FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

The making of Portuguese Human Resources Management: the post-revolutionary management discourse of the magazine Pessoal (1976-1986)

GT 7 Sociología del Trabajo

José Matos (Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales Franja 1B : EMPRESA, rse, rr.hh.
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: jueves, 30 de junio de 2016
Hora: 14:00 a 16:00
Lugar: S05

The end of the fascist regime, brought about by a coup d´état organized by the Armed Forces Movement on 1974, raised the hopes of a more conscious business class who identified the opportunity for the creation of a democratic regime and, consequently, for economic development. However, the first months of 1974 would prove unfavourable to the implementation of this plan.

Based on the analysis of Pessoal, a magazine edited by the Portuguese Association of Human Resources Managers and Technicians (founded in 1963 by personnel managers from big companies), the main objective of this research work is to understand how political events between 1976 and 1986 came to determine a very distinctive succession of management discourses, whether normative or rational (Kunda, Barley 1992, Abrahamson 1997, Rodríguez-Ruiz 2014). The first offers a soft approach, focusing on the promotion of shared values among the workers, as the means to guarantee a moral commitment to the company. The second is rooted in a hard viewpoint, emphasising the relationship between the optimization of productivity and the enforcement of specific techniques, directed at maximising the use of workers` abilities.

Although our analysis only covers a decade, from the birth of democracy to the country´s integration into the EEC, the sheer number of historical events that took place during this period and, above all, their relevance for understanding the peculiarities of the development of Portuguese HRM, when compared to other countries (Spain, for example), justify this methodical option. Firstly, we will consider the reception and understanding of the revolutionary process among APG associates. This, as we will try to demonstrate, was not limited to complaints about injustices, but also included the acknowledgement of the potential inscribed in some of the revolutionary experiences. Secondly, we will pinpoint the main features of their discourse, namely through a content analysis of articles, while bearing in mind that these cannot be detached from the relationship between APG and other social organizations, trade unions and companies in particular.



Abrahamson, E. 1997. “The Emergence and Prevalence of Employee Management Rethorics: the Effects of Long Waves, Labour Unions, and Turnover, 1875 to 1992”. Academy of Management Journal 40 (3): 491-533

Barley, S. R. and G. Kunda. 1992. “Design and devotion: Surges of rational and normative ideologies of control in managerial discourse”. Administrative Science Quarterly, 37: 363-399.

Rodríguez-Ruiz Óscar. 2014. “The history of human resource management in Spain: an autocratic legacy beyond the waves of rational and normative control”. Management & Organizational History, 9:3: 256-271.




Palabras clave: Portugal, Revolutionary Process, Spain, Management Discourse