Evolving Practices in Human Resource Management: Responses to a Changing World of Work

By Allen I. Kraut; Abraham K. Korman | Go to book overview

Preface

This book originated with several conversations not long ago about how the world of work has changed since we entered it a few decades ago. Some of these talks took place with colleagues in school hallways, others at professional meetings or in clients' offices. Much of what we spoke of was obvious in the daily headlines; topics varied from layoffs where there had never been any before to the creation of and recruitment for exotic new occupational specialties. Far more interesting but far less obvious was the enormous change going on in the practice of human resource management (HRM) and the areas of industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology that support or influence HRM.

A few publications pointed in a deeper and more meticulous way to some of these changes. Examples include Howard's edited volume on The Changing Nature of Work (1995), Bridges's intriguingly titled book JobShift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs (1994), and professional symposiums like Pearlman's Is “Job” Dead? Implications of Changing Concepts of Work for IndustrialOrganizational Psychology Science and Practice (1995). Clearly, something was in the wind.

There is little argument that fundamental changes have taken place in the world of work, especially during the last two decades. These changes are transforming HRM. Downsizing, growth of parttime and contract jobs, telecommuting, and the renewed emphasis on “employment at will” agreements have all generated a new work environment. These changes are fueled by increased competition, globalization, and high rates of technological innovation.

These factors are having dramatic impacts and will continue to do so, pushed by the realities of a more diverse workforce and the growth of two-paycheck families and single-parent responsibilities. All of this has created a world of work characterized by high levels of anxiety and uncertainty, temporary relationships, decreased

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