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HRM Dissertation Topics

Published by Carmen Troy at January 6th, 2023 , Revised On August 15, 2023


Human resource management studies stated that employees should be hired, retained and managed. It is an extensive field that requires an in-depth understanding of the underlying factors and concepts.

As a human resource management student, you will study many different concepts, frameworks, and theories related to employee management. However, before your graduation, you will be required to submit a dissertation on a human resource management research topic of your choice.

Even though several topics and concepts are yet to explore in the field of human resource management, you will want to make sure that your proposed topic has sufficient literature to support and justify the content of a theoretical framework , or else you might struggle with data collection .

This article provides you with a comprehensive list of HRM topics that are relevant to your field and identifies some interesting literature gaps.

Choosing from our list of topics will certainly improve your chances of submitting an outstanding dissertation. So, go ahead and choose an HRM dissertation topic of your interest. We can even customize these topics based on your project needs.

PhD qualified writers of our team have developed the proposed topics, so you can trust to use these topics for drafting your dissertation.

Note –

You may also want to start your dissertation by requesting  a brief research proposal  from our writers on any of these topics, which includes an  introduction  to the topic,  research question ,  aim and objectives ,  literature review  along with the proposed  methodology  of research to be conducted.  Let us know  if you need any help in getting started.

Check our  dissertation examples  to get an idea of  how to structure your dissertation .

Review the full list of  dissertation topics for 2022 here.

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2022 HRM Dissertation Topics

Topic 1: how human resources departments achieve equal employment opportunities.

Research Aim: The research will aim to investigate how HR departments achieve equal employment opportunity in organizations. EEO, or Equal Employment Opportunity, is the notion everybody has an equal chance to pursue a job on the basis of merit, regardless of skin color, gender, or gender identity. It is the duty of HR department to give every employee and equal right in the organization. The research will examine how HR department keep the organization environment friendly by controlling equal employment opportunities.

Topic 2: The effect of motivating strategies on employee performance

Research Aim: The research will aim to find the impact of motivating strategies on employee performance. Employee motivation plays a huge part on performance. Employee engagement cannot be substituted by anything else in order for any organisation to run efficiently and without interruption. It is critical that a company and its employees not only have a strong connection with the top management, but also have a good and healthy relationship with their colleagues. The study will also make recommendations on what further might be done to obtain optimal results utilising motivating methods for the benefit of both the company and the individual.

Topic 3: Organizational Conflicts as Antecedents of Staff Turnover: Evidence from the UK Food Sector

Research Aim: The research will aim to review recent available literature on employee turnover in order to determine organizational conflicts as antecedents of employee turnover in the UK food sector in order to close gaps in the literature and present a broader range of turnover factors and understanding of employee motivational factors in their job decision.

Topic 4: How does AI involvement in HRM provide Zara with a competitive advantage?

Research Aim: The research will aim to inspect the benefit of competitive advantage at Zara through the involvement of artificial intelligence in their HRM. AI assists the human resources department in identifying their personnel’ skill sets and recommending a training programme based on their work positions. It combines all of the data and assists the HR staff in making succinct decisions about what training to do in which sector to boost abilities. The study will also explain the importance of AI in organizations and organizations success. It will also look into strategies and policies Zara used to achieve competitive advantage.

Topic 5: The role of HR in creating a respected working environment that contributes in sustainable revenue growth

Research Aim: The research aims to examine the role of HR in creating a respected working environment and sustainable revenue growth. The study will identify current misunderstandings and disparities in understanding of topics such as sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, and the link between strategic human resource management and sustainable HRM through a comprehensive literature review. It will also identify and recognise the challenges that sustainable HRM encounters in reality, with a particular emphasis on the prevalent strategic HRM schema and the misunderstanding of corporate social responsibility.

Covid-19 HRM Research Topics

The role of managers during the pandemic.

Research Aim: In this study, the Human resource management techniques which HR managers will adopt for performing their operations during the COVID -19 will be discussed.

The management techniques for employees.

Research Aim: This study will focus on how the employees are trained during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The economic Crisis for HR Managers during Covid-19

Research Aim: This study will discuss how the economic crisis will disturb the payroll and how the managers will work.

The policies of HR for affected employees.

Research Aim: In this study, HR will design policies on how HR will manage when there is a gap between employees working. How will the ill patients be provided with support by companies through HR?

The employees' cooperation for HR

Research Aim: This study will highlight how well the employees support the decisions of the HR policymakers during the pandemic.

HRM Dissertation Topics for 2021

Topic 1: effect of employee engagement on customer loyalty in the service-based industry.

Research Aim: Employees engagement means that employees are passionate and committed to their work. In the service industry, where employees’ performance can greatly influence the quality of service, it is worth exploring employee engagement in customer loyalty in the service-based industry. Therefore, in this study, survey-based research will be conducted to identify employee engagement in customer loyalty.

Topic 2: Contingent workforce and its impact on organisation’s performance – Evaluating the IT Industry

Research Aim: Nowadays, companies hire freelancers and contractual workers, unlike permanent payroll employees. Various cost benefits can be obtained by hiring such a workforce. However, such a workforce may not have the required skills to do a job as effectively as a trained staff would have done. Thus, the present study focuses on identifying the impact of a contingent workforce on its performance in the IT industry.

Topic 3: Factors of growing mental health issues of employees at workplace in service-based industries

Research Aim: The wellness of employees at the workplace is necessary for their mental health and work performance. This study will identify the factors that can increase employees’ mental health issues at the workplace based on survey-based of employees and managers of service-based industries.

Topic 4: Analysing the importance and impact of training and development on an organisation’s sustainability during economic crises.

Research Aim: to achieve organizational objectives and milestones, leaders and business owners have realized the importance of training and developing their workforce to align with the organizational objectives. This research aims to analyze the importance and impact of employee training and development on the organization’s sustainability during economic downturns.

Topic 5: How online digital platforms have helped organisations in recruiting effectively and efficiently

Research Aim: With the advent of technology, firms have revolutionized their business operations. Under this revolution, many organizations have adopted different techniques and methods to recruit talented employees. Therefore, this research intends to determine how online digital platforms have helped organizations find employees more efficiently and effectively.

Topic 6: Analysing the factors which directly impact an employee's personal decision to leave employment

Research Aim: Employee turnover rate has always been a major concern for many organizations regardless of their size and nature. A valuable and talented employee is usually hard to find and retain. However, it has been found out that different factors motivate an employee to search for a new job. Keeping this phenomenon in mind, the current research will be analyzing the factors that directly impact the employee’s personal decision to leave employment.

Topic 7: Critically analysing the concept of workplace flexibility and how it impacts employee and organisational performance

Research Aim: In today’s modern era, the workplace environment has been transformed drastically from a strict and conventional style to a more flexible one. Therefore, this research aims to critically analyze the concept of workplace flexibility and how it impacts employee and organizational performance.

Topic 8: A comparative analysis of employees' job satisfaction and motivational factors in public versus private organisations.

Research Aim: Job satisfaction and employee motivation are regarded as the most important element of HR practices. The main aim of HR policies is to satisfy, retain, and motivate employees. Therefore, this research aims to conduct a comparative analysis of the employee’s job satisfaction and motivational factors in public versus private organizations.

Topic 9: The influence of COVID-19 on virtual employee management practices by organisations

Research Aim: This research is highly useful in the current context of COVID-19. Organisations all around the world are getting impacted by the COVID-19 and are closed at the moment. The current study will focus on using different virtual employee management practices that companies can use in the current context of COVID-19. These practices will be beneficial for organizations in almost all business sectors.

Topic 10: The role of using transformational leadership style in the improvement of organisational creativity at Morrisons

Research Aim: The aim of this research will be the benefits of using the transformational leadership style by Morrisons’ leaders to improve organizational creativity. This study will research how leaders can get the advantage of a transformational leadership style for increasing creativity at the organization.

Topic 11: The green HRM practices and their impacts on the corporate image of IKEA

Research Aim: This study will aim to study different green HRM practices and their role in improving IKEA’s corporate image and reputation. It will be researched how companies can improve their corporate image by focusing on green HRM practices and processes. The findings will be beneficial for the management, customers as well as employees.

Topic 12: Involving employees in the decision-making process and its influence on employee productivity at Subway

Research Aim: It will be researched in this study how Subway and other companies in this industry can involve the workers in the decision-making process to improve employee productivity. It will be studied that employee productivity is increased by involving the employees in the decision-making process. The findings will be useful in designing useful HR practices by Subway.

Topic 13: The impact of a flat organisational structure on the decision-making process

Research Aim: The main objective of this study is to evaluate the decision-making difficulties and issues faced by HR managers of companies with a flat organizational structure. This study will also investigate the benefits and challenges related to the flat organizational structures used by companies. A case study approach will be used.

Topic 14: The role of workforce diversity in improving organisational capability and innovation at Toyota Motors

Research Aim: To carry out this study, an innovative company named Toyota Motors will be selected. The main objective for carrying out this study will be to analyze how the organizational capability and innovation at Toyota Motors are improved due to workforce diversity. The main emphasis will be on studying the workforce diversity present at Toyota Motors and its significance in improving innovation and organizational capability. The success factors of Toyota Motors for HR will be studied.

Topic 15: The impact of digitalization on changing HRM practices at Aviva

Research Aim: The contemporary business world moves towards digitalization due to technological advancements. This research will study the different impacts of digitalization in changing various HRM practices at Aviva. Different HRM practices used by Aviva before and after the digitalization era will be discussed, and the changes will be analyzed. This study will show how digitalization has changed HRM practices in the contemporary business world.

Topic 16: The influence of employee learning and development opportunities on employee satisfaction at British Airways

Research Aim: It will be studied in this research that how employee satisfaction at British Airways is influenced by employee learning and development opportunities. Different employee learning and development opportunities at BA will be studied, along with their impact on workforce satisfaction.

Topic 17: The impact of recognizing employee contributions on employee retention at Shell

Research Aim: This study’s main objective is to analyse whether Shell can retain its employees by recognizing their contributions or not. Different strategies used by Shell for recognizing employee contributions will be studied that lead towards motivating the employees, which ultimately impact the retention of workers.

Topic 18: The role of green HR practices in employee engagement and retention

Research Aim: Green HR practices is a newly emerged concept in HRM. The study will aim to research the impact of green HR practices on employee engagement and retention. It will be studied how companies can improve employee engagement and retention by focusing on green HR practices.

Topic 19: The role of providing daycare facilities in increasing the productivity of female employees

Research Aim: This study will be focusing on the productivity of female workers. It will be studied how female workers’ productivity is increased by providing daycare facilities for their children. The impact on the satisfaction level of female employees due to the daycare facility will also be explored.

Topic 20: The impact of artificial intelligence on enhancing the human resource practices of Zara

Research Aim: For this study, the researcher will focus on the concept of artificial intelligence and use it in the HR context. It will be studied that either the HR practices at Zara can be enhanced by implementing AI. The benefits and implications of implementing AI in the HR context will also be part of this study.

Topic 21: The role of e-leadership in improving employee productivity and motivation.

Research Aim: The contemporary business world has become highly advanced due to technological capabilities. The concept of e-leadership has emerged due to advancements in technology. The purpose of this study will be to analyse the impact of e-leadership in improving the productivity and motivation level of the workforce.

Topic 22: The role of effective HR planning in a successful strategic alliance process.

Research Aim: This study will study the importance of effective HR planning for the strategic alliance process. It will be studied how HR management can mould the HR practices and focus on effective HR planning to make the strategic alliance process successful.

Topic 23: The impact of different personality traits on teamwork at Microsoft

Research Aim: The main focus of this research will be studying Microsoft’s teamwork. It will be further analyzed how Microsoft’s teamwork is influenced by the personality traits possessed by different team members. Different types of personality traits will be studied in this research that impacts teamwork positively and negatively.

Topic 24: The impact of career growth opportunities on employee loyalty at HSBC Holdings.

Research Aim: This study will aim to review different types of career growth opportunities offered by HBSC Holdings to its employees. Moreover, it will also be studied how employee loyalty is improved due to various career growth opportunities. The findings of this study will be beneficial for the banking sector.

Topic 25: The role of adapted HR practices in improving organisational performance at the international branch of DHL.

Research Aim: The study’s main objective will be to analyse companies’ changes in their HR practices for international branches. How and why the HR practices are adapted by HR management for improving the organisational performance at the company’s branch, which is located outside the country. For this, the DHL case study will be selected, and it will be assessed how and why DHL has used adapted HR practices across different countries.

HR Learning and Development Dissertation Topics

All organisational activities aimed at improving the productivity and performance of groups and individuals can be classified as HRM’s learning and development function elements. Learning and development encompass three pivotal activities, including education, training, and development.

As such, the training activities help to evaluate an employee based on his existing job responsibilities. Educational activities include those focusing on jobs that an employee can expect to carry out in the future.

Finally, the development activities are those that the employer may partake in the future. If you’re interested in exploring this human resource topic in-depth, we have some interesting dissertation topics for you:

Topic 1:The importance of appreciative inquiry with respect to organisational learning and development culture – A case study of ExxonMobil

Research Aim: This research will discuss the importance of appreciative inquiry and its impact on organisational learning and development culture with a specific focus on ExxonMobil.

Topic 2:To establish the correlation between organisation competency development and learning activities & programmes

Research Aim: This research will discuss how organisational competency development and organisational learning activities are correlated.

Topic 3:An examination of knowledge management and organisational learning for sustained firm performance. A case study of British Telecom

Research Aim: This research will examine how organisational learning and knowledge management helped British Telecom sustain their firm performance.

Topic 4:Investigating learning and development of human resources in the public sector in the UK

Research Aim: This dissertation will evaluate the different ways of achieving the learning and development of human resources in the UK’s public sector.

Topic 32:The importance of HR learning and development activities for SMEs

Research Aim: This research will focus on how SMEs utilize HR learning and developmental activities to improve their employees’ performance.

Topic 33:Human resource practices and employees’ decision to quit – Does Lack of Learning and Development play a Role.

Research Aim: This research will focus on whether or not lack of learning and development in an organization leads to employee turnover,

Topic 34:Developing organisational competitive advantage through strategic employee training in computer knowledge

Research Aim: This dissertation will explore how companies can gain a strategic advantage over their competitors through employee training.

Topic 35:The impact of various training and learning based activities on employees’ productivity

Research Aim: The main aim of this research will be to determine the impact of different pieces of training and learnings on employees’ productivity.

Topic 36: The role of HR analytics and metrics in improving organizational performance at Tesco

Research Aim: This study aims to research a new concept in human resource management, named HR analytics and metrics. Moreover, their impact on improving organizational performance will also be studied. This study will be beneficial for Tesco in using HR analytics and metrics in different HR practices that can lead to improved organizational performance.

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HR Performance Review Dissertation Topics

A performance review, also known as a career development discussion, performance evaluation and employee appraisal, can be defined as a method to evaluate an employee based on their job performance, mainly for appraisals. This might be an interesting area to focus your dissertation on. Here are some interesting topics in this area of HRM:

Topic 37:To understand the relationship between performance review and employee motivation in large and diversified business organisations

Research Aim: This research will understand the relationship between employee motivation and employee performance review. Large and diversified businesses will be the main focus of this study.

Topic 38:Effective performance appraisal – A study to establish a correlation between employer satisfaction and optimising business results

Research Aim: This research will analyse the impact of performance appraisal on employer satisfaction and how it optimises business results.

Topic 39: Investigating the efficacy of performance appraisal from the perception of employees in UK retail industry – A case study of Tesco

Research Aim: This research will analyse the efficacy of performance appraisal concerning employees, with a specific focus on Tesco.

Topic 40: Employee performance appraisal and the role of fairness and satisfaction

Research Aim: This dissertation will explore whether employees report satisfaction and fairness when performance appraisal is conducted.

Topic 41:Investigating performance review and appraisal methods employed by human resource department of any large oil and gas company

Research Aim: This research will study the human resource department of a large oil and gas company and will investigate how “performance review” and appraisals are conducted.

Topic 42: Job satisfaction and performance appraisals – Are they Interconnected?

Research Aim: This research will study in-depth whether job satisfaction and performance appraisals are interconnected or not.

Topic 43:Investigating the relationship between public sector appraisals and the spinal pay reward

Research Aim: This research will talk about the spinal pay reward system and evaluate its effectiveness in the public sector.

Topic 44:Analysing the impact of performance management on employee performance improvement

Research Aim: This research will investigate how performance management helps companies improve their employees’ performance.

Topic 45: Can HR performance drive employee engagement? Studying the UK banking industry

Research Aim: This research will talk about the different ways through which HR performance review helps in improving employee engagement. The UK banking industry will be in focus in this study.

Topic 46:The role of HR performance review in increasing employee retention and productivity

Research Aim: This research will investigate how organisations utilize performance reviews as a tool to improve employee retention and productivity.

HR Employee Motivation Dissertation Topics

Employees need objectives and goals to remain focused. The quality of work may significantly drop if they are not constantly motivated by their employers.

Business organizations employ various employee motivation methods and techniques to keep their employees motivated. Thus, this is an interesting topic to explore for your final year dissertation. Here are some HRM dissertation topics related to employee motivation.

Topic 47:To investigate the role of motivation in HRM – A study highlighting the most important motivation factors for future business leaders

Research Aim: This research will discuss the different motivation factors organisations should use to develop future leaders. In addition to this, the role of motivation throughout HRM will be discussed.

Topic 48:Employee satisfaction and work motivation – Are they both related?

Research Aim: This research will understand the relationship between motivation and employee satisfaction and the different motivation techniques companies can employ to increase employee satisfaction.

Topic 49: Evaluating the Role of Employee motivation in performance Enhancement

Research Aim: This study will discuss the role of employee motivation concerning employee performance, i.e. whether it enhances performance or not.

Topic 50:Human resource management – Motivation among workers in large and diversified business organisations

Research Aim: This dissertation will talk about motivation in large and diversified organisations and how these companies ensure that their employees are motivated at all times.

Topic 51:Effects of motivational programmes and activities on employee performance

Research Aim: This research will focus on the different motivational techniques and programs that impact employee performance.

Topic 52: Does motivation play a role in decreasing employee turnovers? A case study of British Airways

Research Aim: This research will discuss the role of motivation in decreasing employee turnover with a specific focus on British airways.

Topic 53:Motivation and performance reward – Are the two interrelated?

Research Aim: This research will talk about motivation and performance rewards and will assess whether the two are interrelated and directly related.

Topic 54: Work productivity and the role of employee motivation programmes and activities

Research Aim: This study will assess employee motivation programs’ impact on employee productivity, i.e. if it increases or decreases.

Topic 55:To discuss the role of employee motivation in relation to retention levels

Research Aim: This research will analyze employee motivation’s role to help companies retain employees.

Topic 56:Differences and similarities between traditional and contemporary theories

Research Aim: This research will discuss and compare traditional and contemporary motivation theories implemented by companies.

Topic 57: The role of employee empowerment in employee motivation and satisfaction at British Petroleum.

Research Aim: This study will aim to analyse different strategies of employee empowerment carried out by British Petroleum and their impact on workers’ motivation and satisfaction. The research will be studied that either different employee empowerment strategies improve employee motivation and satisfaction. The findings will be beneficial for companies working in the petroleum sector.

Topic 58: The impact of open communication in improving employee engagement at Zara

Research Aim: In this research, different modes of communication used by organisations will be studied and especially the impact of open communication in improving employee engagement at Zara will be analyzed. The importance of open communication for different organisations in the fashion and retail sectors will be discussed. Moreover, different communication strategies that can help improve employee engagement at Zara will be discussed based on past literature, theories, and framework.

HR Performance Management Dissertation Topics

All processes and activities to consistently meet organisational goals and objectives can be considered the HR performance management mechanism elements. Different organisations employ different performance management strategies to gain a competitive advantage. To explore this area of human resources, here are some intriguing topics for you:

Topic 59:Investigating different performance management techniques for retaining employees

Research Aim: This research will talk about companies’ various performance management techniques to retain employees.

Topic 60:The role of performance management activities in improving employees’ skills and abilities

Research Aim: This research will discuss how performance management helps employees improve their skills and abilities and how it ultimately helps companies.

Topic 61:Managing performance of workers through performance management techniques – A Case Study of Google

Research Aim: This research will explore how organisations use different performance management techniques to manage employees and their performance. A specific focus of this study will be Google Incorporation.

Topic 62:Employee performance and performance management systems – A qualitative study

Research Aim: This study will conduct a qualitative study to understand the different performance management systems for improving employee performance.

Topic 63:Performance management examinations in human resource management of profit-oriented organisations

Research Aim: This research will understand performance management in profit-oriented companies regarding how their human resource department ensures optimal performance.

Topic 64:Exploring the essentials elements of the performance management framework

Research Aim: This research will explore its vital features and performance management framework.

Topic 65:Human resource management practices and business performance – The role of environmental uncertainties and strategies

Research Aim: This research will explore whether environment uncertainties and strategies play a role in employee and business performance.

