The purpose of this chapter is to set before the reader a realist framework through which to explore the nature and development of human resource management (HRM). We do not offer an all-embracing analysis of the rise of HRM. Rather we endeavour, through a focus on the experience of one organisation, to provide a rudimentary framework through which such an analysis might be conducted in the future. We claim no novelty for the tools we employ here; these are taken from the work of Margaret Archer, and her ‘morphogenetic approach’ (Archer, 1995). In this regard, the concepts most significant for our endeavours will be ‘stratification’, ‘analytical dualism’ and ‘emergence’.