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Unraveling HRM: Identity, ceremony, and control in a management consulting firm

Alvesson, Mats LU and Kärreman, Dan LU (2007) In Organization Science 18(4). p.711-723
Abstract
This paper addresses human resources management (HRM) systems and practices in a large multinational management consultancy firm. The firm invests considerable resources in HRM, and is frequently praised by employees for its accomplishments in hiring, developing, and promotion. However, this general faith in HRM does not align particularly well with employees' experiences and perceptions of the specific HRM practices in the firm. The paper critically interprets the meaning and the functions of the HRM system and the beliefs supporting it. The paper suggests a reinterpretation of HRM systems and practices based on a cultural-symbolic perspective. It introduces the concepts of excess ceremonialism, identity projects, and aspirational control... (More)
This paper addresses human resources management (HRM) systems and practices in a large multinational management consultancy firm. The firm invests considerable resources in HRM, and is frequently praised by employees for its accomplishments in hiring, developing, and promotion. However, this general faith in HRM does not align particularly well with employees' experiences and perceptions of the specific HRM practices in the firm. The paper critically interprets the meaning and the functions of the HRM system and the beliefs supporting it. The paper suggests a reinterpretation of HRM systems and practices based on a cultural-symbolic perspective. It introduces the concepts of excess ceremonialism, identity projects, and aspirational control to highlight and interpret the significance of organizational symbolism in accounting for the role of HRM systems and practices, and the various effects of HRM systems and practices on employee identity and compliance. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
identity, HRM, assessment, organizational culture, contradictions, symbolism
in
Organization Science
volume
18
issue
4
pages
711 - 723
publisher
Informs
external identifiers
  • wos:000250948000010
  • scopus:42249100350
ISSN
1047-7039
DOI
10.1287/orsc.1070.0267
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ebb67715-bda5-4e74-83c3-0072d73350d1 (old id 971806)
date added to LUP
2008-01-29 12:32:20
date last changed
2017-09-10 04:31:22
@article{ebb67715-bda5-4e74-83c3-0072d73350d1,
  abstract     = {This paper addresses human resources management (HRM) systems and practices in a large multinational management consultancy firm. The firm invests considerable resources in HRM, and is frequently praised by employees for its accomplishments in hiring, developing, and promotion. However, this general faith in HRM does not align particularly well with employees' experiences and perceptions of the specific HRM practices in the firm. The paper critically interprets the meaning and the functions of the HRM system and the beliefs supporting it. The paper suggests a reinterpretation of HRM systems and practices based on a cultural-symbolic perspective. It introduces the concepts of excess ceremonialism, identity projects, and aspirational control to highlight and interpret the significance of organizational symbolism in accounting for the role of HRM systems and practices, and the various effects of HRM systems and practices on employee identity and compliance.},
  author       = {Alvesson, Mats and Kärreman, Dan},
  issn         = {1047-7039},
  keyword      = {identity,HRM,assessment,organizational culture,contradictions,symbolism},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {711--723},
  publisher    = {Informs},
  series       = {Organization Science},
  title        = {Unraveling HRM: Identity, ceremony, and control in a management consulting firm},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/orsc.1070.0267},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2007},
}