Human Resources Management Activities Essay

Pages: 7 (1933 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

Outsourcing

Alternatives in Human Resource Management: A Comparison of Internal Task Shifting and Outsourcing

The rapid pace of change in the modern business world has made it necessary for companies to become incredibly flexible and adaptable, able to shift their resources to take advantage of periods and areas of growth or to streamline their operations and resources in leaner times. The current global economic turmoil is only the latest and one of the more significant events that has served to make this abundantly clear; technological growth spurts and companies going through repeated individual Cinderella stories -- some of which turn into pumpkins eventually -- demonstrates that any business not carefully and flexibly poised can quickly become obsolete. Adaptability and efficiency are everything in the modern business world.

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Human resources management is a major part of this adaptability and flexibility, both because of the necessary tasks of Human resources management itself and because these management tasks affect the performance and the efficiency of the entire organization -- efficiency and effectiveness are first and foremost the result of the human resources employed in a given company. Determining how best to align the tasks and the structural framework of an organization's human resources department and management tasks is thus of primary importance in creating an organization that is capable of dealing with the pace and changeability of the modern world in the most advantageous manner possible. Building and implementing the proper organizational scheme for a human resources department is a complex task with many facets, however, and is easier said than done.

TOPIC: Essay on Human Resources Management Activities Assignment

In addition to increasing the pace of business and creating more sudden and more extreme opportunities and disadvantages, modern technology has also opened up new ways of structuring organizations and distributing tasks. Specifically, outsourcing certain tasks and even certain management activities has become far easier as a result of telecommunications capabilities and the Internet especially. This provides an option for human resources management that did not exist for companies even a generation ago. Rather than handle all human resources needs internally, adding to the tasks necessary for primarily middle managers to take on or creating an entire department in a manner that is more unwieldy than necessary for many organizations, companies can outsource these tasks to specialized firms.

Whether or not the outsourcing of human resources management tasks is an advisable course of action for a particular business depends on the specific circumstances of that business, and to a lesser degree the industry in which they are operating. The following pages will present in greater detail the advantages and the disadvantages of outsourcing human resources management when compared to adding human resources management to the necessary tasks of line managers. Different organizational features and circumstances that affect these advantages and disadvantages will also be made, and a summary recommendation detailing when each option is most desirable will conclude the analysis. Current literature will be reviewed in order to gain insight into this area and make recommendations based on empirical evidence and established theoretical frameworks.

Maintaining Internal Human Resources Management

Traditional human resources arrangement, including fully dedicated departments and the relegation of many human resources duties and tasks to line managers, are still quite commonplace for many businesses. The internalization of human resources management has some fairly clear advantages and thus it is hardly surprising that it remains a popular option for many companies, while at the same time there are some common problems that arise in internalized human resources management schemes that can be avoided by outsourcing. Still, companies large and small still find immense usefulness in keeping human resources management entirely within an organization's auspices.

The centralization of human resources management that is achieved through keeping such tasks within an organization confers many of the advantages of such a setup -- human resources strategy is more directly under the control of the company and in some ways more easily shifted (Becker & Huselid 2006; Mathis & Jackson 2010). Through direct instruction, retraining, and other forms of hierarchical communication, internal human resources departments and/or managers, human resources management techniques and emphases can be adjusted from the top down in a fairly efficient manner so long as proper techniques are utilized (Becker & Huselid 2006). Strong leadership skills displayed by line managers tasked with human resources management can also greatly enhance productivity and company loyalty, conferring another advantage (Purcell & Hutchinson 2007).

At the same time, there are definitely certain disadvantages to keeping all human resources management tasks in-house. While there is theoretically (and in many cases practically) greater direct control over human resources management strategy when such management is carried out solely within the given organization, creating major changes in the overall strategy and focus of human resources management can itself be very resource intensive and inefficient (Becker & Huselid 2006; Purcell & Hutchinson 2007). Such an internal organization can also make it difficult for companies to streamline resource allocation and thus make for the greatest ability to take care of strategic changes in the industry, though this is something that depends on the specifics of each situation (Greer et al. 1999; Becker & Huselid 2006).

Companies make decisions to keep human resources management tasks and structure internal for a variety of reasons, and in a variety of circumstances (Becker & Huselid 2006; Greer et al. 1999; Purcell & Hutchinson 2007). In general, organizations that are highly centralized and that are built on a model of strict hierarchical control are better served y maintaining full internal control over human resources management (Greer et al. 1999; Mathis & Jackson 2010). Smaller companies are often better served in terms of capital use and in overall flexibility by dividing human resources management tasks amongst internal line managers, as well, which also confers certain communications advantages (Becker & Huselid 2006; Purcell & Hutchinson 2007). For many organizations, then, keeping human resources management an internal affair is definitely the best choice.

Outsourcing Human Resources Management

While maintaining solely internal human resources management structures and personnel is the best alternative for some companies, an increasing number of corporations are finding it advantageous to outsource some or all of their human resources management processes and tasks. Just as there are advantages and disadvantages to maintaining internal human resources management systems, there are significant advantages and certain disadvantages to be add from outsourcing these same management tasks. Some of the disadvantages in internal human resources management structures suggest the advantages of outsourcing, while other features of outsourcing are somewhat less obvious in this relationship.

There are both strategic and operational advantages to be conferred from outsourcing human resources management, which means that there are reasons to outsource that come both from within the company and as the result of industry forces (Gospel & Sako 2010; Greer et al. 1999; McClendon et al. 2002). A certain degree of flexibility is achieved by outsourcing human resources management, assuming the human resources specialization firms available in a given industry or to a specific organization are plentiful enough, because the company can switch to a different provider of human resources if there is a strategic desire to shift or the performance of the previous company was felt to be unsatisfactory (Gospel & Sako 2010). Outsourcing can also free up internal resources to focus on the actual revenue- and profit-generating aspects of the business, allowing for greater efficiency in all operations through greater degrees of specialization (McClendon et al. 2002).

Disadvantages to outsourcing include, of course, a lack of direct control over human resources management tasks and processes as well as the potential for inefficient capital use (Lawler 2004; Greer et al. 1999; Mathis & Jackson 2010). While it can be cheaper for many firms to outsource human resource management processes, other internal structures might make it easier to spread such tasks and processes around in a manner that ultimately costs very little -- less than any human resources specialization firm would charge (Lawler 2004). Changes in reliability and performance also take longer to catch in outsourced areas of the business than in internal components, which is an inescapable disadvantage.

All in all, most companies of any substantial size could probably benefit from the outsourcing of at least some of their human resources management processes and tasks, especially those that are the most time consuming and require stretches of dedicated hours, such as hiring and/or training large numbers of new employees. Capital resources, overall organizational structure, and a variety of other considerations must be taken into account when determining what the most efficient use of company resources would be in this regard, and the overall centralization of the company plays a major role in how effective and beneficial outsourcing human resources management will be (Gospel & Sako 2010; McClendon et al. 2002). Companies with diverse operations and highly fluctuating human resources management needs would probably be best served by outsourcing all of their human resources needs, allowing a specialized firm to allocate hours as necessary without the company itself having to incur the costs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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