Greenfield sites have been seen as the most favourable setting for the adoption of human resource management (HRM). Presents a study of two greenfield employers’ attempts to introduce and maintain HRM philosophy and practices. Contrasts one management’s creation of HRM philosophy with another’s efforts to replicate its principles in a new unit. Describes and assesses these managements’ practices over the ten years since start up. Demonstrates that in the face of market pressures, greenfield managers are no more capable of maintaining soft‐version practices than their brownfield counterparts. Shows how these managers attempted to legitimize hard‐version practices by continuing to rely on language which reflected the humanistic principles of HRM. Concludes that without a radical reappraisal of management’s values, the long‐term aims of HRM will elude greenfield and brownfield sites alike.
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