Human resource development was developed with major controversies about the whole concept of human resource management, its definition, and practices, and in order to move on, there is a need to get clarifications about the controversies surrounding this concept. It can be said that these revolve around three broad areas; its meaning, practice, and ethical standing. Indeed, the controversy over the meaning of human resource management has increasingly been the source of major debates among different scholars. For instance, Noon has questioned the nature of human resource management and wanted to know if human resource management is a theory, map or model (Legge, Karen, 2004).
Most people find the concept of human resource management to be unclear and indefinable because of the various definitions it has. Narrowing down to a specific definition will, therefore, close down the many facts that are entailed in this whole concept. This, therefore, explains the reason as to why many articles and books contain different definitions and interpretations of this concept. Human resource management is a flexible term and covers different applications, which vary from one book to another and from one organization to the other.
For instance, Jayaram, Droge, and Vickery (1999) argue that human resource management refers to all the activities dealing with managing employment relationships in the organization. The phrase “ employee relations” has acted as a substitute for labor management. However, Stephen Bach disagrees with this definition arguing that the definition is a little too general hence making it difficult to; underline any distinctive feature of human resource management or the values underpinning it, table variations in its practice and conceptualizing the debate surrounding the whole concept of human resource management (Hrmguide, n.d). According to Bach, human resource management varies concerning the relations of the employees in its aim on management practices while ignoring the employees’ interest (Hrmguide, n.d).
His view on the nature of human resource management suggests that it should be unitarist implying that both the interests of the employee and the employer should coincide while emphasizing the effectiveness of the organizations. This is because most organizations tend to marginalize the interests of other stakeholders such as the employees. In addition, there should be predominant interests in organizations that focus on the motivation and the aspiration of the employees rather than downplaying their individual interests.
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