Situating human resource management in the political economy: multilevel theorising and opportunities for kaleidoscopic imagination

Steve Vincent, Greg J. Bamber, Rick Delbridge, Virginia Doellgast, Jo Grady, Irena Grugulis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article introduces a special issue on Situating Human Resource Management (HRM) Practices in their Political and Economic Contexts. We develop a novel multilevel framework for exploring the political economy of HRM and use this to position the articles in this special issue. We argue that the study of HRM is often too narrowly constructed within a psychological, positivistic paradigm and at an organisation‐level, and that situating HRM in its political and economic context requires a more inclusive, interdisciplinary approach that includes the use of kaleidoscopic imagination and meta‐theoretical bricolage. By embracing a theoretically pluralist approach to studying HRM, researchers are better able to analyse how different levels of the political economy interact with specific HRM practices to impact value creation. We conclude by discussing the contribution of this article and the special issue, as well as highlighting avenues for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-477
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • HRM
  • political economy
  • theoretical realism
  • multilevel theory
  • kaleidoscopic imagination

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