The authors’ position on this debate is clearly stated in the introduction. This debate is so widely conducted that its detail cannot be ignored. A purpose of this chapter is to identify the main issues and to try to provide some kind of context for future discussion of our trust. Anybody coming new to the subject of HRM might be excused for believing that HRM is the ‘science of lists’. The usual starting-point is a list of features of what is said to characterise personnel management, contrasted with a list of what characterises HRM. As suggested in the introduction, it is equally possible to place approximate dates — for example, pre-1980s, post-1980s — and under both dates list a set of management practices as characterising the two eras.
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