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high commitment management


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(HCM)

is an approach to the management of people that emphasizes the need to develop organizational commitment amongst the employees, on the assumption that this will lead to positive outcomes such as lower labour turnover, better motivation, and improved performance. The importance of increasing commitment has been recognized in various approaches to people management [e.g. theory Y (see theory X and theory Y), high trust, responsible autonomy, and employee involvement] but was popularized in the 1980s by management theorist, Richard Walton, whose normative approach advocates that organizations move from a strategy of ‘control’ to a strategy of ‘commitment’ in the management of employees. This reflects a concern amongst commentators at that time (particularly in the USA) that traditional methods (see Fordism) were no longer an appropriate means of organizing and managing people. This seemed particularly pertinent given that US organizations were faced with increasing competition from Japan and other countries in South-East Asia, all of which had a different approach to management (see theory Z and Japanization) that seemed to be delivering good results in terms of productivity, profitability, and market share. More recently, HCM is being used as a general term that embraces a diverse range of human resource practices and techniques (sometimes labelled high commitment practices—HCPs) designed to improve the overall performance of the organization through generating commitment amongst the workforce. An alternative term, high involvement management, is used by some commentators. [See high performance work practices, empowerment, and soft HRM.]

Subjects: Human Resource Management.


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