Management State of the Field of Strategic Human Resource Management
by
Susan E. Jackson, Kaifeng Jiang, Randall S. Schuler
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 January 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0034

Introduction

Human resource management (HRM) professionals use the term “strategic human resource management” to convey their thinking that effective strategic HRM contributes to business effectiveness. While many HRM scholars have this understanding of what “strategic HRM” means, the meaning of this term has varied across time, between cultural contexts, and as reflections of the diverse disciplinary identities of strategic HRM scholars. Nevertheless, a grand unifying aspect of scholarship on strategic HRM is the assumption that further insights about managing human resources can be gained through research that treats the many activities involved in managing the workforce as a set of activities that, if properly aligned with the needs of the business, can result in many positive consequences. Thus the field in the early 21st century generally defines scholarship on strategic HRM as the study of sets of HRM elements and their interrelationships with other elements comprising an organizational system, including elements in the organization’s internal and external environment as well as the multiple stakeholders who evaluate the organization’s effectiveness and determine its long-term survival. Central to this definition are three essential constructs: HRM Systems, HRM Partnerships, and Multiple Stakeholders.

HRM Systems

Scholars of strategic HRM view organizations as complex systems of interrelated elements, such that each element influences the system’s functioning and is affected by at least one other element in the system. Among the elements included in an HRM system, as described in Schuler 1992, are (1) overarching HRM philosophies, which specify the values that inform an organization’s management approach, (2) formal HRM policies, which are statements of the organization’s intent, serving to direct and partially constrain the behavior of employees and their relationship to the employer, (3) specific HRM practices, which are the daily enactment of human resource philosophies and policies, and (4) the associated technological and social processes through which HRM philosophies, policies, and practices are established, modified, and terminated. Together, these elements form an HRM system. Although made up of discrete, identifiable elements, an HRM system functions as an indivisible whole that is more than the sum of the parts. Strategic HRM acknowledges the multilevel nature of management systems, as well as interrelationships between the HRM system and other elements of an organization. Finally, scholarship on strategic HRM also recognizes the interdependence of HRM systems with an organization’s external environment, including political, social, cultural, and economic elements of that larger system. The embedded nature of HRM systems is described in detail in Jackson, et al. 2014.

  • Jackson, Susan E., Randall S. Schuler, and Kaifeng Jiang. “An Aspirational Framework for Strategic Human Resource Management.” Academy of Management Annals 8 (2014): 1–56.

    DOI: 10.1080/19416520.2014.872335Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a major paper that traces the evolution of the field of strategic HRM, provides an incisive review of the previous thirty years of research, identifies several challenges in doing more research in the field, and concludes with suggesting several themes for work in the future.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S. “Strategic Human Resources Management: Linking the People with the Strategic Needs of the Business.” Organizational Dynamics 21.1 (1992): 18–32.

    DOI: 10.1016/0090-2616(92)90083-YSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper defines strategic HRM as linking HR activities with strategic business needs, introduces the “5 P’s” of human resources (philosophy, policies, programs, practices, and processes), and describes the functions they perform to create alignment between business needs and the HRM system.

    Find this resource:

HRM Partnerships

Effective strategic HRM depends on developing and implementing the most-appropriate human resource philosophies, policies, practices, and processes. Consequently, the development and implementation of effective strategic HRM philosophies, policies, practices, and processes occurs through collaboration among HR professionals, employees and employee representations (unions, works council, etc.), and line managers. This set of players—HR professionals, line managers, and other employees—is labeled the “HR Triad” in Jackson and Schuler 2006. The creation and shaping of an HRM system does not occur in isolation by an executive planning committee; it engages the organizational players who enact the system in their daily work. An HRM system comes alive in social interactions among organizational members, including those involved in formulating, communicating, and responding to elements of the HRM system. Traditionally, HR professionals designed formal HRM philosophies, policies, and processes in response to business plans; supervisors transformed policies into daily practices; and employees reacted to how they were treated by managers. Gradually, these roles have changed as the three main actors work together in partnership. Now, HR professionals actively participate in business-planning discussions; formal philosophies, policies, and processes have become more subject to managerial interpretation as managers strive to respond to rapidly changing conditions; and highly valued employees often negotiate for working conditions that fit their personal situations. Empirical research, such as in Chadwick, et al. 2015 and Chadwick, et al. 2016, demonstrates the importance of managers as implementers of HRM systems, while conceptual models, such as the one offered in Sikora and Ferris 2014, point to new directions for future research on the role of the HR triad.

  • Chadwick, Clint, James P. Guthrie, and Xuejing Xing. “The HR Executive Effect on Firm Performance and Survival.” In Special Issue: Replication in Strategic Management. Edited by Richard A. Bettis, Constance E. Helfat, and J. Myles Shaver. Strategic Management Journal 37.11 (2016): 2346–2361.

    DOI: 10.1002/smj.2566Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors found that the firms with high-level HR executives on the management team at the time of their initial public offerings (IPOs) are more likely to survive after the IPO is completed. However, the presence of HR executives was not associated with financial performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Chadwick, Clint, Janice F. Super, and Kiwook Kwon. “Resource Orchestration in Practice: CEO Emphasis on SHRM, Commitment‐Based HR Systems, and Firm Performance.” Strategic Management Journal 36.3 (2015): 360–376.

