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Task vs. Personnel Management

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Task management and personnel management view employees and what incentivizes them very differently.

Task management and personnel management view employees and what incentivizes them very differently.

Task and Personnel Management Theories

How managers control and motivate their employees to perform at their best has been of much debate over the years. Theorists have differing opinions on which method best encourages employees to perform their duties, with each primarily focused on either task or personnel. We will analyse these two factors with close reference to managers, employees, and the workplace. Managers are responsible for controlling employees, handing out tasks, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly within a business.

Task Management

The task management technique is focused on how managers control their employees and coordinate their tasks and production within the business. This technique places emphasis on the completion of the task without considering the people who carry it out.

Technical Factor Managers Encounter

  • Employee task distribution
  • Recruitment
  • Job analysis
  • Job evaluation
  • Payroll administration
  • Performance appraisals
  • Training administration
  • Productivity levels
  • Financial bookkeeping

Because one person cannot carry out all these tasks alone, managers need to delegate these tasks to lower-level employees. Task-orientated management often involves incentivizing employees with financial means. This type of management resembles the theory proposed by Frederick Taylor. Believing that employees were solely motivated by money, he argued that offering them more money would increase their productivity and output—a theory that was flawed in many ways.

Task Management Priorities

  • Norms
  • Rules
  • Deadlines
  • Standard practices
  • Critical review
The task management theory prioritizes financial incentivization and emphasises practical aspects such as deadlines and standards.

The task management theory prioritizes financial incentivization and emphasises practical aspects such as deadlines and standards.

Personnel Management

The personnel management technique is also known as the human resources technique. It refers to how managers control the 'human' aspect of the business. The technique emphasizes personal interaction with employees to reach common corporate goals.

Task-Oriented Aspects Managers Encounter

  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Developing organizational culture
  • Communication of shared values
  • Social incentives for employees

This approach tends to integrate employees into the business's core values and mission. It is a modern approach that gives employees a sense of purpose and fulfilment of goals. This technique resembles the theories of motivation proposed by Professor Elton Mayo and many other behavioural theorists.

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Task Management vs. Personnel Management

These two techniques differ not only in approach but in their application and very nature.

Differences in Approach

The task management approach is primarily concerned with establishing rules, policies, procedures, contracts, and strict implementation of an employee's contracts and guidelines. Personnel management, on the other hand, tends to be separated from rules and regulations; it is more relaxed concerning the implementation of policies and contracts and aims to operate on a good faith policy with its employees.

These differences in approach are highlighted when analysing employee motivation. Task management displays little to no concern for motivating employees, whereas personnel management strives to motivate employees through bonuses, rewards, social events, workplace safety, and other factors.

Personnel management, as the name suggests, focuses more on the connection between employees and integrating work into a value system.

Personnel management, as the name suggests, focuses more on the connection between employees and integrating work into a value system.

Differences in Nature

The techniques differ in nature as well. Task management is reactive in nature, whereas personnel management is more proactive. Task management tends to steer clear of core organizational activities. It functions independently, e.g., a manager gives one employee one task to complete. This task is often something small that will contribute to the overall production process but does not directly affect the outer appearance of a business.

Managers often wait for a mistake or error to occur and then correct it through forceful methods such as firing an employee or cutting their pay. Personnel management is more integrated with the activities of the business. These managers aim to work closely with employees, encourage them, and help them. They aim to correct a mistake before it is made. Thus, they try to reduce the need for correctional measures, thereby increasing employee productivity.

Task managers often respond to mistakes within the company with harsh measures, such as termination.

Task managers often respond to mistakes within the company with harsh measures, such as termination.

Differences in Application

The application of these two techniques differs in a few ways as well. Task management implementation does not involve senior managers. The employees are not linked to the core processes of the business. Employees are only motivated by money. The only way to get the attention of the managers during grievances is through striking, collective bargaining and trade union action.

Managers expect employees to act as machines who do the task that they are given without questioning it. They expect deadlines to be met and maximum output to be achieved. Personnel management often involves line managers, senior managers and the human resources department. Managers try to deal with employee grievances on an individual basis, thus avoiding trade unions and group action where possible.

The employees are motivated through close association with the core values and aims of the business as a whole. Managers strive to please customers through customer-focused surveys and use that information for developing and improving the business.

Advantages

While these techniques differ in drastically in many regards, they each have some advantages not shared by the other.

Advantages of Task Management

Time efficiency is one primary advantage that task management styles hold over personnel. management styles. For example, the business does not have to waste time debating and asking employees for their opinions in order to make a decision. The managers are authoritative figures that make the decisions, and employees are expected to carry out these decisions as instructed. The business can save money by not having to hire specialists to implement human resource-type programs.

Advantages of Personnel Management

In this style of management, employees have increased morale. Thus, they will perform their duties more effectively. This is due to management being personally involved in an employee's life and emotions. Employees become self-motivated to perform due to management giving them more responsibilities and displaying confidence in them.

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Disadvantages

The downsides of both theories are few, but they count for a lot.

Disadvantages of Task Management

is that employees feel unwanted, and this causes them to underperform. Managers need to deal with trade unions during times of grievance. These processes cost money and take up time; thus, during that period, the business will suffer dramatically financially.

The Disadvantage of Personnel Management

This style's downside is that it is quite time-consuming. Managers cannot make a decision without considering the feelings and opinions of their employees. Employees may become frustrated with perpetual monitoring by managers.

Balance Is Key

In conclusion, each technique has its’ own advantages and disadvantages. Each one differs in terms of its nature, implementation, and approach. A business must have both these types of management in order to succeed. If a business only has one or the other, it will ultimately fail. In the past, one technique might have worked, but in this modern, dynamic world, it will not. A business needs to have the correct balance between financial incentives and personnel engagement.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.