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Relations 23,4 318 Employee Relations, Vol. 23 No. 4, 2001, pp. 318-336. # MCB University Press, 0142-5455 Received November 2000 Revised March 2001 Accepted March 2001 The state of human resource management: evidence from employees' views of HRM systems and staff Stephen Gibb Department of HRM, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK Keywords Human resource management, Employees, Staff, Systems analysis Abstract Recent research exploring a range of arguments about trends in human resource management (HRM) provides contrasting evidence in evaluating the state of HRM. Methods using either fit with ``best practice'' or fit with contingencies as ways of evaluating the state of HRM have been foremost. Investigating the employees ``point of view'' has been proposed as an alternative in some recent studies. The research reported here is based on this alternative method. It describes employees views of HRM in their organisations based on a survey of 2,632 employees in 73 companies. The findings are that employees report areas of strength in HRM that include training and development, rewards, and levels of personal motivation. Employees also rate the performance of HR staff highly across a range of services. Noticeable areas of weakness in HRM, in employees' estimations, exist in the management of staffing levels, aspects of recruitment and retention, communication, and with levels of morale in the organisation as a whole. These findings justify a mixed but overall positive picture of the state of HRM. The problems of analysing employee views of HRM in this type of study, to address arguments with evidence, are considered in conclusion. Introduction Issues in evaluating HRM systems and staff The concern is with obtaining evidence to evaluate arguments about the state of human resource management (HRM) in companies and its relationship to performance. This has recently been called the ``black box'' problem (Purcell et al., 2000); assuming that there is a relationship between success and HRM systems, how does that come about, what is actually happening in organisations to get results? HRM here refers to the totality of people management practices found in organisations, not to a particular and distinctive approach to the philosophy and practice people management. Evaluation is concerned with making judgements about the merits and value of HRM systems and HRM staff. This concern has come to be manifest in different interpretations about the extent to which contemporary HRM is being well or poorly practised. Interpretation is concerned with explaining the causes and effects of the strengths and weaknesses of HRM which are argued to exist. The rationale for this is a dual one; on the one hand it is directed towards analysing the contribution of HRM to overall company performance (Woods, 1999; Purcell, 1999; West and Patterson, 1998). On the other hand it is about evaluating HRM The research register for this journal is available at http://www.mcbup.com/research_registers
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This note was uploaded on 03/16/2011 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Dunst during the Spring '08 term at Alabama.

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