Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
    Tensions in Managing Human Resources: Introducing a Paradox Framework and Research Agenda
    (Oxford University Press, 2017-09-14) ; ; ;
    Of 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.
  • Publication
    Doing it for themselves?: Performance appraisal for project based organizations, the role of employees, and challenges to theory
    We explore performance appraisal in project‐based organisations and provide novel insights into appraisal processes in this context. These include the central role of employees in orchestrating the appraisal process, the multiple actors that have input to appraisal including project managers, the distance between employees and their official line managers, and the weak coordinating role of human resource specialists in these systems. We draw attention to the drawbacks of current theorising on appraisal to predict and explain outcomes from appraisal systems that are not premised on stable line manager/employee dyads. Theorising based primarily on social exchange theories needs to be reconsidered in this context and new theories developed. We also question how human resource specialists can better support employees, and managers of all kinds, in their implementation roles in polyadic human resource management systems to ensure transparency, equity, and fairness of appraisal processes in a project‐based organisational context.
      190Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    Conceptualizing human resource management in the gig economy: Toward a platform ecosystem perspective
    (Emerald, 2019-05-13) ;
    Purpose – Although it is transforming the meaning of employment for many people, little is known about the implications of the gig economy for human resource management (HRM) theory and practice. This paper conceptually explores the notion of HRM in the gig economy, where intermediary platform firms design and implement HRM activities while simultaneously trying to avoid the establishment of employment relationships with gig workers. Design/methodology/approach – To conceptualize HRM in the gig economy, we offer a novel ecosystem perspective to develop propositions on the role and implementation of HRM activities in the gig economy. Findings – We show that HRM activities in the gig economy are designed to govern platform ecosystems by aligning the multilateral exchanges of three key gig economy actors: gig workers, requesters, and intermediary platform firms, for ensuring value co-creation. We argue that the implementation of HRM activities in the gig economy is contingent on the involvement and activities of these gig economy actors. This means that they are not mere recipients of HRM but also actively engaged in, and needed for, the execution of HRM activities. Originality/value – Our study contributes to research by proposing a theoretical framework for studying the design of HRM activities, and their implementation, in the gig economy. From this framework, we derive directions for future research on HRM in the gig economy.
      3971Scopus© Citations 95
  • Publication
    The Ethics of Engagement in an Age of Austerity: A Paradox Perspective
    (Springer, 2018-08-13) ;
    Our contribution in this paper is to highlight the ethical implications of workforce engagement strategies in an age of austerity. Hard or instrumentalist approaches to workforce engagement create the potential for situations where engaged employees are expected to work ever longer and harder with negative outcomes for their well-being. Our study explores these issues in an investigation of the enactment of an engagement strategy within a UK Health charity, where managers and workers face paradoxical demands to raise service quality and cut costs. We integrate insights from engagement, paradox, and ethic of care literatures, to explore these paradoxical demands—illustrating ways in which engagement experiences become infused with tensions when the workforce faces competing requirements to do ‘more with less’ resources. We argue that those targeted by these paradoxical engagement strategies need to be supported and cared for, embedded in an ethic of care that provides explicit workplace resources for helping workers and managers cope with and work through corresponding tensions. Our study points to the critical importance of support from senior and frontline managers for open communications and dialogue practices.
      282Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    Ethical Considerations and Change Recipients’ Reactions: ‘It’s Not All About Me’
    (Springer, 2016-09-08) ;
    An implicit assumption in most works on change recipient reactions is that employees are self-centred and driven by a utilitarian perspective. According to large parts of the organizational change literature, employees’ reactions to organizational change are mainly driven by observations around the question ‘what will happen to me?’ We analysed change recipients’ reactions to 26 large-scale planned change projects in a policing context on the basis of 23 in-depth interviews. Our data show that change recipients drew on observations with three foci (me, colleagues and organization) to assess change, making sense of change as multidimensional and mostly ambivalent in nature. In their assessment of organizational change, recipients care not only about their own personal outcomes, but go beyond self-interested concerns to show a genuine interest in the impact of change on their colleagues and organization. Meaningful engagement of employees in organizational change processes requires recognizing that reactions are not simply ‘all about me’. We add to the organizational change literature by introducing a behavioural ethics perspective on change recipients’ reactions highlighting an ethical orientation where moral motives that trigger change reactions get more attention than is common in the change management literature. Beyond the specifics of our study, we argue that the genuine concern of change recipients for the wellbeing of others, and the impact of the organizations’ activities on internal and external stakeholders, needs to be considered more systematically in research on organizational change.
