Topic 10: Putting it all together: the importance of people management

A systematic approach to people management
Managing people from different cultures
Ethical management
Course overview

People management practices are most effective when used in combinations which mutually reinforce one another. There is increasing evidence that if people management practices are used in bundles, they yield superior performance outcomes. It is therefore useful to think of each of the areas covered in this unit not in isolation, but as a part of an integrated approach to people management. What do we mean by 'bundles'? Put simply, bundles are collections of people management practices that are consistent with one another. To be effective, practices must be combined in consistent ways; the different aspects of people management in an organisation reinforce one another. Virtually all this literature has focused on 'bundles' of people management practices and examined links between such bundles and a range of performance measures; we should accept that the balance of the evidence supports the claim that effective people management is likely to contribute to organisational performance.

There is often no simple answer to the problems of cross-cultural interaction. While riding roughshod over the cultural expectations of the staff is inappropriate, it is also generally unwise to accept uncritically the cultural norms of the employees concerned. What a manager has to do is to be aware of the culture or cultures of those working for him/her and to show respect for this. If there is a need to act against such cultural norms, the manager should explain why this is occurring, so that the employee does not attribute the behaviour to ignorance or disrespect. When working in a foreign country, it is usually sensible to adapt to local cultural norms unless there is good reason not to do so—on economic or ethical grounds.

Managing people involves five basic functions:
* Identifying the kind of people you want isa strategic analysis of what your organisation is trying to do, analysing the jobs involved and the skills required.
* Generating the right workforce means developing the existing staff, recruiting appropriate new people, losing the staff who you do not want and ensuring that essential people stay with the organisation.
* Establishing a productive environment means that you work to create the right culture, you operate in an ethical manner, you organise a workplace which is safe and healthy and you adapt working conditions to individual requirements.
* Getting the work done effectively requires motivating and challenging the employees, defining clearly what needs doing, empowering staff.
* Improving the performance involves understanding how people management can affect performance positively.