A Strategic HRM Perspective on I-Deals

Authored by: Brigitte Kroon , Charissa Freese , René Schalk

Current Issues in Work and Organizational Psychology

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138604940
eBook ISBN: 9780429468339
Adobe ISBN:


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Strategic human resource management (SHRM) is based on the presumption that organizations’ human resources are of critical importance to the success of the organization. SHRM aims at aligning employee skills and behaviors of employees with the needs and ambitions of the organization (Boxall & Purcell, 2008). Traditionally, this top-down view of SHRM led HR professionals to design policies and procedures in line with the organization’s strategy and goals. These find their way into the organization through managers, who translate the intended practices into daily practice, which are received by employees who then react to the perceived practices with favorable attitudes and behaviors (Wright & Nishii, 2007). However, talented employees with negotiation power often negotiate personalized terms and conditions of employment, differing from standardized HR practices (Jackson, Schuler, & Jiang, 2013). Managers, in their urge to respond quickly to changing environments, respond favorably to individual requests. Therefore, in practice, many variations in terms of employment exist. This illustrates that HRM is not only a top-down process of communicating intended HR practices to employees by means of written-down procedures and managers who impose HRM on employees, but also a bottom-up process by which people try to find a match between their own needs and the requirements of the organization. I-deals go beyond understanding individual differences between employees in reaction to HRM (Guest, 2002). Instead, they emphasize the increasing focus on the role of employees in constructing HRM. I-deals require employees’ input to shape their expectations towards HRM. These paradoxical views on HRM concerning standardized uniform HR practices developed as a logical result from the strategic organizational goals vis-à-vis the bottom-up request for customization by employees are addressed in this chapter.

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