Elgar original reference
Edited by Chris Brewster and Wolfgang Mayrhofer
Chapter 1: Comparative Human Resource Management: An Introduction
Chris Brewster and Wolfgang Mayrhofer This is the first book to bring together, systematically, expert researchers studying comparative human resource management (HRM). The need for a comparative book is, we believe, manifest, and the subject is increasingly researched and taught, either as part of a general HRM or international HRM course. This Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management draws on the work of some of the world’s leading researchers to present the current state of the art to academic scholars and practitioners. HRM as a subject for study and teaching was identified and popularised in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s, encapsulated in two famous textbooks (Beer et al., 1985; Fombrun et al., 1984). The two books took different approaches, but both differentiated HRM from personnel management (the administration of employment). They argued that the latter involved running, monitoring and controlling the employment systems within the organisation, whilst HRM involved more integration of personnel policies across functions and with the corporate strategy (with HRM being the downstream function); a greater role for line managers; a shift from collective to individual relationships; and an accent on enhancing company performance. In HRM workers are a resource: they ‘are to be obtained cheaply, used sparingly and developed and exploited as fully as possible’ (Sparrow & Hiltrop, 1994: 7) in the interests of the organisation. The processes of managing people in a systematic and consistent way with the intention of ensuring their effective contribution to the success of the...