Amazon and Sports Direct are well-known retail giants, with revenues increasing year on year. But the New York Times exposé on employment conditions at Amazon claimed that callous managers were guilty of cruel employment practices. In one anecdote, an employee with breast cancer was allegedly put on a ‘performance improvement plan’ (Elliott, The Guardian, 2015, p. 23). Sports Direct billionaire founder Mike Ashley, when recently cross-examined by MPs about the sexual harassment of female staff, described the accused managers as ‘sexual predators … They’re repugnant, they’re disgusting‘ (Goodley, The Guardian, 2016, p. 1). This exposé focuses on two themes we cover in this chapter: measuring business performance and the role of line managers in delivering HRM to the workforce. Introduction Establishing a strong association between strategic human resource management (HRM) and organizational performance (OP) has become a principal area of study over the past two decades. Indeed, this research agenda was once described as the ‘holy grail’ of HRM.
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