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Essay on Human Resources Management

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Many business leaders have said human capital is their most valuable asset. This sample essay explores the research behind how human resources managers deal with cognition and thinking in their fields. It is an example of Ultius custom business writing services.

Cognition and thinking in human resources management

Human resources is a field that, despite what many people think, is actually quite scientific and driven by important psychological and cognitive developments. In the broadest sense, a human resources manager is asked to correctly place individuals with a broad variety of psychological motivations, skills, and beliefs, into appropriate roles for a given company.

Abstract: Introduction to cognitive thinking within human resources

This paper will focus on the effect of cognition and cognitive abilities of individuals in engaging and completing tasks consistent with employment from the perspective human resources management. The primary research will explore the areas of cognitive assessment, cognition, post-secondary education, and barriers to task completion. Some barriers to fully engaging in a task could come from other influences stalling task management or engagement.

Efficacy in this endeavor requires an understanding of the potential factors that will influence an employee’s ability to engage and complete a task using their cognition in the best possible way. From the helping side, it's of great value to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses, understand the goals of the employing organization and provide helpful, considerate, and constructive evaluation on an employee's performance. Additionally, the human resource manager must have an understanding on how cognition is acquired and the best methods, or relatively good methods for offering vocational counseling, training, coaching, and career training.

Human resources theories and expert's take on cognitive thinking

As demonstrated in this paper, there are many theories on how tasks are addressed and seemingly myriad influences on task motivation. Everything from excessive cognition, limited cognition, intrinsic task motivation, and perceived inequality in treatment. The role of the human resource manager is to properly place a candidate in a position that addresses their cognitive abilities, accommodates their global beliefs, maximizes their motivation, and benefits the employing company.

Bogner and Barr: Maintaining equilibrium in overly competitive teams

Bogner, W., & Barr, P. (2000). Making Sense in Hypercompetitive Environments: A Cognitive Explanation for the Persistence of High-Velocity Competition. Organization Science, 11(2), 212-226. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

Bogner analyzes the cognitive effects of hyper-competitive work environments on individual and organizational sense-making. A sample of certain industries where the competition is fierce is reviewed. Organizations emphasizing intense competition may endure permanent disequilibrium and difficulty in organization sense making. The hyper-competitive nature of the organization may exist only temporarily; however, Boger demonstrates that the effects on human resources management may be permanent.

The hyper-competitive represents a state of competition with rapidly escalating levels of competition and reduced periods of competitive advantage for firms. In hypercompetitive industries, member firms act boldly and aggressively to create a state of competitive disequilibrium. Bogner argues that the nature of these conditions is such that conventional sense-making frameworks will not work. Bogner then describes the "adaptive sense making" practices established in the literature for dealing with temporary turbulence and suggest that in hyper-competition those processes continue indefinitely.

Boger concluded that the processes can become institutionalized as standard operating procedures within firms and as shared recipes with industries, which in turn perpetuate hyper-turbulent conditions. This article’s observations relate to cognitive and thinking in human resource management because it is the actions of management that created the competitive environment. This can reasonably put a great deal of stress on the workforce negatively affecting the decision making abilities of employees by emphasizing a work ethic that is results driven over quality.

Cooper-Martin: Connections between human resources and consumer satisfaction

Cooper-Martin, E. (1884). Measure of Cognitive Effort. Marketing Letters, 5(1), 43-56. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

Cooper-Martin evaluates the breadth and effective of cognitive decision making in consumer choice regarding a product, service, or process. Her model includes three constructs:

  1. Total cognitive effort
  2. Cognitive strain
  3. Time

In other words, how much does one think before making a choice, how hard is this thinking, how long does it takes? Are any of these elements determinative or useful in predicting consumer choices? Although this article is not directly related to the role of cognition and thinking in human resources and relies more on motivating employees to perform better, it outlines a useful tool for measuring decision making processes and the influence of different cognitive elements involved in making specific choices. The process of this evaluation is helpful in evaluating the decision-making skills of workers or potential workers. Further, it is useful to know the weight of cognitive strain and time in decision making.

