Publication Details

Zanko, M., Badham, R., Couchman, P. & Schubert, M. (2006). The play of power and politics in innovation and HRM. In J. Kennedy & L. Di Milia (Eds.), Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (pp. 1-20). Rockhampton, Queensland: Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management.


This paper analyses the human resource management (HRM) practices involved in the implementation of a process innovation approach to product development (concurrent engineering (CE)) in the Australian subsidiary of a multinational firm engaged in military defence electronics. According to the research literature, almost all aspects of managing product development under a CE approach are linked to people management. Yet in this particular case, other than project team structure, the prescriptive HRM dimensions of CE were conspicuously absent in the implementation process. This absence is explained by the play of power and politics involving stakeholders analysed over an 18 month period. The implications of this analysis for understanding the embedded, interdependent and political nature of HRM and process innovation are addressed.