Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

"Border Role" of Human Resource Management - to Which Side Does the Pendulum of Hrm Swing: Employer or Employees? - the Case of Turkey

Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

"Border Role" of Human Resource Management - to Which Side Does the Pendulum of Hrm Swing: Employer or Employees? - the Case of Turkey

Article excerpt

Received: 10. 03. 2009

Accepted: 25. 11. 2009

Preliminary communication

UDC 658.3(560)

The interest towards employees has grown recently, in particular, with the studies undertaken by the neoclassical school. The strategic roles played by Human Resources Management (HRM) have earned workers a critical position since the 1990s. During this period, there have been some important changes in the environment in and around enterprises, as well as in the qualifications of employees. The obligation of being successful in an environment with rapid changes and fierce competition has encouraged enterprises to struggle to hire and retain the best employees. This trend has affected the relationships between employees and their organizations, resulting in an increased mutual dependence. HRM has struggled to balance these relationships with its "border role". This paper attempts to analyze new functions of HRM and, using both quantitative and qualitative data, focuses on the question of where it places itself with respect to its "border role".


High competition, pressure imposed by environmental changes, accelerated trends for change, and new management techniques have caused enterprises to evolve dramatically with respect to their structure as well as cultural and human resources (Garcia, 1997). The spread in the usage of advanced technology which requires hiring highly-skilled employees has led to higher expectations, and the importance of these employees has increased (Hopkins, 1995). Another factor changing the employee profile in enterprises is the rapid growth of service and information sectors with an increasing rate of women employees. This change in the employee profile has caused a considerable decrease in unionization. There are other reasons that underlie non-unionization: (i) primary role that HRM has started to play; (ii) increased flexibility in workplaces; (iii) improved importance of high-skilled labour; and (iv) power loss by unionization (Lordoglu 2000). On the other hand, some studies have found out that there has been a considerable lack of confidence for unions1. Inadequacy of union leadership (Union of United Metal Employers 1999), and the trust developed between employees and the employer are two main reasons behind this lack of confidence for unions. HRM's contributions to this relationship, stemming from mutual trust between employer and employees, are considerable. HRM, with its new function and applications, has played a major role in the increase of the level of satisfaction and loyalty of employees.


Fundamental change taking place in the business world encourages traditional relationships in enterprises to change their features completely. This period of human-oriented relationships is considered as a new renaissance (Shrrill & Gillian, 1998). During this period, enterprises have put emphasis on behavioral approaches, assigned more importance in human feelings and ideas, and tried to develop relationships on the basis of loyalty, devotion, and trust in order to improve relationships. These developments help bridge the gaps between employees and employers, and develop a dialogue and cooperation culture within organizations. Owing to these developments, "psychological contracts" supported by "reliable promises" have started to replace official contracts (Sayli, 2002). The primary role assigned to "institutional culture" based on "reciprocal cooperation" has increased the importance of direct individual dialogue in labor relations. During this process, when unionized relationships and government intervention are fading away, there are some important responsibilities that HRM should undertake in order to balance relationships between the parties.

Performance pressure stemming from high competition and the need to meet the expectations of a high-skilled labor force are other factors enhancing the importance of human resources management (Beer, 1997). …

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