In a time of ever-changing workplaces and employee/employer relationships, many academics are turning to history and epistemology to determine future research and practice in the area of employment relations (ER) and human resource management (HRM). From the gig economy, working remotely and the growing use of artificial intelligence in recruitment, this book reflects on theories that have conceptualised ER for decades and the systems and practices that will characterise an ethical and stable work environment moving forward.

Professor Keith Townsend, co-editor of Elgar Introduction to Theories of Human Resources and Employment Relations (2019) and member of the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing says that this Elgar Introduction provides an overview of some of the key theories that inform HRM and ER as a field of study.

“It was a collaborative effort among leading scholars in the field and we explore theories in the context of contemporary debates concerning policies that affect and regulate work and the management of employment as well as the activities and experiences of actors within the employment relationship”, says Professor Townsend.

With co-editors, Kenneth Cafferkey of Sunway University, Aoife McDermott of Cardiff Business and Tony Dundon, University of Limerick, Professor Townsend explains that it was decided to split the book into three parts to capture different theoretical lenses used to reflect on HRM and ER concerns about work: systems and historical development; institutions; and people and processes.

Expert contributors, including several Griffith University (GU) staff and adjuncts, have drawn on extensive research experience to present a contemporary understanding of a range of theories, how they evolved and how they might be used in the future. GU contributing authors covered topics such as: 1) Neo-Pluralism in contemporary employment relations and HRM-The case for workplace and academic dialogue 2) Institutional theory, business systems and employment relations; 3) Using role theory to understand and solve employment relations and human resources problems; and 4) Ability, motivation, and opportunity theory – A formula for employee performance?

The book has already received international recognition as essential reading for HRM, ER and management scholars and research students, challenging readers to reassess their thinking about the significance of theory in research and practice.

Bringing together a diverse set of authors of distinguished pedigree, this collection provides an authoritative survey of theories of the employment relationship. Classical theories of work and employment are fully represented, with excellent chapters on Marxism, pluralism, feminism, human relations, labour process and systems theory, but so too are newer theoretical currents, many of which have their point of origin in the broader field of management studies. There are strong chapters on trust, role theory, evolution, paradox, social exchange, RBV and AMO: bodies of thought that are generating fresh understandings of employment and how it is managed. The collection as a whole is an invaluable resource for students, teachers and researchers; a broad-ranging and imaginative survey of how we think about work. – Edmund Heery, Cardiff University, UK

‘What is wonderful about this book is that in one place you can find all the prominent theories of HR and employment relations. The individual chapters are outstanding, which is what I would have expected from a stellar editorial team and first-rate contributors. A must-read for anybody interested in human resource management.’ – Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, University of Manchester, UK

Contributing GU authors: Professors Keith Townsend and Ashlea Troth, Associate Professor Rebecca Loudoun, Dr Ashlea Kellner, PhD Candidate Qian Yi Lee and Adjunct Professors Peter Ackers and Geoffrey Wood

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