The Norm of Norms in HRM Research: A Review and Suggestions for Future Studies

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This article presents a systematic literature review of how norms are used in a sample of 436 articles in the human resource management (HRM) field. In exploring how norms are theorized, applied, and operationalized, the article identifies four main thematic fields in which norms are commonly used: culture, diversity, labor market, and work–life. The article makes three main contributions to the existing literature. First, it reveals a pervasive inconsistency in the use of norms across HRM research such that any assumption of a “norm of norms”—that is, consensus on the meaning of norms in HRM—is erroneous and in need of critical reflection. Second, the review offers a typology that outlines four similarities and differences in how HRM research employs norms. Finally, the authors propose a norm-critical research agenda as a relevant basis for future critical and reflexive enquiry into norms in both HRM theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100859
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 20 September 2021.


  • Systematic literature review
  • Norms
  • Norm-critique
  • Culture
  • Diversity
  • Labor market
  • Work–life

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