Making Sense of (Mis)Matched Frames of Reference: A Dynamic Cognitive Theory of (In)stability in HR Practices

43 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2021

See all articles by John W. Budd

John W. Budd

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Dionne Pohler

University of Toronto

Wei Huang

Renmin University of China - School of Labor and Human Resources

Date Written: February 28, 2021

Abstract

By returning to an old insight that frames of reference influence action, we theorize that actors’ frames influence their desired HR practices, and these practices will be stable if managers and employees share similar frames. When actors’ frames are mismatched, however, HR practices can violate employee expectations and trigger a sensemaking process, potentially leading to framing contests and conflict. We hypothesize predicted patterns of conflict and expected outcomes depending on the nature of the frames mismatch. Allowing for frames mismatch uniquely highlights the importance of recognizing managers’ and employees’ frames for understanding HR outcomes and conflicts observed in practice.

Keywords: cognitive frames, employment relationship, human resources, human resources systems

JEL Classification: M12

Suggested Citation

Budd, John W. and Pohler, Dionne and Huang, Wei, Making Sense of (Mis)Matched Frames of Reference: A Dynamic Cognitive Theory of (In)stability in HR Practices (February 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3795614 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3795614

John W. Budd (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

321 19th Avenue South
Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-0357 (Phone)
612-624-8360 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.johnwbudd.com

Dionne Pohler

University of Toronto ( email )

121 St. George St.
Toronto, ON M5S 2E8
Canada

Wei Huang

Renmin University of China - School of Labor and Human Resources ( email )

China

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