Changes in Public Human Resource Management policies

Public Human Resource processes have become more easily measurable. Concepts such as the high performance organisation and knowledge management offer Human Resource specialists the chance to push public human resource management to the fore. Public Human Resource processes and their outcomes are central to these concepts and the introduction of technology allows more exact methods of determining whether or not human resource initiatives do affect the ‘bottom line’ and shareholder value (Price, 2004:27).

There is some cynical scepticism coming from human resource practitioners and academics, some of it associated with dogged technophobia, together with justifiable questioning of the methodology, rationale and, not least, the capabilities of the systems and concepts discussed. Public human resource management has absorbed ideas and techniques from a wide range of these theories and practical tools. In effect, public human resource management is a synthesis of themes and concepts drawn from a long history of work, more recent management theories and social science research. The trend on the human resource management policies have been globally adapted based on the increased integration of national economics into the global economy through trade and investment rules (Nel, van Dyk, Haasbroek, Schultz, Sono & Werner, 2005:27).

Globalisation dominates the competition horizon. The concept is not new, but the intensity of the challenge is to get on with it. Globalisation entails new markets, new products, new mindsets, new competencies and new ways of thinking about business. As the world becomes smaller through telecommunication, travel, information, ideologies and partnerships, the global village is not in the horizon, it is here (Meyer & Botha, 2004:110).

The human relations and human factors approaches were absorbed into a broad behavioural science movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This period produced some influential theories on the motivation of human performance. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for example, provided an individual focus on the reasons why people work who argued that people satisfied an ascending series of needs from survival, through security to eventual ‘self-actualisation’. In the same period, concepts of job design such as job enrichment and job enlargement were investigated. It was felt that people would give more to an organisation if they gained satisfaction from their jobs. Jobs should be designed to be interesting and challenging to gain the commitment of workers which is a central theme of public human resource management (Price, 2004:28).

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