DU SOL B.Com 3rd Year Human Resource Management Notes Chapter 3 Organisational of Personnel Department
“Personnel Administration is a line responsibility but it is also a staff function.” Examine this statement carefully.
Discuss the line and staff functions of Personnel Department in any industrial organisation.
Hrm – A Staff Function
There should be no confusion in the minds of the readers on the meanings of the two terms ‘Line’ and ‘Staff. ‘Line refers to those positions and elements of the organisation which have the responsibility and authority and are accountable for accomplishment of the primary objectives of the enterprise. Staff elements are those which have responsibility and authority for providing advice and service to line in attainment of objectives.’ The responsibility of line is to arrange the actual execution of the work planned by the staff. It is often said that the staff ‘thinks’ while line ‘acts’. Now we shall discuss the place of personnel administration in the organisation.
Personnel Administration is A Staff function :
Personnel administration is essentially a staff function. Like other departments, personnel department provides advice and service to all levels of management in the best possible manner in which they can utilize the services of the personnel working with them to build a competent work force. It assists the line executives in developing personnel policies and procedures by providing necessary advice and services to meet the needs of the organisation in human area. It also interprets the policies, procedures and management thinking to the different levels of management so that they may deal effectively with their subordinates in perspective of the management viewpoint.
Personnel manager in the capacity of staff officer has a power to recommend the action in a given situation but not to enforce it. The power of implementation rests with the line executives. Thus he is ortly a thinker or proposer and not doer.
Human Resource department assists and provides services to other departments in the organisation. It provides information and infrastructure. It renders secretarial and executive support services like securing and scrutinising applications for the recruitment of employees, conducting tests and interviews, arranging orientation and training programmes, It maintains personnel records and conducts personnel research.
Human resource department also monitors and controls the personnel performance. It evaluates personnel performance in the light of personnel policies and procedures and suggests necessary corrective actions wherever desirable. As a controller, its continually reviews the work of line departments concerning accidents, obsenteeism, grievances, labour turnover, disciplinary actions etc. It helps other departments in implementing personnel policies and programmes.
Thus, in short, the human resource department, in staff position, acts as formulator of personnel policies, as adviser, as assistant and as controller.
Personnel Administration Is A Line Responsibility :
Maintenance of good relations with its personnel is a central function in any organisation and so the responsibility of determining the general personnel policies rest with the chief executive of the organisation. No doubt, personnel manager assist, the line executive in formulating and administering the plans and policies for the best use of personnel in the organisation but he has no direct responsibility for formulating that policy. The line executives are primarily responsible for accomplishing a company’s basic objectives hence maintaining and developing good industrial relations are the sole responsibility of line executive.
As because the function is central, chief executive shares the whole responsibility. He cannot wholly delegate this responsibility to someone else. If personnel relations in the organisation are not satisfactory, personnel manager cannot be blamed for the situation because he is only a recommending authority and not the executive head. The authority to implement the suggestion or plan always rests with the line executives, he can very easily/etort that the attitude of chief executive makes good relations impossible. Howsoever good is the personnel policy, if the attitude of the line management at all levels uninstructed or unwarranted or if discipline is inadequate to secure the execution of the policy, the personnel manager can do very little beyond reporting the situation to the chief executive.
From the above discussion it is clear that the functions assigned to personnel manager within or with the organised bodies outisde. The organisation are functions which he can only exercise ‘on behalf of his chief ‘ executive’. He cannot be given, neither can he exercise any direct or personnel authority in these matters. He can only ‘represent’ a policy which is a policy of the chief executive.
One point should also be noted that within personnel department, personnel manager has line authority over all the managers working under him. Within the department itself there may be a Research Manager who performs a staff function (of advising the personnel manager). Thus within the personnel department which performs a staff function when viewed in its relationship with the their departments in the organisation, there can be both line and staff authority.
Describe the characteristics of a good personnel department.
Characteristics of a Good Personnel Department.
Normally, a personnel department enjoys both “line” and “staff’ positions in an organisation. Personnel Manager should follow the following principles in drawing his organisantion :
- The organisation should be kept as simple as possible so that it can be easily understood by the workers.
- There should be unity of command i.e., each subordinate should have one superior whose command he has to obey.
- Responsibility and authority of each supervisor should be clearly defined in writing.
- Responsibility should always be coupled with corresponding authority.
- Authority should be delegated as far down the line as possible.
- Authority can be delegated but responsibility cannot be delegated. The responsibility of higher authority for the acts of its subordinates is absolute.
- The work of every person in the organisation should be confined as far as possible to the performance of a single leading function.
- Whenever possible, line functions should be separated from staff functions.
- The organisation should be flexible, so that it can be adjusted to changing conditions. .
- Quick and correct flow of informations from top to bottom and vice ] versa, is an important element of good organisation. The organisation should have an effective channel of communication.
- Although the size of span of supervision depends on a number of factors, it is advisable that the span of supervision should neither be too large nor too small.
