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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.
- PublicationLine Managers and HRM: A Relational Approach to ParadoxThe scholarly literature on line manager involvement in HRM increasingly acknowledges competing demands that pervade this work. This chapter introduces a relational approach to paradox that postulates that the way line managers translate competing demands is highly relevant for, and impacts on, other HRM actors’ experiences of tensions and abilities to handle them. We draw on suggestions from paradox literature that active engagement with competing demands can promote learning and focus on the role of training and supportive practices in organizations that enable the development of paradox mindsets and practical ways to handle tensions. By taking a relational approach to paradox, we model how individual responses to competing demands enable or hinder beneficial learning dynamics and promote virtuous cycles.
- PublicationWhen less is more: HRM implementation, legitimacy, and decouplingThe implementation of HR policies often proves troublesome due to the appearance, and stubborn persistence, of gaps in the process. HRM scholars problematise these gaps and advocate tight implementation to reduce gaps and to ensure the desired impact of policies on organizational performance. Drawing on organizational institutionalism, we contend that gaps in implementing HR policies can actually be productive, as they secure organizational legitimacy, and thus enable organizations to operate viably within several institutional environments. We suggest that different approaches to implementation are needed, some of them premised on accepting sustained implementation gaps. We introduce minimum and moderate implementation approaches, rooted in the notion of decoupling, to complement approaches aimed at tight implementation. Our aim is to support the further development of research based on a richer interpretation of HRM implementation challenges and choices they present for HR managers.
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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.
Scopus© Citations 34 1763
- 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.
Scopus© Citations 45 557