Table of Contents

The Development of Human Resource Management Across Nations

The Development of Human Resource Management Across Nations

Unity and Diversity

Edited by Bruce E. Kaufman

This volume contains country studies of the historical development of human resource management (HRM) in seventeen different nations. The nations span all regions of the world and each chapter is written by a national expert. Primary attention is given to HRM developments in industry, but university research and teaching are also covered. Human resource management is defined broadly to include industrial relations and each chapter places the historical development of HRM in a broad political, social, and economic context.

Chapter 9: Human resource management in India

J.S. Sodhi

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, economics and finance, labour economics


This chapter describes the historical evolution of Human Resource Management (HRM) in India. It has been a slow progression beginning a century ago with a movement by social reformers and labor activists to end exploitation of workers and limit arbitrary actions of employers. The government responded in steps and enacted statutes to regulate working conditions and treatment of labor in industry. Government interventions and labor unrest led some companies to appoint industrial welfare officers prior to World War II. After World War II and national independence, the new government of India adopted a socialist-oriented development model which led to enactment of a large number of statutes to protect the interests of workers. As legal regulation increased, companies expanded their employee management activities in the fifties and the sixties, although most were still oriented to welfare and union/labor relations. The terms “personnel” and “industrial relations” emerged as the names for these activities. The traditions of personnel and industrial relations persisted in the large public sector of the Indian economy for most of the twentieth century; indeed, their legacy is still found today. Greater change came to the private sector. Starting in the seventies, some large companies began to implement employee development activities, though frequently with a paternalistic and informal orientation. Also, the personnel function was gradually expanded and put on a more formalized basis in a large number of companies.

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