Understanding Human Resource Management

Understanding Human Resource Management

Understanding Human Resource Management

Understanding Human Resource Management


• An accessible introduction to the key debates in human resource management

• A fresh critique of taken-for-granted assumptions underpinning HRM

• A pointer to future directions in HRM

Ken Kamoche critically examines contemporary issues in the management of people. He reviews some of the significant themes that have shaped HRM as it has emerged during the course of the last century. The book identifies the definitive role of the tension between the drive for organizational performance and the 'humanization' of work. It argues, however, that our understanding of both strands is inadequate and poorly researched, leading to an incomplete picture of the dynamics of managing people. Understanding Human Resource Management also examines the relevance of such contemporary debates as the resource-based view, appropriation and globalization, and explores how researchers and practitioners can now move towards a more viable conception of HRM.

'...excellent coverage of the essential areas in human resource management today: contemporary human resource management, strategic HRM, and international HRM...a very readable and concise treatment...it is easy to highly recommend this book.' Professor Randall S. Schuler, Rutgers University

'At last a genuinely original new book on HRM that deals with the concerns of the 21st rather than the last century. Ken Kamoche unpacks some fascinating ideas about appropriation, the "community concept" and facilitating resourcefulness. He is to be congratulated on a real tour de force. A book not to be missed by anyone taking a critical perspective on HRM.' Professor Karen Legge, University of Warwick


This book is the culmination of about ten years of enquiry into the meaning and nature of human resource management (HRM). During that time, the field has undergone a substantial transformation, one which began a lot earlier and which is not likely to end soon. In that regard, it is probably fair to say that HRM is in a constant state of flux. The discipline concerned with the management of people, the employer-employee relationship or labour regulation has of course been around for as long as there have been formal organizations. Whether they called it personnel management, personnel administration or strategic human resource management is immaterial. The important question is what actually goes on in this process, what sets of policies and practices constitute the managers' chosen approach and what are the key assumptions underlying these managerial choices.

An overriding assumption in the literature is that the purpose of HRM is to help organizations achieve their objectives, which are essentially seen in terms of performance. According to Brewster (1999), 'the value of this paradigm lies in the simplicity of focus, the coalescing of the research around this shared objective and the clear relationship with the demands of industry'. Conversely it ignores the other relevant stakeholders. All too often we see books on HRM that merely concern themselves with questions . . .

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