Historical Development of the Human Resource Function


Industrial Psychology– The primary concerns of industrial psychology is which the basic relations in industry between worker and machine and the organization. It is the application of the concepts and methods of experimental, clinical, and social psychology to industry.

Industrial Welfare Movement-attempts by employers during the late 1800’s to improve conditions for employees, both in the workplace and in their lives away from the job.

Laissez-faire Capitalism– capitalistic philosophy holding that business owners were entitled to complete control over employees.

Merit System-appointments to government jobs based on character and fitness, with removals made only for cause.

Pendleton Act of 1883- political and personal favoritism are the basis for determining the duties and pay of public employees- merit system employment. It established the US Civil Service Commission which was composed of three bipartisan commissioners appointed by the president. It required open competitive examinations, probationary periods, and protection from political pressures (merit system procedures). Authorized the commission to supervise the conduct of examinations. Authorized the president to extend merit system coverage by executive order.

Reform Movement-was a political movement during the mid- to late-1800’s designed to end the Spoils System of appointing people to government jobs.

Spoils System– also known as a Patronage System is the practice of giving appointive offices to loyal members of the party in power. The political party winning the election rewards its campaign workers and other active supporters by appointment to government posts and by other favors. The corruption and inefficiency bred by the system reached staggering proportions in the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, and reaction against this helped bring about civil service form, which was inaugurated by creation of the Civil Service Commission in 1871. The spoils system has continued for many federal offices and is even more prevalent in state and local governments.

Welfare Secretaries– Members of business firms who helped workers with education, housing, medical care, and other personal matters.


  1. Recruitment from all segment of society based on knowledge, skills, and abilities

  2. Fair and equitable treatment

  3. Equal pay for the work of equal value

  4. High standard of ethical conduct

  5. Efficient utilization of the work force

  6. Retention and separation based on performance

  7. Education and training

  8. Protection from political pressures

  9. Protection of “whistle blowers”

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