The (ir)relevance of human resource management in independent work: Challenging assumptions

David Cross, Juani Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


We challenge the assumption that independent workers are not relevant to or within the remit of HRM practice and theory. Traditionally, HR focusses on the management of employees within the boundaries of the organisation. Yet, this neglects the wider role that HR can and must have in the management of human work that the organisation needs yet exists beyond these boundaries. We argue for the ‘Human’ in HRM to include independent workers. We first contextualise them, highlight the reasons for neglect, and examine and provoke three key areas. We set out the taken for granted, problematise, and then show how they are relevant, look different, or could be. Through this, we provoke exactly what HR does, where it starts and finishes, and its role in a network or ecosystem rather than purely an organisation. We close by offering ways of making this happen for both theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-246
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number1
Early online date29 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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