Topic 66:The efficacy of performance management systems in the UK’s retail industry

Research Aim: This research will explore the UK’s retail industry’s performance management efficacy.

Topic 67:Towards a framework for performance management in a higher education institution

Research Aim: This research will investigate performance management in the educational setting.

Topic 68:Should wages be capped through performance management – A qualitative study

Research Aim: This research will analyse whether wages should be adjusted and capped concerning performance management with a focus on its effects.

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Strategic Human Resource Management Dissertation Topics

Strategic human resource management is tying the human resource management objective to the company’s goals and objectives. This helps companies in innovating and staying ahead of their competitors by gaining a competitive advantage.

Being a relatively new concept, there are various aspects of strategic HRM that are left to be explored. Here are some interesting strategic HRM dissertation topics for you:

Topic 69:The efficacy of communication processes and employees’ involvement plans to improve employee commitment towards organisational goals – A case study of Sainsbury

Research Aim: This research will study the role and efficacy of the communication processes and employees’ involvement in order to improve employees’ commitment towards organisational goals.

Topic 70:To investigate SHRM theory and practice in a call centre – A case study of any UK call centre

Research Aim: This dissertation will discuss the various SHRM theories and how it is implemented. A UK-based call center will be focused on this study.

Topic 71: Differences and similarities between SHRM strategies and policies employed by German and Japanese automobile companies

Research Aim: This research will compare the different SHRM techniques and policies implemented by German and Japanese automobile companies.

Topic 72: A resource-based view assessment of strategic human resources quality management systems

Research Aim: This research will understand the resource-based view of strategic human resources quality management systems.

Topic 73: To understand and critically evaluate the HRM strategies employed by small and medium sized enterprises in the UK

Research Aim: This research will discuss and evaluate the different strategic HRM strategies employed by small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK.

Topic 74: Relating organisational performance to strategic human resource management – A study of small scale businesses in the UK

Research Aim: This study will analyse whether organisational performance and strategic human resource management are interconnected by assessing small scale businesses in the UK.

Topic 75: Investigating strategic human resource management in Singapore – A qualitative study

Research Aim: This research will analyse strategic human resource management in Singapore by undertaking a qualitative method.

Topic 76: The role of organisational support programmes to enhance work outcome and employees behaviour

Research Aim: This research will understand the organisational support program in order to enhance employee work outcome and their behaviour.

Topic 77: To establish the most important components of strategic HRM for SMEs in the UK to develop a competitive advantage

Research Aim: This research will talk about the relationship between the different SHRM components for SMEs in the UK in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Topic 78: To establish the significance of the relationship between organisational performance and strategic human resource management

Research Aim: This research will explore the relationship between organisational performance and strategic human resource management and how it helps companies achieve their objectives.

Human Resource Theory Dissertation Topics

The human resource theory framework consists of a soft and hard approach to human resources management. Various theories cover the different aspects of the soft and hard human resource approach.

Exploring this area of HRM will help in understanding more about the soft and hard HRM approaches. Here are some dissertation topics in this area that you can choose from.

Topic 79: A comparative analysis of various human resources theory approaches

Research Aim: This research will discuss various human resource theories and approaches and provide a comparative analysis.

Topic 80:To study human resources systems practiced by Multinationals in the UK

Research Aim: This research will discuss the various human resource systems as practised by multinational companies operating in the UK.

Topic 81:The role of human resources management (HRM) in regards to addressing workers’ concerns.

Research Aim: This research will discuss the importance of human resources in understanding and addressing worker’s concerns.

Topic 82: Can HRM have a negative influence on the performance of business organisations – A qualitative study?

Research Aim: This research will discuss a unique aspect of human resource management, i.e. whether it harms the company’s performance or not.

Topic 83: Is Human resources the only option for employees? An exploratory study

Research Aim: This study will analyze human resources’ role in solving employee issues and assess whether it is the only option for employees.

Topic 84:Exploring the contribution of human resource to the success of organisations

Research Aim: This research will aim to understand the role and contribution of the human resource department in companies’ success.

Topic 85:To investigate the most predominant human HRM and control strategies employed by business organisations

Research Aim: This research will discuss an interesting topic, i.e. the most predominant HRM strategies organisations implement.

Topic 86:To investigate the role of HR as a shared service.

Research Aim: This study will discuss human resources’ role as a shared service in the organisation.

Topic 87:Does a supervisor has a role to play in implementing HR practices – A critical study

Research Aim: This study will critically analyze supervisors’ role in implementing human resource practices in an organization.

Topic 88:The ethics of firing employees – Do companies really follow it?

Research Aim: This research will focus on how employees are fired at organizations and whether human resources follow the ethics of firing or not.

HR Organisational Culture Dissertation Topics

Organisational culture, also known as organisational climate, is defined as the process by which an organisation’s culture can be quantified. The properties of the work environment that are either considered positive or negative by the employees (and that may influence their behaviour) are the most important components of the organisational culture framework.

Studying this aspect of human resources will help you gain an in-depth knowledge of the role of culture in human resource management. Here are some interesting dissertation topics in this area:

Topic 89:The role of leadership, HRM and culture in vitalising management systems in firms

Research Aim: This research will understand the role of leadership and culture in human resource management and how it helps companies manage their systems.

Topic 90:Finding the right balance between differentiation and standardisation of HRM practices and policies – HRM of multinational companies operating within the European Union

Research Aim: There are certain human resource practices that are standardized throughout the world. This research will investigate the differences between such standard policies with respect to culture. Multinationals operating in the European Union will be focused.

Topic 91:Cross-cultural human resource management – The role it plays in the success of different organisations

Research Aim: This research will study the role of cross-cultural human resource management in the success of companies.

Topic 92:The impact of cross-cultural competencies in start-up companies

Research Aim: A lot of companies do not encourage cross-cultural human resources in the workplace. This research will analyse how cross-cultural competencies help startups grow and succeed.

Topic 93:The role of organisational cultural on HRM policies and practices – A case study of Cambridge University

Research Aim: This research will aim to understand the role of organisational culture on human resource policies and practices. The main focus of this study will be at Cambridge University.

Topic 94:The relationship between human resource management practices and organisational culture towards organisational commitment

Research Aim: This research will assess the relationship between different cultures and human resource practices with respect to organisational commitment.

Topic 95: Investigating cultural differences between the work values of employees and the implications for managers

Research Aim: This study will conduct an investigation related to the work values of employees based on their various cultural differences. It will then be concluded what this means for the managers.

Topic 96:To effectively manage cultural change without affecting work productivity

Research Aim: This research will discuss an interesting topic as to how managers should manage organisational cultural change without harming productivity.

Topic 97:Inducting new employees into the culture – Does it help organisations?

Research Aim: This research will discuss whether or not it is feasible for organisations to hire employees when the company is undergoing a cultural change.

Topic 98:Recruiting to change the culture – The Impact it has on the Profitability of the Company

Research Aim: This research will discuss whether companies should hire to lead change in the organisation, i.e. whether hiring should be done for this specific purpose, and what this new hiring means for the company in terms of profitability.

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HR Diversity Dissertation Topics

The changing corporate world has provoked organisations to develop and implement diversity management systems as part of their human resource management system. Although relatively new, diversity management is an important research area of human resource management that brings challenges and learning to employees.

With many areas unexplored and literature gaps in this subject, there are some extremely interesting dissertation topics you can select for your final year project. Some of them are listed here:

Topic 99: Investigating the difference between discrimination and diversity – How Do they Impact Organisations

Research Aim: This research will discuss the differences between the two concepts, diversity and discrimination and their impact on organisations.

Topic 100:Managing diversity through HRM: A conceptual framework and an international perspective

Research Aim: This study will discuss how the human resource department can manage diversity. The study will be conducted in an international setting.

Topic 101:Managing diversity in the public sector – How do companies manage to remain successful

Research Aim: This research will explore managing diversity in the public sector and how these companies can be successful even through diversity.

Topic 102:Managing cultural diversity in human resource management

Research Aim: As much as a human resource helps companies manage diversity, how will companies manage diversity in their main HR department. This research will answer this exact question.

Topic 103:The managerial tools, opportunities, challenges and benefits associated with diversity in the workplace

Research Aim: This research will focus on the tools available to human resources in managing diversity, and how they change it to opportunities and overcome diversity-related challenges.

Topic 104: Investigating the challenges of exclusion and inequality in organisations – Assessing HR’s role.

Research Aim: This research will first investigate the exclusion and inequality challenges that organisations face and how human resources overcome these challenges.

Topic 105:How does HRM Help in managing cultural differences and diversity

Research Aim: This research will discuss HR’s role in managing cultural differences and diversity in organisations.

Topic 106: Can HR eliminate diversity-related discrimination from workplaces? Assessing its role

Research Aim: This research will talk about HR’s role in eliminating diversity-related discrimination from organisations, and whether it will be successful in doing so or not.

Topic 107:Training managers for diversity – How difficult is it for companies and HR

Research Aim: This research will discuss and analyse the role of HR and companies in ensuring manager’s learning and development for diversity.

Topic 108:Training the newly hired staff for diversity in a large and diversified business organisation

Research Aim: This research will investigate the role of HR in training employees and staff to deal with, manage and coexist with diverse employees.

Important Notes:

As a human resource management student looking to get good grades, it is essential to develop new ideas and experiment with existing human resource management theories – i.e., to add value and interest to your research topic.

Human resource management is vast and interrelated to many other academic disciplines like management , operations management , project management , business , international business , MBA and more. That is why it is imperative to create a human resource management dissertation topic that is articular, sound, and actually solves a practical problem that may be rampant in the field.

We can’t stress how important it is to develop a logical research topic based on your entire research. There are several significant downfalls to getting your topic wrong; your supervisor may not be interested in working on it, the topic has no academic creditability, the research may not make logical sense, there is a possibility that the study is not viable.

This impacts your time and efforts in writing your dissertation , as you may end up in the cycle of rejection at the initial stage of the dissertation. That is why we recommend reviewing existing research to develop a topic, taking advice from your supervisor, and even asking for help in this particular stage of your dissertation.

While developing a research topic, keeping our advice in mind will allow you to pick one of the best human resource management dissertation topics that fulfil your requirement of writing a research paper and add to the body of knowledge.

Therefore, it is recommended that when finalizing your dissertation topic, you read recently published literature to identify gaps in the research that you may help fill.

Remember- dissertation topics need to be unique, solve an identified problem, be logical, and be practically implemented. Please look at some of our sample human resource management dissertation topics to get an idea for your own dissertation.

How to Structure your HRM Dissertation

A well-structured dissertation can help students to achieve a high overall academic grade.

  • A Title Page
  • Acknowledgements
  • Declaration
  • Abstract: A summary of the research completed
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction : This chapter includes the project rationale, research background, key research aims and objectives, and the research problems. An outline of the structure of a dissertation can also be added to this chapter.
  • Literature Review : This chapter presents relevant theories and frameworks by analyzing published and unpublished literature on the chosen research topic to address research questions . The purpose is to highlight and discuss the selected research area’s relative weaknesses and strengths while identifying research gaps. Break down the topic and key terms that can positively impact your dissertation and your tutor.
  • Methodology : The data collection and analysis methods and techniques employed by the researcher are presented in the Methodology chapter, which usually includes research design , research philosophy, research limitations, code of conduct, ethical consideration, data collection methods, and data analysis strategy .
  • Findings and Analysis : Findings of the research are analysed in detail under the Findings and Analysis chapter. All key findings/results are outlined in this chapter without interpreting the data or drawing any conclusions. It can be useful to include graphs, charts, and tables in this chapter to identify meaningful trends and relationships.
  • Discussion and Conclusion : The researcher presents his interpretation of the results in this chapter and state whether the research hypothesis has been verified or not. An essential aspect of this section is establishing the link between the results and evidence from the literature. Recommendations with regards to the implications of the findings and directions for the future may also be provided. Finally, a summary of the overall research, along with final judgments, opinions, and comments, must be included in the form of suggestions for improvement.
  • References : Make sure to complete this following your University’s requirements
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices : Any additional information, diagrams, and graphs used to complete the dissertation but not part of the dissertation should be included in the Appendices chapter. Essentially, the purpose is to expand the information/data.

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80 Human Resource Management Research Topics

FacebookXEmailWhatsAppRedditPinterestLinkedInAre you a student searching for compelling human resource management (HRM) research topics? Look no further! Our comprehensive list of dissertation topics in HRM is here to assist you in finding captivating ideas for your academic journey. HRM is a critical function within organizations, responsible for managing the most valuable asset: the workforce. In this […]

human resource management research topics

Are you a student searching for compelling human resource management (HRM) research topics? Look no further! Our comprehensive list of dissertation topics in HRM is here to assist you in finding captivating ideas for your academic journey.

HRM is a critical function within organizations, responsible for managing the most valuable asset: the workforce. In this guide, we have curated a diverse range of thought-provoking research topics that cover various aspects of HRM, including talent acquisition, employee development, performance management, diversity and inclusion, and workplace culture. Whether you’re pursuing an undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral degree, this post offers a wealth of opportunities to delve into emerging trends, address industry challenges, and contribute to the advancement of this dynamic field. With our thoroughly researched content, you can easily find and select a topic that aligns with your interests and career aspirations.

So, get ready to embark on an exciting research journey in the field of HRM, exploring the latest theories, best practices, and innovative approaches to enhance organizational effectiveness and employee well-being.

A List Of Potential Research Topics In Human Resource Management (HRM):

  • The role of HRM in facilitating organizational resilience and adaptation post-COVID.
  • Analyzing the role of HR in managing and preventing workplace harassment and discrimination.
  • Examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employee well-being and mental health.
  • Analyzing the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work models in the post-pandemic era.
  • The role of performance management in driving employee motivation and performance.
  • The influence of organizational justice on employee attitudes and behavior.
  • The role of technology in transforming HR practices and enhancing employee experience.
  • Analyzing the impact of globalization on HRM practices and international HRM strategies.
  • The role of HR in managing change and facilitating organizational transformation.
  • The impact of employee engagement initiatives on organizational culture and performance.
  • The influence of organizational culture on employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Analyzing the role of HRM in managing diversity and inclusion in UK organizations.
  • Strategies for managing and supporting remote teams in the new normal.
  • Strategies for fostering a culture of trust and psychological safety in the post-pandemic workplace.
  • Investigating the impact of employee voice mechanisms on organizational effectiveness.
  • The influence of UK employment law and regulations on HRM practices and strategies.
  • The role of HR in managing employee burnout and promoting work-life balance after COVID-19.
  • Examining the effectiveness of performance management systems in UK organizations.
  • Analyzing the role of HR in managing employee well-being during times of change and uncertainty.
  • Strategies for managing workplace conflicts and fostering positive employee relations.
  • The impact of employee motivation strategies on organizational performance.
  • The influence of organizational culture and values on employee resilience and post-COVID recovery.
  • The impact of remote work on employee engagement and productivity in a post-COVID world.
  • Investigating the impact of flexible work schedules on employee work-life balance.
  • Examining the effects of COVID-19 on diversity and inclusion practices in organizations.
  • Investigating the relationship between HR practices and employee turnover intentions.
  • Strategies for effective talent acquisition and recruitment in a competitive job market.
  • The role of HR analytics in making data-driven HR decisions and improving HR effectiveness.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of HRM practices in managing employee turnover.
  • The influence of HRM practices on organizational agility and adaptability.
  • Exploring the role of HRM in promoting work-life balance and well-being in the UK workplace.
  • The role of HR in promoting work-life balance and employee well-being.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of leadership development programs in grooming future leaders.
  • The role of HR in fostering a culture of innovation and creativity in organizations.
  • The influence of HR practices on employee engagement and productivity in the UK context.
  • Investigating the relationship between HR practices and employee psychological contract.
  • Analyzing the impact of performance appraisal systems on employee motivation and performance.
  • The influence of social media on employee recruitment and employer branding.
  • Exploring the relationship between HR practices and employee job satisfaction.
  • Exploring the role of HRM in managing employee relations and industrial disputes in the UK.
  • Strategies for promoting work-life integration in a technology-driven work environment.
  • Exploring the effectiveness of performance-based rewards and recognition programs.
  • Strategies for effective internal communication and employee engagement in the post-COVID workplace.
  • Examining the impact of flexible work arrangements on work-life balance and job satisfaction.
  • Strategies for promoting work engagement and job satisfaction among remote workers.
  • The influence of digitalization on HR practices and employee experiences in the post-COVID workplace.
  • Analyzing the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on HRM practices.
  • The role of HR in managing workforce diversity and fostering inclusive work environments.
  • The influence of flexible work arrangements on employee satisfaction and work-life integration post-COVID.
  • Examining the effectiveness of talent management strategies in retaining high-potential employees.
  • Exploring the relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.
  • Exploring the impact of remote onboarding and training processes in a post-pandemic environment.
  • Strategies for promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration in the digital workplace.
  • Examining the role of HRM in supporting organizational sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives in the UK.
  • Analyzing the effects of the gig economy on HR practices and employment relationships in the UK.
  • Analyzing the impact of employee engagement initiatives on employee retention.
  • The role of HRM in managing employee vaccine policies and workplace safety protocols.
  • Strategies for effective talent acquisition and retention in the post-COVID job market.
  • The role of HR in managing employee development and career growth.
  • Analyzing the impact of employee wellness programs on employee health and productivity.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of mentoring programs in developing future leaders.
  • The impact of remote work on employee engagement and productivity.
  • The influence of HRM practices on employee commitment and organizational citizenship behavior.
  • The impact of workplace diversity on team performance and innovation.
  • Exploring the effectiveness of flexible benefits programs in meeting diverse employee needs.
  • Exploring the benefits and challenges of implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace.
  • Exploring the challenges and opportunities of talent management in a post-pandemic world.
  • Analyzing the role of HR in managing cross-cultural teams and promoting cultural diversity.
  • The influence of employee training and development programs on organizational performance.
  • Analyzing the impact of remote performance management practices in the post-COVID era.
  • Strategies for managing a multigenerational workforce and leveraging generational diversity.
  • Exploring the role of HR in managing organizational crises and facilitating resilience.
  • The impact of flexible work arrangements on employee satisfaction and retention in the UK.
  • The impact of Brexit on talent management and workforce mobility in the UK.
  • Analyzing the implications of workforce downsizing and restructuring on employee morale and motivation post-COVID.
  • Investigating the impact of employee benefits and compensation on job satisfaction and retention.
  • The role of HR in supporting and promoting employee reskilling and upskilling initiatives post-pandemic.
  • Examining the effectiveness of employee wellness programs in mitigating the long-term effects of COVID-19.
  • Investigating the impact of employee empowerment on job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
  • Exploring the relationship between employee engagement and organizational performance.

These research topics provide a broad range of opportunities for students to delve into various aspects of human resource management. From exploring emerging trends to addressing critical challenges in the field, students can contribute to the knowledge base and make a valuable impact on the practice of HRM.

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Top 50 Human Resource Research Topics

When an average college student faces the necessity to deal with human resource management topics, the chances are high that it may sound confusing. Even if you are provided with a good essay prompt, it is still necessary to come up with a competitive topic where you can narrow things down and provide due analysis. By doing so, you will be able to focus on something specific. In simple terms, human resource management relates to organizational aspects where the company's department approaches hiring, management, and training of the staff. It also strives to ensure the best work practices regardless of objectives or available funds. Therefore, the list of possible human resource topics for research paper topics can stretch from compensation and benefits to employment laws and workplace bullying.

HR research topics

The trick is to choose something that you know well, subjects that inspire you and let you make a significant contribution to your chosen subject. If you are already provided with a prompt by your college professor, it is still possible to adjust it a little bit based on your sources. You can start by browsing through various ideas to see what sounds good based on the list of sources you have encountered before. Both methods are quite helpful and will make it easier to complete your HRM research paper on time.

Human Resource Management Research Paper Topics​

It must be noted that human resource management is quickly becoming a proper science with a clear distinction. Starting with the list of complex business outcomes that it brings up to the use of various intelligence tools and innovations, it makes it possible to expand the academic scope.

As a rule, choosing HR research topics becomes an even broader task. For example, it becomes possible to understand and estimate (predict) organizational changes and behavior types. Since one deals with people and organizations through the lens of social and economic turbulence, HR as science must ensure all the expectations are properly written down and analyzed. Still, topics for business research differ significantly, as they are less concentrated on a human constituent. 

