Personnel Management (Edwin B. Flippo; 1984)

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Written in the early era of Human Resource Management Flippo in his book on Personnel Management centralizes around management functions; "plan, organize, direct, control". Flippo's Personnel Management introduced the subject, and coherently built background for achievement of individual, organizational, and social objectives. For the very important instance Flippo talked about Quality of work life and Quality circles.

In a coherent fashion Flippo threw research findings on how to organize personnel unit, planning the personnel unit, and controlling the personnel unit. Flippo advises the reader that the management of a specialized unit is charged with accomplishment of nebulous but important goals is no easy task. The personnel manager should not rely on the softness of the field to provide exemption from improving managerial practices. In organizing the unit, choice lies among multiple bases of departmentation- functions, clientele, and service. A considerable obligation must be assumed in tying the unit into entire organization, following such guides as compulsory staff advice, limitation of staff economy, and staff independence.

The planning of personnel function demands decision making in a systematic and objective manner, calculating and comparing probabilities, costs, risks, and benefits. Assessing the emerging technologies Flippo pointed out opportunities of benefiting from computers and electronic data processing in planning the personnel unit. The control factors in personnel unit is highly desired by monitoring the activities and carrying out a comprehensive audit. For future Flippo is quiet hopeful to benefit from human resources accounting.

 For procurement Flippo emphasized on social responsibility factors by compliance to state laws and discrimination and harassment issues. Flippo gathered the policies of equal employment opportunities. As a day-to-day progress was witnessed Flippo stated from a personnel manager, "We do our best and pray a lot".  The organizational and job design ranged from a general to specific, from basic overall objectives of an organization to the specific content of an individual task. The organizational and job design would strengthen its application if knowledge of objectives, functions, relationships, structure, job enrichment, and job enlargement were added to the personnel manager's expertise. The organization of work relies heavily upon a close systematic approach where feedback is considered to be an important input.

Adding to the organizational and job design Flippo introduces the techniques of job analysis that would cumulate into a new job design based on ideal practical implications. Achieving the quality of personnel needs is one the most emphasized purpose in job re-designs. Job descriptions, and job specifications are discussed in their multiple purposes and as a tool for measuring the worth of the job. The misleading part of job specifications and job descriptions is discussed in terms of different behavioral expectations for same jobs at different organizations. Flippo provided a variable dimension of human resource planning in its core essence of forecasting the workforce requirements way before the actual commencement of operations.

Flippo appeared as an expert in the era of eighties, the administrator of personnel function. Recruiting a pool of potential candidates for hiring, through a set of comprehensive selection techniques is what leads to the need of proper orientation and introduction obligatory. Insight from organizational behaviour leads to the discussions on psychological testing in selection. To Flippo, validity and reliability of these testing methodologies has to be ensured for future performance relevance with selection

 Training and development is a major component of Flippo's writing on personnel management. Flippo threw ideas on preparing the employee for the today's work, training for future responsibilities, and taking a leadership role in the organization. Making training and development an ongoing concern revolves around different techniques discussed by Flippo.

 Flippo correlated Performance Management and Management by Objectives. The formality and systematic approach is greatly emphasized, with reduction of halo, harshness, and central tendency errors. The career planning for personnel management has been touched from various angles, thus raising questions to the reader's mind; how to deal with the issues like seniority.

 Flippo guarded employee rights by fair compensation in an equitable fashion. The factors affecting the determination of equitable compensation vary in the number and complexities, and management should be concerned about some decision-making criteria in fair and equitable compensation. Flippo label the compensation techniques as motivators for performance improvement. Flippo enumerated the variable pay methods, and supplement compensation as fringe benefits.

Balancing the work life by creating integration of employee and organizational interests is examined by looking at the nature of these needs. Teams and groups have been looked into as a great source of creating integration efforts. However Flippo have also gathered as how to deal with labor union-a powerful group.  The conflict resolution is suggested by emphasizing on collective bargaining and Flippo have dedicated a complete chapter to this area. Telling employees what to do and what not to do is very important. Grievances and disciplinary actions in situational context is phrased as a major source of control over the human resources.

 Maintenance of employee attitudes is what was highly desirable in the management of personnel in the 1980's and Flippo didn't ignore it. Flippo associated the attitudinal maintenance with the physical maintenance of employees by providing a safe and sound work environment. What Flippo have not mentioned is How to retain employees.

It is not the color of the wrap that makes this book successful. The ending also hurts because everything is set for a very good climax and things are just happening in the right way but employees have to separate from the organization at the right time. Suddenly something very bad happens and that bad thing is a shock to the employee when he returns back to the society. Flippo gets insight of how can any organization make separation programs useful for the employee as well as organization and the society. And ever coherent in his approach Flippo emphasizes on employee research to make future less uncertain in building organization's readiness for change.

When the reader views the book as a whole it is the "employee lifecycle" that has been discussed. A complete deterrent constituent is taken into consideration before moving to the next stage in an employed life. Flippo's Personnel management truly answers the question; "Is Human Resource Management the old wine in new bottle?". To me what Flippo have talked about is what we today call "The Hard HRM". I read and got answers to my many questions and it raised a few questions also. Can one close the bottleneck from where Personnel Management tries to get mixed into HRM?

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