Introduction HRM is short for Human Resource Management and identified as a new managerial science. HRM is originally invented by western academicians. Its history is not long and it has become more and more popular in the recent years. In Australia, HRM is replacing the old IR system as positive managerial action replaces “ground rules”. (Alexander, Lewer & Gahan, 2008) In China, the business society has been significantly affected by “guanxi”. A mount of “ground rules” were created gradually in China’s business society.
It means that after China’s reform and open policy had operated for 30 years, China still has not seriously developed a scientific managerial method for human resource. Thanks to the more and more frequently communication between east and west. There have been many interaction and communication in JV, employees in MNC and business conference between corporations from two different countries. As a result, HRM has been introduced in China. With more and more people choose to work in JV or foreign company, HRM is playing a more and more important role in China’s business philosophy.
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HR practice had a highly significant impact on China’s business managerial operation. (Irene Hau-Siu Chow,) Line managers have job responsibilities related to human resource. Furthermore, one company need more HR practice in order to make its performance good. More and more HR manager emerging in China is a positive sign for China’s whole managerial science development. Q1 Outline and discuss the changes the HR function has undergone over the last decade. Talking about the changes of the HR function over the last decade, it is necessary to refer to the state of HR about ten years ago.
In 1990s, HR management was not hot as it is today. However, as a part of management science, there would always be one department about HRM, it might have different names such as personnel department or human capital department. During that period, as a non-sophisticated department, HRM only had parts of its whole function. Furthermore, even those parts might not have a right operation to contribute to the value of HRM in corporations’ whole managerial operation. In 1990s, corporations have HR departments because owners knew importance of HR management.
However, operators of business did not know why it is important, let alone how to manage it in a right way. First, function of HR department and HRM are different. HRM includes all HR parts of general management. It is inevitable for a line manager to use HRM to appraise one worker’s job. While for HR departments, what they do would be more specific. As an independent department, it will establish its own rules of practice as well as assessing tool. Based on these tools and practice, HRM would be more effective and impact on business results clearly. In the old times, people usually get confused with the purpose and results of HRM.
Second, HRM was considered as a non-professional job. One of my classmates told me that he wants to work in a HR department after graduated because of he prefers to do job relevant with more communication. It is a common wrong understanding of HRM. As what is mentioned above, HRM is a science of management. Therefore, it has its own theory and practice. What a HR professional should do is not only to master the theory suitable for the company but also to master the practice. (Ulrich,1997) Obviously, ten years ago, people did not pay enough attention to how the HRM would bring benefit to the company.
They considered HRM was just a non-professional job whoever could do it well. Fortunately, the situation has changed today. Third, once HRM is right operated, it would bring benefit to company financially. The main purpose for one company is to earn more money or gain benefit. Therefore, the main purpose of HRM is also to gain benefit through human resource management practice. In the old times, HR operations are mostly about auditing and valuation. Thus, the main function of HRM is to set a tool to appraise and encourage employee to work better next time to gain a better appraise. However, HRM is not just appraisal.
Now business people know that HR also creates value by increasing intelligence in the firm and HR professionals would translate their work into financial performance. (Ulrich, 1997) Consequently, ten years earlier, HRM is more likely to be a department for people who got demotion to go. Business people’s understanding of HRM was not comprehensive enough. Therefore its theory and practice were not operated in a right way. It is fortunate today that this science has got more and more attention. People begin to realise its impact on the financial performance. It is a totally new area of management practice.
Time for HRM dynasty has come. Q2 At what stage of development is the HR profession in China? Since 1978, China’s reform and open policy has taken. China’s marketing economy has only experienced 30 years. Unlike the developing history of HRM in the west, China would experience one certain stage in a very short period and shift to the next while in western country it might take several decades. Because of western countries’ successful experience for HRM development, the managerial science communication about business has given China a great experience. Therefore, it is likely for China to develop in HRM very quickly.
More than ten years ago, it may refer to Stage 5, The Organisation Man. Today, HRM in China is developing in a western way. Due to it is developing too fast in China. Therefore, it might have shifted into the next stage with some aspects and factors still remain in the last one. It means a situation between the two stages. The stage between The Manpower Analyst and Human Resource Manager. In China, the HRM thinking has been adopted. HRM is now generally considered part of general management but is just only considered. Greater emphasis is still on operation than on strategy.
