Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice

Good for beginners,students,professionals,general public,contains management definitions,introduction,and process.includes organizational behavior,leadership,motivation,group dynamics,communication,stress management,interpersonal relations,personality development.HRM Planning,Recruitment,selection,job analysis,job enrichment,induction,performance management,training & development,training need analysis,industrial relations,health and safety,welfare and benefit,HR reports,conflict management

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Alternative perspectives for understanding the impact of organizational conditions on HRM practices

Alternative perspectives for understanding the impact of organizational conditions on HRM practices
In their description of organizational determinants of selection and hiring
practices, Cohen and Pfeffer (1986) described four perspectives for explaining inter-organizational differences in HRM practices: the technical, control,
institutional and political perspectives. A fifth perspective, economic, has also
been invoked to explain variations in HRM practices (Kochan and Chalykoff
1987). Each of these perspectives focuses researchers' attention on somewhat
different aspects of organizational phenomena, and each can contribute to an
improved understanding of HRM practices and organizational behavior.
Until recently almost all HRM research was dominated by the technical
perspective. The technical perspective presumes that organizations wish to
plan, staff, appraise, compensate, train and develop their employees in , order
to ensure that the right people (skill-wise) are in the right place (job) at the
right time (Collins 1979). The technical perspective leads to research designed
to develop techniques for maximizing the match between employees'
knowledge, skills and abilities on the one hand and the demands of the jobs
on the other (Schneider 1985). The presumed result of good matching is
organizational effectiveness, from which individual employees and the
organization as a whole both benefit.
The control perspective views HRM practices as a means for organizations
to ensure the predictability and reliability of social interactions. The goal is
to ensure that employees behave as solid citizens, living according to
organizationally approved norms and values (Noland and Bakke 1949;
Hollingshead 1949; Bowles and Gintish 1976; Edwards 1976; Collins 1979).
This perspective recognizes that organizations attempt to govern social
performances in addition to job performance. Desirable social behaviors
presumably include getting along well with others and acting as a good citizen
who shows concern for the organization's functioning.
The institutional perspective posits two major explanations as to why
organizations use particular HRM practices: organizations copy the practices
they see being used by others, and/or they adopt practices to gain legitimacy
and acceptance (Meyer and Rowan 1977; Zucker 1977; Meyer 1980). The
institutional perspective assumes that legitimacy and acceptance are important
objectives for most organizations because constituencies have the power to
offer and withhold resources which, in the long run, may determine the firm's
economic performance.
The political perspective holds that HRM practices reflect the distribution
of power in an organization. For example, having an extensive set of HRM
practices implies a powerful personnel department upon which others must
depend when making personnel-related decisions (Osterman 1984; Pfeffer and
Cohen 1984). But existence of other powerful groups-such as unions or
competitors who minimize their labor costs-may act to countervail or
suppress the expression of the personnel department's wishes (Doeringer and
Piore 1971).
As suggested by Kochan and Chalykoff (1987) the economic perspective can
also explain variations in HRM practices. Relatively affluent conditions in an organization permit it to pay higher wages. This in turn enables an organization
to attract more job applicants and be more selective. Higher selectivity (lower
selection ratios) diminishes the need to train employees. Furthermore, the
attraction of more highly qualified individuals may lead to conditions that give
more power and discretion to the employees, thus reducing the attractiveness
to them of collective bargaining. The reverse scenario holds under less affluent
economic conditions (Osterman 1984).
Each of the five perspectives previously presented helps explain some of the
variation and similarity in HRM practices across organizations although
additional variation and similarity remain to be explained (Jackson, Schuler
and Rivero 1989). In presenting another perspective, the role theory behavior
perspective, the authors of this article hope to contribute in a theoretical and
empirical way to this growing body of research. The desired goal is to develop
a framework that can be used to explain individual behavior in and across
organizations by providing an explanation for inter-organizational variations
in the HRM practices that presumably shape behavior.

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