Everything you need to know about the nature of human resource management. Human resource management is very complex as it requires constant awareness and alertness in every day operations of the organization.

The need to manage employees and relationships is inherent in the managing of an organization but the very nature of employees and the way they constitute an organization makes management complex.

HRM concerns the management of the employment relationships, it is practiced in organizations by mangers.

HRM has received tremendous attention in recent years. Its nature in organization has undergone a substantial change because it is to perceive the organization in its totality. Its emphasis is on the quality of life and to develop full potential of employees, and socio-economic development.


The nature of human resource management can be studied under the following heads:-

1. Managerial Process 2. Action-Oriented 3. People-Oriented 4. Globally-Oriented 5. Continuous Process 6. Goal Oriented

7. Based on Human Relations 8. Art as Well as Science 9. All Pervasive Function 10. Interdisciplinary 10. Recent Origin 11. Comprehensive Function 12. Basis of Other Functional Areas 13. Key to Organisational Success

14. Utilization of Human Capital 15. Management of Individuals 16. Dynamic 17. Integration of Individual and Organizational Objectives 18. Staff Service 19. Development-Oriented 20. Future-Oriented.

Nature of Human Resource Management – Action-Oriented, People-Oriented, Continuous Process, Future-Oriented

Nature of Human Resource Management – Managerial Process, Forward Looking, Mixture of Art and Science, All Pervasive, Continuous Process and a Few Others

The management of employees is not only a more diffuse and complex task than the management of other resources of the organization, but also an essentially moral one. The nature of employees is dynamic, not static, because it is changing over a period of time, and governed by a combination of number of disciplines such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, political, legal and occupational etc. Their disciplines are inter dependent on each other.


Therefore, Human resource management is very complex as it requires constant awareness and alertness in every day operations of the organization. The need to manage employees and relationships is inherent in the managing of an organization but the very nature of employees and the way they constitute an organization makes management complex. HRM concerns the management of the employment relationships, it is practiced in organizations by mangers.

The nature of organization and the way it is managed, therefore, constitute the immediate context within which HRM is embedded. They generate the issues and tensions that HRM, policies, practices and procedures attempt to resolve.

HRM has received tremendous attention in recent years. Its nature in organization has undergone a substantial change because it is to perceive the organization in its totality. Its emphasis is on the quality of life and to develop full potential of employees, and socio-economic development.


Its tries to develop and maintain harmonious relations between employees working at various levels in the organization. In short, effective HRM helps an organization meet its goals in the future by providing competent and well-motivated employees.

Human resource management is a forward looking managerial concept that continuously makes effort towards availability of appropriate work force and optimum utilization of the work force.

The nature of human resource management is as follows:

Nature # 1. A Managerial Process:

Human resource management is an important aspect of management that involves planning, organising, directing, staffing and controlling of human resources so as to achieve organisational success. Human resource management resembles the feature defined by Mary Parker Follet that management is, “the art of getting things done by others”.


Human resource management is concerned with how efficiently the human resources are put to work and effectively utilized so that employees contribute to their fullest extent towards attainment of organizational objectives.

Nature # 2. Forward Looking:

HRM is a forward looking approach that attempts to assess the future human resource requirement and assures availability of required work force at right place and right time. It focuses on improving the potential of the existing workforce through motivation, training and development to meet the changing future business requirement.

Nature # 3. Mixture of Art and Science:

Human resource management is the mixture of art and science. It is art because it deals with the qualitative aspect like skill, knowledge, talent and creativity of the work force and aims at nurturing and developing the quality of the work force. It is an art of engaging the best person at work and managing the personnel to bring out the best performance. It is a science as different scientific techniques are applied for recruitment, selection, training and development and appraisal and motivation of the workforce.

It is the art of maintaining cordial relationship with the employees and motivating them to contribute their best towards achievement of organisational objectives. Human resource management requires the art of understanding the behavioural science of employees.

Nature # 4. All Pervasive:


Human resource management is all pervasive. It is needed in all kinds of organizations. Human resource management is needed in different functional areas of management like production, marketing, finance. It has immense significance in handling workforce at all level-top, middle and lower level and all categories of employees-skilled, unskilled, technical, professional, clerical and managerial.

Nature # 5. Continuous Process:

Human resource management is a continuous process and involves a series of activities, beginning with identifying the work force requirement, to recruitment and selection, training, performance appraisal. HRM is a never-ending process. Analysis of present human resource position and forecasting the future requirement and analysis of performance of the work force and other related activities are carried out on a continuous basis.