Here are some HRM topics to consider:

  • What is economic dependence through the lens of employee loyalty?
  • Should workplace conflicts be settled down with the help of mediation?
  • Should HR managers consider college students for employment?
  • What are the HR manager's ethical standards when working internationally?
  • Should companies invest more in the education of their employees?
  • Are online video courses efficient for staff training?
  • The pros and cons of the job freelance market.
  • What are the risks of outsourcing in 2021?
  • The bias in recruiting new team members.
  • HRM and the presence of racial and gender prejudice.
  • The importance of soft skills when hiring.
  • The role of CVs when recruiting college students.
  • The phenomenon of an overqualified employee.
  • What are the main responsibilities of the HR manager?
  • Should the talent-seeking campaigns be eliminated?
  • The pros and cons of team-building sessions.
  • International initiatives when working with outsourcing.
  • What are the ways to ensure employee safety?
  • How to identify strengths and weaknesses during an employment interview?
  • The use of certificates issued by online courses VS university diplomas.
  • How to deal with returning employees and the job holiday breaks?
  • How should HR managers decline certain proposals?
  • The transparency factors in the work of HR managers.
  • Is social media useful for better HR management?
  • How long should the training sessions be for the new employees (resource allocation)?

Of course, these are only some starting points for you. As you pay to write research paper , you can consider some other topics based on subjects like HR management specifics in Texas or why the talent agencies are more popular in California and Florida states. In either case, feel free to explore the topics provided and always start with the list of relevant sources or arguments that support your thesis.

The List of Interesting Human Resources Research Topics

As you are looking for a competitive human resource research topic, it is vital to understand that it also deals with the social and ethical issues as well regarding the workplace and the hiring processes. For example, we have freelance employees and bullying conflicts based on certain factors. Next, we are dealing with social media management and the representation of the company's data and private files. All of it makes it necessary to study all the current HRM trends.

Here are some interesting HR topics to consider:

  • How can we address healthcare issues and risks in the workplace?
  • The ways to identify workplace bullying.
  • The requirements for in-office workers VS freelancers.
  • How can HR managers establish successful communication during remote work?
  • Can special training sessions encourage diversity?
  • Additional workplace bonuses and motivation.
  • The problem of equal payments and position bias.
  • How can social media help improve the company's profile?
  • What are the factors that make the workplace a diverse environment?
  • What are the main challenges of HR managers in 2021?
  • How is the problem of employee retention addressed in European countries?
  • The challenges of religious and sexual discrimination in the workplace.
  • What constitutes typical job satisfaction?
  • The calculation of possible risks when hiring a new employee.
  • The daily childcare and bonuses for single parents issue.
  • The financial factor and the work progress relation.
  • How should workplace harassment be reported?
  • The workplace monitoring and safety methods.
  • The leadership style in the X company (case study).
  • How can an HR manager relieve stress when dealing with conflicts?
  • How can companies promote industrial harmony?
  • Should the ethical code be introduced as a part of the employment check?
  • What should be included in the staff training sessions?
  • The lack of human resources VS employee overfilling problem.
  • How can productivity be increased with the help of team competition?

As you are looking for a cheap research paper , it is still important to consider interesting human resource management research paper topics that will not only inspire you but will also force your audience to read further. Remember to think over your thesis and come up with an argument that fully reflects your subject.

Another important aspect related to HR research paper writing is avoiding plagiarism, which means that you should reference every idea that is not yours. The same relates to proofreading and accuracy. Consider custom research paper writing to handle such issues and never have to worry about not getting things done on time. Time is always a critical factor, which is why do not think twice as you reach out for academic success!

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223 Awesome Human Resource Topic Ideas To Pick From

human resource research topic

Are you looking for a human resource research topic for your academic paper? If yes, this article has a title you’ll find interesting to research and write about when handling your project. Human resources are the people that work for an organization or a company and the department that manages everything about employees. Collectively, they represent the most valuable resources in an organization or business.

The human resource department is part of a business whose responsibility is to find, screen, recruit, and train job applicants.

This business division also administers employee-benefit programs. Ideally, the HR department focuses on maximizing the workers’ productivity while protecting the company from the issues arising from the workforce. To achieve its goals, the HR department of an organization must engage in active research to improve the employees’ workforce. A human resource research paper comprises information about the findings of a study on a specific topic. And this includes:

  • An answer to a question that a learner set out to investigate
  • Proof of a relevant theory
  • Practical and theoretical knowledge about the topic

Human capital is a crucial asset in any organization. What’s more, the subject is too broad for educators and researchers to underrate. If looking for a human resources topic for your paper or essay, this list has brilliant ideas to inspire you.

Latest  Human Resource Topics in the News

Do you want to base your human resource paper on a contemporary topic? If yes, consider these ideas for your essay.

  • Ethical discrimination and workplace hostility among the minorities
  • How remote working affects employee performance during the coronavirus pandemic
  • How employee motivation affects job performance among those working from home
  • The popularity of mobile-friendly job recruitment
  • How necessary is background investigation for potential employees?
  • How HR departments use recruitment marketing
  • The essence of skill, personality, and aptitude tests during recruitment
  • Should employers consider pre-employment assessments over resumes?
  • How employers can improve candidate experience during the recruitment process
  • How the open workforce like independent contractors and freelancers can benefit an organization
  • Strategies for promoting workplace inclusion
  • Should companies give their employees respite care?
  • Offsetting caregiving costs by offering care assistance cover
  • Should companies give employees paid family leave?
  • Artificial intelligence use in human resource departments
  • Can companies use AI to detect behavioral change among employees?
  • How to use AI to customize professional development, employee promotion, and career paths
  • Can a company use AI in employee performance management?
  • Can companies use AI to detect employees that want to leave the workplace or company?
  • Challenges of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Benefits of working remotely for employers and employees
  • Disadvantages of working remotely for the employees
  • Can home workplaces lower employees’ productivity?
  • Impact of lousy team dynamics on employee performance
  • How poor physical and mental health impacts productivity
  • Tracking how employees use work devices- Is it ethical?
  • The best performance and compensation management tools for remote workers
  • Sick leave and time left fraud among remote workers
  • The Millennial employees and flexible working schedules
  • The link between organizational performance and low morale
  • Tips for succeeding in virtual team building
  • How virtual teams affect organizational productivity
  • How automating human resource tasks affects organizational outcomes
  • Data-driven strategies and their use in the HR departments
  • How annual educational stipends affect employee morale
  • Should companies give employees leave to take a career development course?
  • Should employees share professional and personal goals during yearly self-assessments?
  • Why organizations should locate, train and retain the right people
  • Advantages of onboarding as a method for maintaining human resources within an organization
  • The essence of employee orientation
  • Strategies for promoting belonging and autonomy among employees
  • How health advocacy programs benefit employers and employees
  • Can educational stipends boost employee morale?
  • How managers can manage lower or higher expectations of employees working remotely
  • The evolution of human resource management over the last decade
  • The responsibilities of modern human resource managers in the business world
  • Strategic HR management- What to do and avoid
  • HR management practices for the largest companies in the world
  • What current human resource training involves
  • Human resource paradigms contributing to the development of businesses

These are exciting current HR topics to explore when interested in something recent. Nevertheless, take your time researching your preferred topic to develop a brilliant paper.

Professional Development  Human Resource Topics

If interested in career development topics, this category has excellent ideas to consider. Nevertheless, select a title you will be comfortable working with to enjoy your research and writing process.

  • How to align employee development with company goals
  • Coaching and mentoring for workers development
  • How to build a coaching culture in a company
  • How leaders of a company can become coaches
  • Why individual career development programs benefit an organization
  • How to use the 9-box grid to assess employees
  • How does cross-training affect organizational efficacy?
  • How do stretch assignments and on-the-job training affect employee performance?
  • How beneficial is professional certification?
  • The role of apprenticeship and vocational training in the workplace
  • How does professional development affect middle-level managers expertise
  • What affects professional development in an organization?
  • Importance of professional development
  • How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect employee’s onboarding?
  • How professional development affects employee performance
  • How professional development affects customer satisfaction
  • How professional development affects employee retention
  • Employee turnover and professional development- Is there a link?
  • Should companies invest in ongoing professional development for their employees?
  • Employees well-being and career development
  • The nexus between professional stress and development
  • How professional development networks affect leadership development
  • Why do companies need policies for professional development?
  • Success planning and professional development in organizations
  • Current and past employee development approaches
  • Employee productivity and professional development
  • Challenges in career and professional development programs’ implementation
  • Employment and qualifications criteria
  • How to groom employees for success
  • How to select a new career path

Choose a human resource topic from this list if you want to write about career or professional development. Nevertheless, research the title extensively to create a winning paper.

Talent Management  HR Topics

Talent management is among the responsibilities of the human resource management department. Here are exciting ideas to explore if interested in this aspect of HR management.

  • Talent management versus talent hunting
  • Talent management approaches in the hospitality industry
  • Talent management in the medium and small enterprises
  • Family-owned attitude towards talent management
  • Talent management risk factors
  • Talent management trends in a globalized world
  • IBM versus Google talent management strategies
  • Military talent management approaches
  • Gig economy talent management
  • Talent management future
  • Talent management history
  • Why recruitment matters in talent management
  • What comprises a talent management system?
  • Recruitment, performance management, compensation management and corporate learning- Why they matter in talent management
  • Strategies for talent acquisition
  • Why executive coaching matters in talent management
  • Leadership development and recognition programs in talent management
  • The essence of a strategic plan in talent management
  • Effective talent management models
  • Talent management in the corporate sector
  • Why social media influencers matter in talent management
  • How talent management affects organizational performance
  • Success planning and talent management- What’s the link?
  • How MNCs approach talent management in the USA
  • How technology affects talent management
  • Investing in people or automating more- The HR paradox for modern companies
  • Why targeted learning matters in talent development
  • How peer-coaching can help in the development of future-ready skills
  • Development and learning trends after the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Are community partners a vital part of a talent pipeline?

Select a topic from this list if interested in talent development and management. Nevertheless, prepare to research your preferred idea before writing your paper.

Human Resource Management Topics 

Perhaps, you’re interested in HR management or appraisal topics. In that case, think about these ideas for your papers.

  • The critical elements of employees’ performance management
  • Why the HR department should give feedback to the employees
  • Organizational commitment and performance appraisal
  • How to use performance appraisal in enhancing citizenship and organizational behavior
  • Employee motivation and performance appraisal
  • Performance appraisal versus performance management
  • Why ongoing feedback on workers morale matters
  • How to engage employees more effectively
  • Why performance planning matters in the employee management cycle
  • Incorporating employee input in company decision-making
  • Why companies should set performance standards
  • Why automated performance management units matter
  • Data-based assessments and performance reviews
  • Corporate culture and performance management
  • Corporate culture and performance appraisal
  • Strategic planning and performance management
  • Performance management and employee reward systems
  • Employee development and performance appraisal
  • Employee engagement and HR management objectives
  • How 360-degree feedback benefits an organization
  • Challenges and benefits of the assessment center appraisal technique
  • Using Behaviorally-Anchored Rating Scale in performance appraisal
  • How beneficial are psychological reviews in the hospitality sector?
  • Merits and demerits of Human Resource Accounting Method
  • Factors increasing employee loyalty
  • How to resolve workplace conflict arising from cultural differences in international companies
  • The pros and cons of recruiting employees from universities
  • How character types affect a company’s team-building efforts
  • What is the responsibility of HR managers in talent hunting and management
  • What should HR managers do about overqualified employees?
  • Rules for recruiting, selecting, hiring, and educating new employees
  • Opportunities and risks for hiring new employees
  • Freelancers and outsourcing- Is putting the future of a company in the hands of freelancers a wise move?
  • Why companies should educate their employees
  • How HR managers can motivate or demoralize company employees

All these are interesting human resource management issues that you can explore in academic papers. However, select a topic you will be comfortable working with, from research to writing and proofreading your essay.

Hot Topics in HR 

Maybe you’re looking for a topic that most people will find captivating and want to read your essay from the introduction to the conclusion. In that case, pick a title for your research paper from this category.

  • Are higher education institutions responsible for productivity decline in human resources?
  • Trained human resource personnel and skilled workers- Who are better than the others?
  • How employee experience coincides with employee engagement
  • Working from home versus 9 to 5 jobs- Which is the best option for mothers?
  • Employee responsibilities and workplace safety- What makes women unique?
  • How the right talent affects a company’s success- A critical analysis
  • Should companies further their employees’ education?
  • Employees with degrees versus vocational and technical workforce
  • Is mobile a new human resource technology platform?
  • Why video interviews are the new norm in human resource outsourcing
  • The role of globalization in talent sourcing from different locations
  • The role of data management in improving recruitment, management, and retaining of employees
  • How HR technology innovation enhances employee engagement
  • Performance and goal management reinvention with check-ins and feedback mechanisms
  • How software categories improve interactivity, feedback, and workplace culture management
  • How user-friendly are cloud-based talent solutions?
  • Can end-to-end talent management solutions meet complex and large organizations’ recruitment needs?
  • What are the latest considerations in HR and labor laws?
  • Should companies set ethical standards that differ from law provisions?
  • How workplace ethics differ from labor laws
  • How to build an ethical organizational culture
  • How workplace discrimination laws influence employment
  • Discuss the moral obligation of employees to their employers
  • How to create effective legal and ethical employees’ welfare programs
  • How HR professionals can protect the employees’ rights
  • Legal and ethical concerns in a large group and single employee termination

Select any of these HR topics if looking for a title that will capture your readers’ attention and compel them to read throughout the paper.

Top  HR Research Topics  for  2023

Maybe you want to write about a topic that somebody reading about this year will find exciting and relevant. In that case, pick any of these human resource ideas.

  • Using artificial intelligence in HR functions
  • How HR managers can address workplace harassment and bullying
  • How companies can encourage workplace diversity
  • How wages affect the overall productivity of employees
  • How to measure employee performance- Criteria and tools for practical evaluation
  • Essential issues of modern labor laws
  • How to protect company data in the technology age
  • Should companies pay all staff members equally?
  • How workplace health problems affect productivity
  • What motivates employees to work more?
  • Laws against religious and sexual discrimination that HR departments should implement
  • Factors influencing employee retention
  • How HR specialists can deal with employee commitment, loyalty, and job satisfaction
  • HR planning in acquisitions and mergers
  • The 21st-century challenges for human resource managers
  • How employee engagement affects customer loyalty in the service-based sector
  • The impact of a contingent workforce on an organization’s performance
  • The increasing mental health problems among the employees in the service-based industry
  • The impact and importance of training on a company’s sustainability during an economic crisis
  • The role of HR practices in enhancing the overall organizational performance
  • How career growth affects employee loyalty
  • How different personality traits affect teamwork in a company
  • How effective HR planning boosts the strategic alliance process
  • How e-leadership helps in boosting employee motivation and productivity
  • How artificial intelligence can enhance HR practices
  • How daycare facilities can increase female employees’ productivity
  • How workforce diversity can improve organizational innovation and capability
  • How a flat organizational structure affects the decision-making process
  • How involving employees in decision-making processes influence their productivity

Pick a human resource research topic from this category if looking for an idea that suits the current context. Nevertheless, take your time to identify and research the most current sources to provide relevant information.

HR Topics for Presentation 

Are you looking for an interesting presentation topic for an upcoming meeting or conference? If yes, pick one of these HR topics for discussion.

  • How job rotation boosts employee growth
  • Why ethics committees matter in an organization
  • The role of HR in employee volunteering
  • How to encourage work-life balance in start-ups
  • Is an open office a boon or a bane?
  • How to create an engaged workforce
  • How a company can attract more millennials
  • How to make your employees happy
  • How to resolve disputes among employees
  • Why employee development and learning matter
  • Why employees’ mental health matters
  • Why companies should digitize HR practices
  • Why employee well-being is vital
  • Human resource management in the ever-changing corporate environment
  • How globalization affects human resource management
  • Innovative human resource and employee management practices
  • Challenges and issues of managing an international workforce
  • Employee management in an IT organization
  • Social security measures and labor welfare- The HR department’s role
  • Coaching and mentoring for modern business excellence
  • Different HR management perspectives
  • Why human resource planning matters in a changing environment

This list comprises human resource paper topics that students can research and write about to earn excellent grades. However, every student should pick an issue they can comfortably explore and present an in-depth analysis of their selected ideas. That way, they can impress the educator and anybody that will read their essay.

Use a  Thesis Writing Service  to  Write  a Quality HR Paper

Maybe you’re struggling to select the best topic for your HR research paper. Perhaps, you’re not even sure about where to start or how to write your essay. In that case, seek help from professional writers. Whether you’re a college or a university student, you can find experts that will help you with topic selection and the entire writing process. What’s more, these writers can proofread your paper to ensure it is error-free.

So, instead of spending all your precious time trying to choose a topic or write your HR research paper, contact us to get the best HR paper writing help online. Our specialists will respond to your request immediately and provide fast and affordable writing assistance. And all you need is to initiate a conversation by saying something like, “Please do my dissertation.” Also, you can reach us by filling and submitting our contact form or email us. One of our representatives will get back to you as soon as possible. We want you to excel academically without breaking a sweat. Contact us now!

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Human Resource Management Research Paper Topics

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Human resource management research paper topics are a critical area of study for students and professionals aiming to understand and advance the field of Human Resource Management (HRM). With the rise of complex organizational structures, diverse workplace environments, and evolving employment laws, HRM has become an essential part of any successful organization. This abstract provides an overview of the multifaceted world of HRM research and introduces a comprehensive list of research paper topics that cater to various aspects of HRM. From talent acquisition to employee retention, performance evaluation, training, and legal compliance, the following sections will offer detailed insights into these areas. Students interested in pursuing research in HRM will find these topics engaging and highly relevant to the current organizational landscape. Additionally, they will be introduced to iResearchNet’s writing services that provide expert assistance in producing custom HRM research papers, ensuring quality, depth, and adherence to academic standards.

100 Human Resource Management Research Paper Topics

Human Resource Management (HRM) is a field that delves into the multifaceted interactions between employees and organizations. The role of HRM has evolved over time to include not only the management of recruitment and employee relations but also strategic planning, legal compliance, and organizational development. Here, we present a comprehensive list of Human Resource Management research paper topics divided into 10 essential categories, each containing 10 specific topics.

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HRM is a dynamic and broad field that demands multidimensional approaches to study. As students explore various topics, they will find intricate connections between management strategies, organizational behavior, and employee satisfaction. The following list serves as an inclusive guide to inspire research and academic inquiry.

  • The role of HRM in organizational strategy
  • Integrating HRM and business planning
  • Talent management strategies
  • Outsourcing HR functions: Pros and cons
  • Technology and HRM
  • Cross-cultural HRM
  • Mergers and acquisitions: HRM challenges
  • Strategic HR planning and organizational success
  • The future of strategic HRM
  • Best HR practices in top-performing companies
  • Innovative recruitment techniques
  • Bias and discrimination in the recruitment process
  • Role of artificial intelligence in recruitment
  • Recruitment marketing strategies
  • Social media as a recruitment tool
  • Ethics in employee selection
  • Assessing the effectiveness of recruitment strategies
  • Diversity and inclusion in recruitment
  • Remote hiring practices
  • Campus recruitment strategies
  • The effectiveness of training programs
  • Employee development and organizational growth
  • The role of mentors in employee growth
  • E-learning and virtual training methods
  • Personalized training approaches
  • Training evaluation methods
  • Cross-training and skill development
  • The future of corporate training
  • Impact of continuous learning culture
  • Leadership development programs
  • Modern performance appraisal techniques
  • 360-degree feedback system
  • Employee engagement and performance
  • Performance management and job satisfaction
  • Aligning performance goals with organizational objectives
  • Challenges in performance evaluation
  • Performance-based rewards
  • Emotional intelligence and employee performance
  • Performance management in remote work environments
  • Real-time performance tracking systems
  • Building trust and collaboration among employees
  • Conflict resolution strategies
  • Impact of organizational culture on employee engagement
  • Managing generational differences in the workplace
  • Role of leadership in fostering engagement
  • Employee wellness programs
  • The psychology of employee engagement
  • Communication strategies for employee relations
  • Remote employee engagement tactics
  • Work-life balance initiatives
  • Salary negotiation techniques
  • The psychology of compensation
  • Pay equity and gender wage gap
  • The impact of benefits on employee retention
  • Flexible compensation models
  • Global compensation strategies
  • Linking compensation to performance
  • Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs)
  • Non-monetary benefits and motivation
  • Compensation transparency
  • Labor law compliance in multinational corporations
  • Whistleblowing and ethical considerations
  • HRM in unionized workplaces
  • Workplace harassment laws
  • Employee rights and employer responsibilities
  • Managing employee terminations ethically
  • Diversity and anti-discrimination policies
  • Legal aspects of employee benefits
  • Remote work and legal challenges
  • Ethical dilemmas in HRM
  • Building a diverse workforce
  • Strategies for fostering inclusion
  • The impact of diversity on team performance
  • Gender diversity in leadership roles
  • Managing cultural diversity
  • Age diversity in the workplace
  • Disability inclusion strategies
  • LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace
  • Ethnic diversity and organizational success
  • Bias reduction training
  • The role of HRM in shaping organizational culture
  • Employee behavior and organizational success
  • Workplace norms and values
  • Emotional labor in organizations
  • Organizational change management
  • Strategies for building a positive work environment
  • Employee motivation and organizational culture
  • The psychology of workplace relationships
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and culture
  • The role of leadership in defining organizational culture
  • Emerging Trends in HRM
  • HRM in the gig economy
  • Artificial intelligence and HRM
  • Employee mental health and well-being
  • Sustainability and HRM
  • The future of remote work
  • Integrating HRM and corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Blockchain in HRM
  • Personal branding in HR
  • The role of big data analytics in HRM
  • HRM challenges in the post-pandemic world

The list of human resource management research paper topics presented above offers a rich and diverse avenue for exploration. Each category delves into core aspects of HRM, reflecting the ever-changing nature of this field. As students embark on their research journey, they will discover a world that intricately connects people, organizations, and societal values. Whether focusing on traditional practices or emerging trends, these topics provide the starting point for meaningful inquiry and the creation of knowledge that contributes to the continued growth and evolution of HRM.

Human Resource Management and the Range of Research Paper Topics

Human Resource Management (HRM) is an interdisciplinary field that integrates aspects of management, psychology, sociology, economics, and legal studies. It is the art and science of managing people within an organization to maximize their performance, well-being, and alignment with strategic goals. As a broad and multifaceted domain, HRM opens doors to a wide array of research opportunities. This article will explore the essence of HRM, its historical evolution, theoretical frameworks, practical applications, and the myriad of research paper topics it offers.

Historical Background

The history of HRM can be traced back to the early 20th century, during the rise of the industrial revolution. The scientific management theory introduced by Frederick Taylor sought to apply scientific principles to worker productivity. As the business environment grew more complex, the Hawthorne studies emerged, highlighting the importance of social factors and human relations in the workplace. The evolution from personnel management to modern HRM reflects a shift from viewing employees as mere resources to recognizing them as valuable assets.

Theoretical Frameworks

HRM is underpinned by several key theories that guide practice:

  • Resource-Based View (RBV): Emphasizes the role of human resources as a competitive advantage.
  • Equity Theory: Focuses on fairness and justice in employee relations.
  • Expectancy Theory: Explains how employees are motivated by the expected outcomes of their actions.
  • Human Capital Theory: Regards employees as assets whose value can be enhanced through training and development.

These theories offer diverse perspectives for research, ranging from organizational behavior to strategic HRM.

Key Functions and Practices

The scope of HRM encompasses various functions that address the needs of both the organization and its employees:

  • Recruitment and Selection: Designing and implementing processes to attract and hire suitable candidates.
  • Training and Development: Enhancing employee skills and knowledge through continuous learning.
  • Performance Management: Assessing and managing employee performance to align with organizational goals.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Structuring pay and rewards to motivate and retain talent.
  • Labor Relations: Navigating the legal landscape and fostering healthy employee-employer relationships.

Contemporary Challenges

Modern HRM faces several challenges that provide fertile grounds for research:

  • Diversity and Inclusion: Creating a workforce that represents various backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives.
  • Technology and Automation: Leveraging technology to enhance HR processes while considering its impact on jobs.
  • Globalization: Managing HR practices across different cultures and jurisdictions.
  • Ethical Considerations: Balancing organizational needs with ethical treatment of employees.

Emerging Trends

The ever-changing business landscape leads to new trends in HRM:

  • Remote Work: The rise of virtual workplaces and the associated management challenges.
  • Well-Being and Mental Health: Prioritizing employee health and well-being as part of HR strategy.
  • Sustainability: Integrating social responsibility into HR practices.

Range of Research Paper Topics

The complexity and diversity of HRM lead to an abundance of research paper topics. Here are examples from different areas:

  • Strategic HRM: Examining the alignment of HR practices with business strategy.
  • Employee Engagement: Exploring factors that influence engagement and its impact on performance.
  • Legal Aspects of HRM: Investigating laws and regulations affecting HR practices.
  • Organizational Culture and Behavior: Analyzing the influence of culture on employee behavior and organizational success.

Human Resource Management is a vast and dynamic field that intertwines various disciplines, theories, practices, and challenges. From historical roots to contemporary issues, HRM offers a rich tapestry of research opportunities. Whether investigating traditional functions or delving into emerging trends, students and scholars can find a wealth of topics that resonate with their interests and contribute to our understanding of human interactions within organizational contexts. The spectrum of human resource management research paper topics reflects the depth and breadth of a field that continues to evolve, shaping the way we work, lead, and thrive in an ever-changing world.

How to Choose Human Resource Management Research Paper Topics

Selecting the right topic for a research paper in Human Resource Management (HRM) is a critical step that can shape the entire trajectory of your project. The topic you choose should align with your interests, academic level, the specific requirements of the assignment, and the current trends in the field. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the decision-making process and pinpoint a topic that resonates with you.

The realm of Human Resource Management is vast and diverse, encompassing various theories, functions, challenges, and emerging trends. Choosing a suitable research paper topic within this multifaceted field requires careful consideration and strategic thinking. This section will outline ten essential tips to guide you in selecting a meaningful, relevant, and engaging topic for your research.

  • Identify Your Interests: Begin by reflecting on what aspects of HRM intrigue you. Are you passionate about organizational behavior, talent acquisition, employee welfare, or strategic HRM? Your research will be more enjoyable if it aligns with your interests.
  • Understand the Assignment Requirements: Review the guidelines and grading criteria provided by your instructor. Consider the scope, length, and expected complexity of the paper.
  • Conduct a Preliminary Literature Review: Explore existing research in areas that interest you. Identify gaps, controversies, or emerging trends that could form the basis for your study.
  • Consider the Target Audience: Think about who will read your paper. Tailoring the topic to your audience’s interests, knowledge level, and expectations can enhance its impact.
  • Evaluate Available Resources: Assess the availability of data, tools, and resources needed for your research. The feasibility of a topic depends on your ability to access relevant information and support.
  • Align with Current Trends: Consider choosing a topic that relates to contemporary issues or recent developments in HRM. This alignment can make your research more relevant and appealing.
  • Seek Guidance from Instructors or Peers: Don’t hesitate to consult with your instructor, classmates, or academic advisors. They may offer valuable insights, feedback, or suggestions.
  • Ensure Ethical Consideration: Ensure that your chosen topic complies with ethical standards, particularly if it involves human subjects, sensitive data, or controversial subjects.
  • Consider the Broader Impact: Reflect on how your research could contribute to the field of HRM. A topic with potential practical implications or theoretical advancements can add value to your work.
  • Create a Shortlist and Evaluate: Draft a list of potential topics and weigh them against the criteria outlined above. This systematic approach can help you identify the most suitable option.

Selecting a research paper topic in Human Resource Management is a thoughtful and iterative process that requires introspection, exploration, and strategic thinking. By considering your interests, academic requirements, available resources, current trends, ethical considerations, and potential impact, you can identify a topic that not only resonates with you but also contributes to the vibrant discourse in HRM. Remember that your choice is not set in stone; it’s a starting point that you can refine and adapt as you delve into your research. Embrace the journey, for the right topic is a gateway to discovery, learning, and growth in the multifaceted world of human resource management.

How to Write a Human Resource Management Research Paper

Writing a research paper on Human Resource Management (HRM) is a complex task that requires a clear understanding of the subject matter, a methodical approach to research, and strong writing skills. The following section will guide you through the process of crafting a well-structured, insightful, and academically rigorous research paper in HRM.

Human Resource Management is at the core of organizational success, shaping the way businesses attract, retain, and develop talent. As a field that intertwines with psychology, sociology, business strategy, and law, writing a research paper on HRM is both challenging and rewarding. The following guide provides a step-by-step approach to help you navigate the research, writing, and revision stages, ensuring that your paper is thorough, coherent, and impactful.

  • Understand the Assignment: Before diving into research and writing, clarify the assignment’s objectives, scope, format, and grading criteria. Ensure you understand what is expected in terms of content, structure, style, and depth of analysis.
  • Choose a Relevant Topic: Select a topic that aligns with your interests, the course objectives, and current HRM trends. Refer to Section IV for guidance on choosing the right topic.
  • Conduct Comprehensive Research: Utilize reputable sources such as academic journals, books, and industry reports to gather data, theories, and insights related to your topic. Evaluate the credibility and relevance of each source.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the central argument or focus of your paper. The thesis should guide the reader on what to expect and provide a roadmap for your analysis.
  • Create an Outline: Develop a detailed outline that breaks down the main sections and sub-sections of your paper. An outline will help you organize your thoughts, maintain coherence, and ensure a logical flow of ideas.
  • Write the Introduction: Begin with an engaging introduction that introduces the topic, provides background information, highlights its significance, and presents the thesis statement.
  • Develop the Body Paragraphs: Divide the body of your paper into clear sections and subsections. Use headings and subheadings to guide the reader. Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence, supporting evidence, and a concluding sentence that links back to the thesis.
  • Include Practical Insights and Case Studies: Where appropriate, include practical examples, case studies, or industry insights that illustrate your points. This application of theory to real-world scenarios can enhance the depth and relevance of your paper.
  • Write the Conclusion: Summarize the key findings, restate the thesis in light of the evidence, and discuss the implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research or practice.
  • Revise and Edit: Review your paper multiple times to check for clarity, coherence, grammar, and formatting errors. Consider seeking feedback from peers or instructors, and use plagiarism check tools to ensure originality.

Writing a research paper in Human Resource Management is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, diligent research, critical analysis, and thoughtful writing. By following the tips outlined above, you can create a paper that not only meets academic standards but also contributes valuable insights to the dynamic field of HRM. Remember that writing is a process of continuous refinement; embrace revisions, seek feedback, and strive for clarity and depth. The journey of crafting an HRM research paper is an opportunity to deepen your understanding, hone your skills, and contribute to the ongoing discourse in a field that shapes the heart of organizations around the world.

iResearchNet Writing Services

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At iResearchNet, we pride ourselves on offering premium quality writing services for students focusing on Human Resource Management (HRM) research. We understand that every academic discipline requires a unique approach, and HRM is no exception. Our services stand out because of their superior quality, customization, and attention to detail. For a more thorough understanding of why iResearchNet is the go-to choice for many students worldwide, we have outlined a detailed list of 13 core features that give us an edge in the academic writing industry.

  • Expert Degree-Holding Writers: At the core of our services, you’ll find our team of experts. These are not just writers but highly qualified professionals who hold advanced degrees in Management, Business, and related fields. Their qualifications and in-depth knowledge ensure that your HRM research paper is handled with the required expertise and understanding of nuanced academic requirements.
  • Custom Written Works: Beyond the qualifications of our writers, we prioritize the creation of each research paper from scratch. This means that we take your specific guidelines, your unique instructions, and the expectations of your academic level into account when crafting your paper. This unique, individualized approach results in a piece that is as distinctive as the student it represents.
  • In-Depth Research: A cornerstone of our services is our commitment to comprehensive research. Our writers don’t just skim through the surface of your chosen topic. Instead, they delve deep, exploring various reputable sources and making sure that they provide a robust and critical analysis. This commitment to in-depth exploration ensures your work aligns with the academic rigor expected in HRM studies.
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  • Top Quality: Our commitment to quality is what makes us a leading academic writing service provider. We meticulously proofread and edit every paper to ensure coherence, clarity, and correctness. This attention to detail reflects our relentless pursuit of excellence and the high standards we maintain for every paper we deliver.
  • Customized Solutions: iResearchNet operates on the principle that each student and each research paper is unique. We value your individual needs and academic goals and believe in a personalized approach to our writing services. Our writers work closely with you, tailoring their approach to resonate with your unique requirements.
  • Flexible Pricing: We recognize that budget constraints can be a concern for students. Our pricing structure is designed to offer flexibility and affordability without compromising the quality of our services. We have a range of options available to suit various budgetary requirements, demonstrating our commitment to providing excellent value for money.
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topics in human resource management for research


225 Unique Human Resources Research Topics

Table of Contents

Human resources is a division of an organization or a business that deals with the recruitment, administration, and training of employees. If you are a student who is pursuing a course in human resource management or an MBA, then you will be often asked to write term papers , dissertations, and theses on human resources research topics. As human resources is a broad subject with plenty of research areas to focus on, you might experience difficulties with topic selection. In case, you are unsure what topic to choose for your HR dissertation, have a look at this blog post. For your convenience, here we have suggested a list of the best human resources research topics and ideas in various categories. In addition to that, we have also shared some important HR research paper topic selection tips.

Continue reading and get the necessary academic benefits.

HR Research Paper Topic Selection Tips

Whenever you are assigned a task to write a research paper, identifying a research paper topic is the first step you should follow. You may think that topic selection is an easy step to cross. But it is not. When it comes to writing human resources research papers, you may search and find an endless list of HR research topics. But out of them all, it would be challenging to identify a particular HR research paper topic.

As we already know how difficult it is to identify a good research topic, to ease the search process and guide you, here we have shared a few tips for you to keep in mind during the HR research paper topic selection. Follow the below-mentioned tips and spot a good topic.

  • Choose a topic that matches your interest.
  • It is good to choose a topic that you have strong knowledge of because it will not consume too much of your time and effort.
  • The topic should be informative and exciting to the readers.
  • Avoid picking a topic that is too broad because you may not be able to cover all the main points before the deadline.
  • If the topic is too broad, narrow it into subtopics and focus in detail on a certain subtopic.
  • The research topic should support you in conducting extensive research.
  • The topic should contain relevant evidence from credible sources to support the main idea.
  • Instead of selecting a popular topic, go with the latest and trending human resources research topic.
  • The topic should make sense, and it should help you to organize the points coherently.
  • Remember your educator’s guidelines and prefer a unique research topic that stands in line with them because only such topics will boost your scores.

List of Human Resources Research Topics and Ideas

In general, when assigning the research paper writing task, professors will either propose a list of research paper ideas for you to consider, or they will ask you to come up with the best research topic on your own.

If you are asked to choose an HR research paper topic of your choice, then you can go through the list of the best human resources research paper topics and ideas suggested below on various categories such as HR management, talent management, recruitment and selection, risk management, career development, performance management, workplace safety, etc. and identify an ideal topic that will help you earn an A+ grade.

Human Resources Management Research Topics

  • What are the most effective team-building strategies?
  • How Training and development affect job performance
  • The best way to utilize productivity metrics.
  • HRM strategies for addressing skill shortages
  • Organizing teams according to personalities.
  • How to manage international employees.
  • How many paid leave is optimal?
  • Investigate the human resource management practices that enhance a company’s success.
  • The simplest way to resolve interpersonal conflicts.
  • Benefits of regular psychological counseling for all employees.
  • Managing part-time, full-time, and freelance employees.
  • How HR helps companies remain competitive in a global market.
  • What occasions deserve raises and bonuses?
  • Methods for disciplining employees.
  • Opportunities for implementing the e-HR systems.

HR Management Topics for Study

  • What is strategic human resource management?
  • Discuss the benefits of strategic human resource management.
  • Use of modern technologies in human resource management
  • Importance of competency mapping in the 360-degree appraisal
  • How to develop and sustain employee engagement?
  • Discuss the roles and responsibilities of an HR manager in developing employee engagement
  • Effectiveness of employee performance appraisal in multinational companies.
  • Comparing diversity and discrimination problems in an organization.
  • How to guide employee appraisal in the business?
  • How can we address healthcare issues and risks in the workplace?

Top HRM Topics for Research Paper

  • Why technological applications offer a competitive edge in HR management.
  • Assess the factors influencing an employee’s decision to leave a company.
  • Various methods of enhancing employee productivity
  • Why a flexible workplace is essential in a modern organization
  • How does employee empowerment increase job satisfaction?
  • The integrated system for workforce management and its advantages to medium, small, and micro-businesses.
  • The cloud computing concept emerged in the human resource management field.
  • Explore the current human resource management practices in the US and the UK.
  • 3T leadership competency model evaluation in the HRM context.
  • Why the SaaS approaches and cloud-based apps matter in human resource management
  • Discuss the most effective intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to use in human resource management
  • Why human resource planning and retention are important for a company’s long-term success?
  • Discuss some of the top HR trends for the workplace in 2023
  • ESG reporting can expand beyond compliance to attract new talent: Explain
  • Discuss the benefits and limitations of a hybrid work structure for human resource

HR Research Topics on Recruitment

  • The ways to identify workplace bullying.
  • The requirements for in-office workers VS freelancers.
  • Should companies automate more or invest in people? An HR paradox
  • Role of targeted learning in talent development
  • Use of peer coaching to develop future-ready skills
  • When is the best time to recruit a new employee?
  • The role of communication skills during employee acquisition and recruitment.
  • The best platforms to recruit on.
  • Challenges affecting contemporary recruitment and selection strategies.
  • Best practices for improving employee retention.
  • What kind of employees are needed for a large company?
  • The importance of the screening process during recruitment.
  • The effects of cross-cultural recruitment on organizational productivity.
  • Is social media an effective way to recruit?
  • Recruiting university graduates directly – a good idea or a bad one?

HR Research Paper Topics on Job Selection

  • How to attract good employees?
  • How does HR evaluate a potential recruit?
  • Criminal background checks – Do’s and Don’ts.
  • What kind of employees should small businesses look for?
  • How to effectively assess skills during an interview.
  • Factors that affect the HR selection method.
  • Recruitment and selection process in Family Businesses.
  • The role of human resource planning in recruitment and selection
  • Can a company use a flexible work policy as a retention and recruitment tool?
  • The selection and recruitment methods that companies in developing and developed countries use.
  • Impact of gender bias in the Recruitment and Selection of Employees
  • Importance of a flexible workplace policy in employee recruitment and retention
  • Why is effective recruitment significant in the context of the improvement of employee performance?
  • How can the selection of the employees help in better performance within the business?
  • We are recruiting the best and brightest people from around the world.

HRM Research Topics on Equal Employment Opportunity

  • Corporate learning, compensation management, performance management, and recruitment in talent management
  • Various talent acquisition strategies
  • Different talent management tools
  • Role of executive coaching in talent management
  • Role of recognition programs and leadership development in talent management
  • Why talent management requires a strategic plan
  • How to manage equal opportunity employment?
  • Recruiting is an equal opportunity employer.
  • Government requirements for equal opportunity.
  • The costs of an unequal workplace.
  • How to recognize and manage discrimination in the workplace.
  • How to create a diverse workplace?
  • Do all genders deserve the same pay?
  • The best tactics for implementing equal opportunity.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and the Glass Ceiling

Talent Management HR Research Topics

  • Best practices for mediating disputes between employees.
  • Importance of diversity management to ensuring a culture of equal opportunity within a workplace?
  • Why is it important to ensure a balance between male and female employees
  • How to eliminate the gender gap and promote gender equality in the workplace?
  • Inclusion of people from every socio-cultural and demographic background in the workplace
  • How to manage international employees in the business in the UK?
  • How can the business create a diverse workplace?
  • The Role of Recruitment in Talent Management
  • Talent management in small and medium enterprises
  • Corporate talent management
  • Talent management approaches among MNCs in the USA
  • The Role of targeted learning in talent development
  • Talent management strategies in the Military

Career Development Human Resources Research Topics

  • Risk factors in talent management
  • Talent Hunting vs. Talent Management
  • The impacts of technology on talent management
  • Trends of talent management in a globalized society
  • Talent management strategies in the hospitality sector
  • Google versus IBM talent management approaches
  • The Role of recognition programs and leadership development in talent management
  • Importance of talent management in succession planning
  • How can the workplace be an inclusive as well as accessible place for disabled employees?
  • How career development helps both employees and organizations.
  • Skills that all employees should develop.
  • Professional certification training for employees.
  • Should training be prioritized over completed current work?
  • The impact of cross-training on organizational efficiency
  • How does active professional development affect productivity?

HR Research Ideas on Performance Management and Appraisal

  • The Role of Vocational Training and Apprenticeship in the Workplace.
  • Challenges in implementing professional and career development programs
  • Building a coaching culture in an organization
  • The impact of on-the-job training and stretch assignments on employee performance.
  • Effect of Transformational Leadership on Employees’ Career Development
  • How can the human resources of the business help in the career development of the employees?
  • The importance of performance planning in the performance management cycle.
  • Performance appraisal and employee motivation
  • Advantages of having performance standards
  • The importance of feedback in organizations
  • Are psychological appraisals beneficial in the hospitality industry?
  • Reward system and performance management
  • Performance appraisal and corporate culture
  • Advantages of automated performance management systems
  • Performance management and strategic planning

HR Research Topics on Worker Protection and Workplace Safety

  • How to incorporate employee input in organizational decision-making
  • Benefits and drawbacks of performance appraisal
  • The consequences of not following workplace safety.
  • Developing specialized safety standards for the workplace.
  • How to ensure compliance with workplace safety rules.
  • Monitoring employees during remote work – is it ethical?
  • Steps to minimize or prevent burnout.
  • Consequences of violating safety rules at the workplace.
  • Combating sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • Steps to take when an employee is assaulted at work.
  • How to deal with celebrities and famous figures in the workplace
  • Fines and penalties for violating workplace safety rules.
  • Bringing dangerous weapons into the workplace.
  • How to ensure all employees follow health and safety protocols?
  • Ensuring company leadership also follows safety roles.

HRM Research Paper Topics on Risk Management

  • Defusing volatile and tense moments at the workplace
  • How to use AR and VR in the workplace
  • Ways to address risks and healthcare issues in the Workplace
  • Ways to prevent OSHA violations.
  • How to identify bullying at the workplace
  • The workplace safety methods and monitoring
  • How to ensure the psychological well-being of employees during remote work.
  • Importance of developing health and safety culture within an organization
  • Is HR there to protect employees or protect the company?
  • What kind of risks does an HR have to manage?
  • The role of HR in risk management.
  • Training the workplace to minimize potential risks.
  • When should HR take legal action?
  • Risk management when working from home.
  • How should HR respond to a legal action taken by an employee

Interesting Human Resources Research Topics

  • Reasons to carry out regular internal audits.
  • How HR managers can identify and assess risks in the workplace
  • HR risk management and employee productivity
  • Fathers should be given the same paternity leave as maternity leave
  • The link between working remotely and lower productivity
  • Flexible working plans and the Millennial employees
  • The Impacts of Virtual Teams on Productivity
  • Hostility in the Workplace and ethical Discrimination with marginalized groups.
  • The use of recruitment marketing by HR departments
  • The benefits of onboarding as an approach to sustaining human resources in organizations
  • Using Data-driven strategies in the HR departments
  • Challenges of working remotely during the COVID-19 lockdowns
  • The importance of refresher courses for employees
  • How to maintain work-life balance
  • Significance of HR KPIs

Good Human Resources Research Topics

  • The Red-Hot Stove Rule in Employee Discipline
  • How to communicate constructive feedback to a fellow employee
  • The Importance of Job Analysis
  • Pros and cons of 360 Degree Feedback
  • Problems that affect attendance and timekeeping among employees
  • Evaluating employee performance management styles
  • Verbal harassment and bullying of female workers- How do they affect performance?
  • How organizational climate affects job satisfaction
  • How non-monetary factors affect employee retention
  • Calculating possible risks during the hiring process
  • How a company can enhance industrial harmony
  • Investigating the leadership style of a top brand- Case Study
  • How modern companies can solve the inadequate human resource problem
  • Discuss the key interpersonal skills of an HR (human resource) manager
  • How does ageism at work influence human resource management?

Outstanding Human Resources Research Topics

  • Are virtual interviews better than in-person interviews?
  • Is an HR department necessary for smaller, family-owned businesses?
  • Analyzing and updating how much a particular job is worth.
  • Unique ways to keep morale up during the pandemic.
  • How big data is useful to human resources.
  • Employee termination process
  • Job redesign versus job enrichment
  • Online recreational activities to develop teamwork during remote work.
  • Handling overqualified employees
  • Job shadowing versus Job rotation

Popular Human Resources Research Topics

  • What are the scopes of long-term employee training courses?
  • Compare the role of rewards on workforce motivation.
  • Explain how to sustain the odds of employee attrition rate.
  • What are the types of employee rewards that can help to improve performance?
  • Elaborate on the performance appraisal issues in HR management
  • What is performance management and how is it related to talent management?
  • Suggest the best approaches and practices for on-the-job training.
  • What is compliance management in HRM?
  • Discuss the key essentialities of recruiting freshers in an organization
  • Analyze the biggest issues in job selection today.

Amazing Human Resources Research Topics

  • How to prevent employee termination
  • Can buying gifts motivate employees?
  • Fun activities that enhance employer-employee relations
  • How the Boss Approach Kills Employee Engagements
  • How Labor Unions facilitate employee engagements
  • Emerging Trends in Human Resource Management Restructuring
  • The use of an Applicant Tracking System during recruitment and selection
  • Benefits of a Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Does a personality test matter during recruitment?
  • How personality affects group/team performance
  • How an organization’s productivity can be increased with the help of team competition?
  • How can an HR manager relieve stress while dealing with workplace conflicts?
  • Discuss the challenges of religious and sexual discrimination in the workplace
  • What should be the leadership style an HR manager needs to use to ensure successful communication in a remote work environment?
  • How HR managers can identify a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses during an employment interview?

The Bottom Line

From the comprehensive list of human resources research topics and ideas featured in this blog post, choose any topic of your choice and draft a brilliant academic paper as per your university guidelines. In case, you need humanities Assignment Help with HR research paper topic selection and writing, get in touch with us immediately. On our platform, we have numerous well-qualified subject experts and HR professionals to offer outstanding human resources assignment help online at an affordable price. Typically, based on the specifications you send us, the finest academic writers in our team will craft and dispatch a plagiarism-free human resources research paper in advance of your deadline and will help you secure top grades. Just book your order and earn plenty of scholastic benefits from our scholarly writers.

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What Are the Best Research Topics in Human Resources For 2022?

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Human Resources is one of the highly chosen subjects with essential topics suitable for the business-minded people only. The basic components vital for production in any economy are Land, Capital, and Labor. Human resource deals with management, recruitment, administration, and training of employees, the labour. If you are a student enrolled on a course in Human Resource Management or any behavioural science courses from UAE, USA, UK, Singapore, Australia or any other, you are supposed to write various human resource management assignments like research papers, essays, term papers, dissertations, research reports, and thesis. However, the most critical parts start with searching for one of the best Human Resource Research Topics.

80+ Human Resources Research Topics for 2022

If you are looking to write an excellent HR research paper topic, consider our HRM research paper help here at casestudyhelp.com.

We provide students with a list of varieties of HRM research topics related to

  • Recruitment and selection,
  • Risk management,
  • Career development,
  • Performance management,
  • Workplace safety and so on.

Here are the essential tips for choosing a good HR research topic to help you identify the best topic for writing an excellent HR research paper.

Tips for Choosing Current HRM Research Topics:

Whenever you are assigned a research paper assignment , your first step is to find an enticing topic, which is undoubtedly not an easy task. For this, you need to do thorough research online and find an endless list of topics to choose from. But with Case Study Help, you get the opportunity of saving time.

We have shared a few tips to keep in mind during the research and selection of HR Project Topics for MBA Students. Here are tips to spot a good HR research paper topic.

  • Choose a topic as per your interest area and expertise of the subject your interest.
  • Always choose a topic you have strong knowledge of as it will not consume too much of your time and struggle.
  • The HRM research paper topic should always be informative and exciting to the readers.
  • Avoid picking a broad topic as you may not be able to cover all the main points before the deadline.
  • If the topic is too broad, cut them short into subtopics and focus in detail.
  • The research topic should support you to do extensive research.
  • The topic should contain appropriate content from credible sources to support your excellent idea.
  • The topic must be sensible, and it should help you organize the points coherently.
  • Remember your professor’s guidelines and choose a unique research topic that aligns with them. Only such issues will boost your scores.
  • Instead of selecting an uncommon or rarely asked topic, go with the latest and trending human resources research topic.


HR Topics For Research Project 2022

Selecting human resource research topics is often challenging for a person in human resources. Simply selecting the title and proceeding to write it will not work in 2022. Meeting the pace with the trend that keeps changing and getting a good grade, your research paper must be original and well researched. Writing a research paper is a very structured and analytical method.

For this reason, Case Study Help offers the best support to management students and professionals in HR, offering the latest human resources research projects in 2022 and HR Project Topics for MBA Final Projects 2022. These HR project topics comprise a wide range of Human Resource fields like Employee Recruitment, Organizational Culture, Employee Satisfaction, etc.

Have a look at them:

  • Study and analyze the gender equality in the workplace at ABC company.
  • Examine the employee performance appraisal process and its impact on employee satisfaction in the ABC organization.
  • A study of the stress management model implemented in the ABC organization.
  • An analysis of the effects of organizational culture on the employee’s behaviour.
  • Study and analyze the stress level of employees working in the banking industry.
  • MBA HR project report studying the job satisfaction of employees in private companies.
  • Reviewing the performance management in Starbucks.
  • Study the analyze the future trends in the recruitment process worldwide.
  • Comparative study and swot analysis of human resource management (HRM) in the global industry.
  • Study of increment, promotion, appreciation and reward policy of the organization.
  • Studying the human resource management (HRM) functions and their effectiveness.

List Of Informative Human Resource Management Research Topics

There is a massive variety of possible human resource topics for writing an excellent research paper, so everyone will likely find some characteristic of it they enjoy. We present a list of the best human resources research topics in various categories.

  • The impact of the non-financial and financial aspects of employees’ rewards.
  • The significance of risk management under the human resource department.
  • Effective employee training strategies for analyzing hard skills and soft skills
  • What are the scopes of long-term employee training courses?
  • How does employee training help any organization in overcoming the economic crisis?
  • Process of improving inefficient employee selection process through training.
  • Effective Employee training strategies to maximize production,
  • Implementing Effective reward techniques for enhancing employee loyalty.
  • What do you mean by the reward management process in human resource management?
  • Why does employee training matter for any organization?
  • The significant role and responsibilities of employee trainers and managers
  • Is it reasonable to give a reward for improving performance?
  • What are the types of employee rewards that can help improve performance?
  • Analysis of reward management strategies in an organization.
  • Study on performance management in different stages.
  • The latest trends and techniques to use for employee performance improvement.
  • The significance of performance management in marketing.
  • Different approaches to retrain employees based on performance analysis.
  • Finding out the essence of a reward system for a start-up company.
  • Comparing the role of rewards on workforce motivation.
  • Examining the reward system in developing economies in a country.
  • What are the real-life objectives behind performance management?
  • What are the Employee performance management strategies that human resource managers must be aware of?
  • The benefits of employee performance management in the current scenario.
  • Crucial fundamentals of employee performance appraisal.
  • Effectiveness of employee performance appraisal in multinational companies.
  • How is money an effective employee motivation tool?
  • How employee motivation increases innovation and creativity in a company?
  • Why should human resource management motivate and inspire employees?
  • The role of the HR subdivision in motivating employees for work.
  • How can the human resource department motivate employees in the work environment?
  • Analyzing the motivational level of workers in public and private companies
  • Unique methods a company can accept to avoid wages and hours issues
  • How do we maintain safety at the workplace?
  • What are the problems that disturb attendance and timekeeping among company employees?
  • What are the ways to resolve annual leaves disputes in an organization?
  • How does diversity management affect business growth?
  • Comparing diversity and discrimination problems in an organization.
  • Diversity management skills every human resource manager to know.
  • How can a positive corporate culture impact a company’s growth?
  • Analyzing the organizational culture of an organization.
  • Corporate culture strategy every human resource manager must be aware of.
  • The organizational culture theory
  • An overview of management change and leadership
  • A step-by-step guide to employee appraisal in a company
  • Why do the SaaS approaches and cloud-based apps matter in human resource management?

Significance of Human Resource Management Case Study Assignment Help

Case Study Help is one of the best Assignment Help providers to present some of the interesting topics for writing an excellent research paper with round the clock by subject area expert writers and deliver the best quality assignments. We always help students secure A+ grades in assignments like case studies, research papers, dissertations, etc.


Interesting Topics for HRM Research Paper

  • How do practical training and development affect job performance?
  • What is the significance of performance-related pay matters in motivating employees?
  • How important is motivating an employee to influence the organizational output?
  • The challenges human resource managers face when motivating employees.
  • How does performance management have an impact on organizational success?
  • HRM strategies for addressing skill shortcomings.
  • Examining the effect of selection and recruitment practice on a company’s growth.
  • Assessing the efficacy of employee reward strategies for a manager.
  • List of factors that affect workers’ productivity in a company.
  • Can an organization use a flexible work policy as a retention and recruitment tool?
  • Various methods of improving employee productivity.
  • The connection between sustainable employee performance and knowledgeable management.
  • Investigating the HR Management methods that will enhance a company’s success.
  • Using the best HR practices to enhance employee commitment and retention.

Trending HR Topics

  • Inventive techniques to maintain morale amid the pandemic
  • Teamwork can be developed through online recreational activities while working remotely.
  • In the workplace, virtual reality and augmented reality are being used.
  • In the workplace, famous people or celebrities.
  • They are analyzing and revising the value of a specific job.
  • To boost long-term retention, perform the following steps.
  • Ways to deal with staff or applicants who are overqualified.
  • Is it important to have an HR department in a small, family-owned business?
  • It was de-escalating a stressful and volatile situation at work.
  • DRM technologies for protecting proprietary training methods in-house.
  • Artificial intelligence is being used for HR concerns and activities.
  • Human resources can benefit from big data.
  • Who can do on boarding and orientation virtually or online?
  • We are recruiting the best and brightest people from around the world.
  • Are virtual interviews preferable to face-to-face interviews?

Human resource management (HRM) is one of the most dynamic disciplines of work today. It’s where psychology, sociology, accountancy, and business collide. Because of the rise of virtual platforms and working from home, there have been many exciting changes in how human resources are handled in the last few years.

If these adjustments are temporary or lasting, only time will tell. But, no matter what happens, our collection of HR writings will always be available to read.

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Hi, I am Lyana Jones, author of this blog. I am one of the HRM Research  Experts in the CaseStudyHelp.com Human Resource Management team. I can guarantee you the best service quality.

Pls. Contact us anytime, tell us about your topic, and get a 100% plagiarism-free MBA/HRM Research Topics with impeccable grammar and formatting.


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Human Resource Management in the COVID-19 Era: New Insights and Management Opportunities

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Today’s Human Resource Management (HRM) needs to deploy complex set of competences to deal with different issues threatening organizations’ performance and, even, survival. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic set off a situation of rupture with the past, that has made emerge HRM’s fragility and challenges – in ...

Keywords : diversity management, COVID-19 crisis, employees perceptions, human resource management, knowledge sharing, employees engagement, collaboration

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Research trends in human resource management. A text-mining-based literature review

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN : 0143-7720

Article publication date: 26 April 2022

Issue publication date: 14 March 2023

The purpose of the study was to detect trends in human resource management (HRM) research presented in journals during the 2000–2020 timeframe. The research question is: How are the interests of researchers changing in the field of HRM and which topics have gained popularity in recent years?


The approach adopted in this study was designed to overcome all the limitations specific to the systematic literature reviews and bibliometric studies presented in the Introduction. The full texts of papers were analyzed. The text-mining tools detected first clusters and then trends, moreover, which limited the impact of a researcher's bias. The approach applied is consistent with the general rules of systematic literature reviews.

The article makes a threefold contribution to academic knowledge. First, it uses modern methodology to gather and synthesize HRM research topics. The proposed approach was designed to allow early detection of nascent, non-obvious trends in research, which will help researchers address topics of high value for both theory and practice. Second, the results of our study highlight shifts in focus in HRM over the past 19 years. Third, the article suggests further directions of research.

Research limitations/implications

In this study, the approach designed to overcome the limitations of using systematic literature review was presented. The analysis was done on the basis of the full text of the articles and the categories were discovered directly from the articles rather than predetermined. The study's findings may, however, potentially be limited by the following issues. First, the eligibility criteria included only papers indexed in the Scopus and WoS database and excluded conference proceedings, book chapters, and non-English papers. Second, only full-text articles were included in the study, which could narrow down the research area. As a consequence, important information regarding the research presented in the excluded documents is potentially lost. Third, most of the papers in our database were published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and therefore such trends as “challenges for international HRM” can be considered significant (long-lasting). Another – the fourth – limitation of the study is the lack of estimation of the proportion between searches in HRM journals and articles published in other journals. Future research may overcome the above-presented limitations. Although the authors used valuable techniques such as TF-IDF and HDBSCAN, the fifth limitation is that, after trends were discovered, it was necessary to evaluate and interpret them. That could have induced researchers' bias even if – as in this study – researchers from different areas of experience were involved. Finally, this study covers the 2000–2020 timeframe. Since HRM is a rapidly developing field, in a few years from now academics will probably begin to move into exciting new research areas. As a consequence, it might be worthwhile conducting similar analyses to those presented in this study and compare their results.


The present study provides an analysis of HRM journals with the aim of establishing trends in HRM research. It makes contributions to the field by providing a more comprehensive and objective review than analyses resulting from systematic literature reviews. It fills the gap in literature studies on HRM with a novel research approach – a methodology based on full-text mining and a big data toolset. As a consequence, this study can be considered as providing an adequate reflection of all the articles published in journals strictly devoted to HRM issues and which may serve as an important source of reference for both researchers and practitioners. This study can help them identify the core journals focused on HRM research as well as topics which are of particular interest and importance.

  • Human resource management
  • Text-mining

Piwowar-Sulej, K. , Wawak, S. , Tyrańska, M. , Zakrzewska, M. , Jarosz, S. and Sołtysik, M. (2023), "Research trends in human resource management. A text-mining-based literature review", International Journal of Manpower , Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 176-196. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-03-2021-0183

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Katarzyna Piwowar-Sulej, Sławomir Wawak, Małgorzata Tyrańska, Małgorzata Zakrzewska, Szymon Jarosz and Mariusz Sołtysik

Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode

1. Introduction

The human resource (HR) function has evolved over the years from serving a purely administrative role into one that is more strategic in character. Today it is believed that the mission of human resource management (HRM) is to support the organization in achieving its objectives by developing and implementing HR strategies that are integrated with a company's business strategy, promote staff development, foster a positive employment relationship, promote an ethical approach to people management, and care about the environment (social and natural) ( Ehnert, 2009 ; Braga et al. , 2021 ).

In practice, HRM means providing continuous solutions to a wide array of problems occurring in employee-employer, line worker-manager, and employee-employee relations and also in contacts with, e.g. trade unions. Human behaviors, feelings and attitudes are determined both by the personal characteristics of individuals and by the impact of the environment. The shape of HRM is significantly influenced by such factors as, e.g. the demographic and technological transformations ( Greiling, 2011 ; Silva and Lima, 2018 ), and globalization ( Gerhart and Fang, 2005 ).

HRM has evolved as a professional and academic discipline in parallel with both planned shifts in global considerations and unplanned phenomena such as, e.g. epidemics. For researchers it is crucial to identify, define, explain, and help practitioners understand the key factors which have an impact on HRM. Another of the researchers' roles is to formulate practical guidelines on how to manage people in different circumstances and outline areas of future research. HRM thrives on the contributions made in other fields that it assimilates and applies in practice. It unscrupulously builds on theoretical developments made earlier in related disciplines ( Boxall et al. , 2009 ). Finally, the researcher endeavors to provide an overview, comparisons, analyses and syntheses of previously published findings ( Paul and Criado, 2020 ).

The theme of trends in HRM has been addressed in numerous publications (e.g. Cooper et al. , 2020 ; Madera et al. , 2017 ). Their authors have employed various approaches to identify such phenomena, including systematic literature reviews. Articles offering a traditional overview provide a quantity-oriented (i.e. meta-analytical, systematic) approach together with descriptive or qualitative elements. Jointly, they develop a theoretical background, highlight irregularities in existing findings, integrate the findings of a wide variety of publications and in general provide other researchers with an up-to-date understanding of the discipline, frequently prepared by leading specialists ( Palmatier et al. , 2018 ). In most cases, the documents selected for analysis were based on titles, keywords and abstracts only. Unfortunately, they contain only around 8% of all research findings ( Blake, 2010 ). In order to gain a deeper insight into such a body of knowledge authors have often turned to the by-hand review method (e.g. Cooper et al. , 2020 ).

Conventional systematic by-hand literature reviews are sometimes characterized by errors in article selection, possible simplifications and potentially incomplete and not universal results (subjective, impressionistic descriptions), In response to these shortcomings, in recent years a number of new alternatives have emerged. One new approach that has attracted increasing attention is bibliometric studies. This method applies dedicated IT tools to gauge trends in articles. They examine academic material from both an objective and qualitative perspective for the purposes of identifying, organizing, and analyzing information in a specific research field ( Capobianco-Uriarte et al. , 2019 ). As far as trends in HRM are concerned, Markoulli et al. (2017) presented a summary of previously published traditional and narrative reviews and on its basis created a science map and defined clusters based on keyword co-occurrence analysis and the VOSviewer software tool.

Bibliometric analyses can be treated as a platform for writing an entire article or can be used only as preparation for the groundwork for further in-depth content analysis and qualitative descriptions. In turn, a text mining toolset can help identify research trends and select papers which are in line with a particular trend. Moreover, a full-text analysis of publications using a text mining toolset enables researchers to obtain higher-quality results than when using only keywords, such as in the case of VOSviewer analyses ( Kobayashi et al. , 2018 ). As a consequence we decided that it was worth adopting a methodology based on full-text mining and a big data toolset in order to identify trends in HRM research. We believe that big data and analytics help not only companies function but also researchers in a highly data-driven world ( Kobayashi et al. , 2018 ).

The purpose of the study was to detect trends in HRM research presented in journals during the 2000–2020 timeframe. The following research question was asked: how are the interests of researchers changing in the field of HRM and which topics have gained in popularity in recent years?

The paper is organized as follows. In the second section we describe the HRM research trends identified in previous studies. Here the focus is on the context in which authors were operating when analyzing HRM issues. The third section is devoted to the research method employed for the purpose of this study. Then we present the results and discussion. The article ends with conclusions, including limitations and areas of future research.