Elsbach, Barr, and Hargadon: Employee's performance in regards to environment

Elsbach, K., Barr, P., & Hargadon, A. (2005). Identifying Situated Cognition in Organizations. Organization Science, 16(4), 422-433. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

Elsbach uses an established definition of situated cognition in organizations to examine what situated cognitions might look like in organizations. In their research, a framework is developed that identifies how some cognitive schemes are affected by physical or institutional contexts. For example, how are the cognitive abilities of individuals altered under extreme working conditions, like extreme temperature? Or, how does longer work hours and employee schedules affect thinking patterns?

The authors conclude that common patterns of interaction between schemas and context may occur during sense making both in organizations and individuals. The work focuses on the specific interaction between cognitions and physical and institutional contexts. The work of this article is useful for managers of organizations in understanding the organizational influence on workers cognitive abilities. This study also describes the effect of institutional environment and the cognitive abilities of those who are associated with that organization. Understanding the intersection of individual cognitive schemes and contextual features of any work environment would provide assistance to human resources in placing an individual in a working situation where their best abilities are given the opportunity to shine.

Understanding the intersection of individual cognitive schemes and contextual features of any work environment would provide assistance to human resources in placing an individual in a working situation where their best abilities are given the opportunity to shine.

Gist: Behavioral modification combined with motivational rewards

Gist, M. (1987). Self-Efficacy: Implications for Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Academy of Management Review, 12(3), 472-485. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://amr.aom.org/content/12/3/472.short

The author begins with a thorough review of Self-Efficacy theory. She then outlines the relationship to self-efficacy to motivational ideas discussing, goal setting, feedback, intrinsic interest, and reinforcement. Expectancy theory ideas are sometimes confused with expectation outcomes theory. The pygmation effect or preferential treatment of one over others can have disastrous effects on an organization if it is not understood that the different treatment is deserved. For example, if one is named employee of the month and gets the good parking spot, others may strive for the same honor. This is similar to techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Conversely, if preferential treatment is given to the boss’ son, it could be perceived as undeserved and cause animosity among the other workers. Additionally, locus control behavior modification, Implications for organizational behavior and human resources management are fully discussed. Selection leadership and vocational counseling are discussed as means to promote the best characteristics of the available applicant pool or workforce. There is brief discussion of performance appraisal, goal setting, and incentive-based encouragement.

This article addresses specifically the effect of organizational behavior and human resource management. From the cognitive perspective, the mission of a good human resources manager is to maximize the abilities of the individual for the good of the organization. This requires considering the organizational persona as a whole, then identifying which individuals would flourish in that environment. Additionally, this article focuses on the role of self-efficacy, the notion that a single individual will do well under their own power, prompted by a variety of appraisals, incentives, and deserved special treatment.

Ignatow: Communication's reliance on cognitive abilities

Ignatow, G. (2004). Speaking Together, Thinking Together? Exploring Metaphor and Cognition in a Shipyard Union Dispute. Sociological Forum, 19(3), 405-433. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

This article seeks to bridge the gap between social scientists perception that social behavior is more influenced by history and other social processes and not by internal cognition. The authors argue that social communication is influenced by each individual's personal cognitive abilities resulting from an internal coherences. Social scientists fail to give full credit to the relative nature of the individuals internal cognitive coherence.

In proving their point, the author uses semantic sequence and metaphor analysis of transcripts of a series of meetings of Scottish shipyard workers to investigate cognitive schemas structuring the workers' discourse. The successful negotiation of the dispute came about when the negotiators agreed on certain common references, even though they were not specifically related to the issues raised in the dispute. Results show how individuals' schemas shaped their participation in their group's discourse.

This article is useful in understanding the individualistic and internal coherence of cognition. People think their thoughts are right and often require significant evidence to think otherwise. This article also demonstrates the importance or seeking common ground in negotiation and speaking each other’s language. There is tremendous value in understanding the cognitive frame of reference of anyone in the helping professions including human resource management. The most successful communication comes from understanding each other. This article shows the tremendous return of first starting out speaking the same language and understanding the same symbols in the same way. Upon this common ground, fruitful discourse may start.