    DOI: 10.1002/smj.2217Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows that CEO emphasis on strategic HRM is associated with firm performance and that the effects are due partly to the effect of management’s synchronized and orchestrated use of commitment-based HRM systems. Also shows the important role played by middle managers who implement top management’s strategic decisions.

    Find this resource:

  • Jackson, Susan E., and Randall S. Schuler. Managing Human Resources through Strategic Partnerships. 9th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This classic textbook for the advanced undergraduate course in HRM and the basic graduate-level course in HRM introduces and describes the HRM partnership model in detail and refers to it as the “HR Triad.” It describes how the HR Triad works in partnership to manage the human resources in the organization.

    Find this resource:

  • Sikora, David M., and Gerald R. Ferris. “Strategic Human Resource Practice Implementation: The Critical Role of Line Management.” Human Resource Management Review 24.3 (2014): 271–281.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2014.03.008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors propose a model to elucidate the role of an organization’s culture and climate as well as political considerations as contextual conditions that influence line managers’ implementation of HRM practices, and thus the effects of the HRM system on outcomes such as employee satisfaction, turnover, and job performance.

    Find this resource:

Multiple Stakeholders

The effectiveness of an organization is determined by and affected by many groups—by many stakeholders. Consequently, all these groups are important to strategic HRM. These groups include the HRM partners, internal customers, external customers, investors/owners, supply chains and strategic alliances, and society. Before the emergence of strategic HRM, the “effectiveness” of HRM systems was evaluated against technical criteria that had been established by the profession (e.g., validity), social criteria embodied in laws and regulations (e.g., fairness), and individual employee reactions (e.g., satisfaction, involvement, performance). The perspective of strategic HRM expands attention to effectiveness criteria used by an array of additional stakeholders—especially owners and investors, organization members, customers, the organization’s strategic partners, and members of the broader society, including the full array of organizational members and their families, communities, and supply chain partners. Tsui 1987 draws attention to the many stakeholders that HRM departments strive to satisfy, focusing on those inside a company itself. Colakoglu, et al. 2006 expands the view to include external stakeholders relevant to firms operating globally. Ferrary 2008 develops a framework to understand the complex role of these and other stakeholders. Today, HRM scholars interested in sustainability accept the involvement of multiple stakeholders as a basic principle. Ren and Jackson 2019 discusses how the recent interest in sustainability changes the role of HRM professionals and creates new opportunities for them to become institutional entrepreneurs.

  • Colakoglu, Saba, David P. Lepak, and Ying Hong. “Measuring HRM Effectiveness: Considering Multiple Stakeholders in a Global Context.” Human Resource Management Review 16.2 (2006): 209–218.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2006.03.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors argue that it is important but not sufficient to consider financial performance as a measure of the effectiveness of HRM initiatives. They suggest that researchers assess HRM effectiveness from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives, including capital market stakeholders (e.g., shareholders), product market stakeholders (e.g., customers, suppliers, unions), and organizational stakeholders (e.g., managers, employees).

    Find this resource:

  • Ferrary, Michel. “A Stakeholder’s Perspective on Human Resource Management.” Journal of Business Ethics 87.1 (2008): 31–43.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-008-9868-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explains how adopting a stakeholder perspective shifts the discussion of HRM from a focus on the conflicts that can arise between employers and employees to a discussion of the roles played by various political actors (including elected representatives and their administrative staff) whose responsibilities include creating and enforcing employment laws.

    Find this resource:

  • Ren, Shuang, and Susan E. Jackson. “HRM Institutional Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Business Organizations.” Human Resource Management Review (2019): 100691.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2019.100691Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article draws upon the institutional theory literature to introduce the concept of HRM institutional entrepreneurship. The authors provide a framework for future research and discuss how HRM can engage internal and external stakeholders to help organizations pursue sustainability.

    Find this resource:

  • Tsui, Anne S. “Defining the Activities and Effectiveness of the Human Resource Department: A Multiple Constituency Approach.” Human Resource Management 26.1 (1987): 35–69.

    DOI: 10.1002/hrm.3930260104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article identifies important activities performed by the operating-level HR department, and develops meaningful criteria to evaluate its effectiveness. The author found different groups of internal stakeholders (e.g., managers and employees) had different opinions about the activities and effectiveness of the HR department.

    Find this resource:

Textbooks

The topic of strategic HRM is typically covered sparingly in introductory HRM textbooks that cover the broad, more general field of HRM. In introductory-level HRM textbooks, strategic HRM is usually covered in one or two chapters that describe how conditions in the internal organizational environment, such as its corporate strategy and technological factors, and with conditions in the external organizational environment, such as competitive dynamics, influence the core HRM activities of planning, staffing, compensating, training, and appraising. Gradually, textbooks that focus specifically on strategic HRM are becoming available, however. Typically, strategic HRM textbooks include more-extended discussions of the relevant theoretical and empirical evidence, as well as many company examples and cases that illustrate how HRM systems can be shaped by strategic objectives, changing technologies, and external forces such as industry dynamics and globalization. Most textbooks on strategic HRM in the early 21st century are revised and published as new editions every three years to enable the examples and cases to be as current as possible. Representative textbooks include Boxall and Purcell 2016 (fourth edition); Jackson, et al. 2018 (twelfth edition); Rees and Smith 2017, Truss, et al. 2012; and Gowan and Lepak 2019 (fourth edition).

