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Doing the right thing? HRM and the angry knowledge worker

Cushen, Jean and Thompson, Paul (2012) Doing the right thing? HRM and the angry knowledge worker. New Technology, Work and Employment, 27 (2). pp. 79-92. ISSN 0268-1072

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This paper explores the relationship between human resource practices, commitment, work and employment relations. Drawing on an in-depth ethnography of knowledge workers within a global, high-technology, knowledge-intensive firm the paper offers a multi-dimensional understanding of structures of influence and of commitment that interact in distinctive ways to shape the employee experience. In examining the context and content of ‘best practice’ HR in a ‘celebrated’, leading-edge company, we have offered a more complex, grounded picture of the intent and outcome of commitment-seeking policies. The paper demonstrates that, contrary to mainstream and critical scholarship, skilled technical workers in knowledge-intensive firms can be uncommitted, angry and high performing at the same time.