Human Resources Management (HRM) and Personnel Management

Guest (1989) formulates the question: Human Resource Management (HRM) and personnel management.

Can anyone clarify the difference? ” Armstrong (1987) gives a ready answer (before the question is asked):

“Some HR managers have no idea what is behind the acronym HRM, while others say the concept is just ‘old wine in a new bottle’. Reference: “Moral Aspects of Human Resource Management (HRM)“,

However, despite the widespread attitude towards Human Resource Management as a new label for the traditional process of personnel management, the merit of this concept, according to many, lies in the fact that it emphasizes the attitude towards people as key resources, the management of which this model mainly assigns to senior managers directly involved in strategic business planning. Reference: “HR management in HR departments and organizations: psychological problems“,

The idea of ​​such an attitude towards people is not new, but many organizations do not pay enough attention to it. “A new bottle of old wine,” or a new name for the traditional process, can help overcome this shortcoming.

Torrington (1989) argues that “personnel management is formed at the expense of the assimilation of some additional aspects that form and complement the ever-evolving body of expertise. Human Resource Management is not a revolutionary discovery, the proposed model is just another aspect of a multilateral role. Reference: “Functions of the conflicts in organizations and Human Resources Management department“,

The common denominator between Human Resources Management (HRM) and Personnel Management

It can be argued that the personnel management system and HRM have the following common features:

The personnel management strategy, as well as the HRM strategy, is derived from the organizational strategy. Reference: “Human Resource Planning in organizations“,

Both approaches recognize that line managers are responsible for managing workers. The personnel department provides the manager with the necessary consulting support for the performance of his / her duties.

The values ​​of both personnel management and the “flexible” version of HRM are interpreted as “respect for the individual”, the balance of organizational and individual needs, and the development of people to achieve their maximum level of competence, which contributes to the growth of personal satisfaction and achieving the company’s goals. Reference: “Personnel management styles in Human Resource Departments”,

Both approaches recognize that one of the most important processes is the selection of people who meet the ever-changing needs of the company – the selection of suitable people for the respective positions and the development of local workers. Reference: “Human resource management (HRM) as a theory“,

Both approaches use the same set of tools for selection, competency analysis, performance management, training, management development, and the remuneration process.
of the staff, like the “flexible” version of HRM, attaches great importance to the communication processes and the active participation of the employees in the system of labor relations in the company. Reference: “Effective Human Resources managers successfully perform leadership functions“,

Differences between Human Resource Management (HRM) and Personnel Management

The differences between the systems of personnel management and HRM are caused by the differences in the accents and approaches, rather than in the essence. According to Hendry and Pettigrew (1990), HRM can be seen as “a perspective of personnel management, not personnel management as such”.

Based on the Legge literature review (Legge, 1989), she identified three main differences between personnel management and HRM:

Personnel management as an activity is aimed at non-senior staff, while HRM, which does not have a sufficiently clear direction, is aimed at the staff of executives.

Human Resources Management is an integrated activity of line managers

HRM is to a much greater extent an integrated activity of line managers in itself, while personnel management tries to influence line managers.

HRM emphasizes the importance of the participation of senior managers in the process of forming the culture, while personnel management has always been suspicious of the company’s development and related ideas of a unitary and socio-psychological nature.

The strategic nature of Human Resource Management (HRM)

The strategic nature of Human Resource Management (HRM) is in itself another difference that many authors point out, essentially rejecting the idea that traditional personnel management was once linked to the strategic area of ​​business. Hendry and Pettigrew (1990), for example, argue that the strategic nature of HRM is more pronounced.

The biggest significant difference between the two approaches may lie in the greater orientation of HRM towards management and business. HRM, by definition, occupies a central place in the strategic activities of senior management, where the idea of ​​HRM is assimilated, developed, and promoted directly by the management team serving the interests of its organization.

HRM claims a holistic approach, taking into account all the spectra of interests represented in the company, in which the interests of its members are recognized but subordinated to the interests of the company itself.

Hence the importance of strategic integration and strong culture, which are formed based on vision and leadership style of leadership and need people attached to the adopted strategy, ready for change, and fit into the culture of the organization.

Guest (1990) summarizes the hypothesis, arguing that “the importance of HRM is large enough for only HR managers to deal with.”

Human Resources Management as an approach to traditional personnel management

Human Resource Management can rather be seen as one of the approaches to traditional personnel management as an alternative.

When comparing the HRM model with the personnel management model, more similarities than differences arise.

Although it should be noted that such concepts as strategic integration, cultural management, staff commitment, universal quality, and investment in human capital development, along with the unitary philosophy (when the interests of management and workers coincide), are essential constituent models of HRM.



In addition, this model corresponds to the methods of doing business and resource management in the modern conditions of the company’s existence.

Therefore, despite the limitations of the concept pointed out by many theorists, the term “HRM” is becoming more and more widespread as an alternative to the term “personnel management”.

More and more people are realizing the conformity of this model with the modern realities of the company’s life.