Conceptually, the characteristics of HRM are that it is:
- strategic with an emphasis on integration;
- based on the belief that people should be treated as assets (human capital);
- unitarist rather than pluralist, ie based on the belief that management and employees share the same concerns and it is therefore in both their interests to work together, rather than the belief that the interests of employees will not necessarily coincide with their employers;
- individualistic rather than collective in its approach to employee relations;
- a management-driven activity – the delivery of HRM is a line management responsibility;
- focused on business values, although this emphasis is being modified in some quarters and more recognition is being given to the importance of moral and social values.
But HRM also has an ethical dimension, which means that it expresses its concern for the rights and needs of people in organizations through the exercise of social responsibility.