Human Resource Management - Two Models

For any social group to perform its tasks efficiently and achieve its common objectives, the management of its most important resources - the people - is of utmost importance.

Until about the 1970s the task of ‘finding and controlling people’ was handled by Personnel Management which was largely an administrative function, dealing with the management and control of subordinates.

The concept of Human Resource Management developed with a more strategic level of thinking about the nature and role of people (as total 24hr per day human beings) working in organisations which are ‘cultures’ in their own right.

Recent thinking has moved from the control-based model to the compliance model.

The soft edge of the latter involves eliciting employee commitment and expecting effectiveness and efficiency to follow.

The hard edge of the latter involves ridding the organisation of unnecessary layers of middle management which, when stripped of control functions, have very little by way of value added.

The management task is to cause the people to be as creative and productive as possible.


Policy Area

Control-Based HRM

Commitment-based HRM

Job design principles

sub-division of work; specific job responsibility - with accountability ; planning separate from implementation

broader jobs; combined planning and implementation; teams

Management Organisation

top-down control and coordination; hierarchy; status symbols

flat structure; shared goals for coordination and control; status minimized


fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work; job evaluation and appraisal; individual incentives

reinforcing group achievements; pay geared to skill and other contribution criteria; profit sharing

Employee Voice

Unionised (damage control, bargaining); Non unionised (attitude surveys)

mutual mechanisms for communications and participation; mechanisms for giving employee voice on issues

Labour Management Relations


mutuality; joint problem-solving and planning

Management Philosophy

the boss dictates; management obligated to stakeholders

fulfilment of employee’s needs is a goal rather than an end

Source: after Lundy O (1994) From Personnel Management to Strategic Human Resource Development, International Journal of Human Resource Management Vol 5 pp 687-720