Doing the right thing? HRM and the angry knowledge worker

Jean Cushen, Paul Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the relationship between human resource practices, commitment, work and employment relations. Drawing on an in-depth ethnography of knowledge workers within a global, high-technology, knowledge-intensive firm the paper offers a multi-dimensional understanding of structures of influence and of commitment that interact in distinctive ways to shape the employee experience. In examining the context and content of ‘best practice’ HR in a ‘celebrated’, leading-edge company, we have offered a more complex, grounded picture of the intent and outcome of commitment-seeking policies. The paper demonstrates that, contrary to mainstream and critical scholarship, skilled technical workers in knowledge-intensive firms can be uncommitted, angry and high performing at the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-92
Number of pages14
JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • commitment
  • HRM
  • financialisation
  • identity
  • knowledge work
  • normative control
  • angry knowledge worker


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