Four Perspectives on Staff Management

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Staff management can be viewed from four perspectives. These are briefly discussed here.

An answer to the question: ‘What is good staff management?’, is not easy to find. The reason for this is that there are different perspectives to look at staff management. This article briefly discusses four possible perspectives.

The Economic Perspective

When looking at employees from an economic perspective, people can be considered machines, while buildings and money can be considered means to be used by the company to reach its goals. And just like other production means people have to be ‘acquired’ and put to good use. They have to posses certain qualities and have to be maintained and developed.

Making decisions from this perspective, effectiveness and efficiency are primary factors of consideration.

The Psychological Perspective

Luckily, companies aren’t just economic entities, but they are also founded on cooperation between people. Employees do not only bring their working potential to the table, but also their personal qualities and characteristics. People want to open out in their jobs, attach importance to friendly colleagues and, in most cases, want to identify themselves with the group of people they’re working with. So, employees have their own needs and expectations, which the management should take into account.

When making decisions from this perspective, the focus lies on the social processes on the work floor and the consequences of these processes.

The Political Perspective

Within an organization, individuals do not just present themselves as ‘individuals’, but also as stakeholders, since they often, in most cases along with many others, have an interest in the well-being of the company.

Viewing from this perspective, a company is often perceived as an arena where different parties are ‘fighting’ for a part of the profit. An important criterion in dividing these profits is the justice that should be exhibited in the division of both the profit and the workload.

The Social Perspective

This perspective puts the accent on the external relationships of a company with society as a whole. Companies are not isolated islands, but parts of bigger whole. On the one hand, this means that society experiences the consequences of the company’s policy: the production of services and goods, the job opportunities, health consequences, an influence on the environment, and so on. On the other hand, the norms and values of society have an effect on the organization of the company.

Staff management, when viewed from this perspective, is primarily judged in light of the legitimacy of the policy.

Of course, in real situations, these four perspectives are almost always combined in the decisions that are made in regard to staff management.