One may define research as a process of knowing new facts and verifying old ones by the application of scientific methods to natural or social phenomena so as to come to uniform explanation of laws governing these phenomena. Research in human resource management is by no means new.
The studies of F.W. Taylor (1880) sought to improve efficiency in the work of employees. In the late years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century, a number of industrial psychologists made important contributions.
Research in human resource management is becoming increasingly significant due to growing complexity of human resource management.
Fred N Kerlinger defines scientific research as “a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena”.
Scientific research has the following characteristics:
1. Scientific Research is Systematic and Controlled:
Research is so managed that among the many alternative explanations of a phenomenon, all but one are systematically ruled out.
2. Scientific Research is Empirical:
Scientific research is based on experience of others. The investigator does not rely on his own senses of hearing, seeing, smelling, touching and tasting. He puts his experience to a test outside himself. Subjective belief is checked against objective reality.
3. Scientific Research Involves Testing of Some Hypothesis:
A hypothesis is a tentative proposition about the relation between two or more phenomena or variables. Hypothesis alone guides us about what facts to gather, what is relevant and what is irrelevant.
Personnel research – meaning and characteristics:
According to Yoder, personnel research implies “Searching, investigations, reexaminations, re-assessments and revaluations.
It is a purposive and systematic investigation designed to test carefully considered hypotheses or thoughtfully framed questions”.
In the words of Jucius, “Personnel research is the task of searching for and analysing facts relating to the end that personnel problems may be solved or principles and laws governing their solution derived”.
According to Gupta C.B, “Personnel research means systematic investigation and analysis into any aspect of personnel management.
According to Mamoria, “Personnel research may be defined “as a systematic enquiry into any aspect of the broad question of how to make more effective an organisation’s recruitment, selection and development programmes; and how it may fully utilise human resources”.
The main characteristics of personnel research are given below:
1. Personnel research recognises and limits bias and prejudice in every step of the process.
2. Personnel research is systematic in the sense that it is pre-planned and properly designed.
3. It identifies methods and techniques for the solution of problems with the minimum cost.
4. It is purposive because it seeks to answer specific questions. It is not merely accumulation of data.
5. It is different from casual observation of personnel activities as it is a designed investigation and analysis.
6. It can be used independently by several researchers at the same time.
7. It is carried out to check, verify or disprove assumptions.
8. It seeks to supplement knowledge and extend understanding.