To read this content please select one of the options below:

From organizing to organizations: a typological scale of human relations management outside the legal world

Martin Neumann (Institute for Sociology, Johannes Gutenberg Universitat Mainz, Mainz, Germany)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 14 May 2020

Issue publication date: 12 May 2021




The article examines strategies of human resource management in the absence of institutional hedging by norm-enforcing institutions such as a state monopoly of violence by using case studies of criminal organizations. This condition provides a test-bed for studying the effects of human relations management strategies on organizational performance.


For this purpose, a case study methodology is applied. Three cases are selected to build a scale from complete plasticity of an undifferentiated network via a status differentiated gang to a hierarchical organization that provides social positions. The case studies are analysed by qualitative content analysis, network analysis and agent-based simulation.


An undifferentiated network based on informal trust lacks mechanisms for conflict resolution. This is a highly vulnerable organizational structure. While a status differentiated gang is more resilient towards internal conflicts, its activities remain dependent on individually accumulated social capital. This organizational structure is not resilient over generations of actors. A hierarchical organization provides highest degree of structural resilience up to a level of a system of self-organized criticality.


The study of human relations management outside the legal world provides insights into the basic mechanisms and functional effects of organizational activity.



The research leading to these results received funding in part from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 315874, GLODERS Project.


Neumann, M. (2021), "From organizing to organizations: a typological scale of human relations management outside the legal world", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 160-180.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles