Original Research

Research trends in the South African Journal of Human Resource Management

Charlotte Pietersen
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a825 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.825 | © 2018 Charlotte Pietersen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2016 | Published: 28 March 2018

About the author(s)

Charlotte Pietersen, Department of Business Management, University of Limpopo, South Africa

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Orientation: A comprehensive framework for research in human resource management (HRM) in terms of fundamental knowledge orientations was found lacking.

Research purpose: The aim was to perform a typological review of research trends in the field of HRM, specifically of publications in the South African Journal of Human Resource Management (SAJHRM).

Motivation for the study: No previous research in the field of HRM in South Africa adopted a fundamental theory of knowledge.

Research design, approach and method: A qualitative design was followed, consisting of a documentary analysis of articles that were published in the SAJHRM for the period from 2003 to 2015. A detailed content analysis of published articles was performed in terms of a number of criteria, namely knowledge type, race, gender, authorship, author contribution and representation according to author institution and country of origin.

Main findings: An analysis of a final selection of 289 articles indicated that research in the SAJHRM was mostly on the following lines: research was mostly of the hypothesis-testing (Type II) knowledge type; involved multiple authorship; and was conducted by mostly white, male researchers, based at a relatively few South African academic institutions.

Practical and managerial implications: The SAJHRM should, in partnership with the HRM profession, promote and publish research that more prominently addresses the gap between academic HRM and HRM practice, especially in terms of the participatory or action research (Type IV) mode of knowledge generation.

Contribution: The present analysis of research trends in the SAJHRM provides a broader and more nuanced perspective on forms of research required for the HRM field in South Africa.


human resource management; research publications; research trends; content analysis; South Africa


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