The article makes a threefold contribution to academic knowledge. First, it uses modern methodology to gather and synthesize HRM research topics. The proposed approach was designed to allow early detection of nascent, non-obvious trends in research, which will help researchers address topics of high value for both theory and practice. Second, the results of our study highlight shifts in focus in HRM over the past 20 years. Third, the article suggests further directions of research.

2. Trends in the HRM research identified in previous studies

In their search for HRM research trends authors of this study firstly used the Scopus database and a search strategy based on such terms as: trends in human resource management/HRM, trends in research on human resource management/HRM, human resource management/HRM trends, intellectual structure of human resource management/HRM. The searching process covered titles, abstracts and keywords and was limited to articles written in English. The search produced 37 documents. Then the authors also searched for additional articles in Google Scholar.

Most of the articles were devoted to the trends identified in HR practices in companies (e.g. Dubravska and Solankova, 2015 ). One of such trends is HRM digitalization ( Ashbaugh and Miranda, 2002 ). Table 1 presents a list of HRM trends identified in the research (related to academic work) conducted by different authors.

It can be concluded from the above that researchers employed different approaches to defining and identifying these trends. Research trends may be associated with research topics (e.g. Özlen, 2014 ), research methods (e.g. Pietersen, 2018 ) and the general characteristics of the academic domain (e.g. Sanders and De Cieri, 2020 ). Although a number of authors have provided traditional literature reviews of trends in HRM, Chae et al. (2020) , for example, focused only on the local (Korean) research trends and used only keyword analyses. Others focused on a specific sector ( Cooper et al. , 2020 ), industry ( Madera et al. , 2017 ) or region ( Wood and Bischoff, 2020 ). There are also articles that outline the evolution of research in particular journals (e.g. Pietersen, 2018 ). Others address specific problems, such as international HRM (e.g. Sanders and De Cieri, 2020 ) or green HRM ( Yong et al. , 2020 ). The most visible trends identified in previous studies and associated with research topics were strategic HRM, HR performance and employment/industrial relations. The first topic was addressed in eight works while the remaining was the subject of five publications.

3. Material and methods

The approach adopted in this study was designed to overcome all the limitations specific to the systematic literature reviews and bibliometric studies as presented in the Introduction. The full texts of papers were analyzed. The approach applied is consistent with the general rules of systematic literature reviews ( Tranfield et al. , 2003 ) and consists of several steps, which are presented in Figure 1 .

3.1 Selection of journals

Thousands of articles covering HRM can be found on both Scopus and the Web of Science. For the sake of the present analysis, it was necessary to define inclusion criteria in the meta-analysis.

The main topic of the journal was related to HRM,

The journals were indexed in Scopus and WoS,

The journals have a high SNIP index value (the limit value is set at 1 - status for 2020; full values are presented in Table 2 ),

Full versions of the article were available,

The articles were published in the years 2000–2020.

A total of 8 journals met the above criteria ( Table 2 ). The full texts of the papers were downloaded from academic databases. No duplicates were found. Only research papers were included, while editorials, calls for papers, errata and book reviews were excluded.

All the metadata were removed from the papers. The titles and abstracts often contain catchwords designed to increase readership. As a consequence, only the texts of papers minus their titles, keywords, abstracts and references were analyzed in this study. Additional bibliographic information that could be useful in the analytical process was downloaded from the Crossref database. Each paper was converted into a text file and then into a bag-of-words model for the needs of automatic analysis using computer algorithms. The algorithms were created using Python libraries, such as grobid, nltk, scikit-learn, hdbscan, and scipy ( Pedregosa et al. , 2011 ).

3.2 Search for the most important terms

w i j – result for term i in document j ,

t f i j – number of occurrences of i in j ,

d f i – number of documents containing i ,

N – number of documents in the corpus (set of documents).

The TF-IDF method is not a mathematical model. It requires extensive computation, cannot be used to discover synonyms and ignores multiple meanings of words ( Zhang et al. , 2011 ). However, in the case of research papers, these problems have a minimal impact due to the more precise language used by researchers.

3.3 Identification of thematic groups (clusters)

The TF-IDF model presents each paper as a multidimensional vector. The number of dimensions is equal to the number of keywords used in the analysis. In the next step, all the vectors were compared to each other, which led to the discovery of clusters.

As mentioned in section 3.2 , the TF-IDF model does not analyse synonyms and ignores multiple meanings of words and phrases. In scholarly texts, it is rarely a problem. Even in HRM, where the number of synonyms can be perceived as higher than in other areas of management, the impact on the results should be negligible.

There are two main approaches to clustering: partitioning and hierarchical clustering. The former can be applied when all the corpus elements must be included in one of the groups. This induces data noise, as not even similar elements have to be included. The latter allows some elements to remain outside the clusters. The clusters become much more homogenous. This constitutes a better approach when it comes to identifying trends. Multiple hierarchical clustering methods are available, e.g. meanshift, DBSCAN, Optics and HDBSCAN (Hierarchical Density-Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise) ( McInnes et al. , 2017 ). HDBSCAN is characterized by the least number of limitations. It takes each paper (vector) and checks at what distance it can find similar publications. Then it compares the results, and the densest areas are detected as clusters. Unlike some other methods, the clusters lack permanent density or a fixed number of elements. The only parameter that the researcher needs to establish is the minimum cluster size. The best value can be determined through a series of experiments.

In the present study, the authors carried out a set of experiments using different minimum cluster sizes. The highest value detected was 20. Lower values lead to a much higher number of clusters. Moreover, general phrases not directly related to HRM played a significant role in the discovery of these clusters. With the minimum cluster size set to values greater than 20, the number of clusters was significantly lower. That led to general results based on the most popular phrases only.

The entire sample was divided into groups of papers published in 5-year overlapping periods starting with 2000–2004 and ending with 2016–2020. Each paper was assigned to all the groups into which it fitted. Cluster analysis was performed for every group separately, and the results were used to identify trends.

Cluster analysis was performed on each group separately, and the results were used to discover trends. Approximately 30 clusters on average were identified for each five-year period. However, for a trend to be identified at least two similar clusters had to be discovered in successive periods Therefore, many unrelated clusters were excluded by the algorithm. Such behaviour is expected, as it removes noise from data. Usually, only one-third of clusters meet the conditions to form trends.

The number of papers published in each year is presented in Figure 2 . A slight decrease in the number of articles can be observed compared to 2018–19, which may have been a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

3.4 Identification of trends

Long-lasting trends that existed and evolved during the studied period,

Declining trends which came to an end during the studied period,

Emerging trends which began during the studied period,

Ephemeris trends that began and ended during the studied period.

3.5 Interpretation of trends

The results delivered by the algorithm must be checked through further studies. The algorithm can detect mergers or splits in trends. We decided, however, that the final decision should be left to researchers. At this stage, trends should also be named, interpreted and described. The interpretation phase should help highlight changes within trends and try to predict their future evolution.

4. Results and discussion

The analyses, performed by researchers using automatic algorithms and further verification, led to the discovery of 42 trends presented in Table 3 . These trends are ordered according to the year of their first occurrence and their duration. It is worth emphasizing that the year in which a trend was observed does not indicate that the idea behind it emerged at the same time. Rather, it shows when a subject began to increase in popularity among researchers. Furthermore, the number of identified trends is much higher than the results from previous studies presented in Section 2.1 Table 4 .

The use of tracking revealed the evolution of clusters, and made it possible to identify trends. The analysis led to the discovery of the types of trends presented in Section 3.4. Of the 42 trends, 4 were long-lasting, 5 declining, 17 emerging and 16 ephemeris in character. One possible fact to note is that “strategic HRM”, which was a prevailing trend in previous studies, is not directly presented in the results obtained using text-mining analyses. However, it is included in the “architecture and changing role of HRM” trend.

At this point it is worth emphasizing that sociologists of science have examined the principles governing the selection of topics analysed by researchers, and noticed that it may result from a trade-off between conservative production and risky innovation ( Bourdieu, 1975 ). The main problem when choosing research topics is deciding whether to continue topics fixed in the literature or take the risk of exploring new, hitherto unknown themes. Trend a analysis offers an indirect solution based on strategic ambidexterity. This is not only because it allows us to observe disappearing themes that continue to be exploited, but also to identify those topics, in which there is a growing interest (exploration).

Long-lasting trends are not homogenous and change over time. The evolution of trends can be tracked using keywords of considerable importance in subsequent years. The importance of keywords was evaluated using the TF-IDF algorithm and averaged for each cluster. The TF-IDF formula was presented in the Methodology section. It should be noted that the TF-IDF score has to be calculated for each phrase in each paper. In this study, over 150,000 phrases were identified in over 6 thousand papers. That resulted in a significant number of calculations made by the algorithm, which cannot be presented in the paper. A comparison of cluster keywords reveals new topics within trends. The evolution of trends may lead to the disappearance of earlier topics or to their parallel development. Declining and ephemeris trends are associated with issues that are of less interest to researchers, have been resolved or were eclipsed by changes in a researcher's approach to the object of their study. The disappearance of certain trends is a normal phenomenon in science. Such a disappearance can be predicted to a certain degree when the average number of papers decreases.

Since we identified many trends, only a few examples will be described below. One example of a long-lasting trend is “Diversity Management”, which covered the entire 2000–2020 timeframe. The articles that discussed this trend focused on effective diversity management, its impact on organizational performance (e.g. Choi et al. , 2017 ), team performance ( Roberge and van Dick, 2010 ), knowledge sharing ( Shen et al. , 2014 ), innovation ( Peretz et al. , 2015 ), and the various factors which impact upon its effectiveness. Some papers discussed only one form of diversity in the workplace, e.g. age diversity ( Li et al. , 2011 ), gender diversity (e.g. Gould et al. , 2018 ) or ethnic diversity (e.g. Singh, 2007 ).

One sub-trend that can be observed within the above-discussed trend is age management', which falls within the 2005–2018 time range. The papers assigned to this sub-trend focus on HR practices towards older employees (e.g. Kooij et al. , 2014 ).

One example of a declining trend is “new and traditional career models”. This trend, which was observed in the years 2000–2019, highlights the fact that the weakening of organizational boundaries has increased career freedom and independence from previously constraining factors. The papers which examined this issue provide conceptual knowledge of different career dimensions. For example, a shift has taken place from objective to subjective careers. Individuals have to make sense of their careers, because they can no longer depend on their employers ( Walton and Mallon, 2004 ). Individual cultural, social and economic capital builds a field of opportunities for pursuing a career ( Iellatchitch et al. , 2003 ). Simultaneously, two major kinds of boundaries to the “boundaryless career” have been identified: the competence-based boundary (industry boundary) and the relation-based boundary (social capital boundary) ( Baghdadli et al. , 2003 ).

In the last two decades, increasing environmental awareness has pushed researchers towards addressing the issue of HRM as a strategic tool for making companies sustainability-driven organizations (e.g. Podgorodnichenko et al. , 2020 ). One of the emerging trends identified in our study is “Green and sustainable HRM”. This trend focuses on the environmental responsibility of companies (e.g. DuBois and Dubois, 2012 ) or/and achieving simultaneously social and economic goals (if the triple bottom line concept is discussed) (e.g. Ren and Jackson, 2020 ). The results, in the form of behavioral changes, have also been examined (e.g. Dumont et al. , 2017 ) and the contribution of HRM to company sustainability has been discussed in the context of different countries (e.g. Alcaraz et al. , 2019 ).

Finally, one example of an ephemeris trend is “HR certification”. The discussion on this trend was initiated by Lengnick-Hall and Aguinis (2012) . They applied a multi-level theory-based approach to investigating HR certification. They tried to assess the value of HR certification for individual HR specialists, their organizations as well as for the HR profession as a whole. The main topic addressed in later articles devoted to this trend was the value of HR certification (e.g. Aguinis and Lengnick-Hall, 2012 ). The value of HR certification has been linked with shareholder value ( Paxton, 2012 ). The link between organizational values and HR certification is another issue that has been addressed. Organizational values are treated as a key antecedent to the use and pursuit of HR certification ( Garza and Morgeson, 2012 ).

Table 3 presents only those periods during which specific trends were active, but provides no information on their dynamics. This can be observed by looking at the average number of papers per year (ANPY) in consecutive periods. Table 4 presents all the trends active during the last year of the study. They were divided into three groups according to whether the ANPY was decreasing, increasing or stable in recent years. To depict the relative strength of these trends, table shows the average number of papers published in the final 5-year period.

It can be concluded that trends with an increasing dynamic coincide with the trends defined in the literature. For example, “flexible employment from the perspective of HRM” corresponds with “employment relations” distinguished by Markoulli et al. (2017) and “the HRM process, the changing nature of HRM, and precarious employment relations” in the typology developed by Cooper et al. (2020) . “Diversity Management” is related to “organizational culture” ( Özlen, 2014 ). “Employee participation” may be associated with “employment relations” ( Cooke et al. , 2019 ) and “organizational commitment” ( García-Lillo et al. , 2017 ). The latter occurs both in the presented typology and in previous ones. “leader–member exchange” should be included in “behavioral issues” ( Özlen, 2014 ). Finally, a trend characterized by an increasing dynamic is “green and sustainable HRM”. Green HRM was an independent subject of analysis in a study by Yong et al. (2020) .

5. Conclusions

5.1 contributions and implications.

The present study provides an analysis of HRM journals with the aim of identifying trends in HRM research. It makes contributions to the field by providing a more comprehensive and objective review than analyses resulting from conventional systematic literature reviews as well as by identifying 42 different trends. It fills an existing gap in literature studies on HRM with a novel research approach – a methodology based on full-text mining and a big data toolset. As a consequence, this study can be considered as providing an adequate reflection of all the articles published in journals strictly devoted to HRM issues and which may serve as an important source of reference for both researchers and practitioners. It can also help them identify the core journals focused on HRM research as well as those topics which are of particular interest and importance.

As the study covers a period of over 20 years it should come as no surprise that some trends emerged and declined over this time. However, our study creates an opportunity for reviving research topics which combine old trends with new ones, and at the same time take into account the interdisciplinary nature of HRM as a field of research. Some researchers have observed that success can often be achieved by adopting a tool from another research area or through a new way of analyzing old problems that brings new insights and solutions ( Adali et al. , 2018 ).

Finally, we observed the emergence of a number of trends during the studied period that are still active. In particular, green and sustainable HRM is not only an emerging trend but also developing rapidly. It is worth mentioning here that while many articles have focused on green HRM issues, they have not been published in journals that specialize in HRM but in journals devoted to environmental issues. One possible future challenge for researchers may be to estimate the proportions between HRM articles published in HRM journals and those featured in other journals.

Practitioners interested in the evolution of the field can find in this paper areas of HRM that require improving in their own businesses or which can be treated as a platform for introducing innovations in HRM (emerging trends). The information contained in this paper can also be utilized as a source for evaluating the performance of sub-fields in a HRM research domain and for adjusting research policies with regard to funding allocations and comparing research input and output ( Gu, 2004 ). The editors of journals may take into account the results presented in this paper when making decisions regarding the direction, scope, and themes of their journals.

5.2 Limitations

In this study, the approach designed to overcome the limitations of using systematic literature review was presented. The analysis was done on the basis of the full text of the articles and the categories were discovered directly from the articles rather than predetermined. The study's findings may, however, potentially be limited by the following issues.

First, our eligibility criteria included only papers indexed in the Scopus and WoS database and excluded conference proceedings, book chapters, and non-English papers. Second, only full-text articles were included in the study, which could narrow down the research area. As a consequence, important information regarding the research presented in the excluded documents is potentially lost. Third, most of the papers in our database were published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and therefore such trends as “challenges for international HRM” can be considered significant (long-lasting). Another – the fourth – limitation of the study is the lack of estimation of the proportion between searches in HRM journals and articles published in other journals. Future research may overcome the above-presented limitations. Although we used valuable techniques such as TF-IDF and HDBSCAN, the fifth limitation is that, after trends were discovered, it was necessary to evaluate and interpret them. That could have induced researchers' bias even if – as in this study – researchers from different areas of experience were involved. Finally, this study covers the 2000–2020 timeframe. Since HRM is a rapidly developing field, in a few years from now academics will probably begin to move into exciting new research areas. As a consequence, it might be worthwhile conducting similar analyses to those presented in this study and compare their results.

topics in human resource management for research

Workflow of the methodology used in this study

topics in human resource management for research

Number of papers in the years 2000–2020

Trends in HRM research identified in previous studies

HRM-related journals included in this study

Trends in HRM research in the years 2000–2020

Activity of long-lasting and emerging trends in recent years

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The research–practice gap in the field of HRM: a qualitative study from the academic side of the gap

  • Review Paper
  • Published: 15 June 2020
  • Volume 15 , pages 1465–1515, ( 2021 )

Cite this article

  • Jesús de Frutos-Belizón   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3194-6910 1 ,
  • Fernando Martín-Alcázar 1 &
  • Gonzalo Sánchez-Gardey 1  

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9 Citations

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In recent studies, researchers agree that there is a substantial gap between research and practice in the field of human resource management (HRM). The literature exploring the causes and consequences of this gap does not represent a finely structured discourse; it has focused on analysing the gap from the practitioner side, and it is based on opinions and theoretical discussions rather than on empirical evidence. In this paper, we try to shed some light on this so-called “valley of death”. We attempt to identify the causes underlying the disconnect between academics and professionals in our field by drawing on empirical qualitative evidence obtained from interviews with 15 expert academics in the field of HRM. Thus, the approach presented in our work differs from that of the prior literature in that it is focused not on the opinions of individual authors but on the personal experiences of a larger expert sample composed of independent, experienced scholars in the area. Based on in-depth semi-structured interviews, we analyse the factors explaining why academics are not always willing to focus their research on professional needs or orientate their research outputs to the practitioner community.

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topics in human resource management for research

Relating to the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.

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This study has benefited from financing from the Research Project ECO2014-56580-R of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitively, and the Research Projects P12-SEJ-1810 from the Andalusia Government (Spain) and PR2016-018 (Research Projects University of Cadiz).

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Department of Business Management, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain

Jesús de Frutos-Belizón, Fernando Martín-Alcázar & Gonzalo Sánchez-Gardey

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  • Notes: The academics interviewed appear in alphabetical order. This order is not related to the number assigned to each academic interviewed. All information about the interviewees was obtained through Elsevier’s Scopus database and public information in their CVs
  • *The Centre for Performance-led HR (CPHR) at Lancaster has been successful at bringing together world–class academic experts to work with top HR directors to overcome the most pressing issues facing senior HR specialists. It is a unique partnership between Lancaster University Management School and major corporations and was nominated as one of five Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiatives in the 2009 Times Higher Education Awards
  • **NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) work to pull advances in basic research with potential relevance to patient safety into an applied research setting
  • ***The LINK Research Institute, based at Dublin City University Business School, sets out to understand the factors that contribute to successful organisations, both private and public, in Ireland and internationally. The LINK Research Institute enjoys mutually beneficial collaborations with a wide range of organisations. This includes various consulting projects with a wide range of organisations such as: Fáilte Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, The Electricity Supply Board, The Health Service Executive, The Department of Social Protection, Novartis, Intel, Mars, Airbus and Pfizer
  • ****The Global Future of World Foundation aims to help Business, Academia and Goverments around the globe to prepare the workforce of the future for a sustainable world by detecting and predicting trends and paradigms for successful transformation ( http://globalfutureofwork.com/ )
  • + The Institute for Business Research serves as the hub for externally funded business research within the Broad College of Business, and as part of the Michigan State University (MSU) campus-wide research infrastructure, collaborates with other MSU Colleges/Departments as well as the Offices of Regulatory Affairs, MSU Technology, Sponsored Programs, Business Connect and Contract and Grant Administration
  • ++ The People Management Center (PMC) is an organization located with the department of Human Resource Studies at Tilburg University, which serves as a platform for global HR excellence to connect staff and students of the department, TIAS Business School and the business partners in the HR field

Appendix 2: Interview guide

According to your research experience, do you consider that research is individual or collective? What individuals or agents do you collaborate with in the development of your research projects?

Could you say that you have a stable research group? Do you have stable relationships with agents outside the group?

Could you briefly describe how work is normally organized in the research projects in which you participate?

Do you engage with professional partners in the development of research? How was this experience? What difficulties and benefits did you find in these collaborations?

Normally, what motivates your choice of research topics?

Could you specify the different steps of the research processes conducted in your group?

Which of them do you think are more important?

Do you think your research is relevant to the professional community?

Have you ever carried out a research project collaboratively with the professional community?

Do you consider that research in our field must be produced only for academics? Is it considered possible or viable to produce research jointly with the professional community?

How much time would you say that the whole process takes, from the time you have a stimulus to research until the time an output is generated?

What specific steps of the process do you feel are more time-consuming?

