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Resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability, or anything used to help one earn a living. In most cases, commercial or even ethic factors require resource allocation through resource management. Contents 1 Types of values attached to resources 2 Characteristics of resources 3 Value of a resource 4 Types of resources 4.1 Natural Resources 4.2 Human resources 4.3 Process resources 5 Resource use and sustainable development Types of values attached to resources As resources are very useful, we attach some information value to them. Resources help to produce goods so they have economic value. Natural resources like forests, mountains etc. are considered beautiful so they have aesthetic value. Gifts of nature such as water also have a legal value because it is our right to consume them. On the other hand, resources have an ethical value as well because it is our moral duty to protect and conserve them for the future generations. CHARACTERISTICS OF RESOURCES Resources have three main characteristics: utility, quantity (often in terms of availability), and use in producing other resources. In economics, utility is a measure of the relative satisfaction from, or desirability of, consumption of various goods and services. Given this measure, one may speak meaningfully of increasing or decreasing utility, and thereby explain economic behavior in terms of attempts to increase one's utility. The quantity of a resource refers to the total amount of a given raw material, rather than reserve, which is an economic term Bottlenecks may form, making some resources unavailable, producing supply shocks. Resource prices are prone to increases as speculators add commodity value to a resource or when risk, such as from geopolitical issues, are seen as an influencing factor in relation to the security of resource supply. A bottleneck is a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. The term bottleneck is taken from the 'assets are water' metaphor. As water is poured out of a bottle, the rate of outflow is limited by the width of the conduit of exit - that is, bottleneck. Increase the width of the bottleneck, and you can increase the rate of which the water flows out. Pertaining to a business, a firm will address the 'bottleneck' that is limiting production. Resources are those things that can be physically combined to produce goods. VALUE OF A RESOURCE The value or the importance of the gifts of nature depends upon several factors: The needs of the people Human needs are not uniform all over the world. Over the years, they have grown and become more complex with the progress of human society. In very developed societies, people use a variety of highly processed products. On the other hand, in developing countries, the consumption of processed items is much less; while primitive communities like the Pygmies in Africa hardly use any processed items. The level of technology possessed by the people The level of technology also influences the utilization of resources. For example, the Prairies of North America were inhabited by the American Indians who used the Prairies as hunting grounds. Later when the European settlers arrived, they used the Prairies for agriculture. Today the Prairies are famous for the cultivation of wheat and the rearing of animals on a commercial basis. Time The value of the resource changes with time . For example, water was used by early man purely for his personal needs. As time went on, water was used by humans for agricultural purposes namely irrigation. Later, water was also used as a means of transportation and humans built boats to travel on water. Nowadays, water is also used to generate electricity. According to Walter Youngquist, during periods of economic growth supply demands on a resource will typically rise due to increasing consumption from not only population growth but also higher living standards and the increased uses found for a given resource. TYPES OF RESOURCES Natural Resources Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many of them are essential for our survival while others are used for satisfying our wants. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways. On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into: Biotic - Biotic resources are those obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are important examples. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category because they were formed from decayed organic matter. Abiotic - Abiotic resources comprise of non-living things. Examples include land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper, silver etc. On the basis of the stage of development, natural resources may be called: Potential Resources - Potential resources are those that exist in a region and may be used in the future. For example, mineral oil may exist in many parts of India having sedimentary rocks but till the time it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource. Actual Resources are those that have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined, and are being used in present times. For example, petroleum and natural gas obtained from the bombbay High Fields. The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon the technology available and the cost involved. That part of the actual resource that can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve. On the basis of renewability, natural resources can be categorized into: Renewable Resources - Renewable resources are those that can be replenished or reproduced easily. Some of them, like sunlight, air, wind, etc., are continuously available and their quantity is not affected by human consumption. Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but may also be replenished, thus maintaining a flow. Some of these, like agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer.  Non-renewable Resources - Non-renewable resources are formed over very long geological periods. Minerals and fossils are included in this category. Since their rate of formation is extremely slow, they cannot be replenished once they are depleted. Out of these, the metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling them, but coal and petroleum cannot be recycled. On the basis of ownership,resources can be classified into:individual,community,national,and international Individual resources: Human resources Human beings are also considered to be resources because they have the ability to change raw materials into valuable resources. The term Human resources can also be defined as the skills, energies, talents, abilities and knowledge that are used for the production of goods or the rendering of services. While taking into account human beings as resources, the following things have to be kept in mind: The size of the population The capabilities of the individuals in that population. Human resource management's objective, on the other hand, is to maximize the return on investment from the organization's human capital and minimize financial risk. It is the responsibility of human resource managers in a corporate context to conduct these activities in an effective, legal, fair, and consistent manner. Management is the process of getting things done effectively and efficiently with and through