Is a term used to describe the developmental aspects of managing people. It is an approach that emphasizes the need to treat employees as assets which must be looked after, trained, and developed in order to get the best out of them. This approach stresses the importance of getting organizational commitment from employees (see high commitment management). In contrast, hard HRM views people as factors of production which, like other assets, can be treated dispassionately in line with business requirements. Thus, under hard HRM the important concepts are flexibility and performance (see high performance work practices). There is no particular need to develop and train employees or to elicit their commitment, unless the business requirements demand this. Indeed, hard HRM is seen by some commentators to be the pernicious side of managing people since it means that all actions are justifiable, providing they are in line with business needs—employees are merely a variable cost. Some critics have argued that the soft/hard dichotomy is a misleading concept because it fails to account for the fact that many organizations may be engaging in both hard and soft HRM simultaneously for different groups of employees.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.