The article argues that many of the practices associated with the concept of human resource management were flourishing under different names before the notion of HRM emerged in the mid‐1980s. There have been many developments in these practices but they have been evolutionary. They have not happened because of any revolutionary new approaches derived from HRM theory. The fact that the pace of change in personnel management is faster now than before the 1980s is not attributable to the advent of HRM as a philosophy. It has been forced on organisations by the rapidly changing business, political, economic and social environment. It has also taken place as a result of the increased professionalism of personnel practitioners encouraged by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and by the burgeoning academic institutions which have disseminated ideas about human resource management more comprehensively through a wider range of high quality publications.
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