ABSTRACT We revisit Karen Legge's (2001) critique of HRM in which she argues that the attempt of modernist/positivist HRM research to show that HRM improves organizational performance is a ‘spent round’. We note that despite spirited challenges by Legge and others, the discourse of HRM is becoming increasingly dominant. Accordingly, we use discourse analysis to examine why this might be the case. Specifically, we analyse the texts produced in the engagement between Karen Legge and David Guest to show how modernist/positivist texts like those of Guest have been successful in constructing an identity for HRM and embedding it in the broader academic discourse concerning the employment relationship, while critical researchers like Legge face a number of difficulties in producing ‘counter‐texts’.
Journal of Management Studies – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2004
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