The term The Human Factor' is becoming increasingly common in many military texts and articles. It appears in many guises, such as the 'human dimension', the %man element', the 'human component', depending on the style and background of the particular writer. There is a high degree of interchangeability, as each term represents essentially the same thing. That is, the part of the organisation or activity which is created, determined or influenced by people, both individually and collectively. Yet few people really grasp the full extent of what is meant by the human factor, or its real significance to military operations.

That there is little grasp of its nature is evidenced by the frequent equating of human factor issues with personnel' and 'human resources' issues. These are related, yet quite distinct issues. 'Personnel' functions are usually described as those functions performed by particular departments within an organisation in particular areas of specialisation. The activities they deal with are generally such activities as recruitment, selection, training, salary administration and industrial relations.