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Book review on “Human Resource Management”, 2nd Edition by Greg L. Stewart (University of Iowa), Kenneth G. Brown (University of Iowa)



There are rare cases where you see a study text on HR management linking so well the strategic theory with the day to day practice – and the accent here falls on strategic. Furthermore, the human resources management seems to be relatively neglected in the companies, although many experts argue that now, when the end of crisis is approaching, it should be more important. Not only should HR managers increase their focus on how to motivate better the battered employees, but also they should face the challenge of retaining the so much needed valuable assets – the ones who walk out of the door every day.
One more trigger for my reading “Human Resource Management” is my own experience (as I mentioned several times on the investing blog). Book reviews should bring in something tangible for the reader – and for me it provided a link with my experience. Specifically, at certain moments of time all of us find themselves managing other people – be it our subordinates or bosses from the same company, our employees in our entrepreneurial endeavors, or other stakeholders. At the end of the day, what counts is how successful we manage all those people, so that:
– they feel motivated, satisfied and rewarded by the working relationship with us;
– we achieve our own objectives and get a feeling of achievement.
There are two ways you can do this:
– you read lots of psychology and management books, then try to round up all the theories and distill what you found out or
– you spend your money and time on a well-written book and get the most of other people’s experiences.
Well, you can guess I chose the second path. And this is what happened with my reading of the “Human Resource Management” study text.
There are countless points where this book proved valuable for my experiences. What I used several times and enjoyed the specific chapter called “Developing Employees and Their Careers”. The question of the egg or the hen is apparent here all the times – should we motivate people to get results or should we make them get results to be motivated? As you would expect, there are no definitive answers to this, but at least I could get a feeling of completeness when I started to apply various theories in various situations, with good to excellent results.
Another feature of the book that I liked was “Research made easy”: Throughout “Human Resource Management” the authors highlight in the How Do We Know section recently published research from scholarly journal in non-technical language. Each of the sections concludes with a “Bottom Line” summary that shows how the findings of the study contribute to our understanding of effective human resource management. This also allows you to pursue your own further research.
All in all, a nice study book on the neglected field of the HR management.

Table of contents:

PART 1 Seeing People as a Strategic Resource.
Chapter 1 Creating Value Through Human Resources.
Chapter 2 Making Human Resource Management Strategic.
Chapter 3 Ensuring Equal Employment Opportunity and Safety.
PART 2 Securing Effective Employees.
Chapter 4 Designing Productive and Satisfying Work.
Chapter 5 Recruiting Talented Employees.
Chapter 6 Selecting Employees Who Fit.
Chapter 7 Managing Employee Retention and Separation.
PART 3 Improving Employee Performance.
Chapter 8 Measuring Performance and Providing Feedback.
Chapter 9 Training for Improved Performance.
Chapter 10 Developing Employees and Their Careers.
PART 4 Motivating and Managing Employees.
Chapter 11 Motivating Employees Through Compensation.
Chapter 12 Designing Compensation and Benefit Packages.
Chapter 13 Working Effectively with Labor.
Chapter 14 Aligning Strategy with Practice.
Appendix A Occupational Outlook for HR Managers and Specialists.
Appendix B Human Resource Certification Institute Bodies of Knowledge.
Appendix C Human Resource Planning Society Knowledge Areas.
Appendix D Major Employment Laws in the United States.
Appendix E Organizations of Interest to HR Students and Professionals.
Appendix F Journals Useful to HR Students and Professionals.
Name and Company Index.
Subject Index.
Photo Credits.

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