Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to offer a perspective on the future of the human resource management (HRM)-performance debate and its prospects for interaction with practice by evaluating the debate's intellectual structure. Design/methodology/approach – With co-citation analysis the paper examines the intellectual structure that informed the HRM-performance debate. The findings were presented to a group of academics, who have been influential in the development of the debate. In several rounds of a quasi-Delphi interaction they discussed the state of the art, future development of the debate, upcoming theoretical sources of inspiration and topics on which they (dis)agreed. Findings – The dominant knowledge domain is built upon resource-based view, social exchange theory, human capital theory, institutional theory and critical perspective. It became well established in the mid 1990s, when the strategic HRM domain merged with the high performance work systems domain, thus forming the conceptual backbone of the debate. More recently the debate has been informed by review studies, meta-analyses and critical reflections on the current methodological paradigms, which is aligned with the debate's life cycle stage. Originality/value – The paper highlights the theoretical foundations of the HRM-performance debate and gives valuable suggestions on how to take the field forward along with important implications for researchers and their relationship with the business community.
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