HRM and the Worker

David E. Guest

in The Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199547029
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577390 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

HRM and the Worker

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  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour


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This article reveals two ‘ideal type’ approaches to HRM that address the issue of control of workers in rather different ways. The ‘high-commitment’ model appears to cede control to employees by emphasizing self-control alongside but also as a means of generating high commitment. The ‘performance management’ model allows managers to retain control and uses HR practices as a means of directing workers' efforts more effectively. The former emphasizes intrinsic control and intrinsic rewards; the latter emphasizes external control and extrinsic rewards. Attempts have been made to integrate elements of these two contrasting approaches. At a strategic level, this might be achieved through the concept of flexibility.

Keywords: HRM approaches; control of workers; high-commitment model; self-control; HR practice; intrinsic rewards

Article.  8158 words. 

Subjects: Human Resource Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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