PurposeOrganizations profoundly create development paths of individual’s careers. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to gain understanding about how organizational context (shaped by the complex relationship between trade union strength and HRM strength) influences the application of organizational career management (OCM) practices seen through the lens of the theory of cooperation and competition (Deutsch, 1949; Tjosvold, 1984).Design/methodology/approachInferential statistical analyses (Kruskal–Wallis and Mann–Whitney tests) were applied to test the CRANET survey data collected from 92 large-sized private-sector organizations within an EU country characterized by a medium to high-trade union density.FindingsResults offered consistent empirical evidence that a comprehensive set of OCM practices are applied differently across four distinctive modalities of the union-HRM relationship. Specifically, the “union-HRM synergy” relationship (high-HRM/high-unionization) has been recognized as the most promising for adopting such developmental practices, providing an evidence of complementarities between trade unions and HRM professionalism.Practical implicationsThe research suggests that synergistic collaboration between trade unions and HRM might provide employees with even more career development opportunities than when organizations pursue the asynchronous single-sided “Total HRM strategy.”Originality/valueThis study rejuvenate a traditional career management research agenda by introducing a new theoretical lens for studying the interplay between trade unions and HRM and have put an emphasis on how their strength is related to the incidence of OCM practices.
Employee Relations: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 7, 2019
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