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The Becoming of a Mask: Elimination of Plurality

Lilja, Carolina (2009)
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
This Master Degree Project, presented as a Research Proposal, is critically portraying a couple contemporary Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) practices belonging to the Performance Management System: i.e. Performance Appraisals and Feedback. The SHRM function is being critically discussed against its’ history of development and secondly how this function acts as a representative of the ‘Audit Society’. Against this background the focus of a potential research project, the Performance Management System, performance appraisals and feedback is being discussed.
Contemporary SHRM has essentially grown out from the idea that it has to add value to business and aid management in bringing organizations to a state of Business Excellence.... (More)
This Master Degree Project, presented as a Research Proposal, is critically portraying a couple contemporary Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) practices belonging to the Performance Management System: i.e. Performance Appraisals and Feedback. The SHRM function is being critically discussed against its’ history of development and secondly how this function acts as a representative of the ‘Audit Society’. Against this background the focus of a potential research project, the Performance Management System, performance appraisals and feedback is being discussed.
Contemporary SHRM has essentially grown out from the idea that it has to add value to business and aid management in bringing organizations to a state of Business Excellence. The ‘new’ aims are to be achieved through the professionalization of the HRM function and through the transformation of HRM professionals to take on a new role as Strategic Business Partners. Concurrently the professionalization project of SHRM is operating under other contemporary social trends; i.e. trends and ideals regarding information and the making of a ‘visible society’, a task that essentially involves the creation of maintenance of visibility of social agents. Vizibilization techniques developed under the ideals of the information society are rendering human beings ever more visible and transparent. Dave Ulrich, a key advisor and functionalistic HRM researcher claims that one important task of the Strategic Business Partners is to architect organizational blue prints and to perform various audits within the HR area. Whatever the audit will reveal to be ‘faulty’ is to be subjected to ‘renovation’. What ultimately are to be ‘renovated’ are work-processes, policies and people. Turning to the focal point of interest for this thesis – the Performance Management System with its’ components Performance Appraisals and Feedback, the critical discussion turns around the notion of the ‘vizibilized’ human being and how the increasingly ‘vizibilized’ self will form part of various appraisal schemes and feedback loops. The thesis claims that systematically enacted feedback mechanisms, in combination with vizibilization techniques, are acting as vehicles for simplification and standardization. In essence, the research questions proposed are 1) How does feedback and appraisal shape a standardized and simplified human being? 2) How do individuals respond to the activities involved in feedback and appraisal processes?
The main theoretical frame of reference draws on ideas around power from Pierre Bourdieu and places this in a dramaturgical conceptual space of front and backstage discussed in Erving Goffmans work. The RP is proposing a critical position, following other critics of functional HRM research, such as Barbara Townley, Toni Watson and Karen Legge and further suggests a method informed by Critical Theory. The position taken in combination with the research questions suggests that critical ethnographic research would be particularly suitable. (Less)
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author
Lilja, Carolina
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Management of enterprises, Standardization, Elimination of plurality, Power, Vizibilization, Audit Society, Feedback, Performance Management System, Contemporary Strategic HRM, Critical HRM, Företagsledning, management
language
Swedish
id
1474500
date added to LUP
2009-06-04 00:00:00
date last changed
2012-04-02 17:49:56
@misc{1474500,
  abstract     = {This Master Degree Project, presented as a Research Proposal, is critically portraying a couple contemporary Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) practices belonging to the Performance Management System: i.e. Performance Appraisals and Feedback. The SHRM function is being critically discussed against its’ history of development and secondly how this function acts as a representative of the ‘Audit Society’. Against this background the focus of a potential research project, the Performance Management System, performance appraisals and feedback is being discussed.
Contemporary SHRM has essentially grown out from the idea that it has to add value to business and aid management in bringing organizations to a state of Business Excellence. The ‘new’ aims are to be achieved through the professionalization of the HRM function and through the transformation of HRM professionals to take on a new role as Strategic Business Partners. Concurrently the professionalization project of SHRM is operating under other contemporary social trends; i.e. trends and ideals regarding information and the making of a ‘visible society’, a task that essentially involves the creation of maintenance of visibility of social agents. Vizibilization techniques developed under the ideals of the information society are rendering human beings ever more visible and transparent. Dave Ulrich, a key advisor and functionalistic HRM researcher claims that one important task of the Strategic Business Partners is to architect organizational blue prints and to perform various audits within the HR area. Whatever the audit will reveal to be ‘faulty’ is to be subjected to ‘renovation’. What ultimately are to be ‘renovated’ are work-processes, policies and people. Turning to the focal point of interest for this thesis – the Performance Management System with its’ components Performance Appraisals and Feedback, the critical discussion turns around the notion of the ‘vizibilized’ human being and how the increasingly ‘vizibilized’ self will form part of various appraisal schemes and feedback loops. The thesis claims that systematically enacted feedback mechanisms, in combination with vizibilization techniques, are acting as vehicles for simplification and standardization. In essence, the research questions proposed are 1) How does feedback and appraisal shape a standardized and simplified human being? 2) How do individuals respond to the activities involved in feedback and appraisal processes?
The main theoretical frame of reference draws on ideas around power from Pierre Bourdieu and places this in a dramaturgical conceptual space of front and backstage discussed in Erving Goffmans work. The RP is proposing a critical position, following other critics of functional HRM research, such as Barbara Townley, Toni Watson and Karen Legge and further suggests a method informed by Critical Theory. The position taken in combination with the research questions suggests that critical ethnographic research would be particularly suitable.},
  author       = {Lilja, Carolina},
  keyword      = {Management of enterprises,Standardization,Elimination of plurality,Power,Vizibilization,Audit Society,Feedback,Performance Management System,Contemporary Strategic HRM,Critical HRM,Företagsledning,management},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Becoming of a Mask: Elimination of Plurality},
  year         = {2009},
}