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Are humans resources?

Are humans resources? Purpose – This paper aims to offer a critique, from a career studies perspective, of the common term “human resource management.” Design/methodology/approach – Provides a literature review and critique. Findings – The term “human resource management” is a metaphor that presents employees as passive commodities or assets rather than as active agents, and thereby potentially de‐humanizes them. In an alternative view based on career studies, individual employees are active agents utilizing the resources of employing organizations to pursue personal goals. Alternative terms to “human resource management” are suggested. Research limitations/implications – There is scope for study of the effects of “human resources” terminology on employees' and others' view of and attitude to the human resource management function. Practical implications – Examination of “human resources” discourse may promote examination of the implications of current discourse for practice, facilitate moderation of practice, and stimulate the search for new discourse and new practice, by both organizations and individuals. Originality/value – This paper questions a prevailing and widely accepted form of discourse in management and advocates change. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Career Development International Emerald Publishing

Are humans resources?

Career Development International , Volume 13 (3): 10 – May 9, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1362-0436
DOI
10.1108/13620430810870511
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to offer a critique, from a career studies perspective, of the common term “human resource management.” Design/methodology/approach – Provides a literature review and critique. Findings – The term “human resource management” is a metaphor that presents employees as passive commodities or assets rather than as active agents, and thereby potentially de‐humanizes them. In an alternative view based on career studies, individual employees are active agents utilizing the resources of employing organizations to pursue personal goals. Alternative terms to “human resource management” are suggested. Research limitations/implications – There is scope for study of the effects of “human resources” terminology on employees' and others' view of and attitude to the human resource management function. Practical implications – Examination of “human resources” discourse may promote examination of the implications of current discourse for practice, facilitate moderation of practice, and stimulate the search for new discourse and new practice, by both organizations and individuals. Originality/value – This paper questions a prevailing and widely accepted form of discourse in management and advocates change.

Journal

Career Development InternationalEmerald Publishing

Published: May 9, 2008

Keywords: Human resource management; Careers; Metaphors

References