Also as a manpower analyst, HR manager in China begin to think more collectively in terms of manpower rather than individual workers. In 1995, the implementation of the labor law, the HRM system has been transformed from a political oriented bureaucratic towards being marketed-oriented. (Irene Hau-Siu Chow,2004) It is great evidence that China’s stage of development in HR profession is between the manpower analyst and human resource manager. Because in one marketed-oriented situation, HR manager would be a person who just deal with documents and files as the organisation men in stage 5.
Furthermore, in this case, human resource manager stage does not occur during the change. Although it is the concept of human resource manager stage has been adopted, it would be harder for corporation to operate during the change period. That means strategy is important but before operations have become sophisticated, it would still only be discussed but operated. Q3 What do you believe are the major challenges facing HR managers in China? Why? HR practices in China had changed dramatically. Since the 1980s, the SOEs have slowly abandoned the iron rice bowl. Warner, 1998) As the SOEs in China has developed into a more scientific managerial operation, the business environment in China would totally become a marketing-oriented one in the near future. I believe the most challenges HR manager are facing is the barrier to becoming strategic. As professionals, HR managers may know that the HR operation would lay more emphasis on strategic than operation to make the company’s HR management contribute more on the managerial performance. However, decision maker of the corporation may not as professional as HR manager does in HRM.
General mangers may prefer to be more realistic and still lay emphasis on operation because they may think the operation is still not sophisticated enough. In addition, the general manager may think HR manager has lots of research and documents work to do, they should not waste time sit in the conference table to discuss everything. It is true in China that HR manager’s job is mostly reading job application, selection and recruitment. The whole HR department may be called the “recruitment department” instead of HR. Moreover, people in the “recruitment department” just report what they have interviewed and selected in the interviews.
For HR manager, it is simple enough for them to give his head one description report about recruitment and there would be no need for him to participate more in general management. In this case, the current HR management situation is not the essence of science of HRM. In China, there is a growing awareness that HR managers should be partners of their whole general management. (Julie Davidson, 2008) It is not only the reason of decision makers’ but also the HR office itself. All HR office are expected to have a clear strategic plan, but few of them has one. Julie Davidson, 2008) To face this challenge, solving the problem by inputting more time and resource would be a wise choice. On one hand, solving the problem, on the other hand, putting more cost on HRM would make people know that how important the HRM is, therefore employee would lay emphasis on the future strategic plan. The second challenge I believe is lacking of HR professionals. Although the concept and thinking has introduced into China for years and adopted by business world in China, there is not enough professionals to operate in corporations to improve the HRM in every corporation.
There are HR institute in Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. However, there is few in China, mainland. That is to say, in the theoretical field, China is borrowing achievements of western academicians. To develop HRM in China well, China has to have its own institutes to work on the newest theory about business HR management. As I mentioned before, HRM is not a job whoever could do. It need foundation of theory and practice to exam the theory, it’s a science of management. Hopefully, we will see more HRM institute in China in the near future. Conclusion HRM is a hot science of management in recent years.
It has become more and more important in daily operation of business. Ulrich (1997) believes that the role of HRM needs to be more one of a strategic partner. The current science of management is still not a perfect one. Theories become more and more sophisticated in the period of time. HRM is a newly born theory of science, the development of it is very fast. We can look forward in the future that it would play a more and more essential role in business or economy. While in China, the development of HRM is still between Stage 6 and 7, a place between mature and immature.
Obviously, the development of HRM in China has met some barrier to go further. However, when there is problem there must be one solution to it. China’s economy environment has allow the HRM to develop very quickly, which means the environment is good for introducing and developing HRM. The problems met in operation would be identified and solved according the theory as practice. Actually, the current situation of HRM in China is still not good enough. Even some HR managers do not know what the whole function of HRM.
That is to say, the leader of HR department may do not know clearly what his job actually are and what he actually can do. Let alone teach or supervisor his subordinates. That is why I suggested establishing more HR institutes in China to improve the HRM education and research. Make HRM a theoretical science of management in China. This report has lay enough emphasis on how important HRM is in today’s business. I hope in the future, business people would pay the equal attention to HRM because it really can improve the financial performance through right HR operation. Word Account: 1975 References
Alexander, Lewer & Gahan (2008) “Foundation elements” Irene Hau-Siu Chow (2004) “Business strategy, organizational culture and performance outcomes in China’s technology industry” Irene Hau-Siu Chow (2004) “Human resource management in China’s township and village enterprises: change and development during the economic reform era” Dave Ulrich, Michael R. Losey, Gerry lake (1997) “Tomorrow’s HR manangmanet” Warner, M. (1998), “Human resource management practice in international joint ventures versus state-owned enterprises in China” Julie Davidson (2008) “Barriers to becoming more strategic”