Utilizing data drawn from 18 in-depth case studies the authors explore in detail the factors shaping employment in a diverse range of Irish small- and medium-sized enterprises. Existing theory in HRM is deemed inadequate in capturing the complexity of HRM in SMEs especially as it treats organizations as hermetically sealed entities. In an effort to animate the criticism directed at normative models of HRM the authors use a conceptual framework with an emergent, open systems theoretical proposition to examine the parameters, dynamics and determining factors of HRM at each of the case study companies. The results show that the notion of a normative HRM model was not coherent in terms of actual practices but rather reactive, and emergent HRM-related processes were often imposed to meet legislative requirements or to reinforce owner–manager legitimacy and control. The authors conclude that an appreciation of the interaction between structural factors both inside and outside the immediate work milieu is crucial if the heterogeneity of HRM in SMEs is to be adequately accommodated and understood.
Harney, B. and Dundon, T. (2006), "An Emergent Theory of HRM: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration of Determinants of HRM Among Irish Small- to Medium-sized Enterprises (SME", Lewin, D. and Kaufman, B.E. (Ed.) Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations (Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 103-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-6186(06)15002-7
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