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Hybrid Human Resource Theory and why Thoughtful Hiring Matters

Human resource theory is commonly divided into two philosophies – a “hard” and “soft” approach.

The hard approach views employees as resources, expendable parts of an economic model. Primary duties for Human Resource Management under this model are hiring and firing these resources to optimize efficiency.

The soft approach values employee needs and sees a competitive advantage in individual human growth and empowerment. In this system, HR management is based chiefly on employee needs and open communication.

The more progressive soft approach obviously seems more sensible than its counterpart. But sometimes the financial cost of an employee-centric ethos adds up and lines must be drawn to avoid incurring a competitive disadvantage.

Many have suggested that a hybrid model is ideal; one that recognizes the importance of employee needs while addressing the economic realities of a competitive market.

William Ouchi’s Theory Z, a takeoff on Douglass McGregor’s 1960 Theory X (essentially, the hard approach) and Theory Y (soft approach) is regarded to be a strong influence on the 1980s Asian economic boom. Theory Z recommends that companies treat their employees based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – from satisfying their basic physiological requirements, to fostering a sense of belonging and eventually helping to realize their potential. This, in turn helps get the most out of a company’s human assets in an instrumental business sense.

A hybrid theory recognizes employees as human beings with fluid and malleable potential; their contribution towards a company’s economic model depends on HR management strategy. But the key, understated variable in this theory is a thoughtful hiring system, which helps predict the value of an employee before and during you help them to realize their potential.

Employee background screening and other necessary hiring precautions reinforce soft and hybrid HR theories by recognizing the inherent value of individuals. Therefore, ideal applicants are worth major investment because you can help them realize their high potential in the construct of your subsequently successful business.

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  1. Cervantes 26 Nov

    And that my friends is the power and beatuy of qualitative research- which (when done properly) is both analytic and highly intuitive and therefore extremely proficient in assessing human behavior in conjunction with business needs. Human beings are not robots. Neither are LOLCats. Noe (Ethnographer and General Qual Geek)
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