"Creating Governance in the Workplace: A Critique of Human Resource Management"
Myrna E. Thompson, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development
The Human Resource Management (HRM) discipline first emerged in the 1980s, coincident with the labor market sea change that is globalization. Normative and consensus-based scholarship dominates the field of HRM, substantially serving managerial interests. This critical research study furthers our understanding of how HRM is constituted as a discourse and how its text and talk shapes employment relationships and creates governance in globalized firms. Critical discourse analysis is used to analyze three texts that chartered the discipline, linking them to broader social structures, practices and relations of power. The findings reveal the use of HRM discourse as a managerial strategy aimed at the control of labor in a world economy that is primarily regulated by market forces. This critical examination points to the need for social change, both in human resource theory and practice and in the power relations evident in the employee—employer relationship.