The new managerialism

Schuler (1990) emphasized that the HR function had an opportunity to shift from being an ’employee advocate’ (associated with personnel management) to a ‘member of the management team’. Schuler’s view was that this required HR professionals to be concerned with the bottom line, profits, organizational effectiveness and business survival. In other words, human resource issues should be addressed as business issues.

In fact, line and general managers have been instrumental in the adoption of HRM – often pushing changes through despite the resistance of personnel specialists (Storey, 2001: 7). Radical changes in business structures and supportive – largely right-wing – governments encouraged a renewed confidence in the power of managers to manage. The balance of power moved away from workers and their representatives with the collapse of traditional heavy industries. High levels of unemployment allowed managers to pick and choose new recruits. Existing employees felt under pressure to be more flexible under the threat of losing their jobs. As a result, managers were able to design more competitive organizations with new forms of employment relationships.

This chapter of Human Resource Management, 4th edition concludes with a discussion on the influence of management gurus in the development of HRM

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