Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Keith Townsend, Rebecca Loudoun and David Lewin
Chapter 6: The use of news media as a data source in HRM research: exploring society’s perceptions
Few studies of public representations of human resource management (HRM) issues via the news media have been undertaken. Although HRM topics are well represented in the news media, little is known about the content, perspectives or impacts of such stories. This chapter focuses on the important, innovative contribution that news media research can make to the field of HRM. We refer to our exploratory study into workplace bullying, a key HRM concern, to exemplify main points throughout. The chapter provides a context for HRM research, discusses the contribution of the news media as a data source, strengths and limitations of the method and makes recommendations for future research. HRM, defined broadly as the management of people within the employment relationship, is comprised of networks of public and private actors, making it a complex area to study (Greenwood, 2013). Accordingly, the meaning and significance of various research approaches to HRM continue to be debated (Harley, 2014; Marchington, 2015; Van Buren and Greenwood, 2013). For example, a widely considered aspect is HRM’s perceived lack of strategic influence within organisations. By positioning itself more with senior management in driving performance goals and shareholder value, it may be argued that HRM is narrowing its focus, with the risk of overlooking key stakeholders and roles (for example, employee advocates) and contributions to society (for example, ongoing development of fair, inclusive and sustainable processes) (Marchington, 2015).
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