Welcome to Critical HRM, a site dedicated to thinking differently about human resource management.
The academic and practitioner literature on human resource management (HRM) in North America is dominated by approaches that have their roots in industrial/organizational psychology. At the macro level the most prevalent approach is searching for the 'holy grail' - a connection between HRM, often never clearly defined, and performance, also often vaguely structured.
In addition, practitioner contributions, through practitioner publications such as HR Reporter, perpetuate one-dimensional myths about HRM practices. For example, the ideas about competencies, psychological testing and the transfer of training, adopt an approach which ignores the inevitably political and non-rational nature of organizational life. HRM, a set of practices rarely defined with any clarity, ends up as unrealizable ideal. Textbooks often reflect the myth of HRM, and offer a caricature of what it is claimed to be. Moreover, undergraduates entering workplaces with their HRM textbooks in hand, discover quickly that that their experience of people management in the real world of work bears little resemblance to its portrayal in expensive texts.
Some might argue that this reflects the laziness of HRM practitioners whom do not try hard enough to introduce scientifically reliable and validated HRM practices. Critical HRM suggests that it is important to try harder to produce a realist HRM. One that reflects more clearly what people management in organizations is, how it operates and how it is experienced. Critical HRM in some form seeks not only to expose the one-dimensional nature of some approaches to HRM but also to ask the questions: what is HRM in the first place, and how can we get HRM practitioners involved in debating the essence of people management, rather than simply perpetuating its rhetoric.? Critical HRM does not primarily concern the discovery of truths, but the exposure of myths.
This site introduces links, papers and ideas that begin this process of debate.