Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Keith Townsend, Rebecca Loudoun and David Lewin
Chapter 5: Using legal research methods in human resource management research
This chapter considers the contribution that legal research methods may make to better understand systems at work – particularly human resource systems and their impact on employees. Human resource management (HRM) strategies and choices are bounded and, in many instances, constrained by the regulatory framework for HRM (Barry, 2010). “Regulation” is a broad interdisciplinary phenomenon (see Morgan and Yeung, 2007, pp. 1–7) but in many domains, including HRM, law plays a prominent part in shaping business decisions and processes. For present purposes “law” may simply be defined as “those rules which will be recognised and enforced by the courts” (Chisholm and Nettheim, 2007, p. 11). In Australia there are two sources of law: legislation and common law. Legislation (also called “statutes”) comprises legal rules that are directly enacted by a legislature. In the Australian constitutional systems, the legislature is parliament and a legislative enactment is referred to as an “Act of Parliament”. Legislation may also be created by office holders or bodies to whom the parliament delegates law making power: for example, a minister may make “regulations”, which must be approved by the governor-general or governor. This latter form of legislation is usually called “subordinate legislation”.
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