  • Boxall, Peter, and John Purcell. Strategy and Human Resource Management. 4th ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-137-40765-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book covers the academic literature and brings insights into the key issues of strategic HRM. The main topics include understanding the goals of HRM, how to connect strategy with HRM, a discussion of general principles, and consideration of how external environmental complexities impinge on strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Gowan, Mary, and David Lepak. Human Resource Management: Managing Employees for Competitive Advantage. 4th ed. Chicago: Chicago Business Press, 2019.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book organizes HRM practices into three categories—work design and workforce planning, managing employee competencies, and managing employee attitudes and behaviors. It also discusses how organizational demands, environmental influences, and regulatory issues create challenges for strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Jackson, Susan E., Randall S. Schuler, and Steve Werner. Managing Human Resources. 12th ed. New York: Oxford, 2018.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This textbook is a good example of one that discusses all the essential topics in HRM in a strategic framework, and it can thus be considered a textbook on strategic HRM. This is a very popular book at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels.

    Find this resource:

  • Rees, Gary, and Paul E. Smith. Strategic Human Resource Management: An International Perspective. London: SAGE, 2017.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is a compilation of chapters written by authors from several countries and is intended for use as a textbook. The chapters are organized as in other similar textbooks, cover both the scholarly research and provide company examples from around the world.

    Find this resource:

  • Truss, Catherine, David Mankin, and Clare Kelliher. Strategic Human Resource Management. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book helps readers understand the steps needed to develop an effective HRM strategy. It draws on academic research and case examples, with topics ranging from industry to the relevance of environmental factors, the role of the HR department, and several current themes prominent in early-21st-century companies.

    Find this resource:

Reference Sources

Because strategic HRM is a relatively new field of study, academic journals, handbooks, and encyclopedias are the most-common sources of new information. There is, however, an emerging set of other reference sources that students of the field must consider. Both the Academy of Management Annals and Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management are annual publications that often feature chapters that relate to the field of strategic HRM.

Journals

Journals are the most commonly used reference sources in strategic HRM. Because the field of strategic HRM is so dynamic and its core content is still emerging, journals generally provide the most up-to-date and path-breaking avenues for the creation and dissemination of knowledge about the field. The leading journals are published by the Academy of Management (AOM), Blackwell, Routledge, Wiley, and Elsevier. The AOM journals include the Academy of Management Journal, the flagship journal for empirical research, and the Academy of Management Review, which publishes mostly review papers. Other journals worth consulting include the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Personnel Psychology, Human Resource Management Review, Human Resource Management Journal, Human Resource Management, and International Journal of Human Resource Management. All the journals noted here are available in an online format, and subscribers can usually access forthcoming publications before they appear in print.

History and Current Focus

Most scholars of strategic HRM place the birth of strategic HRM as starting in the latter decades of the 20th century, shortly after the emergence of the strategic-management perspective. A citation analysis in Kaše, et al. 2014 supports this view. The earliest widely cited contributions to strategic HRM were published between 1980 and 1984, though these actually built on much-earlier discussions that viewed employees as among the key resources for which managers were responsible.

  • Kaše, Robert, Jaap Paauwe, and Saša Batistič. “In the Eyes of Janus: The Intellectual Structure of HRM-Performance Debate and Its Future Prospects.” Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance 1.1 (2014): 56–76.

    DOI: 10.1108/JOEPP-01-2014-0002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using co-citation analysis, this study traces the history and influence of several early articles on strategic HRM and identifies the emergence of several distinct schools of thought and related research. It is an excellent source for anyone interested in understanding the development of strategic HRM as a distinct field of scholarship.

    Find this resource:

Birth of Strategic HRM

Reflecting the job-related activities of HRM professionals and consultants, Walker 1980 offers a pragmatic description of how human resource planning could be used to ensure that HRM policies and practices were aligned with an organization’s business strategy. The next year, Devanna, et al. 1981 was published, describing a strategic perspective for diagnosing and auditing a firm’s HRM function. The author of Tichy 1983, writing as the editor of the journal Human Resource Management, announced that the journal would move in a new direction. Summarizing discussions that took place during a conference that brought together researchers, HR professionals, line executives, and strategic planners, he observed, “It was clear that no longer were we asking the question: Are human resources important? Rather, the question for the 1980s is: How will we integrate human resource issues into the strategic management of the firm?” (p. 3). At about the same time, but gaining somewhat more attention, was a compelling bestseller, In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman 1982), which was written by McKinsey consultants. The authors asserted that the most-successful companies achieved superior productivity by treating rank-and-file employees as a source of quality and adhering to a values-driven management philosophy, while also giving employees autonomy over decisions about how to fulfill their duties. Finally, two academic textbooks on strategic HRM were published: Fombrun, et al. 1984 and Beer, et al. 1984.

  • Beer, Michael, Bert Spector, Paul R. Lawrence, and D. Quinn Mills. Managing Human Assets: The Groundbreaking Harvard Business School Program. New York: Free Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book was written as a textbook to be used in teaching one of the first courses to take a strategic approach to the topic of managing employees, which these authors refer to as “human assets.”

    Find this resource:

  • Devanna, Mary Anne, Charles Fombrun, and Noel M. Tichy. “Human Resource Management: A Strategic Perspective.” Organizational Dynamics 9.3 (1981): 51–67.

    DOI: 10.1016/0090-2616(81)90038-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article identifies several changing environmental conditions that make HRM more important for organizations, notes that few organizations take a strategic approach to HRM, and presents an HRM auditing approach to identify areas of an organization’s HRM function where improvements are needed.

    Find this resource:

  • Fombrun, Charles, Noel M. Tichy, and Mary Anne Devanna, eds. Strategic Human Resource Management. New York: John Wiley, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume assembles many invited chapters that build on themes of strategic HRM that the editors developed in Devanna, et al. 1981. Chapters focus on topics such as the potential strategic value of the core HRM activities that comprise an HRM system (e.g., staffing and executive appraisal), as well as discussions of how HRM systems can be used to address strategic issues such as innovation, quality management, and internationalization. Reprinted as recently as 1999.

    Find this resource:

  • Peters, Tom J., and Robert H. Waterman. In Search of Excellence. New York: HarperCollins, 1982.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This was the major practitioner-oriented book that started to focus attention on the importance of HRM and the success of the firm. The authors argue that firms that were excellent were that way because of the way they managed their people.

    Find this resource:

  • Tichy, Noel M. “Foreword.” Human Resource Management 22.1–2 (1983): 3–8.

    DOI: 10.1002/hrm.3930220103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In the foreword to this issue of Human Resource Management, Tichy lays out the importance of being concerned about managing people well for organizational success. It follows quite closely the themes identified in Peters and Waterman 1982.

    Find this resource:

  • Walker, James W. Human Resource Planning. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this early discussion of strategic HRM, the author describes how the activity of HRM planning provides opportunities to use other core HRM activities, such as staffing, development, appraisal, and compensation, to address key strategic issues and thereby improve overall organizational effectiveness. The discussion is informed and illustrated by many company examples.

    Find this resource:

Diffusion and Maturation of Strategic HRM

The field of strategic HRM was born in the United States, but within a decade it was attracting attention from scholars and practitioners in other Western counties, particularly the United Kingdom, where Hendry and Pettigrew 1990 provides an early summary of strategic HRM precepts. The globalization of the strategic-HRM community, as well as comparative data such as that produced by the Cranfield Network on International Human Resource Management (Cranet) provides a foundation for future investigations of studies of international strategic HRM. Established in 1990, Cranet members have since amassed data describing HRM policies and practices and their patterns of change in dozens of countries. A description of this project can be found in Parry, et al. 2011. The historical development and maturation of strategic HRM are described in detail in Jackson, et al. 2014 and Lengnick-Hall, et al. 2009.

  • Hendry, Chris, and Andrew Pettigrew. “Human Resource Management: An Agenda for the 1990s.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 1.1 (1990): 17–43.

    DOI: 10.1080/09585199000000038Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Appearing in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Human Resource Management, the article traces the origins of the broad concept of HRM and the gradual evolution of strategic HRM, provides an explication and critique of extant approaches to studying strategic HRM, outlines the perspective guiding the author’s research program at Warwick University, identifies themes and issues that the field ought to address, and argues for an adequate treatment of strategy in future research.

    Find this resource:

  • Jackson, Susan E., Randall S. Schuler, and Kaifeng Jiang. “An Aspirational Framework for Strategic Human Resource Management.” Academy of Management Annals 8 (2014): 1–56.

    DOI: 10.1080/19416520.2014.872335Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In addition to describing the historical development of strategic HRM, this article provides a detailed description of the empirical studies conducted to date, and also presents a comprehensive, integrative framework that organizes the many concepts covered by strategic HRM. It is grounded in a systems theory perspective.

    Find this resource:

  • Lengnick-Hall, Mark L., Cynthia A. Lengnick-Hall, Leticia S. Andrade, and Brian Drake. “Strategic Human Resource Management: The Evolution of the Field.” Human Resource Management Review 19.2 (2009): 64–85.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2009.01.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a chronological description of approximately thirty years of literature on strategic HRM, organized around seven themes: (1) contingency perspectives, (2) from managing people to creating strategic contributions, (3) HRM system components and structure, (4) scope of strategic HRM, (5) implementation issues, (6) measuring outcomes, and (7) methodologies. It concludes with suggestions for future research.

    Find this resource:

  • Parry, Emma, Eleni Stavrou-Costea, and Michael J. Morley. “The Cranet International Research Network on Human Resource Management in Retrospect and Prospect.” Human Resource Management Review 21.1 (2011): 1–4.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2010.09.006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article illustrates the globalization of research on strategic HRM by describing results from a large international consortium of scholars who have collected HRM data since 1990 as a major project of the Cranet research group, based at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, and have conducted research with colleagues from all around the world.

    Find this resource:

Strategic Management

Scholarship on strategic HRM is closely related to and extends work in many other fields, including industrial-organizational psychology, personnel management, industrial relations, and HRM. In the early 21st century, scholarship on strategic HRM is most clearly differentiated from these related fields by its close ties to the field of strategic management—itself a response to rapid economic, social, technological, and political changes occurring after World War II. With organizations facing an environment characterized by hypercompetition, globalization, volatility, uncertainty, and unpredictability, influential management scholars, such as the authors of Pfeffer and Salancik 1978, realized that business decisions should reflect an understanding of the interdependencies that link organizations and their external environments. As scholarship on strategic management matured, three theoretical perspectives became dominant: industrial-organizational economics, as presented in Porter 1980 and Porter 1985, the resource-based view, as presented in Wernerfelt 1984, and stakeholder theory, as presented in Freeman 1984. The field of strategic HRM has a unique identity in the early 21st century, but its heritage as a child of strategic management is evident. A detailed description of the evolution of strategic HRM from the 1980s through 2013 is provided in Jackson, et al. 2014 (cited both under HRM Systems and Diffusion and Maturation of Strategic HRM).

  • Freeman, R. Edward. Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Boston: Pitman, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the first books to develop the multiple-stakeholder perspective for organizations, and one that has been very influential in the study of strategic management and strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Pfeffer, Jeffrey, and Gerald Salancik. The External Control of Organizations. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic in understanding the behavior of organizations through an understanding of the external environments in which the organizations operate, this book is very important for understanding the theoretical logic underlying strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Porter, Michael E. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York: Free Press, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the very first books to expound the field of competitive strategy on the basis of extensive analysis of industry data. It has been important in providing a way to understand the meaning of “strategic” management and the strategic challenges that firms face, some of which can potentially be addressed by how human resources are managed.

    Find this resource:

  • Porter, Michael E. Competitive Advantage. New York: Free Press, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This classic book in the field of strategic management further develops ideas presented by Porter in his earlier book (Porter 1980). The book had a great impact on the field of strategic HRM because it describes specific strategies that firms use to compete against each other.

    Find this resource:

  • Wernerfelt, Birger. “A Resource-Based View of the Firm.” Strategic Management Journal 5.2 (1984): 171–180.

    DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250050207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This seminal article argues for the value of analyzing firms from the perspective of their dependence on various resources, as an alternative to the dominant perspective, which focuses on the product side of firm activity. The concepts of resource position barriers and resource-product matrices are introduced and used to discuss how an understanding of these concepts enables firms to identify new strategic options and opportunities.

    Find this resource:

Leadership Substitutes for Strategic HRM

Whereas strategic management is the foundation for scholarship on strategic HRM, some of the most innovative new research has been stimulated by the application of theories of organizational behavior. In particular, some scholars have begun to ask whether effective leadership behaviors can effectively substitute for the effects of well-designed HRM systems. The results of studies in Jiang, et al. 2015 and Hong, et al. 2016 indicate that leadership behaviors can be effective substitutes for strategic HRM systems under some organizational conditions.

  • Hong, Ying, Hui Liao, Steffen Raub, and Joo Hun Han. “What It Takes to Get Proactive: An Integrative Multilevel Model of the Antecedents of Personal Initiative.” Journal of Applied Psychology 101.5 (2016): 687–701.

    DOI: 10.1037/apl0000064Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study uses a multilevel model to study the effects of context of employees’ proactive motivation states and their personal-initiative behavior. Longitudinal data showed that hotels with initiative-enhancing HRM systems benefited from enhanced employee personal initiative. When initiative-enhancing HRM systems were absent, empowering leadership also helped increase department-level initiative climate.

    Find this resource:

  • Jiang, Kaifeng, Chih-Hsun Chuang, and Yu-Ching Chiao. “Developing Collective Customer Knowledge and Service Climate: The Interaction between Service-Oriented High-Performance Work Systems and Service Leadership.” Journal of Applied Psychology 100.4 (2015): 1089–1106.

    DOI: 10.1037/apl0000005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The combined influences of service-oriented high-performance work systems and service leadership on collective customer knowledge were examined by using data collected in footwear retail stores. The two variables were found to serve as partial substitutes for each. Further, collective customer knowledge and service climate were positively related to financial outcomes through service performance.

    Find this resource:

International Strategic HRM

Many aspects of an organization’s external environment are worthy of attention, but rapid globalization creates a pressing need for improved understanding of the international dimension of an organization’s external environment. As scholarship on strategic HRM continues to evolve, much more attention will be directed toward understanding how firms with geographically dispersed units can effectively transfer their HRM systems across national borders. The strategic importance of HRM activities for international firms has long been recognized, with early discussions presented in Tung 1984 and Milliman, et al. 1991. By the 1990s, insights from strategic HRM and international HRM had been integrated into a framework for understanding strategic international HRM in Schuler, et al. 1993 and Taylor, et al. 1996. Nevertheless, to date, most studies of HRM systems have focused on the domestic operations of organizations in Western cultures. Zhao and Du 2012 is among the first studies to offer insights into the dynamics of strategic HRM in Eastern cultures such as China. Research in China and other emerging economies is now blossoming, as Jayasinghe 2016 illustrates. Decisions about whether and how to replicate an HRM system across several subsidiaries is a major challenge that appears to be facilitated by specific capabilities that are not yet fully understood. Festing and Eidems 2011 suggests that operating across national borders requires developing new dynamic capabilities that are distinctly different from the organizational competencies needed to be effective domestically.

