Alienation, Psychology and Human Resource Management
This paper revisits the issue of alienation and work. Although Marx saw alienation as an objective reality, others argue that it is a subjective experience of powerlessness, meaninglessness, isolation and self-estrangement. Feelings of alienation are also a central construct of existential psychologists, who focus on separation of the individual from the presumed 'real' or 'deeper' self. The question arising from self-estrangement in the workplace is whether modern management techniques have been able to alleviate such feelings. The effects of work structures, various management strategies and the adoption of human resource management as a set of unitarist principles are examined. It is argued that a number of approaches by management have failed to provide any respite from feelings of alienation and, further, that human resource management has tended to produce practices that have also failed. At the same time, the 'soft' version of human resource management model with its unitarist ideals has the potential to assuage feelings of alienation.
Socially responsive, socially responsible approaches to employment and work Proceedings of the ACREW / KCL Conference
Human Resources Management