• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 238 other followers

  • Authors

Elaboration on the evolution of Human Resources Management

Evolution of the Management of Human Resources:

Kautilya provides a systematic treatment of management of human resources as early as 4th century B.C. in his treatise titled “Artha-Shastra”. As it has been described in the book, there prevailed logical procedures and principles in respect of labour organizations such as Shreni or guild system and co-operative sector. The wages were paid strictly in terms of quantity and quality of work turned out and punishment were imposed for unnecessarily delaying the work or spoiling it. The Government used to take active interest in the operation of both public and private sector enterprises and provided well-enunciated procedures to regulate employer-employee relationship. Kautilya provides an excellent discussion on staffing and personnel management embracing job descriptions, qualifications for jobs, selection procedure, executive development, incentive systems (Sarasasaama- daana- bheda- danda- catura or Carrot and Stick approach) and performance evaluation. We find several indications of prevalence of guild system involving performance of work at the residence of the entrepreneurs themselves. In course of time, the guild system was followed by cooperative sector consisting of craftsmen and traders, and purporting to promote their professional interests. Indeed, numerous professional societies were formed on these lines with their own systematic procedures and policies to nurture their own interests. Again, there are several indications regarding the operation of principles of the division of labour. The concept of “Varnashram” or caste system was originally based on these principles. The individuals who used to earn their livelihood by engaging themselves in activities such as teaching, sacrifice or state management were designated as Brahmins while those specialising in fighting were termed as Kshatriyas. Moreover, individuals engaged in the areas of trade, business and agriculture were called Vaishyas and those devoting themselves in manual work were known as Shudras. Later on, these professions emerged to be hereditary which facilitated the transfer of skills and training from one generation t another Numerous professions based on such specialised transfer of skills became hereditary including goldsmiths, weavers, potters, blacksmiths, carpenters, hunters, charioteers, snake charmers, architects, sculptors, armourers and turned out to be separate communities by themselves. From the 14th century B.C. to the later half of the 10th century A.D., the relationships between the employer and employees were marked by justice and equity. As regards Indian economy in Mediaeval India, although there was a lull because of numerous foreign aggressions for around 700 years, during the Mughal rules, the India trade and commerce were revived. Several “Karkhanas” were established at Agra, Delhi, Lahore, Ahmedabad and various other places. However, majority of the artisans and the craftsmen were extremely poor and lived on starvation level. Therefore, it was not startling that the productivity of workers was very low. Presumably, low wages, climate conditions and poor physique were the major factors responsible for it. During early British rules, there prevailed a laissez-faire policy towards the business. As it is evidenced in the report of the IndigoCommission, the working conditions were appalling, living conditions were sub-human and several abuses prevailed in indigo plantations. Again, as regards tea plantation, we come across several inhuman cruelties caused to the workers. Even the Plantation Act of 1863 makes provisions that if the workers failed to complete their period of contract, they should be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three months. Explicitly, the working conditions in the tea plantations were extremely bad. The laborers who attempted to run away were subject to imprisonment, whipping and allied extreme punishment. Accordingly, the workers were entirely helpless in the ace of the organized and powerful European planters. The above conditions prevailed till the enactment of the Factory Act of 1881. According to the Act, the workers employed in the factories were allowed a eek off-day and provisions were also made for inspection as well as limiting he hours of work for women workers to eleven per day. The act further provided that the minimum age of children for employment should be seven ears and that the maximum working hours for them should not exceed seven ours a day and that too in the day-shift. In 1890, the first labour organization designated as Bombay Mill Hands Association was established. Subsequently, in 1905, the printers’ Union at Calcutta and in 1907, the Postal union at Bombay was established. The Madras Labour Union was organized thereafter in 1918. In 1922, the indentured labour system involving migration of Indian labour to other countries on contract basis was abolished as a result of a strong National movement. In the same year, the Central Labour Board was established to federate the different unions in the Bombay city and the All India Trade Union Congress was organized. It may be noted that the reliable statistics of trade union growth are not available for the period before the formal implementation of the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926, a landmark in the history of industrial relations in this country. The early thirties witnessed a highly-weakened trade union movement. However, the conditions prevailing five years before as well as during the Second World War, were conducive to the rapid growth of the trade unionism. Between 1939-40 and 1944-45 the number of registered trade unions increased from 666 to 865 (i.e., by 29.7 percent) and the total membership of union submitting returns increased from 511, 134 to 889, 388 (i.e., by 70.4 percent). There was a large scale expansion of the trade union movement after the Second World War – especially after the independence. As Subramanian observes, there existed four-fold reasons for this rapid growth. These were as follows: (1) the cumulative impact of the acute economic distress stemming from war conditions and the removal of the war-time restrictions on strikes, (2) the development of three more central labour organizations and the competition among them, (3) the labour policy of the Government based on adjudication rather than collective bargaining, and (4) the growth of the spirit of trade unionism among the workers. Accordingly, during the period 1947-1960 while, industrial employment rose by 2.8 times, the total claimed union membership also went up by 2.3 times. In 1960, 45 percent of the total industrial workforce was claimed to be unionized. Today, the total membership is estimated to be around 4.3 million i.e., 28 percent of total workforce. Explicitly, during post-independence period, the activities of Personnel Department in different public and private sectors have multiplied. According to the provisions of section 49 of the Factories Act, 1948, it became obligatory for the-employers to employ a Welfare Officer in a factory employing 500 or more workers. Likewise, section 58 of the Mines Act, 1952, empowers the Government to specify employment of welfare officer/officers. However, it does not mean that the functions of Personnel Department are entirely limited to welfare activities. Management of human resources is being regarded as a specialized profession such as that of medicine and law. In addition to the industrial relations functions (although sometimes the industrial relations forms a separate department), the Personnel Department is responsible for other varied functions including employment, safety, training, wage and salary administration and research and development. The Head of the Personnel Department is associated with top management and helps it in the formulation of personnel policies for the company. Indeed, the activities involved in Personnel Department are akin to those performed in this department in any other western countries.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: