Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Management (Business Administration)

First Advisor

Nathan Bennett


This dissertation presents a model focusing on human resource manager discretion and its role in influencing variations in HRM. Discretion, defined here as the latitude of action of human resource managers, is suggested as an important means of accounting for differing levels of constraint facing the HRM function. Because the model developed here focuses on discretion as a characteristic which is common to theories of choice and environmental determinism in organizational research, it is designed to stimulate future research that simultaneously considers predictions of HRM structure and content that have, to this point, been considered contradictory. In general, the results of the analyses presented indicate some support for the model of human resource manager discretion. In particular, a study of 104 organizations found that variables in three categories, environment, organization, and manager, each play some role in explaining one of the three indicators of human resource manager discretion proposed in this study. Further, this study found some support for the proposed relationship between human resource manager discretion and variations in human resource management practices across organizations, indicating that human resource manager discretion appears to be a consequential variable in organizations that deserves further study.