Within the broader debate on the increase of labor income inequality, social concerns have growingly focused on organizational practices. Among these, market-oriented compensation practices, with their extensive pay dispersion, are deemed crucial ‘inequality-generators’. Based on 49 interviews with Italian compensation managers and consultants, this article explores whether, in their talk, these actors align with (or detach from) inequality-increasing compensation practices, and which discourses they employ to justify their posture. By resorting to the discourses on meritocracy and market, the respondents fully supported dispersed market-based compensation structures, thus endorsing a motivation- (rather than legitimacy-) centered approach informed by a shareholder (rather than a stakeholder) perspective. In countering possible criticisms, they advanced two main discursive responses: ‘transparent communication’, i.e. communication intended to convince critics about the benefits of merit-based and market-based pay dispersion; and ‘populism’, i.e. a term used to discredit those critics that question any type of pay dispersion. Assuming a discursive approach, the paper adds an HRM perspective to the growing debate on the role of organizations in producing and re-producing income inequality, while critically showing that compensation managers and consultants fail as a resource for inequality reduction.

Grand challenge or not an issue? The discourses on income inequality of compensation managers and consultants / M. Guerci, F. Canterino, L. Carollo, L. Dorigatti, A. Mori. - In: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. - ISSN 0958-5192. - (2019). [Epub ahead of print]

Grand challenge or not an issue? The discourses on income inequality of compensation managers and consultants

M. Guerci
Primo
;
L. Carollo;L. Dorigatti
Penultimo
;
A. Mori
Ultimo
2019

Abstract

Within the broader debate on the increase of labor income inequality, social concerns have growingly focused on organizational practices. Among these, market-oriented compensation practices, with their extensive pay dispersion, are deemed crucial ‘inequality-generators’. Based on 49 interviews with Italian compensation managers and consultants, this article explores whether, in their talk, these actors align with (or detach from) inequality-increasing compensation practices, and which discourses they employ to justify their posture. By resorting to the discourses on meritocracy and market, the respondents fully supported dispersed market-based compensation structures, thus endorsing a motivation- (rather than legitimacy-) centered approach informed by a shareholder (rather than a stakeholder) perspective. In countering possible criticisms, they advanced two main discursive responses: ‘transparent communication’, i.e. communication intended to convince critics about the benefits of merit-based and market-based pay dispersion; and ‘populism’, i.e. a term used to discredit those critics that question any type of pay dispersion. Assuming a discursive approach, the paper adds an HRM perspective to the growing debate on the role of organizations in producing and re-producing income inequality, while critically showing that compensation managers and consultants fail as a resource for inequality reduction.
Income inequality, compensation management, reward management, discourse, HRM profession, legitimacy of HRM
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
Settore SECS-P/10 - Organizzazione Aziendale
2019
24-nov-2019
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/694654
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