HRM-type themes

HRM-type themes, including ‘human capital theory’ and ‘human asset accounting’, can be found in the literature from the 1970s. However, the modern view of human resource management first gained prominence in 1981 with its introduction on the prestigious MBA course at Harvard Business School. Simultaneously, other interpretations were being developed in Michigan and New York. : Sparrow and Hiltrop (1994) picked out four main approaches from this period: The Michigan and New York Schools: strategic matching theories

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The Harvard school: a multiple Stakeholder’s theory The Warwick School: a political and change process theory The Schuler School: a behavioural transformation theory Different interpretations of HRM. – The Harvard interpretation sees employees as resources. However, they are viewed as being fundamentally different from other resources – they cannot be managed in the same way. The stress is on people as human resources. A harder approach – people as human resources.

– A different view is associated with the Michigan Business School. The Michigan model has a harder, less humanistic edge, holding that employees are resources in the same way as any other business resource. They must be: – obtained as cheaply as possible – used sparingly – developed and exploited as much as possible The Swimming Pool needs to decide which approach to use, or they could make their own strategy, however whatever way is used it must assist in achieving the business goals and objectives.

Adopting HRM. Human resource management has been presented as a radical alternative to personnel management consisting of exciting, modern ideas which would replace the stale and ineffective prescriptions of personnel management. In fact, the process of transition has been slow. It is important for the council to have and effective and efficient Human Resources department which will assist in the meeting of the overall aims and objectives of the council and the swimming pool.


Finding the right person for the job has always been important and ‘the decision to appoint an individual is one of the most crucial an employer will ever take. Mrs Dribble must sure she carries out all policies regarding recruitment and selection so to optimise the swimming pools chances of hiring someone who is best suited to the job. To have a successful and fruitful recruitment and selection process it is advisable Mrs Dribble follows a set of stages when determining who ultimately will get the job.

Before the Swimming Pool starts the process of Recruitment and Selection, Mrs Dribble must first concern herself with all the relevant pieces of legislation which govern the way in which she will be able to hire an employee. First The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, this act sets out the law regarding discriminating against someone because they are male or female; under this act this is unlawful. Mrs Dribble must ensure that this vital piece of law is not contravened in any way during the recruitment and selection process.

Although they ask for only males, they have a just reason and will be explained later. Race Relations Act 1976 (R. R. A) The R. R. A, which is modelled on the sex discrimination act, outlaws discrimination on racial grounds which it defines as meaning on the grounds of colour, race, nationality or ethic or national origins. There are several types of discrimination that Mrs Dribble could fall foul of they include: Direct Discrimination – When an employer treats a person less favourable than another on the grounds of sex, race or martial status

Indirect Discrimination – When an employer has applied requirements or conditions to a job but the ability of some persons to comply because of sex martial status or race is considerably smaller and cannot be justified. Mrs Dribble must ensure that at all stages of the recruitment and selection process she adheres to all the relevant legislation so that she and the Swimming Pool are protected from any claim of discrimination or unfair treatment, as the consequences for being in breach of these laws are severe it is important Mrs Dribble does not fall foul of any of them.

Here Mrs Dribble must draw up a person specification based on the job description which identifies the personal characteristics required to perform the job effectively. The two examples most commonly referred to are the seven-point plan (Rodger, 1952) and the five-fold grading system (Muno Fraser,1954). However in defining the person, the question which was raised in the case study regarding only asking for a male to apply for the job or the specific request for a male worker, needs to be addressed first.

By doing this the swimming pool leaves itself open to unnecessary critism and the possibility of finding itself in contradiction to some of the legislation protecting people in the workplace i. e. the Sex Discrimination Act and the Employment Act of 1989. These pieces of law are in place to help protect people from unjust policies of organisations regarding recruitment and selection etc.

So when the swimming pool decides that only a male can be hired to fill the vacancy they need to have strong evidence to support its claim that only a man can do this job, this is what is known as a Genuine Occupational Qualification (GOQ), where an employer may recruit a particular sex over the other to a job where male sex is a GOQ. The swimming pool may give reasons of decency or privacy to only hire a man to work in a male changing area, however as part of the job is to be a lifeguard also it is here were the swimming pool may lose its claim, this is illustrate in the case below.

Etam plc v Rowan [1989] EAT, IRLR 150 Mr Rowan applied for a job as sales assistant at the employers’ shop in Glasgow selling women’s and girl’s clothing. He was not considered for the post because of his sex. He complained that he had been unlawfully discriminated against. The employers claimed the GOQ under s7(2)(b) (privacy and decency) because personal contact with customers when they were in a state of undress was an essential part of the job. They claimed that a major part of the job was to work in the fitting rooms and to measure customers uncertain about their size.

The IT upheld the complaint. It noted that there were some 16 employees normally in the shop – all of whom were women – and that they carried out various duties on a rota basis. The tribunal took the view that the case fell within s7(4) and a man would have been able to carry out the bulk of the job of sales assistant and the parts he could not carry out could easily have been done by other sales assistants without causing any inconvenience or difficulty for the employers. The employers’ appealed to the Glasgow EAT. The EAT agreed with the IT that a GOQ did not apply.

The IT was entitled to conclude on the evidence that the situation fell within the circumstances envisaged by s7(4) in that a man would have been able adequately to carry out the bulk of the job and such parts as he could not carry out could easily have been done by one of the female assistants without causing any inconvenience or difficulty for the employers. The employers were not being asked to carry out a considerable reorganisation nor were the IT telling the employers how to manage their business. The appeal was dismissed.

However it is important to note that it could be argued that the swimming pool can ask for a particular sex to ensure the privacy and decency of its customers, and to have two people doing one job could be financially hard on the business, the best thing Mrs Dribble could do is to contact the Equal Opportunities Commission and ask there advice on how to handle the situation, they could use the defence that being male is a GOQ for the job, as half the job entailed entering into male changing areas where privacy and decency had to be upheld, this was a necessary part of the job.

So as can be seen it is important not to discriminate on the grounds of sex or to contravene any piece of legislation which governs the policies and practices of the swimming pool.