Elgar Introduction to Theories of Human Resources and Employment Relations
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Elgar Introduction to Theories of Human Resources and Employment Relations

Edited by Keith Townsend, Kenneth Cafferkey, Aoife M. McDermott and Tony Dundon

This Elgar Introduction provides an overview of some of the key theories that inform human resource management and employment relations as a field of study.
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Chapter 14: Human resource management and paradox theory

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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