How Does HRM Affect Management?

Patagonia is a revolutionary business in the way it is run and the way that it acts.  There are multiple management theories at work in Patagonia such as the human resources approach and the systems approach.

The human resources approach to business suggests that managers should get things done by working with people.  Managers need to guide the employees in the right direction and keep them motivated to produce products that are valuable to the consumers.  Patagonia sells innovative outdoor apparel.  The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, started his company on the right foot by hiring employees that share his passion for the outdoors.  There is a very important reason for his actions.  He hired people that will create quality outdoor products because they themselves use the apparel.  Their love of the outdoors keeps the employees motivated to create good products that allow people to enjoy the outdoors more.

Sticking to the human resources approach to management, Chouinard also tried to make the work environment at Patagonia more relaxing.  First, he held lunchtime beach-volleyball matches to allow the employees to have some fun.  This is smart because it relieves stress and keeps the brain open for creativity.  Then, he held cafeteria fairs with different types of food for a change.  Lastly, he contracted with a childcare business to watch the children of the employees while they worked.  These kind gestures help to keep employees motivated and allow them to relax at work.

Not only did Chouinard use the human resources approach to management at Patagonia, but he also used the systems approach.  This concept entailed realizing that Patagonia is an open system business, meaning that it dynamically interacts with the environment.  He realized that the environment is very fragile and it needs to be cared for.  Every business will have some impact on the environment, but his goal was to minimize Patagonia’s effect.  His biggest step toward protecting the environment, while making a profit, was to donate money to environmentally conscious organizations.  In the mid-1980s, he vowed to give 1% of its sales or 10% of its pretax revenue (whichever amount is larger) to the organizations that would help to safeguard the environment, either locally or in other countries where products of Patagonia were sold.  This idea of environmental tithing is a very important value that Patagonia still holds today.

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