Managing Human Resources
Table of Contents
In the modern times, characterized by modernization of various spheres of social activity, the problem of a school development has a special relevance, taking into account the environmental variables that accompany it. A school should unite other social institutes, starting from the family and up to institutions of defense, healthcare, leisure and others. This should serve the purpose of strengthening of a person’s opportunities for development of individual abilities, interests, optimistic vital plans of a pupil not only in artificially constructed educational environment, but also in a real life. (Nsa, Offiong, Udo & Ikot, 2014). The schools’ administrations and other educational establishments should possess precise and structured information about the impact of the environmental variables on an organization in order to effectively implement human resource management (HRM).
At present, different educational institutions act as economic entities, providing a wide range of educational services with use of modern educational technologies. The educational process in schools is influenced by an intensively changing environment, which defines the need for an increase in efficiency and quality of HR management. The economic events and processes in the activity of the educational organizations are also influenced by various objective factors. Constantly affecting the results of an organizational activity, they reflect the existing regularities, links and dependences. The HRM activity of the educational organizations is many-faceted, and represents a complex of interconnected economic processes, characterized by a system of indicators that are dependent on numerous and various environmental variables. (International Labor Organization, 2012; Omebe, 2014).
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The management of the education institutions should be open to innovations. Effective management instruments should be used in an educational organization by the competent employees, ensuring the competitiveness of the organization. Moreover, a school administration should also use the appropriate technology and have the means of processing and systematizing the data on the changes by means of direct and indirect environmental variables in a school. An insufficient account of the change of the environmental variables can lead to the mistakes in the managerial decisions. (Ojating, 2012; Omebe, 2014).
The Key School Environmental Variables
The environment of a school or any other educational organization is extremely variable and mobile. Many of the scholls’ internal problems are caused by external reasons – the imperfection of the legislation, discrepancies of macroeconomic processes, unreliability of partners, distrustfulness of clients and aggression of competitors. The importance of environmental variables for schools cannot be overestimated. They force the school to search for a place in the market, define its strategy and tactics, as well as the school’s internal structure and its direction of development. (Nsa, Offiong, Udo & Ikot, 2014; Osagie & Okafor, 2012).
The main characteristics of environmental variables include the coherence of factors, complexity, mobility and uncertainty of environment. The coherence of the environmental variables represents the extent to which a change in one environmental variable can cause a change in the others. The mobility of environment is the speed of the changes occurring in an organizational environment. The environment of modern organizations changes with the increasing speed. In the high-mobile environment, an organization should be guided by information for making effective decisions. (Nakpodia, 2010; Ojating, 2012).
The most typical environmental variables of a modern school include dynamism, variety, and integrity. The dynamism of the current educational sphere is clearly understood; however, it is a result of traditional processes, both in the political and social lives of any society. The fundamental line of all developed countries includes an increase of variability, mobility and dynamism of the vital environment. (Ojating, 2012).
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The types of educational services, forms of business and ways of communications as well as sales markets and culture of business change at accelerating speed. It is not easy for schools to survive and develop in this promptly changing world. The habitual, slow structures of schools with rigidly fixed functions of divisions and employees’ duties focused on the quiet environment are not effective anymore. The dynamic environment simply breaks them. At present, there is a demand for flexible, adapting structures of human resources, which do not resist the changes of environment, but are rather transformed together with them. (Nakpodia, 2010; Osagie & Okafor, 2012).
Variety is a characteristic feature of the environmental variables of any educational institution. The modern educational organization interacts with a tremendous number of various parties – clients, partners, authorities, mass population, competitors, mass media, insurance companies, pension funds, etc. Each of these parties needs a personal approach and a strategy. This variety is aggravated by the fact that all of them are connected not only by the educational institutions, but also between each other by a set of economic, informational, political, moral, psychological and administrative connections and thus they constantly influence each other. As a result, the environment is very integrated. Therefore, a change of interaction of any education institution with any of these objects involves a change of the relations with the others within the environment. (Wieland, 2008). Social factors and conditions predetermine many important strategic decisions in educational institutions. The key role belongs to the economic, political, legal, welfare, technological, ecological, physiographic environmental variables. The role of social factors will amplify in the future in the connection with an increase of complexity of the whole system of the public relations making a management basis. The external environment dictates the strategy and tactics of the organizations in the escalating degree. (Hansen, 2013; Nsa, Offiong, Udo & Ikot, 2014).
There are main approaches to the analysis of the complex system of “living” in continuously changing environment. Thus, a school and its environment compose the system of a higher order than a school in the aspect of an educational activity. The modeling environment of a school is limited, depending on the purposes of the organization and research problems. (Wieland, 2008). At the macro-level, such environmental variables as the change of the legislative base in the sphere of education, the change of the level and structure of the population’s educational needs, demographic changes, increase of the costs of educational services all affect management of human resources in schools. The environmental variables on a micro-level, such as the change of the marketing structure, the increase in the number of the commercial organizations offering similar educational services, low vertical and horizontal integration and the relationships with local and state educational organizations are of vital importance for efficient HR management in the educational organizations. (Human Resource Management in Perspective, 2013; Omebe, 2014).
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The environmental variables of a school were estimated by three parameters: “changes”, which affect various aspects of the current strategy of the educational establishment; “threats” for the current strategy of school and “opportunities” for the achievement of a school’s objectives. The environmental variables, influencing a school’s activity include the reorganization of the residential district, an inflow of refugees, the change of a social composition of the population, the emergence of educational institutions of the similar direction in a close proximity to the school. The environmental opportunities for the achievement of a school objectives include the construction of new houses, emergence of the new establishments of additional education and new cultural, educational and sports constructions close to a school and economic development in a direct environment. (Širca, Babnik & Breznik, 2012).
