The real problem: The deadly combination of psychologisation, scientism, and normative promotionalism takes strategic human resource management down a 30-year dead end

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Kaufman, Bruce E
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2020
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This paper engages with Troth and Guest (2019) on psychology in HRM. I argue they misframe the central issue in debate. The real problem is not psychology per se but psychologisation —the drive to reduce explanation of macro‐level HRM outcomes to individual‐level psychological‐behavioural factors and individual differences. Accordingly, the most visible and harmful effects of psychologisation are in strategic HRM and the HRM‐performance literature but Troth and Guest's defence of psychology does not cover them. I use this response to re‐establish that it is psychologisation, not psychology per se, that is the critics' focal concern and describe how the three‐decade advance of psychologisation, along with scholastic scientism and normative promotionalism, have created severe theoretical and empirical problems in the high‐performance research programme and taken the strategic HRM field down a 30‐year dead‐end. Suggestions for a turn‐around are provided.

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Human Resource Management Journal

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30

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1

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Human resources and industrial relations

Psychology

Social Sciences

Industrial Relations & Labor

Management

Business & Economics

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Kaufman, BE, The real problem: The deadly combination of psychologisation, scientism, and normative promotionalism takes strategic human resource management down a 30-year dead end, Human Resource Management Journal, 2020, 30 (1), pp. 49-72

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