Moseley, Elliott, Gregson, and Higgins: Nature of learning and creating stimulating work conditions

Moseley, D., Elliott, J., Gregson, M., & Higgins, S. (2005). Thinking skills frameworks for use in education and training. British Educational Research Journal, 31(3), 367-390. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

This article describes the nature of learning outside of the formal context of a structured learning environment like a school or university. Moseley conducts a survey of how information is acquired and retained in the post-secondary informal setting. This article details findings from a systematic review and evaluation of frameworks and taxonomies for understanding thinking, with particular reference to learning in post-secondary contexts. A schematic integrated model of thinking is outlined and discussed.

Employee training is a critical part of any organization. Understanding ways in which cognition is acquired in a post-secondary setting is essential to the health of an organization. From learning to use the cash register, to understanding corporate policies, each employee or member of an organization must be able to acquire knowledge. This article will provide additional understanding for the framework on how cognition is acquired and understood in the context of continued education and training.

Phillips: Human resources accommodations for ability and motivation

Phillips, J. (2008). The Role of Excess Cognitive Capacity in the Relationship Between Job Characteristics and Cognitive Task Engagement. Journal of Business and Psychology, 23(0.5), 11-24. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

Phillips presents a model where two categories of individual difference are evaluated in cognitive task management.

  1. Individual differenced related to the capacity to engage certain tasks
  2. Motivation to engage in the task

There is a demonstrated effect on time engagement when the task at hand is doable with the requisite cognitive abilities. However, the engagement of the task is also affected by the motivation to complete the task. In other words, can one complete the task with their present cognitive abilities, and is the person motivated to complete the task.

It is proposed that task characteristics will interact with the performer's task capacity to influence the excess cognitive capacity available to the task performer. To the degree, one's capabilities meet or exceed the demands of the job. Additionally, task completion is also influenced by physical interventions (time, place, and manner) on task completion. In some instances, one has an excessive cognitive ability which may influence the task.

For example, this is too easy, I’m not challenged, I don’t want to bore myself. This motivation can be transformed when this excess of cognitive ability is transmitted into another form of motivation to engage the task. If the excess cognitive capacity is safely utilized, or if task motivation is high, cognitive task engagement is more likely. Implications of the model for human resource management are discussed.

This article is an excellent survey of the motivations and abilities of people to perform job-related tasks. The challenge for managers is to give their humans the ability to complete tasks. It's important that a human resources manager places an employee in a work environment where there is sufficient motivation to do the work as well as the cognitive abilities to complete work related tasks. Identifying excessive cognitive abilities in certain tasks is shown, in this article, to be important as to maximize the benefit both to the employing organization as well as the individual.

Thomas & Velthouse: Using empowerment to increase cognitive performance

Thomas, K., & Velthouse, B. (1990). Cognitive Elements of Empowerment: An "Interpretive" Model of Intrinsic Task Motivation. The Academy of Management Review, 15(4), 666-681. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from the jstor.org database.

This article presents a cognitive model of empowerment. Here empowerment is defined as increased intrinsic task motivation, and the authors identify four cognition's (task assessments) as the basis for worker empowerment; scene of impact, competence, meaningfulness, and choice. Adopting an interpretive perspective the authors use the model to describe cognitive processes through which workers reach these conclusions. Central to the processes we describe are workers' interpretive styles and global beliefs. Topics including intrinsic task motivation, environmental events, and global assessments are discussed in this article.

This article addresses the questions of empowerment to engage in work tasks and the effect of global beliefs and intrinsic ability to complete a task. When one engages a task, they bring with them their own cognition, beliefs about the world, and motivation to complete the task. Is the reason one is doing a task simply to have a job and make money? Are they motivated to excel to make even more money? Do they believe that their managers are displaying effective leadership styles? Considering these influences is a good predictor of the quality of work produced. Shoddy work is the result of disengagement or frustration. When an employee feels sufficiently empowered, they appear to be more engaged in the choice to complete the task, then it is partly theirs.

This article relates to the thesis that human resource managers exist to help individuals succeed in a work environment. Understanding the nuances of task motivation, the effect of cognitive abilities, and global beliefs is to the benefit of the human resource manager and the employer.



Ultius, Inc. "Essay on Human Resources Management." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. Ultius Blog, 30 Aug. 2013. https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-human-resources-management.html

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Ultius, Inc. "Essay on Human Resources Management." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. August 30, 2013 https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-human-resources-management.html.

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Ultius, Inc. "Essay on Human Resources Management." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. August 30, 2013 https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-human-resources-management.html.

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