The study of HRM in Spain: The Americanization of Spanish research and the politics of denial?

Óscar Rodríguez Ruiz, Miguel Martinez Lucio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of HRM in Spain is flourishing. We have seen the major international journals begin to reflect the work of Spanish academics in this area. The standard is high and the international network of Spanish scholars is increasingly developed. This paper attempts to review the work that is published in English and to see how Spanish HRM systems are represented externally. It tries to locate the discussion of the HRM research in Spain within its academic and social context. The authors argue that there are some characteristics marking this debate and development, which suggest that the study of HRM in Spain is hugely Americanized in terms of methods and content. The lack of synergies with sociology and political economy are evident. Moreover, the shortage of rigorous qualitative research, apart from that on employment relations and the sociology of work, raise some serious issues. The manner in which a discourse of HRM in Spain has evolved leaves many questions and issues unaddressed. While evaluating what we believe to be a relevant selection from HRM publications on Spain in English by Spanish authors in the last 15 years we do not attempt to present them all here. Instead, we try to isolate some representative articles. In sum, the paper aims to fill a gap in the Spanish HRM literature by studying the main debates, the research issues that are given priority and the methodological options. As a conclusion, we can say that it is necessary to encourage academic discussions regarding the features of the management of HR in Spain. In this sense it should be noted that the mainstream HRM approaches formulated in American Business Schools do not necessarily fit within the Spanish context. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-143
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Americanization
  • Hard model of HRM
  • Narrative of performance
  • Research methods
  • Soft model of HRM
  • Spain


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