Recent HR differentiation research has been concerned with HRM differences within job groups (such as between more and less talented managerial employees) and HRM differences between job groups of different strategic value (such as knowledge and manual workers). Less attention has been paid to HR differentiation among strategically valuable job groups. This paper reviews literature relevant to the question whether (and how) firms should differentiate their HRM systems between professional and managerial job groups. Four broad theoretical perspectives are adopted, including firm-level economic (“macro”), psychological (“micro”), institutional, and technical-feasibility perspectives. Psychological, institutional, and technical-feasibility perspectives are argued to favor a two-pronged approach, whereby professional HRM systems are nested within firm-level managerial HRM systems (while being subject to influence by field-level institutions). The economic (resource-based) perspective, by contrast, implies HR homogenization across the two job groups. Integrating the four perspectives, the paper points to potential longer-term negative effects of trends toward HR homogenization on professional skill standards and dedication to higher-order professional goals.
Human Resource Management Review – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2017
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