  • Festing, Marion, and Judith Eidems. “A Process Perspective on Transnational HRM Systems: A Dynamic Capability-Based Analysis.” Human Resource Management Review 21.3 (2011): 162–173.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2011.02.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors introduce the concept of “balancing capabilities” to describe the processes that yield a balance between global standardization of HRM systems and adaptation to the local HRM norms, policies, and practices. Effective international HRM requires coordination of information, communication, social presence, organizational learning, and finding solutions that are specific to the strategic international context.

    Find this resource:

  • Jayasinghe, Mevan. “The Operational and Signaling Benefits of Voluntary Labor Code Adoption: Reconceptualizing the Scope of Human Resource Management in Emerging Economies.” Academy of Management Journal 59.2 (2016): 658–677.

    DOI: 10.5465/amj.2014.0478Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the potential economic benefits for manufacturers in emerging economies to voluntarily adopt protective labor codes. Longitudinal data from apparel-manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka indicate that voluntary labor code adopters benefited from lower absenteeism, higher on-time delivery, higher productivity, and higher sales volumes, suggesting that investing in HRM is an effective strategy in emerging economies.

    Find this resource:

  • Milliman, John, Mary Ann von Glinow, and Maria Nathan. “Organizational Life Cycles and Strategic International Human Resource Management in Multinational Companies: Implications for Congruence Theory.” Academy of Management Review 16.2 (1991): 318–339.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents propositions concerning the relationship of fit and flexibility to organizational effectiveness in multinational companies and suggests new research directions relating fit to flexibility over the organizational life cycle in different organizational and environmental contexts.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S., Peter J. Dowling, and Helen De Cieri. “An Integrative Framework of Strategic International Human Resource Management.” Journal of Management 19.2 (1993): 419–459.

    DOI: 10.1016/0149-2063(93)90059-VSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Extends strategic HRM into the international arena by offering a framework of strategic international HRM anchored in the strategic components of multinational enterprises (interunit linkages and internal operations); uses several theoretical lenses to develop research propositions concerning strategic international HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Taylor, Sully, Schon Beechler, and Nancy Napier. “Toward an Integrative Model of Strategic International Human Resource Management.” Academy of Management Review 21.4 (1996): 959–985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Draws on the resource-based view and resource dependence theories to develop a model of the determinants of strategic international HRM systems in multinational corporations, and offers propositions about the relationships between key determinants and the multinational corporation’s overall strategic international HRM approach, the design of a particular affiliate’s HRM system, and the HRM system for critical groups of employees within the affiliate.

    Find this resource:

  • Tung, Rosalie L. “Strategic Management of Human Resources in the Multinational Enterprise.” Human Resource Management 23.2 (1984): 129–143.

    DOI: 10.1002/hrm.3930230204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Early work in the field of strategic international HRM focused on multinational enterprises. Offers many testable propositions. Widely cited and very influential in strategic international HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Zhao, Shuming, and Juan Du. “Thirty-Two Years of Development of Human Resource Management in China: Review and Prospects.” Human Resource Management Review 22.3 (2012): 179–188.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2012.02.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the transition of HRM in China from planned labor and personnel management to modern HRM in three distinct time periods since China’s reform and opening up; discusses the challenges of HRM research and its practices from the perspectives of internationalization, corporate culture, and organizational innovation during China’s economic transition and presents the prospects and trends in the future development of HRM in China.

    Find this resource:

International Mergers and Acquisitions and International Joint Ventures

Two very important topics for strategic HRM that fall under the umbrella of international strategic HRM are international mergers and acquisitions (IM&As) and international joint ventures (IJVs). The HRM activities and strategic HRM implications associated with IM&As and IJVs are described in Schuler, et al. 2004, using a three-stage model that included the pre-combination stage, the combination stage, and a final stage of solidification and integration. For each stage, many specific activities have implications for HRM policies and practices. Likewise, the four stages in the IJVs—formation, development, implementation, and advancement and beyond—each require that specific HRM activities be performed in order to increase the chances of the IJV being successful, as explained in Schuler 2001. Shenkar and Zeira 1987 describes the research questions that required further study, focusing on how different groups of employees were affected. Studies of IJVs that involve combining firms from China and Western countries, such as the one in Bjorkman and Lu 2001, are helping improve our understanding of how to make such partnerships succeed.

  • Bjorkman, Ingmar, and Yuan Lu. “Institutionalization and Bargaining Power Explanations of HRM Practices in International Joint Ventures—the Case of Chinese-Western Joint Ventures.” Organization Studies 22.3 (2001): 491–512.

