People Management – Soft, blurry and unmastered

HRM tools

HRM tools

This blog entry is dedicated to a lot of HRM materials I’m currently reading. Although some of them are quite fascinating they seem to repeat themselves over and over again…

I can’t help but is this really the truth about people management? Is it really such an unpredictable, soft thing which can’t be controlled? Or are there at least a few models and concepts out there which are „hard facts“?

I have read a lot about Pfeffers Competitive Advantage, Deal & Kennedy’s model of corporate culture, Hofstedes cultural dimensions, Importance of the line manager, Talent war vs. commitment war, Best fit theory, Best practice theory, Resource based view, International HRM, HR strategy, Bath’s people & performance model, Service-profit chain model, Three dimensional people strategy, Chain of command, Control span, Job design, Employee retention, Rousseau’s psychological contract, Employer branding, Soft HRM, Hard HRM, Performance measurement, Balanced score card, Vroom’s expectancy theory, Attribution theory, Equity theory, Herzberg’s two factors, Maslow Motivational pyramid, Emotional intelligence, Mentoring & Coaching etc….. quite a lot of models and suggestions how to handle people.

Nevertheless, in the end it’s always about people. They behave differently under different circumstances. No matter what kind of model you want to apply, you always have to deal with people’s wishes, feelings, and emotions. None of the above mentioned tools can you guarantee success. That’s actually a bit scaring. Does this mean that you don’t have to know about all these intriguing materials?

No, not at all. At least you have some tools which are able to support you managing HR. Life is not a straight line, HRM isn’t as well. The tools absolutely provide some understanding for different situations and how to cope with. Use them with respect but deliberately.

However, listen to what Shelly Lazarus (Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide) says about people management: