The twenty-first century has been characterized by the emergence of many incredible forces or pressures affecting the operations of businesses (Abella, 2004, p.36). To identify some: the ever-increasing technological innovations and the tougher competition resulting from the environmental forces of globalization have forced businesses to reinvent and optimize processes and resources for survival. In accomplishing this, the human resource has been one of the most affected. This is so because its role has shifted from the “old-style” routine basic record-keeping, administration and transactional duties such as recruiting or managing personnel to a strategic partner with expanded roles. It was from the above motivational frameworks that this paper described the changing role of the human resource management. The paper restricted itself to the evolving trends in globalization, technology, diversity, e-business, and ethics.
Beginning with globalization, the author established that globalization defines pressures resulting from the lowering of trade barriers. Most researchers show the seriousness of its cons on businesses by summarizing that it is an economic tidal wave that sweeps and changes business operations globally. The changing role of the HR with regard to containing the effects of globalization has seen the incorporation of HR professionals in strategic planning (Abella, 2004, pp. 38-39). They are now actively involved in decision-making and consulting roles; all with the intention of increasing productivity, growth, and profitability.
Moving to trends in technology, we note that innovations have kept on emerging time after time. These innovations come in forms of simple and affordable applications for executing business tasks. The changing role of HR with regard to this has seen HR professionals involved in procuring and customizing systems and software to automate most of their operations (Misra, 2006, p.38). This minimizes shocks associated with post-acquisition. For instance, HR departments can be involved in procuring and customizing the iRecruit- a leading HR management software- to simplify and centralize recruitment programs.
Closely related to the above, e-business has been characterized by organizations using the internet to compete on global front through automating some HR processes. The changing role of the HR organizes for the implementation of the automation. For instance, the HR department can organize to link company website with workflow automated processes. This allows efficient, multiple work and easy access to keyed-in data.
On the other hand, the trend in diversity has been characterized by changes in workforce demographics. This has meant that the HR role changes to accommodate the following salient features defining workforce demographics: the need to achieve gender balance, ethnic diversity, and literacy amongst others in the workforce (Steger & Erwee, 2001, pp. 92-93).
Lastly, with regard to ethics, the author established that every modern-day company has a set of guidelines issued to employees. These guidelines are geared towards helping the employees to carry out their roles in the best and friendly manners. The changing role of the human resource in managing ethics has seen it involved in disciplining those that engage in issues or behaviors that go against set ethics (Segon, 17). According to Aguilera and Dencker (2004, p.1356), such issues include engaging in sexual harassment, discrimination and conflicts.
In conclusion, this paper has demonstrated that a number of external forces-all brought about by the effects of globalization- have changed and expanded the role of the human resource function. This has been reinterpreted to mean that HR professionals have veered away from transaction-based to solution-based. As such, they are better placed to provide relevant interventions or solutions to address the dynamic, specific, and demanding needs of the various organizational units.
Abella, V.O. (2004). The HR function of the future. Web.
Aguilera, R.V. & Dencker, J.C. (2004). The role of human resource management in cross-border mergers and acquisitions. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 15(8), 1355-1370.
Misra, H. (2006). Role of human resource in information technology alignment in organizations. A metric based strategic assessment framework. Journal of Information Technology Management, XVII(3), 38-50.
Segon, M. (n.d.). Managing organizational ethics: Professionalism, duty and hr practioners. Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics, 5(4), 13-25.
Steger, M. & Erwee, R. (2001). Managing diversity in the public sector: A case study of a small city council. International Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 4(1), 77-95.