Purpose – This study seeks to investigate the role and impact of HRM policy, and the gap between policy and practice, on organizations and their employees. It looks at the role that soft policy plays in obscuring hard practice and considers the impact of unions and HRM role on policy. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses survey data collected from senior members of the HRM function in 189 large Australian organizations. Findings – The research found a gap between policy and practice with soft policy being used more often than soft practice. This gap had a negative impact on outcomes. Strategic HRM reduces the gap, Impoverished HRM increases it and Unions have a neutral impact. Research limitations/implications – This study used survey data from HRM managers, who whilst being the best single source of information, may have distorted their responses. Practical implications – Managers and HR functions should increase both soft policy and soft practice and ensure there is no gap between policy and practice. To achieve this, organizations should ensure that the HRM function is both strategic and effectively resourced. Originality/value – It has been proposed that British Pluralist traditions have stimulated a critical approach to the unitarist and empirically sound U.S. model of HRM. It is also argued that their arguments are developed for an academic audience and have little practical relevance for managers and HRM functions. Finally, they have been accused of using research methodologies that lead to preferred interpretations. This research makes a significant contribution to this debate through a large scale, empirical perspective.
- Critical Management Studies,
- Human Resource Management,
- Identity Management and Regulation,
- HRM Policy,
- HRM Rhetoric
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/carol_gill/29/