      253Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    Human resource management in organizational project management: Current trends and future prospects
    (Cambridge University Press, 2017-06) ; ;
    It is increasingly common for work activities to take place in projects, and projects are therefore of growing importance as sites for career development, for leading and managing professional workers, and for individual and organizational development. Links between human resource management (HRM) activities that occur on projects, and their broader implications for project-based organizations in terms of knowledge, learning, and competence development, are therefore important foci for research. Projects are also important from the perspective of the well-being, ethical treatment, and motivation of workers. Projects are established within and between organizational functions (Bredin & Söderlund, 2011) but also span organizational boundaries (Lundin & Steinthórsson, 2003; Swart & Kinnie, 2014). Projects involve people from within and between organizational departments and also within and between disciplinary specialties. The implications of project-based organizing for managing human resources would appear to be significant (Huemann, 2015; Keegan, Huemann, & Turner, 2012; Palm & Lindahl, 2015; Söderlund & Bredin, 2006; Vicentini & Boccardelli, 2014), and yet traditional HRM models, where projects are not a key consideration, continue to dominate mainstream HRM theorizing (Swart & Kinnie, 2014). In mainstream HRM theorizing, traditional long-term and stable employment relationships are assumed and focal organizations are those with clearly defined internal and external boundaries. Project management literature has also traditionally downplayed what could be called the human factor – human capital or people aspects of project organization and management (Keegan & Turner, 2003). A shift from the mainly technical to increasingly people-focused aspects of project management has, however, been discernible in the past decade (Huemann, Keegan, & Turner, 2007). Project management researchers have started to explore more systematically HRM issues and their possible contribution to the performance of organizations that do most of their work in projects (Bredin & Söderlund, 2011). The systematic study of project professionals’ careers has developed recently, reflecting an increased appreciation of the importance of projects as a major part of many organizations (Crawford, French, & Lloyd-Walker, 2013; Hölzle, 2010) and the resulting increased importance of HRM issues and “people capabilities” (Bredin, 2008) required of project-based organizations is slowly increasing. Similarly, even though HRM theorists have not, to date, fully embraced the importance of the project context for practices, processes, and outcomes, this too appears to be changing as studies of HRM become more contextually sensitive.
      988Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Organizing the HRM function: Responses to paradoxes, variety, and dynamism
    We develop empirically based insights from five case studies and argue that how actors respond to paradoxical tensions helps to explain variety and dynamism in how the HRM function is organized. It also helps to clarify why widely popular models with clearly prescribed structures take on a variety of forms in practice and are dynamic. We contribute to theorizing on the HRM function by introducing a dynamic, tension-centered perspective, based on paradox theory, that builds on previous research on the organization of the HRM function and the challenges facing HRM practitioners working within any particular model to organize HRM work. We discuss the limitations of our study, as well as offering suggestions for future research and practical implications from paradox theory for HRM practitioners dealing with tensions in their work.
      1890Scopus© Citations 23
  • Publication
    Handling Tensions in Human Resource Management: insights from paradox theory
    (SAGE Publications, 2018-11-26) ; ;
    We 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.
      1542Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    Exploring the Role of Leadership in Enabling Contextual Ambidexterity
    Sustainable success calls for contextually ambidextrous organizing. According to theory, this entails enabling simultaneous high levels of exploration and exploitation within a subsystem. The practices involved in enabling contextual ambidexterity form a major and relatively unexplored leadership challenge. Our main aim is to draw on a combination of ambidexterity and complexity theory insights to understand how contextual ambidexterity emerges in dynamic contexts. We contribute to the literature on the role of leadership in enabling contextual ambidexterity by exploring the daily practices leaders enact to stimulate exploration and exploitation as well as to shift dynamically between them to (re)gain contextual ambidexterity. We present the results of two qualitative studies exploring leadership in project-based organizations where the pressure for contextual ambidexterity is relevant. We show that in responding adaptively to environmental stimuli, leaders shift between practices to emphasize exploitation or exploration to (re)gain the needed high levels of both, and their enactments are bounded by the conditions of keeping exploration and exploitation simultaneously high. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding contextual ambidexterity as a dynamic accomplishment that emerges in everyday interactions, the role of leaders in enabling contextual ambidexterity, and the need for HR managers to support leaders in enacting this dynamic form of leadership.
      1308Scopus© Citations 73
  • Publication
    State-of-the-art and future directions for HRM from a paradox perspective
    Managing 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.
      482Scopus© Citations 36