Do you usually change your research ideas and initial impressions after contrasting them with the rest of the members of your research team? Do you also do this with non-academic agents?

Does your research group have formal procedures (such as regular meetings) established? Do they incorporate external agents?

Could you say that the group has established routines to develop research activities?

Does your research team have a strong shared culture?

What do you think are the skills, knowledge or experience necessary to carry out a successful academic career? How would you describe a successful researcher in terms of knowledge, skills and experience?

How are these skills distributed in your group? Are there members specialized in some specific activities or phases of the research process?

How would you describe internal relationships within your research team?

Have you ever had communication problems between the members of the unit? How would you describe your communication with external and/or professional agents?

How is your research normally funded?

Do you receive funding from non-academic institutions, such as firms or professional foundations?

How do you think that the prevalent academic culture affects the development of your research?

Could you describe the process through which your research results are disseminated?

What are the criteria used to select the specific means through which research results are disseminated? To what extent do you make use of non-academic or professional channels?

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de Frutos-Belizón, J., Martín-Alcázar, F. & Sánchez-Gardey, G. The research–practice gap in the field of HRM: a qualitative study from the academic side of the gap. Rev Manag Sci 15 , 1465–1515 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-020-00397-x

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Human resource management research in healthcare: a big data bibliometric study

  • Xiaoping Qin 1 ,
  • Yu-Ni Huang 2 ,
  • Zhiyuan Hu 1 ,
  • Kaiyan Chen 3 ,
  • Richard Szewei Wang 5 , 6 &
  • Bing-Long Wang   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9910-9804 1  

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Human resource management (HRM) in healthcare is an important component in relation to the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. However, a comprehensive overview is lacking to assess and track the current status and trends of HRM research in healthcare. This study aims to describe the current situation and global trends in HRM research in healthcare as well as to indicate the frontiers and future directions of research. The research methodology is based on bibliometric mapping using scientific visualization software (VOSviewer). The data were collected from the Web of Science(WoS) core citation database. After applying the search criteria, we retrieved 833 publications, which have steadily increased over the last 30 years. In addition, 93 countries and regions have published relevant research. The United States and Australia have made significant contributions in this area. Current research articles focus on topics clustered into performance, hospital/COVID-19, job satisfaction, human resource management, occupational/mental health, and quality of care. The most frequently co-occurring keywords are human resource management, job satisfaction, nurses, hospitals, health services, quality of care, COVID-19, and nursing. There is limited research on compensation management and employee relations management, so the current HRM research field still has not been able to present a complete and systematic roadmap. We propose that our colleagues should consider focusing on these research gaps in the future.

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Among the many management elements, people are the most dynamic and active element, and they are an important asset in organizations [ 1 ]. The term “human resources” was first coined by the academic Peter F. Drucker in 1954 [ 2 ]. The key function of human resources management (HRM) is to “put the right people in the right jobs at the right time” [ 2 ]. HRM refers to the planned allocation of human resources in accordance with the requirements of organizational development through a series of processes, such as recruitment, training, use, assessment, motivation, and adjustment of employees, to mobilize their motivation, bring into play their potential and create value for the organization [ 1 ]. Ensuring the achievement of the organization’s strategic objectives, HRM activities mainly include human resource strategy formulation, staff recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, compensation management, staff mobility management, staff relationship management, staff safety and health management, etc. Similarly, modern healthcare management has human resources as the core. The HRM level in hospitals is related to the quality and efficiency of medical services provided by hospitals, which is also the core of internal hospital management and the focus of health macro management [ 3 ].

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that health systems can only work with the help of health workers, and that improving the coverage of health services and realizing the right to the highest standard of health depends on the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health workers [ 4 ]. In response to evolving characteristics in socio-economic development and the human resource market, healthcare system personnel reforms are evident in three key areas: first, decentralization and flexible employment practices grant hospital managers greater decision-making autonomy concerning priorities and access to medical resources. However, they also impose quantitative and functional constraints on physicians' working hours, career planning, and medical payment systems. Second, a focal point is the rational allocation of technical staff to achieve efficiency while controlling labor costs. Finally, hospital organization change and restructuring are prevalent. Many European countries have unionized hospital employees, limiting the ability to establish independent incentives and rewards. In contrast, U.S. hospital employees often do not belong to specific organizations, leading cost control efforts to revolve around adjusting the allocation of technical staff and employee numbers to reduce labor expenses [ 5 , 6 , 7 ].

The current global trend in the number of publications on HRM in healthcare is rising. However, there are currently several problems in HRM research. The following issues mainly exist: (1) the expertise and professionalism of HRM managers are limited. (2) Theoretical methods and technical applications are weak. (3) Insufficient regulation of regulations, systems and procedures. (4) Management is mainly at the level of operational work, and functions are too fragmented [ 8 , 9 ]. Although hospitals worldwide generally recognize the importance of HRM, they do not pay sufficient attention to it. The management of human resources is also stuck in the previous understanding that its work is carried out only by transferring positions in hospitals, promoting and reducing the salary of employees and a series of other operations [ 10 ]. Most senior management in hospitals have comprehensive medical knowledge; some are experts in a particular field. Still, they lack expertise in HRM, which makes them work in a transactional way in HRM. There is also currently a general health workforce imbalance in countries worldwide. The lack of well-being of healthcare workers is particularly problematic in foreign healthcare institutions [ 11 ], and to reduce costs, some organizations have reduced staffing levels. In turn, because of lower quality of service, the morale of healthcare providers often suffers. Patient satisfaction may decline [ 12 ]. In the process of data gathering, we found that the literature related to HRM in healthcare is still under-reported and that the research topics are scattered, and there is still a lack of generalization and summary of these literatures [ 13 ]. There is no systematic theoretical support in the current research, which defines the perspective that researchers should take when analyzing and interpreting the data to be collected, leading to biased interpretations of the results, and does not allow other researchers to combine the findings with existing research knowledge and then apply them to practice [ 14 ]. Second, data collection was not rigorous, and the downloading strategy was not appropriate to achieve completeness and accuracy of data. There is also a lack of information and incomplete use of features in the presentation of knowledge maps and visualization results [ 15 ].

Therefore, the aims of this study are the following; first, we provide a new way of viewing the field of healthcare HRM and its associations by examining co-occurrence data. Second, we relate our evolutionary analysis to a comprehensive future research agenda which may generate a new research agenda in healthcare hospital HRM. This review, therefore, focuses on illuminating the research frontiers and future roadmap for healthcare HRM research [ 16 , 17 ].

Materials and methods

This study provides a bibliometric analysis of the HRM research literature in health care over a 30-year period to describe the landscape and trajectory of change in the research field. The methodology used for this overview is based on bibliometric mapping [ 18 , 19 ], a visualization technique that quantitatively displays the landscape and dynamic aspects of the knowledge domain [ 20 ]. Data were collected from the Web of Science (WoS) core citation database. Two Java-based scientific visualization software packages (CiteSpace and VOSviewer), developed by Chaomei Chen and Van Eck and Waltman, were used to analyze the data [ 18 , 21 ].

The data for this study were retrieved from the Web of Science on 28 September 2022. Web of Science was chosen as the search engine, because it is the most widely accepted and commonly used database for analyzing scientific publications [ 22 ]. The keywords “human resource management” and “healthcare organization” were used as search topics. First, to get a complete picture of HRM research, we searched all the literature from 1977 to the date of the search.

Eight hundred thirty-three publications on HRM in healthcare organizations were identified (Fig.  1 ). We excluded publications before 1990, because the two documents before 1990 did not include complete information. In addition, articles, review articles, and early access articles were included in the study. To minimize language bias, we excluded literature published in languages other than English. Each publication in WoS contains detailed information, including the year of publication, author, author’s address, title, abstract, source journal, subject category, references, etc. A detailed description of the contents of the database preceded the bibliographic analysis. For example, some authors presented their names in different spellings when submitting articles, so reviewing and integrating the data in detail was necessary. A total of 718 publications were included and exported to VOSviewer and CiteSpace software to analyze the following topics: global publishing trends, countries, journals, authors, research orientations, institutions, and quality of publications.

figure 1

Research flow chart of the bibliometric analysis

Introduction to CiteSpace and VOSviewer

VOSviewer is a software tool for building and visualizing bibliometric networks. It was developed by Van Eck and Waltman [ 21 ]. In VOSviewer, metric networks can be visualized and analyzed for factors, including journals, researchers, or individual publications. They can be constructed based on citations, bibliographic couplings, co-citations, or co-authorship relationships [ 21 ].

Global publication trends

Number of global trends.

After applying the search criteria, we retrieved a total of 718 articles. Figure  2 a shows the increase in articles from 1 in 1977 to 108 in 2021. To predict future trends, a linear regression model was used to create a time curve for the number of publications throughout the year, and the model fit curve for the growth trend is shown in Fig.  2 b. The trend in the number of publications fitted the time curve well at R 2  = 0.8802. The R-squared value is a measure of how well the trend line fits. This value reflects the degree of fit between the estimated value of the trend line and the corresponding actual data; the better the fit, the more reliable the trend line is [ 23 , 24 ]. Based on the model’s trends, it is also predicted that the number of articles on HRM in healthcare will increase to approximately 300 by 2030, an almost threefold increase compared to 2021.

figure 2

a Total number of publications related to HRM research. The bars indicate the number of publications per year. b Model fitting curves of global publication trends. c Top 10 countries of total publications. d Distribution world map of HRM research

Country and regional contributions

Figure  2 c, d shows the number of publications and the world distribution of the top 10 countries in total publication numbers. The USA contributed the most publications (172, 24.2%), followed by Australia (86, 12.0%), the UK (83, 11.6%), and China (78, 10.9%).

Total number of citations

The USA had the highest total number of citations of all included publications (5195) (Table 1 ), while the UK ranked second (2661), followed by Australia (1960) and the Netherlands (1271). The detailed rankings and numbers are shown in Fig.  3 a and Table 1 .

figure 3

a Top 10 countries of average citations for each article. b Average number of citations. c Top 10 countries of the H-index

Average citation frequency

Belgium had the highest average number of citations (49.26), followed by the UK (32.06), the USA (30.2), and Canada (27.13), as shown in Fig.  3 b.

Total citations and the h-index reflect the quality of a country’s publications and academic impact[ 25 ]. Figure  3 c shows the ranking of the h-index, where the top country is the USA (h-index = 36), followed by the UK (h-index = 27), Australia (h-index = 23), and Canada (h-index = 22).

Analysis of publications

Table 2 shows the top 10 journals for publications on HRM in healthcare, with 54 articles published in “International Journal of Human Resource Management”, 44 articles published in “BMJ Open”, 30 articles published in “Journal of Nursing Management”, and 24 articles in “BMC Health Services Research”.

Table 3 shows the top 10 most published authors with 96 articles/reviews in the last decade, representing 13.4% of all literature in the field. Timothy Bartram from Australia has published 19 papers, followed by Sandra Leggat from Australia, Stanton P from the USA, and Townsend K from the UK with 13, 11, and 10 papers, respectively. All researchers listed as authors were included in this term for analysis, regardless of their relative contribution to the study. Notably, we have included all authors in this analysis regardless of their relative contribution to the study.

Research orientation

Figure  4 a shows the top 10 research orientations of the 100 research orientations. The most common research orientations were management (193 articles), nursing (107 articles), health policy services (105 articles), and health care sciences services (201 articles).

figure 4

a Top 10 research orientations and the number of publications in each orientation. b Top 20 institutions with the most publications


Figure  4 shows the top 20 institutions with the most published papers. La Trobe University has the highest number of articles with 24, followed by the University of London (23) and Griffith University (18).

Co-occurrence analysis

In the keyword mapping on HRM research in healthcare, the size of the nodes represents the frequency, while the line between the nodes reflects the co-occurrence relationship. A total of 1914 keywords were included, and 59 met the criteria. All keywords were grouped into six clusters: performance (light blue cluster), job satisfaction (red cluster), quality of care (blue cluster), human resource management (brown cluster), occupational/mental health (purple cluster), and hospital/COVID-19 (green cluster) (Fig.  5 ).

figure 5

Co-occurrence analysis of HRM research in healthcare

The most prominent themes in HRM research in healthcare are as below. In the “Performance” cluster, the keywords which have the greatest co-occurrence strength were “performance”, “systematic review”, “decentralization health system” and “motivation”. The main keywords in the “Job Satisfaction” cluster are “job satisfaction”, “organizational commitment”, “transformational leadership” and “turn over”. In the “Quality of care” cluster, the keywords that stand out are “quality of care”, “patient safety”, “high-performance work system”, “quality management” and “patient satisfaction”. In the “Human resource management” cluster, the prominent keywords include “human resource management”, “health policy”, “public health”, and “education and training”. In the “Occupational/Mental Health” cluster, the prominent keywords are “Occupational health”, “mental health”, “well-being” and “burnout”. The main keywords in the “Hospital/COVID-19” cluster were “hospitals”, “COVID-19” “workforce” and “qualitative research”.

Global trends in HMR in healthcare

Our study of HMR research in healthcare illustrates current and global trends in publications, contributing countries, institutions, and research orientations. The field of HMR research has evolved over the past three decades. However, as this study shows, the number of publications steadily increases yearly, with 93 countries or regions publishing in the field, suggesting that research focusing on HMR research and providing in-depth knowledge will likely increase.

Quality and status of publications worldwide

We find that most publishing countries are developed countries, but developing countries are catching up. The total citation rate and the h-index reflect the quality and scholarly impact of a country’s publications [ 25 ]. According to our study, the US ranks first among other countries in total publications, citations, and h-index, making the most substantial contribution to global HRM research. The UK and Canada also contribute significantly, with impressive total citation frequencies and h-index, especially the UK, which ranks second in average citation frequency. However, some countries, such as Belgium, Canada and Australia, also play an important role, given their high average citation frequency. In developing countries, HRM research has also served as a guide for hospitals to improve the quality of care. The study will serve as a reference for developing countries to learn from the experience of developed countries as their economic development gradually catches up with that of developed countries.

The impact and prestige of the journals can be seen in the number of articles published in the field and the influential journals in healthcare HRM research, including the BMC Health Services Research, the Journal of Nursing Management, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, the Health Care Management Review, and the Journal of Health Organisation and Management. These high-quality journals are thus the main source of information for researchers in this field on the latest developments in HRM in healthcare.

The study shows that almost all of the top 20 institutions come from the top five countries with the most publications, with the majority coming from the US, Australia and the Netherlands, reflecting the great academic influence of these three countries in the field of HRM in healthcare. These institutions play an important role in raising the academic performance of a country. Furthermore, the top 20 authors represent research leaders who are likely to impact the future direction of research significantly. Therefore, more attention should be paid to their work to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field.

Research Focus on HRM

Keywords play a crucial role in research papers as they contain vital information [ 26 ]. A systematic analysis of keywords within a specific research domain offers valuable insights into trends and focal points across various research areas [ 27 ]. Moreover, co-occurrence analysis relies on the number of joint publications to evaluate relationships among the identified keyword domains. As a result, it serves as an effective method for predicting future trends and focal points within the research areas of interest. These findings are expected to inspire more researchers to contribute to the future of HRM research in healthcare [ 28 ].

In this study, a total of six research domains were eventually summarized. Performance, Hospital/COVID-19, Job Satisfaction, Human resource management, Occupational/Mental Health, and Quality of care. By visualizing the analysis results, we can easily further clarify future trends. As the co-occurrence diagram shows, the keywords “Organizational culture”, “Patient safety”, “Nursing”, “Leadership”, “Quality of care” and “Hospitals” are highlighted as larger icons, so that investment and demand for quality research are necessary for the context of these six research directions.

Six modules and research directions in human resources

This study found that the visual clustering results and the keywords that emerged from the clusters were closely related to the HRM module s described in “Human Resources Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage” by Noe. R . [ 29 ]. The modules have been cited in HRM research and are used as textbooks in universities [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 ]. Some of the keywords in each cluster correspond to human resource planning, performance management, recruitment and staffing, and training and development, respectively. The explanation of the HRM modules is described in the next paragraph. However, there are no explicit keywords in the modules related to employee relations management and compensation management results. This may be due to the private nature of the compensation structure in healthcare organizations during data collection, making it unavailable.

The explanation of the HRM modules [ 29 ]

Human resource planning is the starting point of HRM. It helps the organization forecast future personnel needs and their basic qualities, primarily through planning.

Recruitment and staffing, with HR planning as the input, is equivalent to the organization’s blood, nourishing the organization and solving the problem of staffing and staff matching.

Training and development, with the “education” theme.

Performance Management is at the heart of the six dimensions. It is also the primary input to the other dimensions.

Compensation management aims to motivate employees to solve the company’s problems.

Employee relations management aims to manage people and help the company form an effective cycle of rational human resource allocation.

Human resource planning

Human Resource Plan (HRP) stands for the implementation of the HR development strategy of the enterprise and the accomplishment of the enterprise’s goals, according to the changes in the internal and external environment and conditions of the enterprise, through the analysis and estimation of the future needs and supply of human resources and the use of scientific methods for organizational design, as well as the acquisition, allocation, utilization and maintenance of HR and other aspects of functional planning. HRP ensures that the organization has a balance of HR supply and demand at a needed time and in a required position, and achieves a reasonable allocation of HR and other resources to effectively motivate and develop of employees [ 34 ].

Decentralization health system, organizational culture/structure are high-frequency words in the clustering results related to “human resource management”. It is important to assess the extent to which decentralization can be used as a policy tool to improve national health systems. For policymakers and managers, based on relevant literature and research as well as country experience analysis, the experience of decentralization in relation to the organization and management of healthcare services is considered a forward-looking and pioneering concept capable of achieving optimal allocation of HR and other resources, in addition to the need to focus more on ex-ante and ex-post incentive development to deliver a 1 + 1 > 2 HRM effect [ 35 ]. HRP is the starting point and basis for all specific HRM activities. It directly affects the efficiency of the overall HRM of the enterprise. It is, therefore, taken as the primary job requirement for HR managers [ 36 ]. Organizational culture/structure significantly impacts the healthcare sector, such as excellence in healthcare delivery, ethical values, engagement, professionalism, cost of care, commitment to quality and strategic thinking, which are key cultural determinants of high-quality care delivery [ 37 ]. Therefore, as with other for-profit organizations, healthcare organizations must ensure that their organizational structure functions effectively to achieve their strategic goals. The organization formulates and implements HRM, an important task to achieve the development strategy goals.

Staff recruitment and allocation

Recruitment and staffing are the first steps in hospital HRM activities. Under the guidance of the organization’s human resources development plan, potential staff who meet the development conditions are attracted. Through the scientific selection of outstanding personnel, a platform with guaranteed treatment and development prospects is provided to ensure that the team of the healthcare organization is built solidly and meets the development needs. From the findings of this study, the keywords “workforce” and “workload” appear as high-frequency keywords in the co-occurrence analysis. Still, keywords related to traditional staff recruitment (e.g., analysis of recruitment needs, job analysis, competency analysis, recruitment procedures, and strategies) do not appear often. Recruitment and staffing are the prerequisites of human resources work. They bring a new dynamic source to healthcare organizations while complementing staff, making the organization full of vitality and vigor, facilitating organizational innovation and management innovation and helping improve the healthcare organization’s competitive advantage [ 38 ]. Recruitment and staffing, as a part of HR, directly impact the successful running of daily activities.

Training and development

Human resource training is an important component of quality and safety in the health care system. The keyword “education and training” shows a high frequency of co-occurrence in the clustering results of analysis, corresponding to the module “training and education”. However, it is connected to the keywords “human resource management” and “health policy”, and is in the same cluster with” public health”, “health care management”, and the distance between the lines and dots indicate that these topics are closely related, proving the importance of education and training in the HRM of health systems. Healthcare organizations (especially for non-professionals and caregivers) can improve the performance of their employees by enhancing their capabilities, knowledge and potential through learning and training, so that they can maximize their qualifications to match the demands of their work and advance their performance [ 39 , 40 ].

Performance management

Performance management, the core of the six modules, is also featured in the clustering results. Although this is an important focus for HR professionals, few studies have explored the link between HRM and health sector performance [ 6 ], the results show “performance” and “motivation”. The effectiveness of performance management is an important component of HRM, which effectively improves the quality of care in healthcare organizations/institutions [ 6 ]. Focusing on the effectiveness of performance management is considered to be crucial. First, as an integral part of HRM within an organization, it can help the organization meet its goals. Second, ineffective approaches can lead to negative attitudes among employees (including clinicians, nursing staff, administrators, etc.) and adversely affect performance due to decreased satisfaction among employees and patients. Third, given the increasing quality and cost reduction pressures on healthcare organizations, conducting further research on performance management and effectiveness is critical [ 41 ]. However, it is clear from our results that healthcare organizations have recognized the importance of performance management and are pursuing “high performance”. Although the topic of performance management in HRM in healthcare is one of the research priorities, the number is lacking and more discussion on performance management should be suggested for future research.

