Academic journal article Management Revue

Societal Prerequisites and Consequences of Human Resource Management**

Academic journal article Management Revue

Societal Prerequisites and Consequences of Human Resource Management**

Article excerpt

Corporate activity does not take place in a social vacuum. Human Resource Management strategies and practices are influenced significantly by their social environment. For example, the laws and values of a country have a facilitating or restricting influence on how human resources are utilized. At the same time, HRM practices, intentionally or otherwise, contribute to reproducing social conditions: payment systems help to shape attitudes to work, working time regulations influence family life, and so on. What is difficult to estimate is the extent to which the HRM practices of individual companies damage their own functional prerequisites: if many companies were to stop investing in training, for instance, this would cause recruitment problems in the long term. We will now consider these points separately in closer detail.

There are numerous examples of the sodai prerequisites of HRM strategies and practices. The assertion that the demographic trend or culture of a country has an effect on establishments has become commonplace but the deeper meaning is not very well understood.. It is not just a matter of the numbers of available employees, but also of their "quality", which includes knowledge as well as values. The ability to recruit qualified employees presupposes that the broader education system produces appropriate qualifications, including fundamental skills such as speaking and writing the local language or the ability to think in abstract terms. These resources cannot be produced by companies alone, and especially not by a single company seeking to recruit new employees. For companies, it is not only the knowledge their potential and current employees possess that is important, but also their values and views. An ability to fit into a corporate hierarchy, to be punctual and disciplined, and to be motivated by pay, job satisfaction or interaction with superiors - all this is learned in families, kindergardens, schools and higher education (Turk, 1981).

That is why demographics, education and culture are dimensions of society that stand out from an employer- or capital-oriented perspective. And that explains why they are picked up on in business administration resp. HR and organizational research, which are generally oriented towards these interests. Business administration and public discourse primarily deal with those dimensions of socially produced functional prerequisites that are easily accepted by all social groups - there is little dispute that Germany requires a skilled workforce if it is to "be competitive". Which values and attitudes towards business and the economy, companies and their actions the education system should pass on, however, is a far more contentious issue. HR and organization research largely steers clear of this discussion, although there is a very controversial debate in German vocational and business education as to what content should be taught in "economic education" (Hedtke, Famulla, Fischer, Weber, & Zurstrassen, 2010). Presumably all sides would agree that there is more to "economic literacy" than a knowledge of theories and economic processes : it also entails having a specific view of the economy, complete with value judgments. On the subject of what the "right" knowledge, views and values are, however, there is no agreement. The debate has been ongoing for a long time, not only in Germany but also in the USA (cf. e.g. Baumöl, 1988).

Let us now consider the opposite direction: how do companies influence society? Interestingly, the question as to the social effects of corporate behaviour is posed neither in capital-oriented HR and organizational research nor in the business administration kind that is more interested in explanations. Their perspective is generally reduced to a microeconomic level resp. the level of the individual company. As such it disregards the consequences (and prerequisites for success) of collective action by companies. Yet for society as a whole, this question is of considerable significance. …

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