Development of Human Resources Management

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HRM, at least in a primitive form, has existed since the first attempts at group effort. Certain HR functions, even though informal in nature, were performed whenever people came together for a common purpose. During the course of this past century, however, the processes of managing people have become more formal­ized and specialized, and a growing body of knowledge has been accumulated by practitioners and scholars.

An understanding of the events contributing to the growth of HRM can provide a perspective for contemporary policies and practices.

 

USA HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF HRM PRACTICES

 

YEAR

EVENT

 

1796

Earliest authenticated strike in America; Philadelphia printers seek to gain minimum weekly wage of $6.

1848

Passage of a law in Philadelphia setting a minimum wage for workers in commercial occupations.

1881

Beginning of Frederick W. Taylor’s work in scientific management at the Midvale Steel Plant in Philadelphia.

 

1883

Establishment of the U.S. Civil Service Commission.

 

1886

Founding of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

 

1912

Passage in Massachusetts of the first minimum wage law.

 

1913

Establishment of the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

1915

First course in personnel administration, offered at Dartmouth College.

 

1920

First text in personnel administration, published by Ordway Tead and Henry C. Metcalf.

 

1924

Point method of job evaluation developed by the National Electric Manufacturers’ Association and the National Metal Trades Association.

 

1927

Hawthorne studies begun by Mayo, Roethlisberger, and Dickson.

 

1935

Establishment of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) by several unions previously affiliated with the AFL.

 

1539

Publication of the first edition of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

1941

Beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II, demanding the mobilization of individuals trained in personnel management and the rapid development of personnel programs in the military and in industry.

 

1955

Merger of the AFL and CIO.

 

1957

Federal Women’s Program established by the U.S. Civil Service Commission to enhance the employment and advancement of women.

 

1975

Beginning of a professional accreditation (now certification) program by the Personnel Accreditation Institute.

 

1978

Passage of the Civil Service Reform Act, which established the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

 

1982

Beginning of the erosion of the employment-at-will doctrine, with increasing attention to “just cause” terminations.

 

1985

Increased emphasis on employee participation in organizational decision making to improve productivity and competitive position.

 

1990

Heightened awareness of privacy rights of employees as employers monitor employee performance.

 

1991

Increased emphasis on global HR practices; greater use of temporary employees; observed

 

1995

Emphasis on sexual harassment; heightened attention to greater diversity in the workforce; increased emphasis on total quality management; and downsizing or “rightsizing” of organizations.

 

 

 

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