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Giving is Caring? Identity and Control Issues with Employee Benefits

Dahllöf, Louise LU and Olsson, Jonna LU (2012) BUSN49 20121
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Employee benefits can be seen as an HRM practice that has received increased attention among practitioners, while scholars’ interest in this theme has been moderate. The previous research focus has mostly been on how benefits contribute to organizational outcomes such as commitment, retention and attraction of employees. As opposed to this dominant view, this study sets out to explore employee benefits from a social constructionist perspective to advance the research field of employee benefits. Departing from this socially constructed worldview, the interest of this study was to explore employees’ interpretations and their constructed meanings of the benefit program. An interpretive interview study was conducted at a large organization... (More)
Employee benefits can be seen as an HRM practice that has received increased attention among practitioners, while scholars’ interest in this theme has been moderate. The previous research focus has mostly been on how benefits contribute to organizational outcomes such as commitment, retention and attraction of employees. As opposed to this dominant view, this study sets out to explore employee benefits from a social constructionist perspective to advance the research field of employee benefits. Departing from this socially constructed worldview, the interest of this study was to explore employees’ interpretations and their constructed meanings of the benefit program. An interpretive interview study was conducted at a large organization offering an extensive benefit program where the employees could choose from a set of offered benefits. The findings showed that an employee benefit program symbolizes much more than what has been discussed in previous research, and has implications for both the identities and actions of the employees. The main findings were: (1) A benefit program comprises a symbolic value which makes the act of giving more important than the actual gift; (2) The act of giving contains an exchange relationship which is affected by the interpretation of the gift (the benefits); (3) The structure and distribution of a benefit program allowing the employees to choose among a wide range of benefits can give the employees an illusion of being autonomous; and (4) Benefits may act as a tool for identity regulation affecting the self-identity of the employees as well as their relation to the organization. These findings contribute to and add a nuance to existing theories on employee benefits. (Less)
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author
Dahllöf, Louise LU and Olsson, Jonna LU
supervisor
organization
course
BUSN49 20121
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Employee benefits, Exchange, Gifts, Sensemaking, Identity, Image, Control, Critical interpretive study.
language
English
id
2760190
date added to LUP
2012-06-15 10:43:48
date last changed
2012-06-19 10:50:48
@misc{2760190,
  abstract     = {Employee benefits can be seen as an HRM practice that has received increased attention among practitioners, while scholars’ interest in this theme has been moderate. The previous research focus has mostly been on how benefits contribute to organizational outcomes such as commitment, retention and attraction of employees. As opposed to this dominant view, this study sets out to explore employee benefits from a social constructionist perspective to advance the research field of employee benefits. Departing from this socially constructed worldview, the interest of this study was to explore employees’ interpretations and their constructed meanings of the benefit program. An interpretive interview study was conducted at a large organization offering an extensive benefit program where the employees could choose from a set of offered benefits. The findings showed that an employee benefit program symbolizes much more than what has been discussed in previous research, and has implications for both the identities and actions of the employees. The main findings were: (1) A benefit program comprises a symbolic value which makes the act of giving more important than the actual gift; (2) The act of giving contains an exchange relationship which is affected by the interpretation of the gift (the benefits); (3) The structure and distribution of a benefit program allowing the employees to choose among a wide range of benefits can give the employees an illusion of being autonomous; and (4) Benefits may act as a tool for identity regulation affecting the self-identity of the employees as well as their relation to the organization. These findings contribute to and add a nuance to existing theories on employee benefits.},
  author       = {Dahllöf, Louise and Olsson, Jonna},
  keyword      = {Employee benefits,Exchange,Gifts,Sensemaking,Identity,Image,Control,Critical interpretive study.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Giving is Caring? Identity and Control Issues with Employee Benefits},
  year         = {2012},
}