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The importance of human resources has received much attention in recent years. At a macro level, endogenous growth theories suggest that the accumulation of human capital constitutes the main engine of macro-economic growth. At a micro level, resource-based theory points to the human capital of employees as a major source for sustained competitive advantage for individual firms. As a result of the increasing importance of human capital, which to a large extent is related to developments in information and communication technologies. During the last decade, the focus of HRM research has shifted from conceptual studies about the nature of HRM to studies that examine the impact of HRM on organizational performance. In this context, human resources are the most important asset of statistical offices. Appropriate and skilled human resources are essential to ensure the production of high quality statistics and to implement more efficient and effective production processes based on new technologies. Proactive human resources management is essential to achieve the abovementioned change and to allow firms to meet the challenges today and in future. Early approach to research in industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology was oriented towards quantitative techniques as a result of influences from the social sciences. As the focus of I/O psychology expands from psychological test development to other personnel functions, there has been an inclusion of qualitative methods in I/O psychology practice.

The present compilation, Handbook of Research Methods in Human Resource Management, therefore examines how qualitative methods like observation, interviews, ethnography, focus group discussion, nominal group technique, Delphi method, and projective techniques can be used in human resources studies. It is believed that knowledge gained on the applications of these qualitative methods would enhance understanding of workers’ behaviors in organizations and facilitate management decisions. Empirical studies are also presented, on how these qualitative methods have successfully been used in organizations.

This Handbook is intended to provide a practical information to managers and policy makers, to enable them to recognise and initiate measures that will make the workplace experience a more pleasant one for workers, and so weaken employees’ intent to leave.