives' (See Armstrong 2000 p.6)HRM is then a philosophy of people management based on the belief that human resources are uniquely important to sustained business.Nowadays, organizations are facing increasing competition and therefore are faced with issues on how gaining competitive advantages. Externally, measures such as mergers, acquisitions etc can be taken. Internally, managing the organisation of work and people more effectively could be one way. Organisations are evolving in a competitive and changing environment and other factors can affect the way of managing people.It is then interesting to ask how effective are 'cultural' and 'ideological' perspective in helping to understand the distinct features of national people management practices, the USA and Japan being used as examples.1. People management practices in the USA and in JapanThe American system is characterised by a strong own individual development and performance. It leads most of the managing practices. American companies focus selection systems on assessing an individual's technical skills, with structured interviews. They also focus on job description, specification and evaluation methods to define jobs. Individual can apply to high position job from the beginning if they think they have the necessary skills.The pay and reward system is also linked to performance. There is a move towards flexible reward packages, which enables individual to choose what best suits their needs. (Hollinshead and Leat 1995 p.281) A huge difference in the pay system between high position job and low position job exists. This is due to the skills required and responsibilities given according to the jobs.Negotiation on terms and conditions is done through collective bargaining. It has limited coverage (pay, hours, holidays, pension) but it is a way to limit management prerogatives. (Hollinshead and Leat 1995 p.149) However, most employees do not have their terms and conditions determined through collective bargaining and negotiations are under the management control with nevertheless the legislation to protect their rights. (Hollishead and Leat 1995 p.70)Managers tried to increase the involvement and the participation of their employees in introducing new approaches more collaborative such as problem solving team or self managing...

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