Unit 1: The Nature of Human Resources
Employers often profess that their employees are their most valuable resource in their recruitment materials, press events, and corporate values statements. During the past 50 years, U.S. corporations have focused more heavily on human resource (HR) management, especially with the rise of its service-based economy.
In this unit, we review the role human capital management plays in any organization. We explore the nature of HR management strategies and planning, the legal framework for equal employment for managing diversity, and affirmative action. Note that we could devote entire courses to these complex and diverse topics. For example, the U.S. federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure individuals receive fair and equal treatment in employment-related activities. In this unit, we introduce these topics so you can focus on the core of human capital management in the rest of the course.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- define human resource management;
- identify human resource management functions and current trends;
- explain why human resource professionals have developed into strategic partners within organizations;
- explain why strategic human resource management is necessary to attract, recruit, and retain valuable human capital;
- explain the importance of corporate culture within human resource management, which includes ethics and social responsibility;
- identify key laws and legislation that shape how human capital decisions should be made; and
- identify the key elements and contexts of affirmative action, and use the insight to support making informed decisions regarding diversity when managing human capital.
1.1: The Changing Nature of Human Resource Management
- This chapter provides an overview of human resources management through definition, functions, skills required, and challenges encountered. At the end, read the Chapter Case and note your answers.
- This video details the many functions of human resource departments and their role within the organization.
- This chapter describes the importance of human capital, the critical role that human resources plays as a strategic partner, and key elements of strategic human resources management. Note your answer to exercise question #3.
1.2: Strategic HR Management and Planning
- This video discusses organizational strategy and the integral role that resources play in the success of organizational strategy. Write a list of reasons that HR is critical to overall organizational strategic success.
- This chapter discusses the value of strategic planning, the components involved, and the importance of HR being a strategic partner within the organization. At the end, read the Chapter Case and note your answers.
1.3: The Legal Framework for Managing Equal Employment and Diversity
1.3.1: Workplace Diversity: What Is It? Can It Be Done?
This video discusses how a diverse workforce adds value to an organization while enhancing teamwork, respect, and understanding.
- This article highlights the social and legislative trends that lead to a more diverse workforce. Note the correlation between high diversity and high production, and high diversity and high retention.
Read this article from the executive summary through Chapter 4 (pages 5–17 of the PDF). Led by Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, this report provides in-depth insight on diversity – why it is important and how it can be integrated into the workplace. The report is divided into four chapters: each chapter builds on the previous one. You will see comments from leaders of major organizations, and the report provides some strategic key findings regarding diversity that you can use as a source for implementing diversity within the workplace.
1.3.2: Equal Employment Opportunity
- These videos discuss diversity, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and various types of discrimination.
- Read this article for an introduction to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This information will provide you with a deeper understanding of how the commission supports and enforces the proper managing of human capital.
Read this list of the various types of discrimination. Click on each type of discrimination, from age to sexual harassment, and read the related information.
Read this list of the various types of laws enforced by the EEOC. Click on each type of legislation to read the related information.
Read this list of the various types of laws not enforced by the EEOC.
1.4: Do We Still Need Affirmative Action?
- This article summarizes affirmative action, and addresses some of its pros and cons.
- This article provides historical data regarding affirmative action and its attempts to address inequality.
- These videos discuss a recent affirmative action case that exhibits the controversy of "reverse discrimination" as it relates to affirmative action legislation.
Unit 1 Assessments
- Receive a grade
Please complete this matching assessment.
- Receive a grade
Please complete this writing activity.
- Receive a grade
Take this assessment to see how well you understood this unit.
- This assessment does not count towards your grade. It is just for practice!
- You will see the correct answers when you submit your answers. Use this to help you study for the final exam!
- You can take this assessment as many times as you want, whenever you want.