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MHR 523 (321)
Chapter 1


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Human Resources
MHR 523
Al- Karim Samnani

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CHAPTER NOTES CHAPTER ONE: STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT • People are the common element in all social organizations • Create objectives, innovations, accomplishments • Organizational success depends upon careful attention to human resources Challenges: Canadian organizations 1. Economic 2. Technological 3. Demographic 4. Cultural 5. Legal Economic challenges • Surviving a Recessionary Cycle o HR managers face special challenges  Planning, communicating, implementing layoff I.e. layoffs, wage concessions, workforce morale issues • Global Trade Challenge o Jobs/prosperity depend upon international trade o Canadian organizations are opening new plants & expanding activities in foreign countries that are closer to customers/where labor is cheaper o Arrival of global village requires major changes in employee management • Challenge of Productivity Improvement o Essential for long-run success o Reduce costs, save scarce resources, enhance profits o Canada faces gap with U.S. in productivity levels o Innovation is a major challenge o Outsourcing is increasingly poplar but has major implications  Issue: reduced employee morale caused by job insecurity  To meet employee goals, HR department initiates retraining for displaced workers (to take up other jobs) or help them find jobs (“outplacement”) o Problem: productivity while maintaining quality of life for employees o Workplace innovation, job redesign, people management, technology advances necessary Technological challenges • Computerization o Processing large volumes of information on a timely basis o Flexible work design and telecommuting  Telecommuting: paid labor performed at employee’s home with assistance of PCs, modems, etc. (full time/part time)  Concern: lack of policies/procedures lead to communication/performance- related problems o Information sharing and knowledge management  Manage operations innovatively & reduces costs/capitalizing on new opportunities  Web 2.0: development of a host of new services • Social networking, video-sharing, wikis, blogs, etc. • Users can own/control data, add value  Web 3.0: expected to emerge with potential for natural language processing, machine-based learning/reasoning, intelligent applications • Automation o Automatically controlled operation of a process/system/equipment by mechanical/electronic devices o Potential benefits include:  Speed  Better customer service  Higher quality  Flexibility in operations o Use robots for hazardous/boring jobs Demographic challenges • Describe composition of workforce: education, age, percentage of population in workforce, etc. • Trend 1: Increasing number of women in the workforce o More women have left traditional, nonprofessional occupations • Trend 2: Shift toward knowledge workers o Primarily in primary/extractive industries to service, technical, professional o Service industries make significant contributions to national wealth today (75%) o Workforce divided into two categories:  Information workers • Data workers – members of occupations that use, transmit, manipulate symbolic information created by knowledge workers • Knowledge workers – members of occupations generating, processing, analyzing, synthesizing ideas/information  Non-information workers • Trend 3:Educational attainment of workers o Highest educational level attained by an individual worker/employee group/population o Primary/secondary education systems play key role in generating new supply of skills needed by post-industrial society o Corporate Council on Education identified “employability skills”  Basic academic skills, personal management skills, teamwork skills o Some employers recognize illiteracy as serious issue & have taken proactive action to minimize consequences • Trend 4: Employment of older workers o Old age crisis: refers to the social (health care) & organization (new workplace ergonomics) challenges caused by aging population o Hectic job scramble, post-retirement poverty o Challenges: expanded retirement benefit pressure, work schedules, coordination of government benefits with company benefits, retraining programs • Trend 5: More part-time, contract, and contingent workers o Part-time workers raise new concerns about pay inequity  “Equal pay for work of equal value” to reap benefits of increased demand/pay for highly skilled jobs o Contract/contingent workers: freelancers (self-employed, temporary, or leased employees) who are not part of regular workforce & are paid on project completion basis  Contractors are more productive/efficient than in-house employees • Freelancers do no spend time complying with company bureaucracy, attending meetings • Provide outsider’s fresh perspective Cultural challenges • Work-related attitudes o Changing attitudes toward work/leisure o Generational considerations  Baby boomers – work = career  Generation X – place premium on work-life balance, active participants in decision making (“command and rule” culture)  Generation Y – may not respond well to traditional management practices • Seek continuous learning, ongoing feedback, teamwork, up-to- date technology, security, respect, work-life balance o Demand for ethical conduct of business • Ethnic diversity o Cultural mosaic: ideal ethnic, racial, social group • Attitudes toward governments o Growing view: government is an economic facilitator that provides appropriate
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