The processes of a mutual crossing of external and internal variables also play an important role in the successful activity of a school. The factorial approach to the environmental variables has a direct and an indirect impact on a school, objective and subjective character, general and specific factors. The analysis of the environmental variables groups showed that each of them is a carrier of specific values. Thus, there is an interconnection of leading values of social groups of the environment and schools. The mismatch of the groups’ values of the environmental variables and a school leads to a violation of the school’s positive developments, its suspension and emergence of regressive tendencies. The set of the allocated approaches to the analysis of environment allows defining the concept of educational institution’s environmental variables as an open complex system of interconnected general and specific elements of natural, social, economic, political and spiritual environments, making a direct and indirect impact on a school. (Hansen, 2013; Hdiggui, 2006).
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The Impact of the Environmental Variables on the HRM Function in the Education Sector
There is no organization which would not have an external environment and would not be in a condition of continuous interaction. Any organization needs a regular supply of products from its environment for ensuring its organizational activity. Thus, every organization should give something to the environment as a compensation for its existence. As soon as communications with the environment are torn, the organization perishes. (Odden & Kelly, 2008; Wieland, 2008).
Speaking of the educational organizations, it should be emphasized that an image of the company is one of the most important characteristics of the environment. Image is formed and changed in the external microenvironment of the organization. Moreover, it is characterized both by the links with the external agents and with the school’s internal environment a school. Image belongs to the educational organization and reflects its lines and activity, but it develops in the consciousness of external subjects and directly defines the attitude of contractors to it, and indirectly – the behavior of employees and groups in the organization. (Hdiggui, 2006; Odden & Kelly, 2008).
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In order to survive and function effectively, there is a need for adaptation to the current and developing conditions in the environment and to carry out the changes of the internal environment. Therefore, managers are obliged not only to be able to reveal the essential environmental factors which can influence the activity of a school, but also offer the necessary ways of response to the external influences. For this purpose, they should know the characteristics of the environment and its components which can influence a school’s activity. (Mercer, Barker & Bird, 2010; Nakpodia, 2010).
Depending on the ability of an educational organization to adapt to environmental changes, two types of organizational HR management are proposed: 1) mechanistic HR management type; 2) organic HR management type. (Human Resource Management in Perspective, 2013). A school belongs to the mechanistic type of HR management, defined by a set of the following characteristics:
- A non-flexible structure;
- Accurately defined and standardized tasks;
- Resistance to changes;
- Power stems from hierarchical levels in an organization and from the position of a school;
- A hierarchical system of control;
- A command type of the communications within the educational system;
- An authoritative management style. (Hansen, 2013; Hdiggui, 2006).
The key role in the development and fulfillment of the policy of educational organization’s interaction with its environment is played by the management, especially its top level. The environment is feeding a school with the resources necessary for the maintenance of its internal potential. Any organization is in a state of a constant exchange with its environment, ensuring thereby its capability of survival. (Hdiggui, 2006; Nakpodia, 2010).
However, the resources of the environment are not endless, and many other schools, which are in the same environment, would like to utilize them. Therefore, there is always a possibility that an organization would not be able to receive the necessary resources from its environment. The task of a school’s HR management consists in ensuring that the interaction of the school with its environment allows it to support its potential at the level necessary for the achievement of its purposes. (Mercer, Barker & Bird, 2010; Nakpodia, 2010).
While operating the processes of an organization’s interaction with its environment, the management faces a number of serious problems that stem from the uncertainty environment’s state. In this regard, a decrease in the uncertainty of a school’s position in the environment is one of the most difficult tasks facing HRM management. It can be achieved by the development of its adaptability to the environment and establishments of the broad communications with an environment allowing an educational institution to fit organically into the environment. (Hansen, 2013; International Labor Organization, 2012).
To adequately handle the forgoing challenges, efforts should be geared towards the effective management of staff and students in secondary schools. For secondary schools to achieve high performance in the public examinations, they must recruit qualified teachers, they should secure modern buildings, adequate facilities and equipment should be provided to enhance teaching and learning while supervision of teaching is carried out for quality control. (Osagie & Okafor, 2012, p. 148)
Research of the environmental variables is of paramount importance for successful execution of strategic tasks in the field of efficiency of HRM. Moreover, a correct classification of the environmental variables also plays a vital role in the effectiveness of HRM in educational organizations. At the compilation of such a classification it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that these variables act not separately, but in a complex with each other. The classification of the environmental variables, influencing the efficiency of human resources at schools and other educational establishments, is presented in the table 1. (Human Resource Management in Perspective, 2013; Odden & Kelly, 2008).
Social and economic
Financial stimulation, insurance, social benefits, life level, etc.
Social and psychological
The social status of a worker in the educational system, the perspective of the carrier and personal development, the governmental demand for the qualified HR in the educational sphere.
A school location, expenses of time for the way from home to work, the competition level, inflation, unemployment, income differentiation, etc.
Table 1. The Classification of Environmental Variables Affecting the HR functions in schools.
To sum up, the viability of the organizations in the educational sphere depends on their readiness to adopt changes and innovations. The organization does not function in its field alone. Different environmental variables play in the process of a school management. The success of a school’s activity depends on the type of relations with environment. Taking into consideration the impact of the environmental variables in schools, monitoring of the work and development of human resources and influence of the external factors are the necessary measures for any educational establishment. A timely and rational response to the environmental variables allows reducing an adverse effect from their influence and is the pledge of successful implementation of the tasks in the field of schools’ HRM.