    DOI: 10.1177/0170840601223005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of sixty-three Chinese-Western joint ventures that analyzed the HRM practices used. Authors found that, overall, HRM practices were more similar to those of the foreign parent company, compared to the local company.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S. “Human Resource Issues and Activities in International Joint Ventures.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 12.1 (2001): 1–52.

    DOI: 10.1080/713769586Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article presents a comprehensive review of the existing literature on strategic HRM related to IJVs. The four-stage model of IJVs is used as a basis for showing all the implications of IJVs for strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S., Susan E. Jackson, and Yadong Luo. Managing Human Resources in Cross-Border Alliances. London: Routledge, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is one of the few books that details all the issues of strategic HRM associated with firms involved in cross-border alliances. The book is both academically relevant and filled with examples of firms engaged in cross-border mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures.

    Find this resource:

  • Shenkar, Oded, and Yoram Zeira. “Human Resources Management in International Joint Ventures: Directions for Research.” Academy of Management Review 12.3 (1987): 546–557.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper classifies the structural characteristics of IJVs and summarizes prevalent HR problems in IJVs, and potential problems that have been overlooked by the HR literature.

    Find this resource:

Global Talent Management

A significant early-21st-century development is the growing interest in global talent management, which refers to a subset of systematically linked HRM policies and policies used to attract, develop, retain, and mobilize individuals with high levels of current and potential human capital consistent with the strategic needs of a multinational enterprise as it strives to serve its multiple stakeholders, as described in Tarique and Schuler 2010 as well as Al Ariss, et al. 2014. The importance of global talent management is evidenced by academics and HR practitioners alike, according to analyses such as in Scullion, et al. 2019 and Sparrow, et al. 2016, with the consensus view being that global talent shortages and their associated challenges are likely to persist through times of economic prosperity as well as in times of economic uncertainty and financial recession, creating significant challenges as well as opportunities for employers and employees, several of which are described in Schuler, et al. 2011.

  • Al Ariss, Akram, Wayne F. Cascio, and Jaap Paauwe. “Talent Management: Current Theories and Future Research Directions.” In Special Issue: Talent Management. Edited by Wayne F. Cascio, Akram Al Arris, and Jaap Paauwe. Journal of World Business 49.2 (2014): 173–179.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2013.11.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this introduction to a special issue of the Journal of World Business that focuses exclusively on talent management, the coeditors of the issue summarize the state of research and theory concerning talent management and propose several ideas for future research that addressed the most-pressing current challenges.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S., Susan E. Jackson, and Ibraiz Tarique. “Global Talent Management and Global Talent Challenges: Strategic Opportunities for IHRM.” Journal of World Business 46.4 (2011): 506–516.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2010.10.011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article presents a definition of global talent management and then explains the challenges that confront individuals and organizations as they deal with global talent management.

    Find this resource:

  • Scullion, Hugh, David G. Collings, and Paula Caliguri, eds. Global Talent Management. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2019.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume brings together original chapters from some of the most informed scholars working on the topic of global talent management. The chapters cover a wide range of interesting and current topics in early-21st-century research on and practice of global talent management and also provide guidance for future research directions.

    Find this resource:

  • Sparrow, Paul R., Chris Brewster, and Chul Chung. Globalizing Human Resource Management. 2d ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2016.

    DOI: 10.4324/9781315668611Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is the second edition of a very influential book, both in the field of international HRM as well as in global talent management. Chapters 6 and 7 explain the authors’ views on global talent management in great detail and offer excellent examples from many multinational organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Tarique, Ibraiz, and Randall S. Schuler. “Global Talent Management: Literature Review, Integrative Framework, and Suggestions for Further Research.” Journal of World Business 45.2 (2010): 122–133.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2009.09.019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is one of the most highly cited and downloaded articles from the Journal of World Business since its publication. It helped define the field of global talent management and generate a great deal of interest in others for developing and expanding the field. This is a great article to use to begin reading about global talent management.

    Find this resource:

Macro Talent Management

A newly developing field within talent management is macro talent management. Rather than focusing on HR policies and practices that are used to attract, develop, retain, and mobilize individuals within and across national and multinational enterprises, macro talent management focuses on conditions within countries that foster and facilitate the creation, development, motivation, and innovation of the population within each country, as described in detail in Khilji, et al. 2015; Vaiman, et al. 2019a; and Vaiman, et al. 2019b. These conditions, in turn, can result in some countries having a greater talent pool than other countries, and thus provide a competitive advantage to the country based on the talent levels of its population/workforce. Knowing these conditions can also result in multinational enterprises locating and relocating their global operations to different countries, as described in Tarique and Schuler 2018. Governmental and nongovernmental organizations can assist these decisions of location and relocation by providing a wide variety of policies, such as broader educational opportunities for its population and more opportunities for worker retraining and reskilling.

  • Khilji, Shaista E., Randall S. Schuler, and Ibraiz Tarique. “Incorporating the Macro View in Global Talent Management.” Human Resource Management Review 25.3 (2015): 236–247.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2015.04.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article incorporates a macro views to present a conceptual framework for macro global talent management. The framework focuses on the macro context in which global talent management occurs and discusses its consequences traversing levels of analysis.

