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Human Resource Management Review 18 (2008) 101–102

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Human Resource Management Review


j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w. e l s ev i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / h u m r e s

Introduction to the special issue: Critical issues in human resource


management theory and research

1. Introduction

Over the past five years we have conducted a series of discussions at national conferences (i.e., Town Hall Meetings) on the
status of theory, research, and practice in the field of human resource management (HRM). These discussions focused on a number
of key questions including: Are we advancing as a science? Is our research atheoretical? Do our research methods allow us to
address the complexity that exists in organizations? Does our research make important contributions to applied problems? These
questions prompted us to organize this special issue for Human Resource Management Review.
The six articles presented in this issue build on some of the conversations from the Town Hall meetings. It is our hope that this
type of self reflection will stimulate and inspire additional theoretical research in HRM. In this vein, we are following the tradition
of other special issues that have examined the state of theory and research in the general field of management (Colquitt & Zapata-
Phelan, 2007) and the specialized fields of organizational behavior (Greenberg, 2008) and industrial and organizational psychology
(Klein & Zedeck, 2004, 2005).

2. Organization of articles

The first four articles examine some of the basic human resource management processes or functions (e.g., recruitment,
selection, performance measurement, performance management). In the first article, Breaugh (this issue) reviews research
regarding external recruitment and highlights some of the limitations of that research. His critique focuses largely on realistic job
previews, comparisons of recruitment methods, and analyses of recruiter effects. Breaugh concludes the review by pointing us
toward several areas for future research.
The second article, by Ryan and Huth (this issue), focuses on applicants' reactions to selection systems, and argues that research
on this topic needs to shift from the general to the specific. For example, they suggest that research should (a) incorporate
contextual issues, and (b) offer clear definitions of important concepts (e.g., fairness, face validity, good interpersonal treatment).
The third article, by Deadrick and Gardner (this issue), provides an up-dated critique of the “criterion problem” by focusing on
the challenges of performance measurement. They developed and tested a theoretical framework that builds on the research
regarding maximum and typical performance, extending those ideas to on-the-job performance. Based on their findings, Deadrick
and Gardner offer some suggestions for future research that focuses on better understanding job performance by incorporating
theories of motivation and learning.
In the fourth article, Ferris, Munyon, Basik, and Buckley (this issue) also discuss performance evaluation but from more of a
cognitive rather than measurement perspective. They focus on the “contextual backdrop” of performance evaluation, integrating
theory and research regarding accountability theory and affective events theory. Ferris et al. hope to stimulate a wave of research
that follows up on their theory-building efforts and as a means of better understanding job performance.
The last two articles focus on advances in research methods and theory development in our field. The article by Liakhovitski, Stone-
Romero, and Jaccard (this issue) exemplifies methodological developments in the field. Specifically, they compare the statistical power
of two techniques used to detect joint dichotomous moderators. As the authors explain, advances in HRM theory and research hinge on
the ability to examine joint moderators (e.g., both sex and race may moderate the relation between test scores and job performance).
Based on their findings, Liakhovitski et al. offer recommendations for future research in the vein of good news/bad news.
The last article, by Dencker, Joshi, and Martocchio (this issue), is an example of recent theory development in our field. These
authors argue that a better understanding of age diversity can be achieved by knowledge of generational memories (i.e., the extent
to which memories from formative years impacts workplace attitudes and behaviors). Furthermore, they contend that gene-
rational differences may affect the acceptance and effectiveness of many HRM practices.

1053-4822/$ – see front matter © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2008.07.010
102 Introduction to the special issue: Critical issues in human resource management theory and research

3. Conclusion

The articles included in this special issue reflect only a subset of a broad range of theory development and empirical research
being conducted at this time. In fact, this is part one of a two-part special issue series for Human Resource Management Review
(HRMR). There were too many topics to cover in one issue of the journal. Part two will be published in the next few months. We do
hope that these special issues will help advance theory and research in our field, and stimulate additional discussions about the
directions for future research in HRM. These conversations about the status of the field of HRM should enable us to continue to
develop as a field and achieve many of our important goals.
We want to express our appreciation to Rodger Griffeth for giving us the opportunity to develop and edit this special issue. In
addition, we want to thank members of the HRMR editorial board, and others who served as ad hoc reviewers for this special issue
(e.g., Derek Avery, James Breaugh, Donald Gardner, Hal G. Gueutal, Kimberly Lukaszsewski, Patrick McKay, Eugene Stone-Romero).
Without their help this issue would not have been possible.

References

Colquitt, J. A., & Zapata-Phelan, C. P. (2007). Trends in theory building and theory testing: A five-decade study of the Academy of Management Journal. Academy of
Management Journal, 50, 1281−1303.
Greenberg, J. (2008). Introduction to the special issue: To prosper, organizational psychology should. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 435−438.
Klein, K. J., & Zedeck, S. (2004). Theory in applied psychology: Lessons (re)learned. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 931−933.
Klein, K. J., & Zedeck, S. (2005). Special section on theoretical models and conceptual analyses: Second installment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 1043.

Dianna L. Stone
University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: DiannaStone@satx.rr.com.
Diana L. Deadrick
College of Business & Public Administration Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
E-mail address: Ddeadric@odu.edu.