The paper, The (potential) demise of HRM?, was recently published in the Human Resource Management Journal and discusses how the future of HRM both as a field of study, and as a form of professional practice, is reaching a critical juncture.
It says organisations increasingly view HRM as a function to extract the greatest shareholder value, often by reducing labour costs, and that this warrants deeper reflection. In particular the academics reviewed three recent HRM trends that can boost profits but at the expense of long term organisational health – namely reward strategies, talent management and high performance work systems.
Says Prof Dundon: “These practices are creating societal challenges such as wage discrimination and precarious employment. For instance reward strategies potentially reinforce the legitimacy of pay inequality by attributing economic value to ill-defined qualities such as leadership. The implications don’t just affect individual businesses, but societal equalities too.”
He added that in the US and UK the widening pay gap has also been accompanied by the rise of HR models embracing market based incentives, while initiatives such as talent ranking can cause widespread demotivation on top of embedded inequalities.