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By Michael Armstrong

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The focus is on the quantitative, calculative and business-strategic aspects of 12 ❚ Managing people managing human resources in as ‘rational’ a way as for any other economic factor. As Guest (1999a) comments: The drive to adopt HRM is... based on the business case of a need to respond to an external threat from increasing competition. It is a philosophy that appeals to managements who are striving to increase competitive advantage and appreciate that to do this they must invest in human resources as well as new technology.

The conclusion based on interviews with HR and personnel directors reached by Gennard and Kelly (1994) on this issue was that ‘it is six of one and half a dozen of the other and it is a sterile debate’. An earlier answer to this question was made by Armstrong (1987): HRM is regarded by some personnel managers as just a set of initials or old wine in new bottles. It could indeed be no more and no less than another name for personnel management, but as usually perceived, at least it has the virtue of emphasizing the virtue of treating people as a key resource, the management of which is the direct concern of Human resource management ❚ 19 top management as part of the strategic planning processes of the enterprise.

Both personnel management and HRM recognize that one of their most essential functions is that of matching people to ever-changing organizational requirements – placing and developing the right people in and for the right jobs. 5. The same range of selection, competence analysis, performance management, training, management development and reward management techniques are used both in HRM and personnel management. 6. Personnel management, like the ‘soft’ version of HRM, attaches importance to the processes of communication and participation within an employee relations system.

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