The History of Human Resources Management has evolved over time. The earliest contributors to the understanding of management theories were mostly practicing managers and the academics.
The aim and interests of the management theories are to better or improve a lot of employees and their environment through effective and efficient management and use of human and material resources in the production, distribution and industrial organization.
It is also meant to find solutions to the numerous problems of managing production and people in the workplace.
Consequently, it is important for management scholars and practitioners alike to evaluate management theories because modern theories and concepts are not completely distinct and unrelated; They evolve from earlier theories.
Indeed, many management practices are influenced and guided, either consciously or subconsciously by the theories.
However, only the scientific period, Administrative period and modern period of human Resources management are going to be compared and contrast among the remaining other once.
Both scientific management period, Administrative management period and modern period of human resources management advocates for maximizing the efficiency and productivity of each worker.
Both of them quest or seek for the way to improve the employee’s performance in the workplace. Both of them also imposes duty on the management side to deliberately study the character, the nature and performance of each workman with view to find out his limitations on one hand, but even more important, his possibilities for development on the other hand, and then deliberately and systematically to train and help teach this workman, giving him whenever possible, those opportunities for advancement which will finally enable him to do the highest and most interesting and most profitable class of work for which his natural abilities fit him and which are open to him in a particular company in which he is employed.
CONTRAST OF THE THREE PERIODS
Scientific management period: This is the period that lies between 1880-1930. It was the period papillary marked as the birth of scientific management which is generally credited to Fredrick Winslow Taylor. This scientific management period views productivity as the major goal of a business organization. It places special emphasis on production. Their main pre-occupation was what to do in order to increase employee productivity so that the entrepreneur could realize enough revenue. Although this scientific management period claimed that they have:
- Increase in productivity was achieved
- Increase in salaries of both managers and workers
- He pioneered the use of pause or coffee break, but the period was not out of criticisms hence, Taylor was treating human beings like a machine. Labour unions felt that it will restrict them during collective bargaining in the sense that if the employers know how many units each worker showed is able to produce; it will be hard for the union to justify large wage increases.
The application of scientific management requires complete cooperation of the workers whose jobs are being measured. Such cooperation is difficult to attain since workers know they would be required to meet new standards, and therefore slow down when new measurement begins.
Also, another one is the imperfect nature of scientific management tools. Scientific management work against the principles of unity of command as each worker will be under several bosses who will examine a different aspect of the job. Also under scientific management workers were not involve in decision making.
Administrative management period: The Administrative management period focused on general management.
According to the Chief proponent, Henri Fayol, effective management of an organization involves the performance of certain functions, namely: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling based on certain principles of which he identified fourteen.
The fourteen principles of Henri Fayol are:
- Division of Labour: Specialization allows the individual to build up expertise and thereby be more productive.
- Authority: the right to issue commands along with which must go the equivalent responsibilities for its exercise.
- Discipline: which is two-sided for employees only obey orders if management plays their part by providing good leadership.
- Unity of command: in contrast to F.W. Taylor’s functional authority Fayol was quite clear that each man should have only one boss with no other conflicting lines of command.
- Unity of Direction: people engaged in the same kind of activities must have the same objective in a single plan.
- Subordination of Individual interest to general interest: management must see that the goals of the firm are always paramount.
- Remuneration: payment is an important motivation.
- Centralization or Decentralization: This is a matter of degree depending on the condition of the organization and the quality of its human resources.
- Scalar chain: A hierarchy is necessary for the unity of direction but lateral communication is also fundamental as long as supervisors know that such communication is taking place.
- Order: Both material order and social order are necessary. The former reduces lost time and useless handling of materials. The latter is achieved through organization and selection.
- Equity: They should be justice and kindliness in running an organization.
- Stability of Tenure: Frequent change of personnel in an organization is not encouraged since it involves time and expenses in training good management.
- Initiative: Allowing all human resources to show their initiative in some way is a source of strength for the organization even though it may well involve a sacrifice of personal vanity on the part of many managers
- Espirit de Corps: This principle emphasizes the need for teamwork and the maintenance of interpersonal relationships.
Modern management period is different from both the classical and neoclassical schools in that it emphasizes conceptualization and analysis, relies heavily on empirical research and perhaps most importantly attempts to integrate the various elements that contribute to the whole organization.
The underlying theme is that organizations are the system composed of mutually interrelated and interdependent variables. This is not to suggest however, that modern theory is a unified body of thought.
Indeed, different theories and researcher have their own particular emphasis on what they consider as an organizational system or the more influential components of that system, the common thread is the attempt to analysis organizations in their totality.
Again the development of modern management period has been influenced by some factors such as social, political, economic and technological changes in the larger society.
However, these broad challenges have influenced a number of developments in management and organization theory:
- The emergence of management science which emphasizes the use of computers and mathematical models in organizational decision making.
- The development of system theory which looks at the organization and its environment in totality.
The birth of contingency theory which takes a situation, rather or than one best way, view of organizational behaviour which has, for many, become almost synonymous with the environment.
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