Unity and Diversity
Edited by Bruce E. Kaufman
Chapter 1: The development of human resource management across nations: history and its lessons for international and comparative HRM
This volume contains country studies of the historical development and current practice of human resource management (HRM) in seventeen nations across the world. Each chapter describes the historical origin of human resource management in the respective country, typically starting in the late 19th century, and then describes the evolution of HRM through successive stages of development to the present time. The emphasis is on the organization and practice of HRM in industry, broadly defined to include private and public sectors, small and large companies, modern and traditional managements, and domestic and multinational companies. Although human resource management in the business world is the main focus, each chapter also discusses important writers, ideas and intellectual streams of thought that shaped HRM and, also, the parallel development of HRM in its universities. HRM is defined broadly and generically as the coordination and utilization of people – the labor input – for production of goods and services in all types of economies and organizations (Boxall, Purcell and Wright 2007). Frequently this broad meaning of the term is conflated with a narrower interpretation that identifies HRM with a specific managerial philosophy and set of HRM practices that originated in American business schools in the 1980s and then spread to other countries (Beer and Spector 1984; Dulebohn, Ferris and Stodd 1995). Productive and value-free scientific discourse, however, needs a term for its object of study that transcends a specific culture, nationality, set of practices, and time period.