From this model we can see that the individual really is the important part of the development. Without the correct employees the system will not work to it’s full potential. If every company worked by this model continuously it is argued that they would develop a very successful HR team. But in reality does this really happen? In 1992 an investigation was carried out in Britain by John Storey, which involved 15 different companies. The investigation was carried out to establish whether or not the above model was actually used within successful organisations.
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From the results of the investigation it was found that “the way in which managers were seeking to manage labour was undergoing extensive and significant change” (Storey 1992). Storey’s results also showed that the companies with the highest scores in the investigation were not necessarily the most profitable. In fact it was quite the opposite. Companies which showed to have low HR development actually in some cases had higher financial credibility. This result held a very heavy criticism towards HRM and helped to back up ideas from academics such as Hart.
HRM is argued to be an idea which is designed to help companies achieve objectives and goals in order to establish more market share and ultimately increased profit. From these results we can see that HRM is not living up to what it claims to be able to do. Perhaps one of the most important findings that Storey made in the investigation was that companies tended to ‘pick-and-mix’ ideas from Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations, and Personnel Management. Storey suggests that the reason behind the HRM phenomenon is that we have been looking for all of the HRM characteristics within a company rather than identifying individual ones.
This brings us back to Legge’s statement of managerial triumphalism. Legge explains that the language of HRM is very similar to the language of excellence. If the language of HRM is that of excellence why is it that the companies examined in Storey’s investigation that had high marks in the HRM characteristics actually have less financial credibility in comparison to the companies that had a ‘pick-and-mix’ approach. In other words the language of excellence and the language of HRM could be quite different and that the language of excellence is actually a mixture of HRM, IR and PM.
In Human Resource Management a Critical Text (Storey 1995), Storey examines the values of HRM to attempt to put together the pieces in order to establish whether or not an HRM approach for organisations is positive or negative. “Human resource management must be the route by which companies and employing organisations can come to terms with the new situation. It provides the means by which the fullest potential of employees can be developed and used for the benefit of both themselves and their employers.
Good HR practice will ensure that every employee knows that they matter as an individual and a human being while the employer will have the confidence that the workforce will perform to the levels needed and beyond for success in today’s competitive world”. (Farrance, 1992) Farrance in obviously portraying a very positive approach to HRM with this quote. He believes that HRM is the root of all success and that to adopt HRM completely within a company would be to gain success and confidence within employees and employers.
Farrance and Hart obviously have very differing opinions as Hart sees HRM as having “ousted the decent, welfare and humanistic values of personnel management” (Storey 1995) Another well-known critique of HRM is Derek Torrington. His view of HRM is not quite as blunt and negative as Hart’s but instead attempts to give a general overview of the good and bad points within the HRM culture. However we see HRM, Personnel, or Industrial Relations we must establish which form of labour management is best for the organisation.
If we have to choose elements from 1 theory to place in another, then so be it. As long as our aim and goal is that of managerial triumphalism. But what is managerial triumphalism? To define managerial triumphalism is difficult. There is no general definition of the meaning. Perhaps managerial triumphalism is just a phrase that Legge decided to create to replace phrases such as ‘self actualisation’ from Maslow. After evaluating Karen Legge’s article I could see no general meaning as to what she believed it to be. But this is the conclusion I came to.
Managerial triumphalism is the feeling of exultation and happiness derived from a victory of major achievement in the management and control of individuals. Therefore Managerial Triumphalism is essentially trying to gain control over the workforce to gain a competitive edge against competitors. I conclude by evaluating that there are many differing opinions on both what HRM is and whether it is right or wrong. Whatever the answer is we will most likely never agree and it is this reason why HRM is still and will probably always be the most debatable issue within Business.
Beardwell, I and Holden, L (1997) Human Resource Management, A Contemporary Perspective Buchanan, D & Huczynski, A (1985) Organisational Behaviour Body, D. & Patton, R. (1998) Management: An Introduction Legge, K (1989) Human Resource Management: A Critical analysis Needham, D, & Dransfield, R, & Harris, R, & Coles, M, (1998) Business for Higher Awards Peterson, T. G and Waterman, R. H (1989) In search of excellence Storey, J (1989) New perspectives on Human Resource Management