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- PublicationTensions in Managing Human Resources: Introducing a Paradox Framework and Research AgendaOf all areas of management and organization science, one cannot imagine an area where tensions are more evident than in human resource management (HRM). Paauwe holds "we are finding increasing evidence of the dualities and paradoxes entailed in HRM today" (Paauwe 2004: 40). Stiles and Trevor (2006) further assert "the theoret- ical position that embraces the notion of tensions or paradoxes or dilemmas seems to be the most accurate re ection of the lived experience of HR professionals" (Stiles and Trevor 2006: 62). Notwithstanding, HRM researchers have not extensively mobilized paradox theory to understand tensions. Also, paradox theorists "who study a wide range of management issues such as leadership (Manz, Anand, Joshi, and Manz 2008; Zhang, Waldman, Han, and Li 2015), strategic decision-making (Smith 2014), innova- tion (Andriopoulos and Lewis 2009), and managerial decision-making (Lüscher and Lewis 2008)" have engaged little with HRM (for exceptions see Aust, Brandl, and Keegan 2015; Ehnert 2009; Kozica and Brandl 2015). In this chapter, we examine pre- vious research on tensions in HRM, focusing on the contributions and limitations of these perspectives for understanding and handling tensions. Second, we focus on what characterizes the dynamics of coping with tensions. Here, we draw on paradox theory to consider conditions for alternative response/coping strategies and processes that char- acterize reinforcing cycles. We o er insights from the (limited) body of work in HRM that draws on paradox theory. irdly, we o er a paradox framework to aid the study of HRM tensions. Finally, we conclude with suggestions for further HRM research on tensions and coping responses enriched by insights from a paradox perspective.
- PublicationThe Lived Experience of Paradox: How Individuals Navigate Tensions during the Pandemic CrisisOrganizational life has always been filled with tensions, but the COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying this experience in fundamental ways. Across the globe, employees have had to quickly adjust to working from home, striving to remain productive while adapting to new technologies and work-practices (Lanzolla, Lorenz, Miron-Spektor, Schilling, Solinas & Tucci, 2020). Essential employees, such as medical personnel, have been grappling with the desire to deliver care to those with need without risking themselves (Kniffin et al., 2020). Leaders have been balancing optimism with realism and finding ways to engender psychological proximity despite managing their followers from afar (Gibson, 2020). These interconnected tensions have been accentuated not just within domains (e.g., work), but also across domains (Ladge, Clair & Greenber, 2012). Working parents, for example, have been renegotiating boundaries as they pursue their work goals while home-schooling their children and caring for their elderly relatives (Power, 2020).
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- PublicationHandling Tensions in Human Resource Management: insights from paradox theoryWe have two aims in this paper. Our first aim is conceptual where we enrich tensions-focussed HRM research with insights from paradox theory. The second aim is to provide guidance for how HR practitioners can handle tensions that never go away. We focus on HR practitioners because they play leading roles in managing employment practices and designing intended HRM practices. We elaborate on the issue of handling tensions and apply a set of response strategies suggested by paradox theory including suppressing, opposing, splitting and adjusting. Finally, we illustrate these response strategies and their consequences using an example of hiring practices.
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- PublicationState-of-the-art and future directions for HRM from a paradox perspectiveManaging HRM related tensions is a matter of practical and theoretical significance. Despite increasing interest among HRM scholars in understanding the nature of tensions in managing the employment relationship, attempts to explore these tensions that go beyond the mapping of dualities or naming of the negative aspects of tensions are somewhat rare. Furthermore, discussions on managing HRM tensions tend to be of limited value for practitioners due to their overly abstract nature contributing to what several commentators lament is a growing theory-practice gap in HRM research. This Special Issue aims to advance the discussion on tensions in HRM by drawing on a recent paradox perspective from organization theory. Along with the contributors to the Special Issue, we explore how a paradox perspective can support HRM researchers in a more systematic analysis of types of HRM paradoxes and tensions and in deepening awareness of practical strategies for coping actively and constructively with tensions. In this introduction to the Special Issue, we first provide a synthesis of the features of a paradox perspective and contrast it with previous research on tensions in organization theory and HRM. Next, we illustrate how a paradox perspective can be applied to analyzing HRM tensions presenting key examples of such analysis. We then introduce the contributions to this Special Issue all of which draw, albeit in different ways, on a paradox perspective on HRM. Finally, we explore opportunities for future research. In particular, we focus on the need to move from a duality perspective to a paradox perspective on HRM, on opportunities to explore the links between HRM, paradox and organizational sustainability and on the skills and capabilities needed for coping with HRM paradoxes both at individual and organizational/HRM levels.
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