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HRM: Choices About The
Way Organizations Manage People
Larry W. Hunter
("Mastering Management," Part 11, The Financial Post)
School of Business
University of Alberta
T6G 2R6 CANADA
- Who will join the organization and what are the criteria for selection?
- Should the company choose employees rather casually, or only after careful and costly
- Should companies choose people for their ability to perform a specific range of tasks,
or because they seem to fit with a particular organizational culture?
- What are the criteria for promotion?
- Does the organization prefer to promote from within, thus rewarding service and loyalty,
or hire from outside, seeking new ideas and skills?
- Whose responsibility is skill development - the company's or the worker's?
- What level of investment in training is the organization prepared to make and for which
- What sorts of skills are to be developed?
- Will the company act creatively, training workers broadly to deal with a variety of
potential situations; or will training be more reactive, supplying workers with skills on
an as-needed basis as technologies change or as staffing requirements demand it?
Work organization/Job design
- Will jobs be broadly or narrowly defined?
- Will workers be organized into teams or fill individual roles?
- If there are to be teams, will those teams comprise specialists or generalists?
- Are jobs to be enriched or enhanced, the source of opportunities to exercise skill and
autonomy? Or are they to be restricted and controlled, so that worker discretion and
development are limited?
- What should be rewarded: the development of skills, the achievement of promotions, or
- And if performance: individual performance, group performance, the performance of the
- Should compensation be backloaded so that the real payoff is on retirement?
- Should a large portion of pay be in benefits?
- How high should the compensation get?
Employee voice and
- Passive vs. direct channels of representation
- Ad-hoc (focus groups) vs. continuous (quality circles)
- Voice vs. decision-making power
Choices made by HRM specialists
should be consistent with the organization's goals (e.g. hi-quality & continuous
improvement vs. predictability, control, low cost) and environmental constraints.