Concepts, contexts, and mindsets: Putting human resource management research in perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Why is context important in human resource management (HRM) research? What and how contextual factors may be studied when investigating an organisational phenomenon? Against a positivist trend of decontextualisation in HRM research, this paper addresses these questions by situating them in an international context. It argues that context is important in making sense of what is happening at workplaces in order to provide relevant solutions. It also outlines three layers of context and draws on an empirical story to illustrate how the utilisation and conceptualisation of context may be underpinned by the researcher's intellectual and social upbringing and theoretical orientation. The paper calls for more qualitative studies to redress the imbalance in HRM research. It also calls for a more open-minded, inductive, and inclusive approach to indigenous research that may present very different contexts, ways of contextualising, and knowledge paradigms from the dominant discourses prevailing in HRM research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Asia
  • Context
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • International HRM
  • Multinational company
  • Work-life balance

Cite this