Human Resource Management

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Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management


Equality in politics and the work sphere in central and eastern Europe (UK) countries was an underlying principle of communist systems. Unlike liberal democratic systems, women's employment in politics, science and engineering was encouraged. As a result, the combination of work, politics and motherhood were features of gender identities in UK. The view that liberal democratic political systems and market liberalisation would guarantee individual prosperity and equality has prevailed in debates about transition and reform. The issue of gender however, has tended to be overlooked when critiquing economic and social transition (UNDP, 2004; Wilford and Miller, 1998; Watson, 1993). Yet, it is certainly true that women have been disproportionately affected by transition processes (Sen, 1996).

Aggregate indicators such as the Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Index (GEM) (see UNDP, 2004) obscure complex processes in terms of women's social and economic inequality and women's struggle within new work organisation regimes. For example, women have been forced to leave the labour force to make way for male employees, women's wages have been reduced, and the growing poverty and unemployment are marked by gender differentials (Brainard, 2000; Degtiar, 2000; Chiva, 2001; Pollert, 2003). The feminization of poverty thesis is thus often presented as a key characteristic of transition processes (Jalusic and Antic, 2000). At the same time, it has been found that women were not really resistant to capitalist transition (Pollert, 2003; Sperling, 1999; Hughes, 2000), nor have there been strong outcries for a feminist agenda for reform (Grapard, 1997; Kay, 2001). The interrelation of gender and equality within the working sphere is therefore complex terrain.

Traditionally, gender and equal opportunity research in UK states has tended to focus on the political and economic aspects of equality (for example, Domsch et al., 2003; Dijkstra and Plantenga, 1997; Molyneux, 1995; Moghadam, 1993). Critical reviews have not addressed the implications of transition for individual women managers nor evaluated organisation diversity strategies, though emerging research is expanding knowledge on gender and sexuality within both the public and private worlds (Stulhofer and Sandfort, 2005). As Metcalfe and Afanassieva (2005) stress the gender agenda is now a burgeoning area of research within the sociology of work and business literatures.

Contributing to the limited debates that exist about gender and transition this paper explores the nature of women's work in post-socialist society. Our focus is to try and unravel existing equality of employment practices in UK regions and suggest strategies for their development. In order to understand the nature of gender and work changes in post-socialist transition we first outline women's role and status in UK countries. Post-transition is then examined in terms of the GDI and GEM and women's changing labour market participation. We review equal opportunity interventions and suggest ways in which gender and employment policy can be developed.

The study will be based on the rtheme of role of human resource management is present in all organizations. Human resource management (HRM) can be used strategically by organizations to develop ...
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