Immanent Philosophy: The Consequences and Concepts of Human Resource Management

Philosophy of Management 6 (2):31-45 (2007)
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In this paper I present a philosophically-inspired approach to the field of human resource management (HRM). Such an approach demands a certain kind of reader and a certain kind of HR professional: readers and professionals who are less occupied with the application and implementation of new HR technologies and more with the complex impact of HRM technologies and practices on individuality and sociality. I argue that concepts, technologies and practices of HRM are in practice elements in an immanent philosophy, which reproduces and transforms how individuals and organisations can come into being. Two seemingly contradictory, simultaneous tendencies are discussed. First, the practices and technologies of HRM can and have been seen as disciplining, conservative forces, creating egoistic individuals with little or no interest in sharing a common responsibility towards the organisation. Second, a new kind of sociality arises from the openings that practices and technologies are creating, as the social does not so much disappear as take on new forms. I will discuss these different kinds of beings through a case example involving a group performance appraisal system in a major financial institution. I conclude by reflecting on the matter-of-fact spirit in which HR technologies and practices are implemented and the vast power which the ‘Resource Management’ exercises in creating the ‘Human’



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