Human Resource Management and Business Legitimacy: Changing Roles and Legitimacy-as-Process

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This chapter aims to analyze the role of legitimacy in mediating the people management-society relationship. Emphasis is on how the historically changing theorizations of people management reflect different institutional and historical contexts, legitimating notions of how to position people management and expectations of the role it ought to play. Also, emphasis is on specific types of blindness preventing long-term sustainability and legitimacy of HRM.

The chapter is based on a legitimacy-as-process perspective claiming theorization as a critical element of legitimation. The theorization of the field of people management (of which HRM is a specific variation) is analyzed based on literature representing highly influential authorships and major knowledge institutions often cited in the literature influencing the field of people management and on secondary literature such as review articles.

A brief historical analysis of the changing core of the people management/HRM ontology, epistemology, and its legitimating notations is performed, and four types of emergent HRM epistemologies and corresponding notions of legitimacy are identified based on the fragmented future HRM landscape.

The findings and practical consequences are that although the perspective of HRM is broadened, blind spots unavoidably generate paradoxes and an ever-existing “crisis” of the HRM project, which must be accepted as a precondition for the profession but also for its adaptation toward current challenges.

The chapter adds to legitimacy and HRM literature by providing an understanding of why the legitimacy-as-property and legitimacy-as-perception perspectives must be subordinated to the legitimacy-as-process perspective and how this appears in the case of HRM.
TitelHandbook of Business Legitimacy : Responsibility, Ethics and Society
RedaktørerJacob Dahl Rendtorff
Antal sider22
Publikationsdato29 okt. 2020
ISBN (Trykt)978-3-030-14621-4
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-3-319-68845-9
StatusUdgivet - 29 okt. 2020


  • Human resource management
  • Legitimacy-as-process
  • Future HRM
  • Paradoxes and deparadoxication
  • Sustainable HRM

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