Foucault, Foucauldianism and human resource management

Ed Barratt

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Examines and discusses the contribution to the analysis of HRM of those scholars who have sought to make use of the thought of Michel Foucault. Sympathetic to the achievements of Foucauldian studies but emphasising the different ways in which Foucault's thought has been put to use, goes on to consider the critical debate that has subsequently emerged An important objective is to offer a reading of Foucault that draws attention to certain features of his thought which appear to have been marginalised in recent debate. Against the critics and by rereading Foucault, the suggestion that "Foucauldianism" necessarily leads inter alia to a denial of the significance of legal and economic powers and relations in the employment relationship, to a postmodern indifference to forms of evidence and proof in analysis, is called into question. Accepting the plausibility of at least some of the criticisms levelled at Foucauldianism by the critics, goes on to argue that Foucauldians might equally benefit from revisiting Foucault. Argues in favour of the particular benefits of further reflection on the spirit of enquiry that animates Foucault's project and his role as an engaged intellectual. The suggestion is that Foucauldians need to play a more active role in public debate, circulating their critical knowledge and analyses beyond the academy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)189-204
    Number of pages16
    JournalPersonnel Review
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Hierarchy
    • Human resource management
    • Management studies
    • Managerial power
    • Resistance


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