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Framing the implementation of HRM innovation: HR professionals vs line managers in a construction company

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to present the concept of human resource management (HRM) frames, to identify frame domains, and to explore their role in implementing HRM innovation. HRM innovation implementation is considered through the theoretical lens of social cognitive theory, and defined as a process for achieving the appropriate and committed use of HRM innovation by targeted employees. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An explorative case study in a construction company is conducted to illustrate the role of HRM frames in the implementation of HRM innovations. Interviews are held with 21 line managers and human resource (HR) specialists, and intensive document analysis added further data. Respondents described their understanding, assumptions and expectations of a new HRM programme, which enabled analysis of the contents of interview transcripts. Findings ‐ Four HRM frame domains are identified: strategic motivation, essence of HRM innovation, HRM innovation-in-practice and ownership. Where the HRM frames are significantly different, difficulties and conflicts in HRM innovation implementation are observed. Empirical findings illustrated how the nature, value and reasons behind the HRM innovation are interpreted by HR specialists and line managers, and that incongruent frames resulted in outcomes that deviated from those expected. Originality/value ‐ This paper takes a process-based approach and considers the implementation of HRM in organisations rather than focusing on factor-based research into HRM practices. It shows how the implementation of HRM is constructed through social-cognitive interpretations by organisational members.

Keywords: Human resource management; Human resource strategies; Innovation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 31, 2009

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