- Organisation structure should be reviewed periodically.
“Unless there is a sound organisation structure a major personnel officer reporting to the president and a continuous coordination of personnel department with the line organisation, the personnel programme of the company does not reach its highest degree of effectiveness.” Comment.
Personnel Programme Of The Company:
An organisation combines and coordinates individual as well as group efforts in an enterprise. An organisation structure is the machine through which management works to accomplish its objectives. An Organisation structure is primarily concerned with the allocation of duties and responsibilities and delegation of authority. It is very essential for the success of the organisation to have an effective formal structural relationship among the various departments and the people and the other resources of the organisation. Such relation can only be maintained, and developed with the cooperation of the people working in the organisation. For this purpose, a programme should be chalked out combining and coordinating the efforts of the persons working in the organisation in the effective manner to produce the desired results. This is possible only when following conditions are satisfied:
- Sound organisation structure
- A personnel officer to report, and
- Continuous coordination of personnel department with the line organisational.
1. Sound Organisation Structure – There are five types of organisation structure viz. line, functional, line and staff, committee and matrix. To achieve the desired results a choice of organisation structure should be made in accordance with the nature and size of the enterprise, defining clearly the structural relationship. [For details, See Question 3]
2. Personnel Officer to Report – The effective working of organisation structure very much depends upon the ability of the personnel officer who is assigned the job to report to the chief executive of the organisation regarding personnel problems and advise him in the matters incidental thereto. The chief executive of the organisation frames or amends the personnel policies on the basis of reports of personnel officer. In case of larger firms, sectional heads of various sections and sub-sections will report to the personnel officer who will pursue the report and then forward it to the chief executive.
3. Coordination of Personnel Department with the Line Organisation – Personnel department is a staff department. Line and staff managers in an interactional and interdependent relationship. Line organisation depends on personnel department for its expert advice and specialised services. In its advisory role, the personnel department have no command or authority over the line. Thus line and personnel department relations are based on mutual cooperation.
But their relations are often characterised more by conflict than cooperation. The major source of this conflict is the difference in their view points and perception. Therefore, it is necessary that coordination – between line executive machinery and personnel department should be maintained to avoid unnecessary conflict and deadlock.
In the light of above discussion, we may. conclude “unless there is sound organisation structure, a major personnel officer reporting to the v president and a continuous coordination of the personnel department with the line organisation the personnel programme of the company does not reach its highest degree of effectiveness.”
What are the qualities and qualifications of a successful personnel executive ?
Qualities Of Personnel Executives:
The main function of personnel executive is to direct men at work
and to get the work done through them to meet the general objectives of the organisation. Therefore he should possess all qualities of a leader. It is difficult to state the qualities of a successful personnel executive. However some of the important qualities in any personnel manager may be listed below;
1. Sense of Vocation – The responsibilities of the job of the personnel : manager are so heavy that they cannot be carried out without some sense of an inner urge. The personnel manager must have faith in humanity and also in the possibility of creating a better social and industrial order.
2. Sense of Social Responsibility – Industry is a part of the society whose success depends upon the effective cooperation of the people working in the industry. Personnel manager is concerned with creating facilities for getting better cooperation from the personnel. The personnel manager must appreciate people of the organisation as social units, social groups and social organisations and must deal with them in the social background of the business.
3. Capacity for Leadership – A personnel manager has a dual role. He advises the management on human problems and exercises leadership in many matters affecting the workers. He should be ready to face opposition and to speak without fear from any level of management and to any group of workers. He should be in a position to convince others about his view points and^to provide leadership in the organisation.
4. Personal Integrity – Personnel Manager must be a man who can be trusted completely so that all people of the organisation may come to him with their worries, anxieties and problems. Even the fellow managers and directors should confide in him, their difficulties. Personnel manager is concerned with human,relation problems more than anybody else in the organisation and should be a man of great integrity.
5. Capacity for Persuasion – This is the intellectual side of leadership. The personnel manager has to persuade his fellow managers of the wisdom of the proposals he makes. Similarly, he has to persuade the personnel to reconcile with the objects of the organisations. The personnel manager should not make any haste in negotiation. He should have the patience to persuade the employees in the desired direction.
6. Dynamic Personality – The personnel manager should possess a dynamic personality with following characteristics:
- Spontaneity of Speech – Readiness and fluency combined a good knowledge of words and their meanings are essential for a personnel manager. People are more at ease before one who quickly says the words of welcome or introduction. Ability to express oneself in accurate terms avoiding misunderstanding.
- Public Speech – Public speech is essential to present his viewpoint before the management and to put the organisation objectives before the workers.
- Facial Expression – Mobility of facial expression is important For a personnel manager because it will help in dealing with the personnel more efficiently.
- Courtesy and Social Awareness – A personnel manager is human relations manager. He has to speak to people of all grades and ranks, trade union leaders, workers’ representatives in committees and the members of the Board of Directors. He should possess a sense of courtesy and social awareness.
