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The Employment Perspective in Strategic HRM

Paul Edwards in J. Storey, P. M. Wright and D. Ulrich, eds,

The Routledge Companion to Strategic Human Resource Management (London: Routledge, 2009), 40-51.

The view of the employment relationship adopted in conventional strategic HRM is unduly narrow. SHRM’s fundamental concept is that of the psychological contract. But this concept is individualistic, and it does not address the ways in which employment relations are collective in nature. An ‘industrial relations’ approach offers a more grounded view of the employment relationship. Yet it needs to be developed, methodologically in terms of stronger causal analyses and substantively in taking account of the many influences on the employment relationship. An analysis that combines the strengths of IR with the new focus of SHRM, for example in relation to organizational outcomes, is feasible albeit difficult.