How Can HR Drive Growth?

How Can HR Drive Growth?

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by George Saridakis and Cary L. Cooper

The ten up-to date research reviews that are presented in this book provide new insights into the HR academic literature. The chapters provide clear lessons that can be learnt from, along with strategies, approaches and processes in which HR could be used by both practitioners and policy makers to drive growth.

Chapter 8: Employee voice, partnership and performance

Stewart Johnstone and Adrian Wilkinson

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


This chapter explores how employee voice and partnership contribute to the goals of HRM. It consists of three main sections. Given the contested nature of HRM, we begin Section 2 by outlining our interpretation of HRM as an overarching term for the management of work and the employment relationship, rather than as a specific approach to labour management. We then consider the aims of HRM and suggest that these goals can be conceived as a mix of human, resource, and management focused dimensions. A key concern is the shifting balance between these three dimensions, and in particular the extent to which attempts at professionalization of the management of HR have led to an increasing focus upon a narrow conceptualization of the resource dimension, with less emphasis upon the human aspects of work and employment. The potential challenges of such approaches form the focus of Section 3, which examines employee voice as a process which potentially contributes to addressing imbalances in the employment relationship. Voice can act as a means for workers to defend their interests, but it can also potentially benefit employers in managing conflict as well as eliciting cooperation and greater commitment from the workforce as part of a high performance work system. A potential challenge, however, is the legitimacy and sustainability of voice mechanisms which only focus upon one or the other, and which may fail due to their one-sided concerns. The final section therefore examines recent debates concerning partnership and mutual gains.

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