- Personal Dignity – A, personnel manager should maintain his dignity. He should be able to mix himself with the people and yet not to be of them. ‘ ‘
- Farsightedness – He should have farsightedness. He must guess the pros and cons of the action of the management.
7. Professional Knowledge – A personnel manager must possess the professional knowledge i.e., knowledge of managing the personnel. The knowledge can be acquired by the study of the subject. He should also make study of psychology, sociology and behavioural science. He should also be familiar with research findings in the field of behavioural science. He should apply such knowledge in managing the personnel.
Describe the role of human resource manager/personnel manager in an organisation;
Role Of Human Resource Manager:
Human Resource manager is an important personality in an organisation. He plays different roles at different times. His role in the organisation may be analysed as follows :
1. As a specialist. Human resource manager is considered to be an expert in the field of human resource management like human resource planning, procurement, placement and development of personnel. As a specialist, he advises the line executives (heads of different functional departments) on matters relating to human resource management. On the basis of his advice line managers perform these functions successfully. As a specialist, his advice or suggestions have some weight.
2. As a source of Information. Being specialist in personnel matters, human resource manager is presumed to have knowledge about labour market, labour laws and other related matters so that he may guide the line executives in the right direction. He provides valuable information about labour market, labour laws and other related matters, to line executives. Such information helps line executives in formulating proper policies and procedures about human resources. He maintains records of all personnel in the organisation and conducts personnel research to provide necessary information.
3. As change Agent. The human resource manager can serve as an internal change agent to initiate necessary improvement in human resource practices. As a consultant, he can provide necessary infrastructure and support for organisational development. He helps in introducing and implementing major institutional changes in the organisation. He should, therefore, be familiar with the changing environment of the organisation.
4. As a Liaison Man. The human resource manager, very often acts as a liaison man in the organisation to serve as a link between different departments/division in the organisation.
5. As a Trouble Shooter. The human resource manager serves as a shock absorber in union-management relations. He is the management’s defence against the union activists. He, thus, acts as a trouble shooter.
6. As a welfare man. The human resource manager acts as a welfare man in the organisation. He looks after the safety, health,.welfare activities in the interest of the work-force.
7. As a Controller. The human resource manager assists the line management in effective implementation of human resource policies and programmes. He evaluates the performance of employees in all departments on the basis of set standards and advises for the correction action. As an arm of the top management, he ensures that the human resource policies and procedures.are being carried out in all the departments successfully.
Thus, the human resource manager plays a variety of roles in an organisation according to needs of the organisation. As a well wisher of the organisation he reminds managers of their moral and social obligations to employees. As a counsellor, he advises on the mental and physical health of the employees. As a mediator, he maintains peace and discipline. He acts as a liaison and communicating link between union and management. He deals with the public as the spokes person of the organisation. He also serves as a problem-shooter.
The human resource manager manages the human resources in the organisation. He is an advisor or controller rather than a decision maker. He is there to assist, advise, counsel and guide to line management in matters relating to labour force.
Describe the evolving status of human resource manager.
Status Of Human Hesource Manager:
The status of human resource manager/personnel manager has changed significantly over the years. In the early stage of industrialisation, he was considered as a second grade officer in the organisation, but now the human resource manager is considered to be a philosopher and a specialist in personnel matters. A brief description of his evolving status is given below:
1. The Policeman. In the beginning of industrialisation, the status of personnel or human resource manager was that of a policeman. The management believed that workers disliked work and need to be directed and controlled. The personnel manager was used as a watchdog to enforce prescribed regulations. He was directed to coerce them to work. The personnel manager was required to maintain discipline and law and order problem in the industry. He acted like a policeman in the industry.
2. The Law Man. With the establishment of Welfare State, a number of labour law’s and regulations were enacted to protect the interests of factory employees. At that time, the employers felt the need of a person w’ho can study and interpret the labour laws to assess their legal obligations, and to represent them before the law enforcing agencies. In the legal battle with workers, the personnel manager advocated the case for management, issued charge sheets and held inquiries against workers.
3. The Liaison Man. With the passage of time, trade unions became powerful and began to agitate for their demands. Employers required a man who can deal and negotiate with employees. The personnel or human resource manager was given that job. He also became a shock absorber and a scapegoat.
4. The Catering, Man. Some enlightened employers began to provide welfare facilities like canteen, creche etc. to workers. The personnel manager , was assigned this additional job in addition to his legal obligation. He began to administor these services also.
5. The Welfare Man. With the passage of the Factories Act, the Government made it obligatory for some specific factories to appoint a welfare officer. The welfare officer is expected to handle labour aspects like recruitment, welfare aspect like housing and industrial relations aspect like collective bargaining. The human resource manager also assigned the job of welfare officer in the factory.
6. The Productive Man. Now, the personnel manager is considered to be a productive man. He is expected to improve productivity of the industry by improving the human force by fulfilling their economic, social and psychological needs and aspirations of employees.
The Status of Personnel Manager has changed from time to time.