Nature # 6. Key to Organisational Success:

The growth, survival and development of the organization, its profitability, productivity, innovativeness largely depends upon the quality of the work force and how efficiently the work force is put to work and managed efficiently.

Nature # 7. Utilization of Human Capital:

HRM is concerned with effective utilization of human capital. Effective utilization means employing the human resource in such a manner so as to maximize productivity and return. The quality of human resources may be modified by motivation, training, education and development. Effective utilization of human resource will lead to optimum utilization of all other resources.

Nature # 8. Management of Individuals:


Human resource management deals with management of every individual working in the organisation. People work as individuals and in groups in the organization. HRM recognizes individuality and individual differences and manages people with differing characteristics.

Nature # 9. Dynamic:

Every individual working in an organisation possesses different and distinct physiological, psychological, sociological and ethical qualities. Furthermore their quality, behaviour is not static. Hence managing of human resource is a complex activity and “one size fits all” plans and strategies related to managing human resources is not applicable.

Nature # 10. Integration of Individual and Organizational Objectives:

Human resource management integrates the individual and organisational objectives. All human resource plans, objectives and activities are in accordance with the organisational objectives and policies. HRM matches the available work force with the organizational requirement and helps in achieving success. It tries to build and maintain harmonious and cordial relations between people working at various levels in the organization.

Nature of Human Resource Management – Pervasive Force, Action-Oriented, People-Oriented, Globally-Oriented, Future-Oriented, Development-Oriented & a Few Others

The nature of HRM can be studied as under:


1. It is a Pervasive Force:

People are the most vital asset in the organization. It is required that they should be managed and retained effectively for the best achievement of organization’s goal. Hence HRM presents in each and every organization. Without HRM, organization is just like fish without water.

2. It is Action-Oriented:

HRM gives emphasis on action. It acts by using the records, rules and procedures to solve employees’ problems and thereby giving the employees maximum possible satisfaction.

3. It is People-Oriented:

HRM considers and treats each and every employee as an individual. It provides them suitable services and programmes to fulfil their needs and make them satisfied. HRM believes in team work.


4. It is Globally-Oriented:

HRM is being practiced in every organization all over the world though it differs from country to country. In many countries like the United Kingdom, the HRM practices are very well employee oriented where as in India very few organizations really work in the interest of employees. Companies in one country should adopt the best HR practices and culture from other countries.

5. It is Future-Oriented:

Noble HRM practices help the organization in achieving its goals in future by providing well motivated, satisfied, sincere and committed employees. Hence HRM has a link with organization’s long term strategic plan.

6. It is Development-Oriented:

HRM is concerned with the development of every employee in the organization. It provides suitable training and development programmes to make the employee competent enough to achieve organizational goal.


7. It is an Integrating Mechanism:

HRM acts as an intra-connecting mechanism between various departments. It helps in maintaining warm and cordial relationships between people working at various departments and levels in the organization. HRM believes in teamwork for achievement of organizational goals.

8. It is a Staff Service:

HR department assists and advises the line or operating mangers to do their personnel work most effectively. HRM is a staff function.

9. It is an Inter-Disciplinary Function:

HRM uses the knowledge and inputs from various disciplines such as psychology, organizational behaviour, sociology, anthropology, and economics. HRM is a multidisciplinary activity. In order to make HRM more effective, one must understand the contribution of all these disciplines.


10. It is a Continuous Function:

HRM is the part and parcel of every organization and human relations are very important in all organizations. HRM is not a short-term phenomenon. It never stops.

Nature of Human Resource Management

The nature of HRM is multifaceted.

The major aspects are as below:

(i) Pervasive Force:

HRM permeates all the levels of management, right from shop floor management up to the top management.


(ii) Action-Oriented:

HRM is not just record keeping or concerned with only laying down rules, regulations or procedures. It is highly focused on getting the things done. It relies more on rational policies.

(iii) People-Oriented:

As the term HRM suggests, it is all people oriented at individual, group and organizational level.

(iv) Future-Oriented:

HRM is concerned with future. It has to answer the questions such as, what will happen to the organization and its people in the absence of proper HRM? How HRM is to be modified for survival in the competitive world?


(v) Development-Oriented:

As the very survival of organization depends on the development of human resources, HRM is more focused on developing people.

(vi) Integrating Mechanism:

Though HRM is an auxiliary function, its role is comprehensive and integrating as the entire organization is run by people.

(vii) Interdisciplinary:

HRM draws heavily from disciplines such as human psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, law and politics.

(viii) Continuous Function:

As long as the organization exists, HRM continues to be an important function.

