Tensions in Managing Human Resources

Ina Aust, Julia Brandl, Anne Keegan and Marcia Lensges

in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox

Published in print September 2017 | ISBN: 9780198754428
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191815966 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Tensions in Managing Human Resources

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
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This chapter examines previous research on tensions in HRM, focusing on the contributions and limitations of these perspectives for understanding and handling tensions. Second, it focuses on what characterizes the dynamics of coping with tensions. Here, paradox theory is drawn on to consider conditions for alternative response/coping strategies and processes that characterize reinforcing cycles. The chapter offers insights from the (limited) body of work in HRM that draws on paradox theory. Thirdly, the chapter offers a paradox framework to aid the study of HRM tensions. Finally, it concludes with suggestions for further HRM research on tensions and coping responses enriched by insights from a paradox perspective.

Keywords: paradox; human resource management; tension; coping; handling tensions; understanding tension

Article.  9395 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Human Resource Management

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