human resource management

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Also found in: Acronyms.

human resource management (HRM)

The management of people in an organization. This term for people management is increasingly preferred to PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. Operationally, human resource management (HRM) has a similar focus to personnel management: RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION, PAYMENTS SYSTEMS, TRAINING etc.

However, HRM is often seen to be qualitatively different to personnel management. The notion of people as a resource implies a sophisticated approach to getting the most out of this factor of production. This may include the nurturing of HUMAN CAPITAL, and may therefore involve a ‘people-centred’ approach to management. Some critics, however, see such an approach as manipulative and ‘hard-edged’. A further claim is that HRM has a closer link to BUSINESS STRATEGY than traditional personnel management, and is also more focused on achieving key business outcomes, such as profits. In some countries (though not generally the UK), HRM is contrasted with INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, and is seen as being anti-TRADE UNION. However, some critics argue that HRM is little more than personnel management with a trendy new name.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
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