Research Strategy

Finding Company-Specific Policies and Practices can be challenging!

Why?  Most employers are not required to make their policies and practices available to the public (unless they are a government agency).  Publicly-traded companies are required to file some information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but much of this is financial with less focus on policies and practices. It may be difficult to find any information about private companies.  You will need to be patient and try various strategies for finding company-specific policies and practices. We have listed some techniques below.

  1. Company Web Sites.  Look for a Company Information, Jobs, Investors, or News section.  Very often, you can find an annual report, which gives information about top management personnel as well as major developments in labor relations or human resource management.  Another "find" can be the organization's Mission or Visionstatement.  The Jobs section can give you further clues about the company.  For instance is the VP of Human Resources called that or the more trendy, HR Business Partner?  Look at the types of News stories that the company is highlighting on its web page.  Are there stories about employees?   The web page will certainly give you an idea of the company's Corporate Culture. 
  2. Third Party Company Analysis.  Cornell University Library subscribes to many services that provide company information. Many of these resources are targeted toward investors and highlight strengths and weaknesses in the context of whether or not buying shares would be profitable.  However, a growing number of resources also provide information on corporate social responsibility, a criterium being employee relations. 
  3. In-depth Articles and Books about the Company.  Everyone hopes to find the perfect academic article about the HR or Labor practices of a company, but such a find is rare and more often than not, outdated.
  4. News and Short Articles.  You sometimes have to make generalizations about a company from how it makes news.  Are there stories about difficult contract negotiations or employment discrimination lawsuits?  Or are the on stories "best practices" or awards? 
  5. Rankings and Insider Information.  Several publications compile listings of companies by their good or bad practices. Websites, such as, provide a forum for employees to share experiences working for a company.  Other options are networking organizations, such as the Society of Human Resource Management, American Society of Training and Development, or WorldatWork.  Cornell alumni networks can also provide inroads to companies.
  6. Contact the Company.  Consider contacting company's HR or Labor specialists. Catherwood Library staff can help you find contact information.

Contact Us

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ILR Research Team
Martin P. Catherwood Library
Ives Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901