Nature of Human Resource Management – Views of J. D. Mooney, Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell, Dessler and Varkkey, Glean Gardiner, F. B. Miller and Others

An organisation is formed for the fulfilment of its objectives. For example, a manufacturing firm aims at producing goods at the lowest cost and thus earns profits. This process involves activities such as produc­tion, sales and finance. These functions are controlled by different line managers.

However, the entire work is done by the employees in different departments. Therefore, the primary function of every line manager is to seek cooperation of the employees of his/her department. Only then he/she can do his/her job effectively. In this way, HRM acquires a higher place than production management, sales manage­ment, materials management, finance management and the like.

So far as the nature of HRM is concerned, there are many views. According to one view, HR admin­istration is a line responsibility and a staff function. Departments contributing directly to primary objec­tives of the organisation are often designated ‘line departments’, and the departments that do not contribute directly towards the primary objectives but rather do so indirectly by facilitating and assisting in the performance of line work are designated ‘staff departments’.

However, much confusion has arisen both in literature and among managers as to what ‘line’ and ‘staff are. One widely held concept of ‘line’ and ‘staff’ is that ‘line functions are those which have direct responsibility for accomplishing the objec­tives of the enterprise’ and the staff ‘refers to those elements of the organisation that help the line to work most effectively in accomplishing the primary objectives of the enterprise’.

According to this concept, production, sales and finance are classified as line functions, and purchasing, accounting, human resources, plant maintenance and quality control as staff functions. However, the confusion is with regard to the determination whether a particular activity is directly related to the accomplishment of primary objectives of the enterprise.

For example, purchasing is auxiliary to the main goals of the busi­ness as it is not directly essential as production is. But all the same, purchasing is very important for accomplishing enterprise objectives. Thus, it is difficult to categorise whether a particular activity should fall under the purview of line function or staff function.

Another view, which appears to be more convincing, is held by J. D. Mooney, Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell, and so on. According to this view, line and staff are simply a matter of relationship. In line authority, there is a supervisor with a line of authority running to a subordinate.

This hierarchical arrangement is referred to as the ‘scalar principle’ in an enterprise. Thus, the nature of line authority is related to the relationship in which a superior exercises direct supervision over a subordinate, that is, an authority relationship in direct line or steps.

The nature of the staff relationship is advisory. According to Mooney, staff is auxiliary. He states, ‘Any duty in organisation that cannot be identified as an actual link in the scalar process is an auxiliary function, adhering to the line like sidings along the main track’.

According to Dessler and Varkkey, the HR manager carries out three distinct functions, namely – (a) a line function—the HR manager directs the activities of the people in his/her own department and thus exerts the line authority, (b) a coordinative function—the HR manager coordinates personnel activi­ties and exerts functional authority/control and (c) staff (assist and advise) function—the HR manager assists in hiring, training, evaluating, rewarding, counselling, promoting and firing employees.

Here, he/ she also plays the role of an innovator, role of employee advocacy and administers various benefit programmes and handles employee grievances.

Anyway, without probing further this difference of opinion, the fact remains that, by and large, every subsidiary unit adopts both types of organisation. Thus, the departments are organised either on line basis or on line and staff basis. However, it is also possible that one department in itself be line organisa­tion, while for another department it may be auxiliary.

Hence, HR department may be one such depart­ment. Within the HR department, it may have line organisation, while for other department it may be auxiliary. Hence, HR department involves both line and staff activities.

But, by and large, it has staff relationship because while, on the one hand, it procures efficient and effective personnel for other departments, imparts training to them, develops their productivity, improves their working conditions, maintains personnel records and determines their wage policies and method of wage payments, on the other hand, it provides adequate protection and security to the workers.

Besides, as Urvic has also pointed out, personnel (HR) management cannot be completely separated from other functions of the organisation. As personnel management is responsible for maintaining good industrial relations in the organisation, it is concerned with every department and with all managerial decisions in the organisation.

Another important point is that all the functions of personnel management cannot be specialised, though in order to make the subunit a modern one, specialisation can be adapted to a limited extent.

Urvic has further suggested that the formation of personnel policies should be a centralised activity, that is, such decisions should be taken by the administration. It has also been suggested by him that the personnel management should be accountable to the board of directors or the chief executive.

It has also been stated by him that all the units doing different activities of the personnel department such as recruitment and selection, training and development, industrial relations, wage and salary administration, and labour welfare should be in the line control of the personnel manager.

