Mutuality in the management of human resources: assessing the quality of alignment in employment relationships


Contact: Peter Boxall, Department of Management and International Business, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Email:


How can managers improve the alignment of organisational and individual interests in the management of human resources? This article integrates a diverse set of literatures to propose three tests of mutuality in employment relationships: (a) the quality of the match between the organisation's needs for human capabilities and the individual's needs to deploy and develop them; (b) the extent to which the organisation's dual needs for commitment and flexibility are aligned with the needs of individuals for security and community; and (c) the extent to which both parties feel they are making a worthwhile return on their investment. These tests form a starting point for assessing and modelling the quality of employment relationships in particular contexts.