Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and Applications Workbook

Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and Applications Workbook

Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and Applications Workbook

Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and Applications Workbook

Excerpt

Students taking a personnel or human resources management course often do not enter the course bursting with curiosity or unbridled enthusiasm. If economics is the dismal science, surely, student thinking goes, human resources must be the dreary discipline. After all, what kind of excitement can there be in studying how to process payroll, check employment references, or learn about some arcane government regulation?

It is unfortunate, and ultimately self-defeating, if such a mindset about human resources persists. For increasingly in today's business world, organizational success and competitive advantage come from the "people" side of the business. Traditionally, competitive advantage came from one of three sources: financial strength, technology, or product uniqueness. This is not so any longer. Capital is widely available, technology can be easily purchased, and products can be copied. One remaining source of sustainable competitive advantage is better because it is not as easily obtained, purchased, or duplicated. That source of competitive advantage is a workforce that is highly competent and committed to the success of the organization. This source of advantage is built, in large part, through the policies, programs, and practices used by the organization to manage its human resources.

Human resources management should be seen less as a stepchild and more as a midwife of the management process. The key for students of the field is to learn how human resources management can be used to achieve a competitive advantage for the organization. If human resources management is a "black box" used to produce certain desired employee outcomes, then the study of human resources becomes an exercise of learning which buttons to push and which levers to pull. In this sense, human resources management is the development and manipulation of policies and programs to produce desired outcomes among employees.

For the student unfamiliar with human resources management, it is important to identify what these buttons and levers are that can be used to establish policies and programs. For example, students should be aware of the different kinds of compensation systems and how those systems channel motivation, how hiring systems can be designed for the best effect, and the various ways that employees can be evaluated and appraised. For the . . .

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