However, with regard to three of the important aspects of the personnel function, namely determination and maintenance of the relations between the employees and the organisation, negotiations with the trade unions, and promo­tion and development of higher executives, the personnel manager should act only as a staff expert, and it should be within the purview of the chief executive to discharge these functions.

Next important point with regard to the nature of HRM is that its utility is universal. It is a universal activity and has a universal utility. Its general principles are applicable everywhere—in trade; industry; political, religious and social fields; and so on and for everyone.

Functions of HRM are as important in the offices, government departments, political organisations and other trade organisations as in the industrial organisations, the reason being that every organisation whose aim is to accomplish its objec­tives through collective efforts utilises the services, efforts and efficiency of its employees, and such activities fall under the purview of HRM.

In an industrial enterprise, every department has to depend for its success on the HRM because the success of the department is directly related to the willing and effective cooperation of the employees of that department. It is here that the HR manager comes into picture, and it is because of this that it is said that in order to be a successful and effective manager, one is required to have qualities of a good HR administrator.

Glean Gardiner was very correct when he stated that by centralising the personnel function in a personnel department, too many people have assumed that you can centralise human relations. That was perhaps the error in the thinking of the production people and general managers who felt that it would be very helpful if we could just put all our personnel headaches into one and let somebody else worry about them for all of us.

Another important view with regard to the nature of HRM is that HRM is a profession. In order to discuss whether HRM is a profession or not, it is necessary to understand the meaning and characteris­tics of the term ‘profession’. Professionalisation involves certain variables.

Thus, professionalisation is based on scientific knowledge and a temper for service. Professional people are well-equipped with the knowledge of their field, are adequately trained and have scientific outlook towards their profession. While we analyse HRM in the light of the aforementioned character­istic features of a profession, we can unhesitatingly assert that HRM is a profession as it possesses all the aforesaid characteristics/features of a profession.

According to writers such as R. P. Kalhan and F. B. Miller, personnel management is a profession. An HR manager has got wide moral responsibilities, and in order to discharge these responsibilities properly, he/she is required to have high intelligence, good personality, adequate training, calibre and knowledge of principles of management and social psychology.

The HR manager does not merely owe a duty to management or the enterprise but also owes his/her duty to the employees, the government and the community at large. The society can even alter its assignment of responsibilities. For example, the society can state that the enterprise should enhance the material standard of living but that this must be accompanied by affirmative action to assist culturally disadvantaged groups within the society. HRM has got a lot of social responsibility.

Nature of Human Resource Management – HRM is People Oriented, Pervasive Function, Continuous Activity, Comprehensive Function and a Few Others

The personnel management department was majorly concerned with payrolls, employee records and other clerical operations but the social legislation of the 1960’s and 1970’s forced dramatic changes and converted personnel departments to the sophisticated Human Resource Department.

Human Resource Department is concerned with efficient and effective use of human talent and motivate them to achieve the organizational goal. Therefore HRM is a design of the formal system or process of managing people in a well-structured and defined manner. It covers various functions like-staffing, retention, pay & compensation, performance management, training, change management etc.

It includes managing people in a collective form, enabling and empowering them and building a positive and healthy work culture. HRM encompasses the concepts of “Best fit” and “Best practice” and seeks a correlation between the HRM strategy and the overall corporate strategy.

HR Manager along with other top/senior management helps in development of the corporate strategy. HR managers help in monitoring and controlling of the strategies and decisions via employee feedback, survey etc. In many cases HR department also designs processes and systems that the operating managers must help implement.

Some important nature are as follows:

(a) HRM is People Oriented:

It means managing human beings as individuals and as a work group in the organization. The major concern of HRM is to see that people are motivated for the job which ultimately leads to organizational growth and efficiency.

(b) HRM is an All Pervasive Function:

It is present in all organiza­tions and at all levels. It is there in business organizations, govern­ment departments, research organizations as well. It is that part of management which is concerned with people at work and with their relationships with an enterprise. Thus, every manager is involved with HRM but they are helped by the expert staff of the HR department of the organization.

(c) It is a Continuous Activity:

Management of human resources is a never ending process. It keeps on functioning throughout the life of an organization as people keep coming and going out of orga­nization after a span of work. It cannot stop functioning even for a day as it would collapse the recruitment, training, motivating, compensating and evaluating processes of the organization which are required for every day operations.

(d) HR is a Comprehensive Function:

Since HRM is concerned with all human assets and their regular assessment, training, develop­ment, advancement, motivation etc., it sweeps through all func­tions of management. Here, the manager plans, organizes, directs and controls people all the time for all operations/divisions. Thus, it is a comprehensive function.

