Employees' perceptions of human resource management: a metaphorical analysis

Serkan Bayraktaroglu, Erhan Atay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Employees' perceptions of the human resources management (HRM) concept are quite controversial. It may be helpful to understand the cognitive effects of the HRM department and HR practices, as reflected in employees' minds. There is a criticism of HRM using different masks for different situations. HR concepts and disciplines are not as well-developed in emerging nations as in the western world. This study uses a metaphorical analysis to uncover employee perceptions of HR. Turkish employees are selected as the sample for an open-ended survey consisting of plant, animal, and colour metaphors. Metaphors used by participants indicate that HRM issues are critically expressed. Employees interviewed express that they are still considered a means to an end rather than an asset to their companies. So, taking the critical view of HRM practices, the current state of HRM discipline suggests it serves the employers well rather than benefiting the employees. It may be concluded that a critical HRM approach may contribute to developing the HRM area both in theory and in practice. This study also has significant implications for improving HR practitioners' functional effectiveness and perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-371
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion
Issue number4
Early online date13 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

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