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"Manpower" redirects here. For other uses, see Manpower (disambiguation).
For the 1999 film, see Human Resources (film). For the "Doctor Who" episode, see Human Resources (audio drama).

Human resources is the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, or economy. "Human capital" is sometimes used synonymously with human resources, although human capital typically refers to a more narrow view (i.e., the knowledge the individuals embody and can contribute to an organization). Likewise, other terms sometimes used include "manpower", "talent", "labour", or simply "people".

The professional discipline and business function that oversees an organization's human resources is called human resource management (HRM, or simply HR).


The term in practice[edit]

From the corporate objective, employees have been traditionally viewed as assets to the enterprise, whose value is enhanced by further learning and development, referred to as human resource development.[1] Organizations will engage in a broad range of human resource management practices to capitalize on those assets.

In governing human resources, three major trends are typically considered:

  1. Demographics: the characteristics of a population/workforce, for example, age, gender or social class. This type of trend may have an effect in relation to pension offerings, insurance packages etc.
  2. Diversity: the variation within the population/workplace. Changes in society now mean that a larger proportion of organizations are made up of "baby-boomers" or older employees in comparison to thirty years ago. Advocates of "workplace diversity" advocate an employee base that is a mirror reflection of the make-up of society insofar as race, gender, sexual orientation etc.
  3. Skills and qualifications: as industries move from manual to more managerial professions so does the need for more highly skilled graduates. If the market is "tight" (i.e. not enough staff for the jobs), employers must compete for employees by offering financial rewards, community investment, etc.

In regard to how individuals respond to the changes in a labour market, the following must be understood:

  • Geographical spread: how far is the job from the individual? The distance to travel to work should be in line with remuneration, and the transportation and infrastructure of the area also influence who applies for a position.
  • Occupational structure: the norms and values of the different careers within an organization. Mahoney 1989 developed 3 different types of occupational structure, namely, craft (loyalty to the profession), organization career path (promotion through the firm) and unstructured (lower/unskilled workers who work when needed).
  • Generational difference: different age categories of employees have certain characteristics, for example, their behavior and their expectations of the organization.

Concerns about the terminology[edit]

One major concern about considering people as assets or resources is that they will be commoditized and abused. Some analysis suggests that human beings are not "commodities" or "resources"[citation needed], but are creative and social beings in a productive enterprise. The 2000 revision of ISO 9001, in contrast, requires identifying the processes, their sequence and interaction, and to define and communicate responsibilities and authorities. In general, heavily unionised nations such as France and Germany have adopted and encouraged such approaches. Also, in 2001, the International Labour Organization decided to revisit and revise its 1975 Recommendation 150 on Human Resources Development, resulting in its "Labour is not a commodity" principle. One view of these trends is that a strong social consensus on political economy and a good social welfare system facilitate labour mobility and tend to make the entire economy more productive, as labour can develop skills and experience in various ways, and move from one enterprise to another with little controversy or difficulty in adapting.

Another important controversy regards labour mobility and the broader philosophical issue with usage of the phrase "human resources". Governments of developing nations often regard developed nations that encourage immigration or "guest workers" as appropriating human capital that is more rightfully part of the developing nation and required to further its economic growth. Over time, the United Nations have come to more generally support the developing nations' point of view, and have requested significant offsetting "foreign aid" contributions so that a developing nation losing human capital does not lose the capacity to continue to train new people in trades, professions, and the arts.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elwood F. Holton II, James W. Trott, Jr., 1996, Trends Toward a Closer Integration of Vocational Education and Human Resources Development, Journal of Vocational and Technical Education, Vol. 12, No. 2, p7
  2. ^ [a broad inter-sectoral approach to developing human resourcefulness see United Nations Expert Meeting on Human Resources Development. `Changing Perspectives on Human Resources Development

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_resources — Please support Wikipedia.
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The Oakland Press
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:31:09 -0700

Kramer joined the Human Resources Department in August of 1997 as a human resources analyst in the classification and compensation unit. She has served in labor relations since January of 2001, most recently as supervisor. She and her husband, Ken, ...


Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:18:45 -0700

The posted position pays between $80,000-$90,000 and oversees all employments, training activities, employee benefits and other human resources tasks. The city is looking for a candidate with at least five years of human resources experience, with ...
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The Human Resources Association of Southern Maryland will meet from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 15 at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center at 44219 Airport Road in California. Michael S. Cohen, partner with Duane Morris LLP, will present this ...

Wilson Post

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:18:45 -0700

Yulvanka "Von" Barr has been named the new human resources director for Wilson County government and will assume the office on Monday, March 30. Barr is a native of Lebanon and has more than 14 years of experience in human resource management, ...
Richmond Register
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:48:03 -0700

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Battle Creek Enquirer

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Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:41:15 -0700

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Roanoke Times

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Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:30:00 -0700

A key Roanoke County department head will temporarily lead the county's human resources office, allowing the acting director to apply for the job. Anne Marie Green will become the acting director of human resources April 6 so as to give the current ...

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