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

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  • Wolfgang Mayrhofer

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfgang Mayrhofer, 2004. "Social Systems Theory as Theoretical Framework for Human Resource Management ? Benediction or Curse? Introduction to the Special Issue," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 15(2), pages 178-191.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2004_02_mayrhofer
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    Keywords

    Systems Theory; Human Resource Management; Organisation Theory;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General

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