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Social Systems Theory as Theoretical Framework for Human Resource Management ? Benediction or Curse? Introduction to the Special Issue

  • Wolfgang Mayrhofer

    ()

    (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (WU Wien), Interdisciplinary Department of Management and Organisational Behaviour)

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    Social systems theory as developed by Niklas Luhmann is an option for the theoretical foundation of Human Resource Management (HRM). After clarifying the advantages of using a grand (social) theory as the basic theoretical perspective, the roots of this social systems theory ? the deterministic view of systems as machines, the open systems approach and non-linear systems theory ? are addressed. Based on the view of social systems as autopoietically closed systems, five major contributions to a theoretical foundation of HRM are identified: (1) the conceptualisation of organising and managing human resources as social processes, thus overcoming an individualistic angle; (2) the new importance of individuals as essential element in the system?s environment; (3) the abstention form far reaching or highly unrealistic assumptions about the ?nature? of human beings; (4) the interaction between various levels and units of analysis built into the theory which is essential for comprehensive and in-depth analyses of HR phenomena and (5) the openness for additional theories for which social systems theory provides the overall framework.

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    Article provided by Rainer Hampp Verlag in its journal Management Revue - The international Review of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 178-191

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    Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2004_02_mayrhofer
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