Introduction In Britain, personnel management had its origins in welfare work at the turn of the century. This fact seems to have been a source of embarrassment to many personnel managers; in their view it contributed substantially to their “soft” image, long held by production and sales members of senior management. Certainly a number of academics have argued that the personnel function could only achieve a position of some authority and status in organisations when its activities had moved substantially beyond the welfare function. Accordingly, personnel managers must have heaved a sigh of relief when welfare work appeared to have largely faded from the scene from the 1950s. However, at least one article in the mid 1970s has argued that this retreat from welfare work was more apparent than real, and that the welfare role was in the process of being rediscovered.
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