This chapter develops an analysis that integrates the practical working reality with less visible aspects of the discourse. This approach contrasts with the more common focus on either the individual or organisation in analysing human resource management (HRM), wherein priority is given to assessing goal achievement and efficiency. The chapter provides a brief review of the historical development of HRM and its application in British organisational contexts, with a focus on the ideological nature of the discourse. It then presents managerial and employee experiences of people management in four smaller organisations, focusing especially on the nature of formality and the changing basis of enactment over time. In addition to seeking to link personnel management with organisational strategy and corporate performance, the systematic focus within HRM discourse on individual performance, on exploiting the labour resource more fully, distinguishes it from previous ideas of people management.