Employee Demographics in Hrm

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Employee Demographics in Human Resource Management Research Fiona Edgar & Alan Geare Abstract Despite a prominent perspective of the literature that employees are consumers of HRM, only recently has HRM been evaluated from the employees’ viewpoint. Whilst these studies have helped to develop our understanding of the HRM‘experience’ from an employee perspective, they frequently ignore the issue of employee demography. This study contributes to understanding in this area by establishing areas of difference in employee views based upon their characteristics about the importance and application of HRMpractice. Specifically, the demographic categories of gender, ethnicity, age, occupation, length of service, and employment…show more content…
Anti-discrimination legislation and the emergence of a dynamic, competitive global marketplace have played a major role in this change. Given a diverse work force, it is reasonable to assume that differences in views and attitudes could exist, which hence, justifies examining demographics. A further reason for considering demographics is that some HRM policies and practices target specific groups within a work force. For example, ‘Equal Employment Opportunity’ (EEO) initiatives in New Zealand target, in particular, women and Maori. So, again, it is not unreasonable to assume that groups targeted for preferential treatment may have different attitudes (about particular policies) to the views held by other, non-targeted, groups. As Pfeffer (1985:74) suggests, “sensitivity to demographic effects can help provide a context to understand organisational behaviour”. Few studies even touch on demographics in HRM research and even less consider it in a comprehensive manner. For example, Gibb (2001) makes a passing reference to demographic differences in employee evaluations of HRM, and while Guest (1999) goes further, he simply considers demographic differences in relation to the number of HRM practices employed by the organisation, and does not report on specific HRM practices. Where studies have examined specific practices they have been very limited in scope. For example, Konrad and Hartmann (2002) examined the impact of gender and ethnicity on employee
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