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Over the years, Human Resource Management has evolved from a family level where the head of households would manage all resources at their disposal including the family members who they train to take on different roles and responsibilities to meet the goals of the household to a more sophisticated and complex process that organizations today implement to realize their goals.
According to Armstrong (2006), Human Resource Management is a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most valued assets – the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives. Spending 32.97% of their time in the unit at client’s rooms (Westbrook et al., 2011), and accounting for the biggest portion of care time compared with other members of the healthcare team (Butler et al., 2018), nurses serve as one of the vital core elements of any healthcare organization.
Human Resource Management Philosophy
The philosophy behind the evolution of Human Resource Management plays a vital role in safeguarding the welfare of the Nursing Staff as an important core element of an organization. While different organizations develop and implement Human Resource Management Practices specific to their organization (Farndale & Sanders, 2016), these HRM Processes always has an underlying philosophy.
The philosophy of ownership states that Human Resource Management is and has to be owned and driven by the top management in the interest of the key stakeholders. While it may look like a one-sided approach favoring only the top management of an organization, this ensures there is accountability in an organization. This requires that the key stakeholders set goals, and make plans and decisions to effectively manage all resources including all members of the organization to individually and collectively contribute to the realization of the organizational goals.
Healthcare organizations are complex in nature. Nurses have to perform their independent functions while also working hand-in-hand with the other members of the healthcare team. Having the HR Management owned by the major stakeholders and decision-makers will allow for a clear direction for nurses to follow and ensure that their work aligns with expected outcomes. This will also allow the management to see determine where are the members of the organization in their strategic plan.
2. Complementing Organizational and Human Resource Strategies
Organizational Strategies are designed to guide the organization towards the realization of its goals while Human Resource Management stirs the members of the organization to effectively work towards those goals. It is important that these two complements each other, otherwise conflict may arise.
If a healthcare organization aims to be the best healthcare facility in the area, its organizational strategies are designed to realize this goal. It may involve the acquisition of new equipment and building facilities. HR Management strategies must complement these organizational strategies by hiring and retaining competent nursing staff, supporting their professional development, and putting in measures that will increase the quality of care in the organization.
3. Considering Employees as Assets rather than Liabilities
A healthcare organization is a dynamic workplace that constantly changes with time. Healthcare needs changes and technological and medical advances cope or try to be at the forefront of these changes. This requires nurses to be on top of these changes to ensure the quality of care. By considering nurses as the organization’s assets, it opens opportunities to support the career growth and development of nurses. They can function based on the latest research findings. It improves the competencies of nurses and a proper skills mix is achieved which ultimately promotes an increase in the quality of care. By having highly competent nurses, the risk for liabilities of the organization decreases.
Leadership Styles in Creating a Productive Work Team
Existing literature suggests that the most common leadership styles are Transactional, Charismatic, Transformational, and Servant Leadership. While these are commonly used, it is important to note that no single leadership style is effective for every situation thus leadership effectiveness does not solely rely on a single leadership style but on one’s ability to effectively identify the type of leadership style to use in a situation.
1. Transactional Leadership
This leadership style utilizes the relationship between the leader of a work team and its members. Since this style primarily relies on exchange relationships, the leader must know the members of the team, especially their interests and values in order to be able to appeal to their own self-interest to meet the team’s goals
This style of leadership requires the leader to set clear objectives and expectations for the team and provide an explanation to the team members on what they will get upon meeting the set objectives and expectations. Leaders are also required to actively monitor both the individual and collective progress and to take necessary corrective actions if needed.
While it has been proven to be effective and making effective decisions aimed at increasing productivity, leaders must also be careful not to overuse this leadership style as over-emphasis on the attainment of the team’s goals has the tendency to overlook opportunities to hear inputs from the team members, leading to the creation of an environment permeated by position, power, perks, and politics.
2. Charismatic Leadership
This leadership style helps create a productive work team by inspiring team members to make the goals of the team the center of their work. In a nursing team, the leader can appeal to the team member’s core values to get their active cooperation and participation. It can also be used as a highly effective motivational tool (Meslec et al., 2020)
It is important to note however that the effectiveness of this leadership style relies on the connection between the leader and the team member. It is important that the followers accept their leader and this acceptance is accomplished through communicating values and a mission that is relevant to the followers (Antonakis et al., 2011; Antonakis et al., 2016).
3. Transformational Leadership
According to Doody & Doody (2013), Transformational Leadership is the most favored and desired leadership style within nursing and other disciplines primarily presumably due to their emphasis on relationships as the foundation for effecting positive change or outcomes (Hibberd & Donna Lynn Smith, 2006)
With both the leader and team members sharing a common belief and goals there is a high possibility that the team will work together and exceed the expected outcomes. Effective transformational leadership is linked to reduced adverse patient events, enhanced patient satisfaction (Wong et al., 2013), and guaranteed higher quality of nursing care (Kiwanuka et al., 2020).
4. Servant Leadership
In servant leadership, the primary goal of the leader is to serve the team members not by doing the team member’s jobs for them but by ensuring that the team members are growing in all areas — their profession, knowledge, autonomy, and even their health and physical development.
By taking good care of the team members, they will be constantly motivated and will be equipped with the knowledge and skills and physical, psychological, and emotional strength to perform their duties and responsibilities thereby increasing productivity, quality of care, and total workplace culture. To put it simply, a team that is well-taken care of will have the reason and the ability to take good care of the organization.
• Antonakis, J., Bastardoz, N., Jacquart, P., & Shamir, B. (2016). Charisma: An Ill-Defined and Ill-Measured Gift. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 3(1), 293–319. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-041015-062305
• Antonakis, J., Fenley, M., & Liechti, S. (2011). Can Charisma Be Taught? Tests of Two Interventions. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 374–396. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2010.0012
• Armstrong, M. (2006). A handbook of human resource management practice (10th ed.). Kogan Page. (Original work published 1977)
• Butler, R., Monsalve, M., Thomas, G. W., Herman, T., Segre, A. M., Polgreen, P. M., & Suneja, M. (2018). Estimating Time Physicians and Other Health Care Workers Spend with Patients in an Intensive Care Unit Using a Sensor Network. The American Journal of Medicine, 131(8), 972.e9–972.e15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2018.03.015
• Farndale, E., & Sanders, K. (2016). Conceptualizing HRM system strength through a cross-cultural lens. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 132–148. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2016.1239124
• Hibberd, J. M., & Donna Lynn Smith. (2006). Nursing leadership and management in Canada (3rd ed., pp. 369–394). Elsevier Mosby.
• Kiwanuka, F., Nanyonga, R. C., Sak‐Dankosky, N., Muwanguzi, P. A., & Kvist, T. (2020). Nursing leadership styles and their impact on intensive care unit quality measures: An integrative review. Journal of Nursing Management, 29(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.13151
• Meslec, N., Curseu, P. L., Fodor, O. C., & Kenda, R. (2020). Effects of charismatic leadership and rewards on individual performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 101423. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2020.101423
• Westbrook, J. I., Duffield, C., Li, L., & Creswick, N. J. (2011). How much time do nurses have for patients? a longitudinal study quantifying hospital nurses’ patterns of task time distribution and interactions with health professionals. BMC Health Services Research, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-11-319
• Wong, C. A., Cummings, G. G., & Ducharme, L. (2013). The relationship between nursing leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review update. Journal of Nursing Management, 21(5), 709–724. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.12116