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What are the key features of hard and soft models of HRM? Critically evaluate and compare each model. Illustrate your answer using examples of HRM in practice

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Frans v.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Employees' policies of the two models
  3. Practices and consequences of each model
  4. Conclusion

To clarify the approach to HRM, in 1992 Storey has defined two variants, the soft HR management and the hard one. The soft model rests on the purpose of ?enhancing the commitment quality and flexibility of employees? (Beardwell J., Claydon T., 2007). Legge refers to this as "Developmental Humanism" (Legge K., 2005), since it focuses on treating employees as valued assets and a source of competitive advantage through their commitment, adaptability and high quality skills and performance.

The hard model is based on a ?strategy where human resources are deployed to achieve business goals in the same way as any other resource? (Beardwell J., Claydon T., 2007). Actually, Legge refers to this as "Utilitarian Instrumentalism" in which people are chosen on whether they possess the skills or not and attributes the organization requires (Legge K., 2005).

First of all I will explain the policies applied for the employees in each model; and then I will describe and analyze the reactions of employees and the atmosphere in the companies, depending on the model applied. To conclude I will analyze to what extent hard and soft management are not ?necessarily incompatible' through Legge's theory (Beardwell J., Claydon T., 2007). I am going to illustrate my comments with examples of start-up and laboratory companies for the soft model, and with multinationals for the hard management model.

[...] Practices and Consequences of Each Model Each model has different characteristics and different practices. In a soft model promotion and reward recognition are two usual practices. On the contrary, with a hard management it is difficult to be promoted and even if employees are, they can lose them (Gill C., 1999). In both managements, to establish a promotion approach can lead to competition. If a reward practice is operated for teams then employees might do their best and that would bring hard work and creativity. [...]


[...] Moreover, currently, with the economic situation a soft model is difficult to set-up and hard model seems more realistic. Therefore, to put it in a nutshell, each of the models implies a certain organisation and reality. However, a blend of both is probably the best management model since not only the companies and sectors characteristics but also external data, as the economic state, influence the management approach. CONCLUSION Hard and soft model can be applied at a large or a small scale. [...]

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