Business Management vs. Human Resource Management: Comparing Two Career PathsBusiness Management vs. Human Resource Management: Comparing Two Career PathsBusiness Management vs. Human Resource Management: Comparing Two Career Paths

Every business starts with an idea. Successful ones take that idea and guide it to an optimal result, such as a profitable product or popular service. The key to this guidance is effective management. Those in management roles can cultivate strategies to help an organization’s numerous parts run cohesively.

Two crucial elements are business management and human resource management. Without them, a business would effectively operate like a rudderless ship, in which any movement toward a goal would be the result of luck rather than planning. Both are essential to a business’s success, and it can be easy to assume they operate as a single function. For those interested in pursuing a management career, it’s important to understand the differences between business management vs. human resource management.

The Importance of the Administrative Function

Business management and human resource management are important because they oversee a company’s administrative function. At its core, an administrative function comprises two components. The first is to develop strategies that ensure that a company has the resources needed to effectively work toward its business objectives. The second is to ensure that quality employees are in place to bring these strategies to life.

If there are weak links in the administrative function chain, a company’s ability to reach specific benchmarks can be compromised. For instance, if an information technology department has inadequate equipment, a company’s tech-driven expansion capabilities may be compromised. Having the wrong personnel in place can be equally devastating. Filling an open accounting position with someone who ends up overwhelmed by the job’s responsibilities can cause disruption and weaken a company’s ability to grow and thrive.

Having effective individuals in business management and human resource management roles is crucial, because they can minimize inefficiencies. When a company has a strong workforce with access to high-quality resources, it can operate at an optimal level, which in turn allows it to reach its goals more efficiently.

Similarities Between Business Management and Human Resource Management

Because business management and human resource management are both intrinsic to a company’s administrative function, it’s easy to conflate the two concepts. This is furthered by the fact that both managerial forms share similarities. These linked traits underscore the importance each role has in helping an organization achieve its goals. They also point to the type of individual commonly considered for the roles.

Key Oversight

Both roles involve overseeing key administrative tasks in a business. Several vital parts of an organization’s functionality — such as office space, equipment, and employees — are filtered through these roles. They can even be responsible for ensuring that an office’s miscellaneous elements are designed to optimize employee morale, such as a properly appointed break room or engaging employee activities.

Because business management and human resource management roles are so vital to an organization’s success, the pursuit of either career can enable an individual to work in a wide range of industries, from healthcare to manufacturing. While these industries can be vastly different, the foundational objectives that drive management professions, such as keeping a business running smoothly or hiring quality talent, remain the same.

Education Level

Both management professions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to the role. Some of these degrees can prepare an individual for success in either profession, such as a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Others, such as a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management, feature curricula designed to prepare students for specific career paths.

Common Skills

Both careers require similar skill sets to be successful. These core competencies include strong leadership, analytical, communication, and organizational skills. A program such as Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management can help students cultivate these fundamental skills so they can pursue these key roles with confidence.

The Differences Between Business Management and Human Resource Management

The primary differences between business management and human resource management can be found by examining their fundamental roles.

Operations vs. Employees

While those in business management roles oversee a company’s operational capabilities, human resource managers focus on a company’s employee base. This difference in focus governs the approach each managerial role takes in ensuring a company’s efficiency. While business management strategies home in on business goals, human resource management strategies concentrate on employee initiatives.

These initiatives can be crucial because they often correlate to building a robust company culture, which in turn can mean achieving company goals with greater effectiveness. While human resource managers set and influence company culture, business managers work within the parameters of that culture.

Pay Level

Another key difference is the rate of pay between the two roles. According to April 2020 PayScale data, the median annual salary for human resource managers is approximately $67,100, and the median annual salary for business managers is approximately $61,200.

An Essential Role for Business Success

Without quality management, business growth is extremely difficult. Effective human resource managers are particularly critical. By using strong leadership, analytical, and communication skills to help build a strong workforce and establish a robust company culture, they lay the foundation that allows business managers to develop the strategies that help a business thrive. Learn how Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management program can help students cultivate the skills they need to find success in this essential profession.

Recommended Reading

6 Things to Do Before Graduating from an Online Degree Program

Top 16 Skills Needed in 2020 and Beyond

Turn Your College Experience into Employability: Practical Career Advice for New Graduates


Bizfluent, Importance of Strategic Management

Houston Chronicle, Business Administration vs. Human Resources

Inc., Human Resource Management

Institute of Administrative Management, Administrative Management

Market Business News, Office Manager — Definition and Meaning

PayScale, Average Business Manager Salary

PayScale, Average Human Resources (HR) Manager Salary

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