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Too Much... Too Little
on 31 August 2011
This book is in the tradition of books on the 'business environment'. Indeed, the authors hope in will attract users from students not specialising in HRM. In this context the books is a useful introduction to topics it the area contains. But it is published by the uk's Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and its content closely follows the CIPD's module 'HRM in Context'
Syllabus aside, the content is a little odd. It is strange in the context of constant discussion among employers about talent management, that there is no sustained discussion of the labour force, its formation, dynamics and structure, and education and training (internal and external). Instead there is a discussion on wage determination using marginal analysis, redundancy and feminisation and like topics. The alleged effects macro economic (government) policies are briefly discussed but none of this is brought together to provide a coherent view of how it works systmically and more important its impact on organisations both market and non market. It is not clear how the reader is to understand, critically evaluate and practice. No wonder as one organisational example suggests, employers just advertise positions and hope for best will be out there somewhere.
'Regulation' is another topic area where the reader is confronted with a with trying to respond with critical understanding, and develop practice in a complex area. Ten pages are devoted to the English legal system (still including the House of Lords) and 20 to various other regulatory concerns. Employment Law which forms a different part of the CIPD's structure of learning has a place. It is not until the end of the chapter that the a framework of law, codes of practice and modes of enforcement are discussed in the context of Health and Safety rather upstaged by a piece of stress. Pros and cons of regulation are reviewed but not in any context: that must be for the reader. Alternatives: putting things right, social control including violence (GreenPeace, strikes ), incentives and nudge are not touched upon.
My impression is that the student is encouraged reproduced the 'facts' and thechecklists without much thought. To prevent this then book needs to be used by lecturers who can help students develop understanding, critical evaluation, and good practice in HRM in the light of the environment in which this takes place.