Book Review:
Human Resource Management (3rd Edition)
Author: Raymond J. Stone

Stone, R. J. (1998). Human Resource Management (3rd Edition), John Wiley & Sons.

Reviewed by: David Wan

The third edition of this HRM text is a substantial extension of the earlier volume published in 1995, from 596 pages increased to 854 pages. Not only is the content expanded, updated and revised, it carries a greater emphasis on the linkage between organisational strategy, human resource policies/practices and human resource outcomes. This is done through the use of a revised diagnostic model. The latest edition also allows the author to enhance the use of Australian and Asian sources to illustrate the management of human resources in the Asia Pacific.

A new chapter on managing workforce diversity reflects the increasing importance of the topic in many HR texts published in Europe, US and Australia. Another new chapter on managing change and workplace relations deals with the universal aspect of workplace changes, new approaches to work and their impact on employment relations. Case studies and various experiential exercises are further strengthened. For those who require a more in-depth treatment of the subject matter, the author has prepared a separate text, Readings in Human Resource Management, Volume 3. A review of the Reading has already been published in the last issue of Research and Practice in Human Resource Management.

Some unique features of the latest edition include the lively use of cartoons, highly informative flow charts, newsbreaks (articles from newspapers and news magazines), end of chapter soapboxes (short questionnaires for self awareness and class discussion), ethical dilemma (incidents on ethics in human resource management), case studies and practical exercises.

The objective of the text is vividly spelt out in its preface: “...emphasises a pragmatic approach to the study of human resource management. Common themes running through the book include the linking of HRM to organisational success and employee well-being; the commonality of interests existing between employers and employees; the globalisation of business; and the need for Australian organisations to become internationally competitive.”. Despite the fact that it remains essentially an Australian text, it should also be of interest to readers who want to have a feel of how companies operating in the Asia Pacific Rim motivate and manage their human capital.

Human Resource Management is divided into six parts with 22 chapters altogether. The coverage is reasonably comprehensive by any standard. Part One, Introducing Human Resource Management, deals with strategic human resource management; human resource planning; human resource information systems; and employment law. Although there is no separate chapter on current issues in human resource management, the environment of human resource management is carefully integrated into the diagnostic model spelled out in chapter one and in the second chapter on human resource planning. Unlike many other HR texts which would place HR planning under staffing in organisations, the topic is introduced immediately after the first chapter, strategic human resource management. This underlies the significance of the relationship between organisational strategies and human resource planning.

Part Two of the book deals with staffing in organisations — determining, attracting and selecting human resources. Three chapters are deployed to examine typical HR concerns such as job analysis, job design and quality of work life; recruitment and employee selection. Part Three covers topics on developing human resources. This comprises of three chapters: appraising and managing performance (previously entitled performance appraisal); training and development as well as career planning and development. Part Four focuses on rewarding human resources. It examines employee motivation; reward management; incentive pay; and employee benefits.

Part Five contains the biggest collection of work with six chapters related to employee relations. As expected, this is the section where the focus centres mainly on the Australian scene. Topics covered include industrial relations; managing change and workplace relations; negotiating in the workplace; employee health and safety; managing diversity as well as assessing human resource management effectiveness. The concluding section touches on international human resource management and developments in HRM.

No single textbook can claim to cover every detail of personnel/human resource management. For an overview of the field and its latest development in Australia, the book is an excellent source. Although there is an increased emphasis on the use of Asian material in the latest edition, there is still room for improvement. Readers who prefer to know more about specific topics like global training, Asian management systems or comparative employment relations should refer to either specialised books in the market; the author’s Readings in Human Resource Management, Vols 1 to 3; or the exhaustive list of references at the end of each chapter. Without doubt, the present text is a welcome addition to the reading list for both students and managers.

David Wan
Department of Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business Administration
National University of Singapore