From Human Resource Management to Human Dignity Development: A Dignity Perspective on HRM and the Role of Workplace Democracy

  • P. Matthijs BalEmail author
  • Simon B. de Jong
Part of the Humanism in Business Series book series (HUBUS)


The recent crisis has revealed a number of problems inherent to contemporary societies and economic systems (Seymour 2014) and has increased many of these, including greater inequality and more poverty, depression, suicides, and other health problems (Kentikelenis et al. 2014; Seymour 2014). Moreover, the crisis also revealed and amplified problems for workers, including unemployment and underemployment (George 2014), as well as a higher rate of burnout (Leiter et al. 2014) and worker abuse (Lucas et al. 2011). Besides these human costs, there are also financial costs. For example, the costs of employee burnout have been calculated to be over £77 billion a year across Europe (Evans-Lacko and Knapp 2014). In the search for underlying problems, many scholars have pointed towards flaws in the economic system and increasing social injustice (George 2014; Harvey 2005; Seymour 2014). More specifically, at the heart of capitalism, and in particular neoliberalism, are the focus on (short-term) profit maximization for individual firms, the focus on the instrumentality of labor, and the focus on individualism among workers. These elements have been adopted in many modern organizations and have affected the relationships between employees and their organizations (Bal 2015).


Human Resource Management Human Dignity Resource Base View Talent Management Human Resource Management Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. App, S., J. Merk, and M. Buttgen. 2012. Employer Branding: Sustainable HRM as a Competitive Advantage in the Market for High-Quality Employees. Management Revue 23: 262–278.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, M. 2012. Human Resource Management Practice. London: KoganPage.Google Scholar
  3. Bal, P.M. 2015. Voorbij Neoliberalisme in de arbeids—en organisatiepsychologie: Menselijke Waardigheid en Organisatiedemocratie [Beyond Neoliberalism in Work and Organizational Psychology: Human Dignity and Workplace Democracy]. Gedrag en Organisatie 28: 199–218.Google Scholar
  4. Bal, P.M., and X.D. Lub. 2015. Individualization of Work Arrangements: A Contextualized Perspective on the Rise and Use of i-Deals. In Idiosyncratic Deals Between Employees and Organizations: Conceptual Issues, Applications, and the Role of Coworkers, eds. P.M. Bal and D.M. Rousseau, 9–23. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barney, J. 1991. Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management 17: 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boxall, P. 2014. The Future of Employment Relations from the Perspective of Human Resource Management. Journal of Industrial Relations 56: 578–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bridoux, F., and J.W. Stoelhorst. 2014. Microfoundations for Stakeholder Theory: Managing Stakeholders with Heterogeneous Motives. Strategic Management Journal 35: 107–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Datta, D.K., J.P. Guthrie, D. Basuil, and A. Pandey. 2010. Causes and Effects of Employee Downsizing: A Review and Synthesis. Journal of Management 36: 281–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Jong, G., and A. Van Witteloostuijn. 2004. Successful Corporate Democracy: Sustainable Cooperation of Capita and Labor in the Dutch Breman Group. Academy of Management Executive 18: 54–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Desai, M. 2012. The Incentive Bubble. Harvard Business Review 90: 124–132.Google Scholar
  11. Evans-Lacko, S., and M. Knapp. 2014. Importance of Social and Cultural Factors for Attitudes, Disclosure and Time Off Work for Depression: Findings from a Seven Country European Study on Depression in the Workplace. PloS One 9: e91053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Foley, J.R., and M. Polanyi. 2006. Workplace Democracy: Why Bother? Economic and Industrial Democracy 27(1): 173–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. George, J.M. 2014. Compassion and Capitalism: Implications for Organization Studies. Journal of Management 40: 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gerhart, B., and M. Fang. 2014. Pay for (Individual) Performance: Issues, Claims, Evidence and the Role of Sorting Effects. Human Resource Management Review 24(1): 41–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilbert, J.T. 2000. Sorrow and Guilt: An Ethical Analysis of Layoffs. SAM Advanced Management Journal 65(2): 4–13.Google Scholar
