Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Participation and legitimation

New labour relations and the role of HRM


Key words: labour relations, HRM, social theory, neoliberalism, participation, legitimation, precariat The aim of this paper is to sketch a social-theoretical framework that can be applied to empirical research on labour market participation, its requirements and legitimation. All projects of the Amsterdam HRM-group deal with problems of the labour market, especially the required competences of the polarized (partly precarious, partly privileged) workforce and changing labour relations. Participation asks, among other things, for a narrative of legitimation which puts individual competences and projects in a broader, meaningful context.

The research question is: Which theoretical concepts are necessary to discuss participation in and legitimation of changing labour relations, including the role of HRM?

The following concepts will be discussed in their mutual coherence:

(1) transitional labour market,
(2) precariat as a substitute concept for social class,
(3) human capital, differentiated in personal, cultural social, and economic capital as sources of competences,
(4) new labour relations – shaped by portfolios of projects of the workforce - in the projective city;
(5) economic and societal participation;
(6) new labour relations: their flexibility (entrepreneurial individuals), liquidity, contingency, and reflexivity;
(7) legitimation: the neoliberal spirit of capitalism;
(8) life politics: optional and fragmented versus standard biographies.

Reference Zijlstra, A. (2017). Participation and legitimation: New labour relations and the role of HRM. 39-52. Paper presented at Conference ‘The Transformation of Human Potential in the Context of the Century, Lobachevsky State University of Nihzny Novgorod, September 14-15, 2017, Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation.
Published by  Centre for Applied Research Economics and Management 14 September 2017

Publication date

Sep 2017


A. Zijlstra


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