UNIVERSTY OF ZAMBIA
HRM 225/115 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Discuss the following approaches to human resource
i. Mechanist approach
ii. Paternalistic approach
iii. Systems approach
29TH NOVEMBER, 2012
The mechanistic approach to human resources management (HRM) focuses on the simplest way to structure work so that it can be done most quickly and effective. The particular work of each employee must be so simple that anyone can be trained very quickly to do it and each person only does a bit of the whole process. In this approach organizations are not really dependent on individual worker, since they are easily replaced.
McLennan et al. (1987) describe a typical mechanistically treated worker quite profusely: “One need only observe a production-line worker to realize that extent to which they are not involved in their work. The movement of his body is limited to a few simple operations that are repeated in a relatively fixed time cycle. Social contact is limited to his immediate work neighbours or a periodic visit from a superior. Their facial expressions, his gestures and his posture appear mesmerised by the repetitiveness of a work cycle that engages their physical self while neglecting his emotional and cognitive sides of an individual’s capacity” (p. 61). The mechanistic approach assumes that there is only one best way which is written down in detailed job descriptions. These form a cascading hierarchy of precise expectations and job tasks much like the original linking pin idea of (Likert, 1961). Authority flows down, obedience flows up. Action is predictable and responsibility defined. Pride is taken in the impersonality...
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