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Human resource management: the promise, the performance, the consequences

Brewster, C. ORCID:, Gooderham, P. N. and Mayrhofer, W. (2016) Human resource management: the promise, the performance, the consequences. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3 (2). pp. 181-190. ISSN 2051-6614

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/JOEPP-03-2016-0024


Purpose – The dominant focus of HRM research has been that of “strategic HRM”, that is a focus on the impact of HRM on firm performance. The authors argue that not only are the cumulative results of this “dominant research orthodoxy” disappointing in terms of their external validity, but also they are of limited practical value. Further, it has failed not only in terms of its narrow firm performance-oriented agenda, but also the tenets of its agenda have contributed to serious levels of employee dissatisfaction and to the failure to deal with pressing global issues. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – In order to assess the contribution of the dominant research orthodoxy the authors analyse the 16 most cited journal articles in the field of HRM. Findings – The authors find a predominance of US-centric studies and therefore a questionable cross-national generalizability of the dominant research orthodoxy. The use of cross-sectional data means that long-term effects cannot be gauged. The authors observe a lack of consensus on how to operationalize HRM and firm performance. National context is generally absent. Practical implications – The authors show that for HRM to realize its potential for governments, media, or philanthropic agencies, HRM must abandon its restricted scope and mono-dimensional sources of inspiration. Originality/value – The authors not only point to the shortcomings of the dominant research orthodoxy within HRM, but the authors point to how HRM could become significantly more “centre-staged” by addressing the actors searching for contributions to the big questions of the world – the governments, media, and philanthropic agencies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:66087


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