  16. Godard, J. 2014. The Psychologicalisation of Employment Relations? Human Resource Management Journal 24: 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenwood, M.R. 2002. Ethics and HRM: A Review and Conceptual Analysis. Journal of Business Ethics 36(3): 261–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall, D.T. 1984. Human Resource Development and Organizational Effectiveness. In Strategic Human Resource Management, eds. D. Fombrun, M.A. Tichy, and M.A. Devanna. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Harvey, D. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Huselid, M.A. 1995. The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity, and Corporate Financial Performance. Academy of Management Journal 38(3): 635–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jiang, K., R. Takeuchi, and D.P. Lepak. 2013. Where Do We Go from Here? New Perspectives on the Black Box in Strategic Human Resource Management Research. Journal of Management Studies 50: 1448–1480.Google Scholar
  22. Kateb, G. 2011. Human Dignity. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kaufmann, P., H. Kuch, C. Neuhäuser, and E. Webster. 2011. Human Dignity Violated: A Negative Approach–Introduction. In Humiliation, Degradation, Dehumanization, 1–5. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kentikelenis, A., M. Karanikolos, A. Reeves, M. McKee, and D. Stuckler. 2014. Greece’s Health Crisis: From Austerity to Denialism. The Lancet 383: 748–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koen, J., U.C. Klehe, and A.E. Van Vianen. 2013. Employability Among the Long-Term Unemployed: A Futile Quest or Worth the Effort? Journal of Vocational Behavior 82(1): 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Larkin, I., L. Pierce, and F. Gino. 2012. The Psychological Costs of Pay-for-Performance: Implications for the Strategic Compensation of Employees. Strategic Management Journal 33(10): 1194–1214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leiter, M., A. Bakker, and C. Maslach. 2014. The Contemporary Context of Job Burnout. In Burnout at Work: A Psychological Perspective, eds. M. Leiter, A. Bakker, and C. Maslach, 1–9. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lucas, K., D. Kang, and Z. Li. 2013. Workplace Dignity in a Total Institution: Examining the Experiences of Foxconn’s Migrant Workforce. Journal of Business Ethics 114(1): 91–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marchington, M., and A. Wilkinson. 2013. Human Resource Management at Work: People Management and Development, 5th edn. London: CIPD Publishing.Google Scholar
  30. Murphy, J., and H. Willmott. 2015. The rise of the 1%: An Organizational Explanation. In Elites on Trial (Vol. 43). Research in the Sociology of Organizations, eds. G. Morgan, P. Hirsch, and S. Quack, 25–53. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  31. Paauwe, J. 2009. HRM and Performance: Achievements, Methodological Issues and Prospects. Journal of Management Studies 46: 129–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pirson, M. A., and C. Dierksmeier. 2014. Reconnecting Management Theory and Social Welfare: A Humanistic Perspective. Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2014, No. 1, p. 12245). Academy of Management.Google Scholar
  33. Pirson, M.A., and P.R. Lawrence. 2010. Humanism in Business–Towards a Paradigm Shift? Journal of Business Ethics 93: 553–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Roulet, T.J., and S. Touboul. 2014. The Intentions with Which the Road is Paved: Attitudes to Liberalism as Determinants of Greenwashing. Journal of Business Ethics 128(2): 305–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rousseau, D.M. 1995. Psychological Contracts in Organizations: Understanding Written and Unwritten Agreements. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. ——— 2012. Free Will in Social and Psychological Contracts. Society and Business Review 7: 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rousseau, D.M., and Z. Shperling. 2003. Pieces of the Action: Ownership and the Changing Employment Relationship. Academy of Management Review 28(4): 553–570.Google Scholar
  38. Sauser, W.I. Jr. 2009. Sustaining Employee Owned Companies: Seven Recommendations. Journal of Business Ethics 84(2): 151–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Semler, R. 2013. Turning the Tables. New York: Times Books.Google Scholar
  40. Seymour, R. 2014. Against Austerity. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  41. Stohl, C., and G. Cheney. 2001. Participatory Processes/Paradoxical Practices Communication and the Dilemmas of Organizational Democracy. Management Communication Quarterly 14(3): 349–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Thompson, P. 2013. Financialization and the Workplace: Extending and Applying the Disconnected Capitalism Thesis. Work, Employment & Society 27(3): 472–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vaude. (2015). Vaude. Experience Vaude. Accessed 04 Aug 2015.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BathBathUK
  2. 2.University of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations