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The purpose of this report is to identify the latest trends in the “Role of Human Resource Management”. HRM is defined as “a science which manages the employees in an organization in order to achieve organization objectives.” The ‘Role of HRM’ means the ‘purpose’ for which HRM actually exists in an organization; and the ‘work’ that it is expected to do. This report illustrates how the purpose of HRM has shifted from a ‘support function for senior management’ to being a ‘key player in strategy making and strategy implementation’.  The report also considers examples of organizations who have adopted this shift in the roles of HRM, and also considers the benefits and shortcomings of the new roles.
The traditional role of Human Resource Management (or Personnel management) has been as a clerical, support function for senior management. HRM has only been expected to execute policies, deal with paperwork and administration, and do other mundane and mechanical tasks. These tasks have included only the procedural works involved in selection, recruiting, retaining, training and performance evaluation etc. Because of the nature of these tasks, senior management has considered HR to be ‘disconnected’ with the real objectives of the company and a department that does not contribute any value to the Organization.  Dissatisfaction with HR in the past has been such that organizations had started thinking of disbanding HRM completely, or outsourcing it (Ulrich 1998).
However academia has argued that, in a globalized world, competition has increased so much that the only true competitive advantage an organization can now have, is its Human Capital, and for this reason doing away with HR is out of the question. At the turn of the millennium, Dave Ulrich (1997; 1998) suggested new roles which he believed could better utilize the potential of Human Capital. These new roles were for HRM to act as ‘Strategic partners’, as ‘Change Agents’, as ‘Administrative Expert’, and as ‘Employee advocates’ for the organization. Ulrich’s model has continued to evolve over time and is still being gradually adopted by organizations (Bowen et al 2002; Ulrich 2005; Wright 2008).
Of the four roles mentioned above, the ‘Strategic Partner’ role has gained most popularity and acceptance. Strategy is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term aim’. It was suggested that HR personnel should focus on delivering results rather than doing tasks; the desired results being to align the employees and HR policies with the organization’s goals (Beer 1997; Ulrich 1997).

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