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8 - Human resource management in services

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Alan Nankervis
Curtin University of Technology, Perth
Yuki Miyamoto
Curtin University of Technology, Perth
Ruth Taylor
Curtin University of Technology, Perth
John Milton-Smith
Curtin University of Technology, Perth
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Learning objectives

After studying this chapter, readers will be able to:

  • explain the concepts of human resource management, strategic human resource management and industrial relations

  • appreciate the linkages between HRM, marketing, financial and operational management

  • discuss the major internal and external labour market issues in the services sector

  • understand the relevance of such HRM functions as HR planning, job design, recruitment and selection, human resource development, performance management, remuneration and career development to the services sector

  • appreciate the special needs of employees in services.


Earlier chapters of this text emphasise that the primary distinguishing feature of services is the nature of their customer relationships. This distinguishing feature is described as the ‘service encounter’, which can sometimes become the ‘moment of truth’ (Carlzon, 1987) that separates one services organisation from its competitors. Despite the particular services or products offered, organisational size, structure, or use of various technologies, the defining element of the services sector lies in its delivery systems. These delivery systems are ultimately reflective of the quality and management of the sector's employees. Thus, financial institutions, hospitals, airlines, legal offices, funeral homes, restaurants, hotels, IT and recreational services, all depend to different degrees on the capacities and skills of the people they employ.

As the other chapters indicate, service delivery systems are of course also reliant on appropriate marketing and financial systems, supported by efficient and effective operational processes.

Managing Services , pp. 299 - 346
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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