Compensation management

Compensation is an important tool to motivate employees to work hard and to motivate them to work hard. The results of the database's bibliographic analysis show that no keywords directly involved compensation. This indicates that “compensation management” has not been considered a hot topic or a research issue over 30 years of available literature. To clarify the content of this module, we further searched the database of 718 articles with keywords, such as compensation, remuneration, salary, etc., and found that only 35 of them mentioned or discussed compensation, and some years (e.g., 2018, 2009) even had no relevant literature being published. However, issues such as fairness of compensation management and employee compensation satisfaction are still important issues of concern to business management academics [ 42 , 43 ]. The actual situation is that it is difficult to conduct research on compensation management. Most organizations keep their employees’ compensation confidential, and when conducting research, HR managers avoid talking about their employees’ compensation or leave it vague, rendering it impossible for researchers to conduct further research.

Employee compensation is one factor that has the greatest impact on organizational performance. In the future, organizations should be encouraged to scientifically structure their compensation management and empower academic research to establish and implement fair compensation management systems based on empirical research while maintaining the privacy and security of organizational information.

Employee relations management

The connotation of employee relations management involves organizational culture and employee relations, as well as the coordination of the relationship between employers and employees. Healthcare organizations have complex structures with employees with varying skills, tasks or responsibilities, and such conflicts are often managed through the communication skills of administrative staff [ 44 ]. Although the keywords related to “employee relations management” did not occur in this study's analysis results, the six HRM modules are closely related. Therefore, this does not mean that no description of employee relations management was completely absent in the retrieved articles. It is clear that there is currently a lack of research on employee relations management in the healthcare field. Still, with the continuous development of the healthcare industry, it faces multiple challenges. If employee relations are not handled properly, healthcare organizations with social responsibility will face great public pressure, which will even affect the quality of healthcare services and performance, so it is especially important to strengthen the research on employee relations management.

This study inevitably has some limitations, the first of which arises from using quantitative methods to review documents in the field of HRM. The review relied on an analysis of the bibliographic data associated with the documents rather than a review of the research findings. The impact of the study was, therefore, limited to the general direction of developments in the field, rather than a synthesis of research findings. As a result, we may have missed some publications due to database bias. Second, most of the publications identified were in English and some articles relevant to other languages have not been included. Third, Since HRM exists in a wide range of industries and research areas, although researchers have set the screening criteria as detailed as possible, there may still be some literature that has not been detected.

This study describes the current state and global trends in HRM research in healthcare. The United States has made significant contributions in this field, establishing itself as a global leader. It is foreseeable that more and more publications will be published in the coming years, which indicates that HRM research in healthcare is booming. The analysis results of this study echoed the modules of HRM. It can be seen that in the current HRM research, many topics have been of interest. However, the focus and hotspots of the research are scattered, and there is presently no systematic research on the content of HRM in healthcare.

Availability of data and materials

All data and materials generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.

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The authors thank the Editor-in-Chief and the referees for their helpful comments which help to improve our manuscript significantly.

This research was supported by Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, China (Grant number: 2021-RC630-001).

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Xiaoping Qin, Zhiyuan Hu & Bing-Long Wang

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Yu-Ni Huang

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Kaiyan Chen

Department of Innovative Medical Research, Hospital Management Institute, Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital, Beijing, 100853, China

Affiliation Program of Data Analytics and Business Computing, Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, 10012, United States of America

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BW, ZH and LLconceived of the presented idea. BW, developed the theory. BW, YH, RW, KC and XQ collected the data and discussed the results. BW and YH encouraged XQ to investigate the hospital management field and supervised the findings of this work. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript.

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The Performance Review Problem

As the arcane annual assessment earns a failing grade, employers struggle to create a better system to measure and motivate their workers.

​After an annual review that lasted about 10 minutes, a New Jersey-based account coordinator knew it was time to leave the public relations agency where he had worked for almost a year. 

The 25-year-old, who requested anonymity, asked for the meeting because his boss had not mentioned any formal assessment process, nor had his manager ever critiqued his work. The coordinator says he sat with a trio of senior executives who did not ask him any questions beyond how he would rate himself. He says they ignored his requests for guidance on how to advance at the agency. 

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 85749 AM.png

This example also illustrates one of the common failures in performance management: limiting reviews to once or twice a year without having any other meaningful career discussions in between. Nearly half (49 percent) of companies give annual or semiannual reviews, according to a study of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees released late last year by software company Workhuman. 

The only situation that is worse than doing one review per year is doing none at all, experts say. The good news is that only 7 percent of companies are keeping employees in the dark about their performance, and 28 percent of organizations are conducting assessments quarterly, the Workhuman study found.  

A Pervasive Problem

Reviews generally do not work.

That doesn’t mean that more-frequent formal meetings or casual sit-downs between supervisors and their direct reports are solving the performance review quandary, either. Only about 1 in 4 companies in North America (26 percent) said their performance management systems were effective, according to a survey of 837 companies conducted last fall by consulting firm WTW. And only one-third of the organizations said employees felt their efforts were evaluated fairly. 

Meanwhile, a Gallup survey conducted last year found that 95 percent of managers are dissatisfied with their organization’s review system.

The problem is not new, though it is taking on greater importance, experts say. Millennials and members of Generation Z crave feedback and are focused on career development. Meanwhile, the tight labor market has companies searching for ways to keep high-performing employees in the fold. Fewer than 20 percent of employees feel inspired by their reviews, and disengaged employees cost U.S. companies a collective $1.6 trillion a year, according to Gallup.

Lesli Jennings, a senior director at WTW, says part of the issue is that reviews are now so much more than a discussion of past performance. They include conversations about career development, employee experience and compensation. 

“The performance management design itself is not evolving as quickly as the objectives and the purpose that we have set out for what we want it to do,” Jennings says. 

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 84340 AM.png

Poor Review Practices

Some argue that means it’s time to completely scrap annual reviews and stop using scales composed of numbers or adjectives to rate employees. 

“Every single human alive today is a horribly unreliable rater of other human beings,” says Marcus Buckingham, head of people and performance research at the Roseland, N.J.-based ADP Research Institute. He says people bring their own backgrounds and personalities to bear in the reviews in what is called the “idiosyncratic rating effect.” He says the ratings managers bestow on others are more a reflection of themselves than of those they’re reviewing.

Buckingham adds that very few positions have quantifiable outcomes that can be considered a measure of competence, talent or success. It’s possible to tally a salesperson’s results or test someone’s knowledge of a computer program, he says, but he’s baffled by attempts to measure attributes such as “leadership potential.”

“I’m going to rate you on a theoretical construct like ‘strategic thinking’? Everybody knows that’s rubbish,” Buckingham says. He adds that performance reviews that offer rankings give “data that’s just bad” and insists that companies rely on data analytics because they don’t trust their managers’ judgment. But instead of working on improving their managers’ skills, he says, they put data systems in place. 

“Because we don’t educate our managers on how to have some of these conversations, we’ve decided that the solution is to give them really bad ratings systems or really bad categorization systems,” Buckingham says. 

R eviewing the Data

A mong North American employers:

  • More than 9 in 10 (93 percent) cited driving organizational performance as a key objective for performance management, yet less than half (44 percent) said their performance management program is ­meeting that objective.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 (72 percent) said ­supporting the career development of their employees is a primary objective, but only 31 percent said their performance management program was meeting that objective.
  • Less than half (49 percent) agreed that managers at their organization are ­effective at assessing the performance of their direct reports. 
  • Only 1 in 3 indicated that employees feel their performance is evaluated fairly. 
  • Just 1 in 6 (16 percent) reported having altered their performance management approach to align with remote and hybrid work models, which are rapidly becoming more prevalent.

Source: WTW 2022 Performance Reset Survey of 837 organizations worldwide, including 150 North American employers.

Data Lovers

Ratings aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon, however. “Data-driven” has become a rallying cry for companies as they seek to operate more efficiently. Organizations are trying to measure everything from sales to productivity, though such efforts can cause turmoil and hurt some individuals’ careers.

A June 2022 study of nearly 30,000 workers at an unnamed North American retail chain found that women were more likely to receive higher overall ratings than men, though women were ranked lower on “potential.” 

In that study, women were 12 percent more likely to be given the lowest rating for potential, as well as 15 percent and 28 percent less likely to receive the middle and highest potential ratings, respectively, according to the professors who conducted the study, Alan Benson of the University of Minnesota, Danielle Li of MIT and Kelly Shue of Yale. The authors also said women were 14 percent less likely to get promoted than men. “Because potential is not directly observed,” they noted, “these assessments can be highly subjective, leaving room for bias.” 

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 85749 AM.png

Birmingham left abruptly one afternoon and did not go in to work the next day, which he says Blizzard interpreted as his resignation. Blizzard did not respond to requests for comment.

Stack ranking became popular in the 1980s after it was embraced by General Electric. Its adoption has waned, though several tech companies continue to use it. Google and Twitter relied on stack ranking to decide who to let go in their recent rounds of layoffs, according to published reports.

Birmingham says that the system can cause anxiety and competition, which can kill team cohesion, and that arbitrary lower ratings adversely affect compensation and promotion potential. These systems can also suggest that a manager is ineffective, he says. “It implies that as managers, we basically have not done our job to hire them and train them appropriately or terminate them if they really aren’t working out.”

Birmingham says he is not opposed to ranking systems but doesn’t think they’re necessary. “I feel like the conversation about how to improve your career, what the expectations are for your job and what it will take to get to the next level are all things you can do without a rating,” he says.

Measurements Matter

Grant Pruitt, president and co-founder of Whitebox Real Estate, does not give any type of rating in his performance reviews, though he believes in using data to track his employees’ performance. “What isn’t measured can’t be managed,” says Pruitt, whose company has about 20 employees in several offices across Texas. 

At the beginning of the year, Whitebox employees set goals with their managers. Discussions are held about what benchmarks are reasonable, and these targets can be changed if there is a meaningful shift in business conditions. Team leaders hold weekly department meetings with their direct reports to discuss what’s happening and track progress. Managers hold quarterly private reviews with individuals to dig deeper into whether they’re meeting their goals and if not, why.

“Was it an achievable goal? Realistic? If it was, then what do we need to do to make sure we don’t miss it the next time?” Pruitt says. Whitebox switched to quarterly reviews about four years ago to address problems earlier and avoid having issues fester, Pruitt adds.

It’s easier to set goals for people in sales than for those in other departments, Pruitt concedes. However, he adds that executives need to brainstorm about targets they can use for other roles. For example, administrative employees can be rated on how quickly and efficiently they handle requests.

Pruitt maintains that the goal system makes it easier to respond when an employee disagrees with their manager about their performance review because there are quantitative measures to examine. The data also helps eliminate any unconscious bias a manager may have and helps ensure that a leader isn’t just giving an employee a good rating because they work out at the same gym or their children go to school together.

“I think that’s really where the numbers and the data are important,” Pruitt says. “The data doesn’t know whose kids play on the same sports team.”

Whitebox employees are also judged on how well they embrace the company’s core values, such as integrity, tenacity and coachability. Some of those values may require more-subjective judgments that can be more important than hitting quantifiable goals. 

Pruitt admits that there were occasions when he looked the other way with a few individuals who were “hitting it out of the park,” even though he believed they lacked integrity. But eventually, he had to let them go and the company lost money.

“They really came back to bite me,” Pruitt says.

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 84352 AM.png

Grades Are Good

Diane Dooley, CHRO of Iselin, N.J.-based World Insurance Associates LLC, also believes establishing quantitative methods to gauge employees’ performance is essential. “We are living in a world of data analytics,” she says. The broker’s roughly 2,000 employees are rated on a scale of 1 to 5.

World Insurance has taken numerous steps to remove bias from reviews. For example, last year the company conducted unconscious-bias training to help managers separate personal feelings from performance reviews. And all people managers convene to go over the reviews they’ve conducted. Dooley says that process gives everyone a chance to discuss why an employee was given a certain rank and to question some decisions. “We want to make sure we’re using the same standards,” she explains.

Currently, World Insurance conducts reviews only once a year because it has been on an acquisition binge and there hasn’t been time to institute a more frequent schedule. That will change eventually, says Dooley, who adds that she wants to introduce department grids that show how an employee’s rank compares to others’ on the team. 

“It’s just a tool that helps the department or the division understand where their people are and how we can help them collectively,” says Dooley, who has used the system at other companies. 

Dooley says she isn’t worried about World Insurance holding reviews only annually, because good managers regularly check in with their employees regardless of how frequently reviews are mandated.

Such conversations can easily fall through the cracks, however. “Managers want to manage the employees, but they get so caught up in the company’s KPIs [key performance indicators] and making sure that they’re doing everything that they need to do,” says Jennifer Currence, SHRM-SCP, CEO of WithIn Leadership, a leadership development and coaching firm in Tampa, Fla. “It’s hard to set aside the time.” 

WTW’s Jennings adds that managers sometimes avoid initiating conversations with employees who are not performing well. Such discussions are often difficult, and managers may not feel equipped to conduct them. 

“Having to address underperformers is hard work,” Jennings says. 

Additionally, experts say, coaching managers to engage in such sensitive discourse can be expensive and time-consuming.

Improve Your Performance Reviews

H ere’s how to make the review process more ­palatable for both managers and their direct reports:

  • Don’t limit conversations to once or twice per year. Every team is different, so leaders should decide what schedule is most appropriate for their departments. However, it’s important to deal with any problems as they arise; don’t let them fester.
  • Set performance goals and expectations at the beginning of the year so employees understand their responsibilities. This helps lend objectivity to the process by introducing measurable targets. However, the goals should be adjusted if there are major changes to the business or an employee’s circumstances. 
  • Explain how each employee’s position, as well as each department, fits into the company’s overall ­strategy. This will help employees understand why their job matters and why it’s important.
  • Simplify the process. There’s no need for a ­double-digit number of steps or numerous
  • questions that require long-winded answers. 
  • Consider a 360-degree approach. Input from employees’ colleagues or from other managers can help give a fuller picture of employees’ capabilities and contributions.
  • Eliminate proximity bias. You may not see some employees as often as others, especially if they work remotely, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. 
  • End recency bias, which is basing a review on an employee’s most recent performance while ignoring earlier efforts. Don’t let recent mistakes overshadow the employee’s other impressive accomplishments.
  • Solicit feedback from employees. Reviews should be a two-way conversation, not a lecture.
  • Train managers to give advice calmly and helpfully. This is especially important when leaders must call out an employee’s subpar performance. 
  • Don’t discuss compensation during reviews. Employees are likely to be so focused on learning about a raise or bonus that they won’t pay much attention to anything else.

Increase Conversations

Finding the right formula for performance reviews is tricky. The company’s size, values, industry and age all play a role. Currence says businesses need to think about the frequency and purpose of these meetings. Some managers may have weekly discussions with their direct reports, but the conversations might center on status updates as opposed to performance. 

“We need to have more regular conversations,” Currence says. “There has to be a happy balance.”

San Jose, Calif.-based software maker Adobe Inc. was a pioneer when it eliminated annual reviews in 2012 after employees said assessments that look backward weren’t useful and managers lamented how time-consuming they were. Instead, Adobe introduced quarterly check-ins and did away with its numerical ratings system, even though the company is “data-driven,” according to Arden Madsen, senior director of talent management.

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 85749 AM.png

Adobe’s system has changed over the years as the company grew from about 11,000 employees in 2012 to around 28,000 today. In the beginning, employees were not asked a universal set of questions and the information gathered was not stored in a central place accessible to all. In 2020, Adobe instituted three or four questions that must be asked at each quarterly meeting, one of which is whether the employee has feedback for the manager. Other topics covered depend on the employee, their role and their goals.

Madsen says asking consistent questions and making reviews easily accessible are important, as internal mobility within the company has grown. 

Adobe, like many businesses, separates conversations about performance from discussions about raises and bonuses, even though they’re intertwined. 

“Money is so emotionally charged,” says WithIn Leadership’s Currence. “When we tie performance review conversations with money, we as human beings do not hear anything about performance. We only focus on the money.”    

Theresa Agovino is the workplace editor for SHRM.

Illustrations by Neil Jamieson.

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“Childcare pays for itself. When you offer childcare to employees, you get higher worker productivity and lower rates of attrition, and greater rates of retention. We have to look at care as an economic issue that world leaders must actually do something about.”

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5 workplace trends that will define 2024.

Forbes Human Resources Council

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Mindi Cox, Chief People Officer at O.C. Tanner .

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, employers have navigated a dizzying array of trends: Remote collaboration. Back-to-the-office mandates. Quiet quitting. Quiet cutting . Quiet hiring . While the buzzwords that will dominate the work-related conversations and TikTok feeds in 2024 have yet to be coined, many leading organizations are getting ahead of the game by introducing effective changes that meet employees’ evolving demands.

As chief people office at O.C. Tanner, here are five trends I've observed among successful organizations that I expect to see more of in 2024.

1. Focus on skills building.

“How can I grow here?” Recent McKinsey research has delved into the frequency with which today’s applicants pose this question during job interviews. After many years of compensation being a primary driver to attracting talent, particularly in the tech industry, workers now place equal emphasis on career development. This isn’t unique to the tech world. At the O.C. Tanner Institute, our research found that 83% of workers say it’s important for prospective employers to offer skill-building opportunities.

When workers are satisfied with their employers’ skill-building efforts, they're more likely to produce high-caliber work. Therefore, leaders are recognizing that traditional programs with limited, predictable options will no longer suffice. In 2024, leading organizations will offer innovative skill-building programs that provide employees with abundant options, autonomy to explore their interests and recognition for their achievements.

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Of course, the best results will come when employers take a collaborative approach and ask employees what they want to learn. When skills building is pursued in partnership with the workforce, and then paired with recognition to encourage and honor their learning, employees will likely feel connected to their leaders and that they’re getting what they really want from their work experience.

2. Offer equitable flexibility.

Employees crave flexibility. When they get it, they’re in a better position to give back. For example, when people are satisfied with their employer, they're more likely to refer others as potential hires. While the rise of remote work has made the employee experience more flexible than ever, oftentimes only certain teams can work remotely while others work specified shifts on site. Even though flexibility around how, where and when people do their jobs may vary by role or rank, these differences can breed resentment, and leaders are noticing.

Leaders can prioritize equitable flexibility in 2024 by finding ways to give all workers greater influence over what they do as well as how, when and where they do it. Even small measures—like making it easier for workers to leave for doctor appointments or allowing them to experiment with new ways of tackling tasks—can boost engagement, satisfaction and the sense of a flexible work environment.

3. Elevate “80% workers.”

Eighty percent of the global workforce is “deskless” —workers who spend most of their time away from desks, computers and office space. These critical employees do their jobs in factories, warehouses, hospitals, restaurants and other settings. But they often lack access to the standard tools and technologies of office life, leading them to feel overlooked, underappreciated and demoralized. Even leaders accustomed to managing high turnover now recognize the urgency of boosting every employee’s experience.

At O.C. Tanner, we expect to see a range of efforts to improve the 80% experience in 2024 as organizations seek to retain their people and inspire them to do great work. The most successful efforts will focus on access (the availability of technology, tools and experiences that connect employees to the organization) and enablement (the degree to which employees have autonomy, influence and voice).

4. Reward nimble resilience.

Organizations tend to prize resilience, the ability to withstand stress and bounce back from hardships. But in today’s highly dynamic work environments, resilience alone is insufficient. Throughout this year and beyond, we’ll start to see leaders adopt what we call “nimble resilience.” Rather than merely reacting to change, the nimbly resilient proactively pursue it and work to make agile pivots.

This will require a major shift in mindset across all levels of an organization. Employees and leadership must see challenges as newfound opportunities to innovate. This culture shift isn't easy, but organizations can begin to foster it by introducing policies and programs that encourage behavior like collaboration and cross-disciplinary thinking. This is how nimble resilience thrives, which also allows businesses to prioritize employees' well-being and psychological safety.

5. Change up change management.

When organizations undertake change management processes , senior leaders typically design a transformation strategy and create detailed implementation roadmaps. Copious memos usually follow, directing managers to execute on the plans—which they may not understand or endorse—and persuading workers to buy in. This top-down approach has lost its relevance. Organizational changes that don’t incorporate employees’ and managers’ input are unlikely to gain their support—making lasting change impossible.

In 2024, we’ll see more organizations experiment with a people-centered approach to change management. Managers will be involved in shaping plans from the outset and given ample resources to help their people navigate the disruption. Employees will have a voice in the process through surveys, focus groups, town halls or one-to-one conversations. And regardless of the outcome, they’ll receive the training and support they need to evolve alongside the organization.

2024 Is The Year To Invest In People

Even as technology and buzzword-heavy trends appear to reshape workplaces and entire industries, organizations are only as strong as their people. Throughout the year, top leaders will make strategic investments that prioritize high performance by encouraging and celebrating their people and their progress. With the right approach to equitable experiences, flexibility, skill building and change, organizations can elevate their performance and the human beings who power them.

Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives across all industries. Do I qualify?

Mindi Cox

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