Within the broad field of British industrial relations, personnel/human resource management grew significantly as a focus of conceptual and empirical analysis during the 1980s. This paper reviews the central features of this development and considers the prospects and priorities for future research. It argues that human resource management now represents a new orthodoxy within the general subject area, partly replacing the traditional Donovan framework. Research exploring the application of human resource management is reviewed. This reveals that only modest innovation has occurred, often with little evidence of positive outcomes. Seeking an explanation for this limited impact, attention is focused on the nature and effectiveness of personnel management. The reasons why there might be a ‘problem’ of personnel management are considered. Finally, the sustainability of the new orthodoxy is called into question.
British Journal of Industrial Relations – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1991
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