Organizing the HRM function: Responses to paradoxes, variety, and dynamism

Anne Keegan*, Ilja Bitterling, Hella Sylva, Ludwig Hoeksema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We develop empirically based insights from five case studies and argue that how actors respond to paradoxical tensions helps to explain variety and dynamism in how the HRM function is organized. It also helps to clarify why widely popular models with clearly prescribed structures take on a variety of forms in practice and are dynamic. We contribute to theorizing on the HRM function by introducing a dynamic, tension-centered perspective, based on paradox theory, that builds on previous research on the organization of the HRM function and the challenges facing HRM practitioners working within any particular model to organize HRM work. We discuss the limitations of our study, as well as offering suggestions for future research and practical implications from paradox theory for HRM practitioners dealing with tensions in their work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1126
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • dynamism
  • HRM
  • organization
  • paradox
  • responses
  • tensions
  • variety


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