How does performance management affect workers? Beyond human resource management and its critique

Dale Tweedie*, David Wild, Carl Rhodes, Nonna Martinov-Bennie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


While performance management (PM) is pervasive across contemporary workplaces, extant research into how performance management affects workers is often indirect or scattered across disciplinary silos. This paper reviews and synthesizes this research, identifies key gaps and explores 'recognition theory' as a nascent framework that can further develop this important body of knowledge. The paper develops in three main stages. The first stage reviews 'mainstream' human resource management (HRM) research. While this research analyses workers' reactions to performance management in some depth, its focus on serving organizational goals marginalizes extra-organizational impacts. The second stage reviews more critical HRM research, which interprets performance management as a disciplinary, coercive or inequitable management device. While this literature adds an important focus on organizational power, there is scope to analyse further how PM affects workers' well-being. To develop this strand of PM research, the third stage turns to the emerging field of recognition theory independently developed by Axel Honneth and Christophe Dejours. The authors focus especially on recognition theory's exploration of how (in)adequate acknowledgement of workers' contributions can significantly affect their well-being at the level of self-conception. Although recognition theory is inherently critical, the paper argues that it can advance both mainstream and critical performance management research, and also inform broader inquiry into recognition and identity at work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-96
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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