Meeting the Challenges of Human Resource Management: A Communication Perspective

By Wood, Jennifer F. | Management Revue, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Meeting the Challenges of Human Resource Management: A Communication Perspective


Wood, Jennifer F., Management Revue


Miller, Vernon D. & Gordon, Michael E. (Eds.): Meeting the Challenges of Human Resource Management: A Communication Perspective New York: Routledge, 2014, 283 pp., ISBN 978-0-415-63020-7 (hbk)

In today's society, a challenge that many human resource practitioners are expected to embrace with excellence is creating sustainable business value. Thus, practitioners must continually develop in their ability to actively and constructively use organizational resources to support strategic goals, objecdves and tactics designed for an organization's success. When considered as a central tool in defined organizational success, communication may be used in many ways to meet the challenges in human resource management (HRM) while supporting its objective to plan, implement and evaluate human resource practices that maximize the on-strategy contributions of workers.

When one considers the unique staffing functions, policies and procedures needed to coordinate people with diverse organizational objectives and strategies, it becomes apparent that even the traditional functions of management - planning, organizing, leading, and controlling - are dependent upon strong and effective communication practices. This five-part book focuses on the three human resource management functions of staffing, developing, and conserving from a communication perspective. Miller and Gordon state: "it is our thesis and that of our fellow contributors that the effectiveness of HRM is dependent on recognising and incorporating appropriate communication practices" (p. 4).

Part I includes two introductory chapters that explore historic ties and new relationships between the two fields - communication and human resource management (HRM). Specifically, Chapter 1 begins with the editors of the book providing a brief history of HRM, the structure of HRM, and an overview of the role HRM plays in staffing practices, developing practices, and conserving practices. In Chapter 2, titled The Importance of Communication in fulfilling the Strategic Role of HRM, Sue Hutchinson moves the focus to strategic human resource management (SHRM) - what it is, its process, the added element of linking communication with strategic outcomes and other HRM practices - as well as electronic human resource management (e-HRM) and the concerns associated with the relationship between communication and performance. This chapter is significant in its placement and content because as a business-driven function human resource management's effectiveness is dependent upon a clear understanding of strategic direction communicated within organizations.

Part II has six chapters focused on staffing functions. Chapter 3, Employee Recruitment, centers on external recruitment and both the organization as a sender of recruitment-related messages and the perspective of a job applicant as the message recipient (p. 29). Several areas are explored including target audiences for recruitment messages, methods, media, message content, the recruiters, and the timing of recruitment communication.

Chapter 4, Employee Selection, "explores possible ways that an understanding of communication can contribute to the understanding and improvement of selection in organizations" (p. 40). Key areas discussed include (a) the core selection process and (b) analytical versus intuitive selection. In addition, the authors thoroughly "discuss the barriers to analytical selection originating at the HRM, organizational, and environmental levels" (p. 44). Thus, the chapter is engaging in its articulation of how "communication plays a role in managing the boundaries between the core process and the HRM function, the organizational culture, and the organizational environment. (p. 47).

Chapter 5, Effective New Employee Socialisation: A Review of the Critical Role of Communication, focused on two goals - " (a) "...to describe the manner in which organizational programs used to socialize new employees currently rely on effective communication and (b) to suggest expansion of these HR activities based on new streams of communication research (p. …

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