other people to achieve the objective of the organization. Human Resource Management is the organizational function that deals with issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training. Key functions Human Resource Management serves these key functions: Recruitment and Selection Redundancy Industrial and Employee Relations Record keeping of all personal data Total Rewards: Employee benefits and compensation Confidential advice to internal 'customers' in relation to problems at work Career development Competency Mapping (Competency mapping is a process an individual uses to identify and describe competencies that are the most critical to success in a work situation or work role.) Performance Appraisal Process resources The following types of resources can execute an activity within a process: Tangible resource - Conventional resources like plants, equipments, IT infrastructure etc. Intangible resource - Increasingly important resource type including brands and patents. Human resource - See above. Resource use and sustainable development Many resources cannot be consumed in their original form. They have to be processed in order to change them into more usable commodities. This is known as resource development. With the rise in human numbers all over the world, the demand for resources has also increased. However, there is a difference in distribution of resources to different regions or countries. Developed countries use more resources than developing countries. The rising demand coupled with the over-consumption of resources has led to several problems: Resource depletion Accumulation of resources in the hands of a few Environmental degradation Tragedy of the commons Resource curse Resource management In organizational studies, resource management is the efficient and effective deployment for an organization's resources when they are needed. Such resources may include financial resources, inventory, human skills, production resources, or information technology (IT). In the realm of project management, processes, techniques and philosophies as to the best approach for allocating resources have been developed. These include discussions on functional vs. cross-functional resource allocation as well as processes espoused by organizations like the Project Management Institute (PMI) through their Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) methodology to project management. Resource management is a key element to activity resource estimating and project human resource management. Both are essential components of a comprehensive project management plan to execute and monitor a project successfully. As is the case with the larger discipline of project management, there are resource management software tools available that automate and assist the process of resource allocation to projects and portfolio resource visibility including supply and demand of resources. HR (Human Resource) Management This is the science of allocating human resources among various projects or business units, maximizing the utilization of available personnel resources to achieve business goals; and performing the activities that are necessary in the maintenance of that workforce through identification of staffing requirements, planning and oversight of payroll and benefits, education and professional development, and administering their work-life needs. The efficient and effective deployment of an organization's personnel resources where and when they are needed, and in possession of the tools, training and skills required by the work. Techniques One resource management technique is resource leveling. It aims at smoothing the stock of resources on hand, reducing both excess inventories and shortages. The required data are: the demands for various resources, forecast by time period into the future as far as is reasonable, as well as the resources' configurations required in those demands, and the supply of the resources, again forecast by time period into the future as far as is reasonable. The goal is to achieve 100% utilization but that is very unlikely, when weighted by important metrics and subject to constraints, for example: meeting a minimum service level, but otherwise minimizing cost. The principle is to invest in resources as stored capabilities, then unleash the capabilities as demanded. A dimension of resource development is included in resource management by which investment in resources can be retained by a smaller additional investment to develop a new capability that is demanded, at a lower investment than disposing of the current resource and replacing it with another that has the demanded capability. In conservation, resource management is a set of practices pertaining to maintaining natural systems integrity. Examples of this form of management are air resource management, soil conservation, forestry, wildlife management and water resource management. The broad term for this type of resource management is natural resource management (NRM). Resource allocation is used to assign the available resources in an economic way. It is part of resource management. Strategic planning In strategic planning, resource allocation is a plan for using available resources, for example human resources, especially in the near term, to achieve goals for the future. It is the process of allocating resources among the various projects or business units. The plan has two parts: Firstly, there is the basic allocation decision and secondly there are contingency mechanisms. The basic allocation decision is the choice of which items to fund in the plan, and what level of funding it should receive, and which to leave unfunded: the resources are allocated to some items, not to others. There are two contingency mechanisms. There is a priority ranking of items excluded from the plan, showing which items to fund if more resources should become available; and there is a priority ranking of some items included in the plan, showing which items should be sacrificed if total funding must be reduced. Resource Leveling The main objective is to smooth resources requirements by shifting slack jobs beyond periods of peak requirements. Some of the methods essentially replicate what a human scheduler would do if he had enough time; others make use of unusual devices or procedures designed especially for the computer. They of course depend for their success on the speed and capabilities of electronic computers. Resource Allocation Algorithms Resource allocation may be decided by using computer programs applied to a specific domain to automatically and dynamically distribute resources to applicants. It may be considered as a specialized case of automatic scheduling. This is especially common in electronic devices dedicated to routing and communication. For example channel allocation in wireless communication may be decided by a base transceiver station using an appropriate algorithm. One class of resource allocation algorithms is the auction class, whereby applicants bid for the best resource(s) according to their balance of "money", as in a online auction business model (also see Auction theory). In one paper on CPU time slice allocation an auction algorithm is compared to Proportional Share Scheduling.
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