New realism in ‘strategic’ reward management
This chapter provides more than 25 years of historical context to the concept of ‘strategic’ reward management and continuing debates about its evolution, its impact and even its very existence in the UK context. The shocks and surprises of 2016–2017 provide the perfect context to consider the debate as to whether the concept holds any theoretical or practical value. Research evidence is provided to conclude that reward strategy is a valid and useful idea, but that the interpretation of it in a normative and inflexible, deterministic and ‘best practice’ manner has rightly attracted criticism. However, an essential reconceptualization of ideas about reward strategy and their importance has been occurring in the UK, driven by economic, social and political developments and by both proponents and critics alike.