(e) It is Development Oriented:

HRM develops the intellectual capi­tal e.g. specialized knowledge, skills and learning capacity. It also develops social and emotional capital of the organization by improving the sociability, integrity, network relationships, self-confidence and resilience of employees for the benefit of organiza­tions. Since it is concerned with regular developmental activities of potential employees, it is development oriented.

(f) HRM is a Science as well as an Art:

All policies and rules made by the human resource department in any organization are based on scientific principles. These principles are the basis on which the HRM develops lines of application for handling organizational challenges. When any scientific principle is used for handling organizational problems by a manager, he is using his creative ability as an art. It has been widely accepted by organization theo­rists that handling of manpower resource in any work place is the most creative art.

(g) HRM is Future Oriented:

The term HRM is wider than personnel management. In HRM the focus is to improve the dynamic component called ‘human being’ for the benefit of organization for present as well as future use. Motivating employees for future is inherent and integral to the process of human resource management.

Nature of Human Resource Management – Nature and Features of HRM

The following features highlight the nature of human resource management:

Nature # 1. Part of Management Discipline:

Human resource management is an integral part of the management discipline. It is embedded in the organisational structure of an enterprise. It is a field of study and not a discipline in itself. Being the part of HRM, it depends upon management for the concepts, principles, and techniques and then applies them in the management of human resources.

Nature # 2. Comprehensive Function:

Human resource management is a comprehensive function which cover the all types of people, at all levels. It means that the HRM manages all types of people at work. Therefore, it manages workers, supervisors, managers, executives, officers and the other personnel in the organisation.

Nature # 3. As a Process:

Like management is a process, HRM is also a process. The process consists of several activities and sub activities. In process the information flows through interrelated stages of events directed towards achievement of objectives. In HRM the processes of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling are used for the purpose of recruitment, selection, development, integration, and maintenance of the people for the achievement of organisational objectives.

Nature # 4. Pervasive Function:

HRM is a pervasive function. It is required in all types of organisations and also at all the levels. It is equally important in government agencies, armed forces, sports organisations, educational institutions etc. This is because recruitment, selection, training and development is an integral function of each and every organisation. Even the big organisations have the separate department for the management of human resources, which performs all the functions relating to the human resources.

Nature # 5. People Oriented:

As human resource management deals with employees individually as well as in group, it is said that human resource management is people oriented. Human resource management deals with the human relations in the organisation. From top to the bottom of the organisation HRM is concerned with personnel, so it is said to be people oriented.

Nature # 6. Continuous Process:

Human resource management is not a one shot function; rather it is a never ending exercise. It is a continuous process and requires constant alertness and awareness of human relations and their importance in every day operations. Terry has observed that, “The HR function cannot be turned on and off like water from the faucet; it cannot be practiced only one hour each day, one day a week”. Therefore, human resource management is continuously required in the organisation.

Nature # 7. Goal Oriented:

HRM is concerned with the achievement of organisational objectives by providing tools and techniques for effectively managing the people in the organisation. The achievement of the objectives of the organisation depends on the type and quality of the human resources it possess and how effectively it utilizes its human resources.

Nature # 8. Based on Human Relations:

Human resource management is directed for the improvement of human relations in the organisation. It stresses the solution of personnel problems for the achievement of both organisational goals and employees’ personal goals. Human resource management considers every employee as an individual so as to provide services for facilitating their satisfaction and growth.

Nature # 9. Art as Well as Science:

Handling people is one of the most creative art and human resource management involves the application of theoretical knowledge for the solution of the problems of human resources, this makes HRM as the art. HRM is a science as it comprises of the organized body of knowledge consisting of principles and techniques. Therefore, HRM is both art as well as science.

Nature # 10. Interdisciplinary:

Human resource management has become a highly specialized job in the modern times. It is interdisciplinary and not an isolated subject. It uses the knowledge from the various disciplines like economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics etc.

Nature # 11. Recent Origin:

In contrast to the other fields of the management, human resource management is comparatively of recent origin. It started in the later parts of the nineteenth century.

Nature # 12. Employer Oriented:

HRM is basically employer oriented. It means that the employees feel satisfied when their needs and aspirations are fulfilled and they work whole heartedly for the accomplishment of the objectives. So, HRM is considered as employer oriented.

Nature # 13. Basis of Other Functional Areas:

Human resource management is a basis of all the functional areas of management like financial management, production management, marketing management etc. The effectiveness of all the departments depends upon the effectiveness of the human resources of those departments.