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Anne Keegan, Julia Brandl and Ina Aust

The study of paradox highlights how tensions between organizational elements are perceived and the options available for handling them. There is a strong managerial focus in the work to date although a focus on power and less benign tensions is emerging. Given the growing attention in mainstream Strategic HRM research for tensions, paradox theory can underpin a more systematic analysis of the way contradictory and interrelated elements facing HRM actors are handled. The authors present paradox theory by reviewing previous work on tensions in HRM, examine how paradox theory has been applied to date, and study limitations and prospects for future development to stimulate developments in paradox theory beyond managerialism.

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Julia Brandl, Anna Bos-Nehles and Ina Aust

This chapter presents a state-of the art review of research on cross-national variation in organising human resource management (HRM) work based on open systems theorising of organisations. The authors suggest that practical efforts for organising HRM are based on three alternative models (classic, neo-classic, and modern), and identify the major theoretical traditions that have guided research in this field. Based on the inclusion of empirical studies, the chapter includes a new section on research in the tradition of new institutional theory as well as key issues and future research directions.

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Julia Brandl, Ina Ehnert and Anna Bos-Nehles