    Find this resource:

  • Tarique, Ibraiz, and Randall S. Schuler. “A Multi-level Framework for Understanding Global Talent Management Systems for High Talent Expatriates within and across Subsidiaries of MNEs: Propositions for Further Research.” Journal of Global Mobility 6.1 (2018): 79–101.

    DOI: 10.1108/JGM-07-2017-0026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes global talent management systems across countries both within and across multinational enterprises. It suggests how these enterprises can locate and re-locate their employees based upon where they may obtain the most favorable conditions for selecting, developing and retaining their valued employees.

    Find this resource:

  • Vaiman, Vlad, Paul Sparrow, Randall Schuler, and David Collings. Macro Talent Management: A Global Perspective on Managing Talent in Developed Markets. London: Routledge, 2019a.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited book contains chapters on various countries and describes the conditions that may favor the development of their workforce/population. It contains the framework that describes in detail all the country-level conditions that foster and facilitate the creation of a talented workforce/population. The countries described in this book are mostly North American and European and some from the Asia-Pacific region.

    Find this resource:

  • Vaiman, Vlad, Paul Sparrow, Randall S. Schuler, and David Collings. Macro Talent Management in Emerging and Emergent Markets: A Global Perspective. London: Routledge, 2019b.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited book contains chapters on various countries and describes the conditions that may favor the development of their workforce/population. Based on the framework presented in the first volume, this work one describes in detail all the country-level conditions that foster and facilitate the creation of a talented workforce/population in countries that are characterized as being in emerging and emergent markets.

    Find this resource:

Other International HRM Challenges

International organizations face a multitude of major challenges that await future research by scholars of strategic HRM. The research agenda for the 2020s is likely to include research aimed at understanding the decision-making processes that result in the location and relocation of operations in order to leverage labor costs, talent levels, and growing populations of consumers in the developing countries; protecting employees in an era of global terrorism; and bolstering employee engagement worldwide in order to maximize motivation and productivity. Challenges such as these are described in detail in Scullion, et al. 2007; Sparrow 2009; and Sparrow 2014.

  • Scullion, Hugh, David G. Collings, and Patrick Gunnigle. “International Human Resource Management in the 21st Century: Emerging Themes and Contemporary Debates.” Human Resource Management Journal 17.4 (2007): 309–319.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2007.00047.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes the changing nature of international business and issues that it poses for international HRM. These issues include the changing nature of global economics, especially developments in India, China, and central and eastern Europe; global terrorism; the changing nature of careers; and global staffing.

    Find this resource:

  • Sparrow, Paul. Handbook of International Human Resource Management: Integrating People, Process, and Context. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This handbook provides an organizing framework for research in international HRM and contains twenty-two chapters describing the major challenges that international firms must address, as well as results of much of the best research on these important international HRM topics.

    Find this resource:

  • Sparrow, Paul. “Strategic HRM and Employee Engagement.” In Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. Edited by Catherine Truss, Kerstin Alfes, Rick Delbridge, Amanda Shantz, and Emma Sloane, 99–115. London: Routledge, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter describes the reasons for implementing employee engagement strategies and how such strategies fit within the HRM system. The author illustrates the value of engagement strategies by showing how they contribute to the success of two key objectives for many modern firms; namely, innovation and lean management.

    Find this resource:

Multilevel Strategic HRM

Rather than focusing on the antecedents and consequences of HRM systems at the firm level of analysis, multilevel strategic HRM recognizes the many ways in which employees may experience and respond differentially to HRM systems within organizations, as described in Bowen and Ostroff 2004 as well as Nishii and Wright 2008. Employees may experience HRM systems differently from their coworkers and their managers, as found in Liao, et al. 2009 and Nishii, et al. 2008. Employees’ experience of HRM systems, in turn, can have more direct effects on employee outcomes, as shown in Aryee, et al. 2012 and Liao, et al. 2009. Managers can help align HRM systems experienced by employees with those implemented by organizations, and thus strengthen the performance effects of HRM systems through the perceptions of employees, according to analyses such as in Den Hartog, et al. 2013.

  • Aryee, Samuel, Fred O. Walumbwa, Emmanuel Y. M. Seidu, and Lilian E. Otaye. “Impact of High-Performance Work Systems on Individual- and Branch-Level Performance: Test of a Multilevel Model of Intermediate Linkages.” Journal of Applied Psychology 97.2 (2012): 287–300.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors propose and test a multilevel model to examine the processes linking high-performance work systems and performance outcomes at the individual and organizational levels of analyses. They found that experienced high-performance work systems and empowerment climate partially mediated the influence of branch-level HRM systems on employee outcomes at the individual level. The aggregated employee performance was also found to influence performance at the branch level.

    Find this resource:

  • Bowen, David E., and Cheri Ostroff. “Understanding HRM–Firm Performance Linkages: The Role of the ‘Strength’ of the HRM System.” Academy of Management Review 29.2 (2004): 203–221.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article focuses on the process of HRM systems rather than the content of HRM systems. The author propose the construct “strength of HRM systems” and described the meta-features of a strong HRM system. By using the strength of the HRM system construct, this article explains how individual employee attributes accumulate to affect organizational effectiveness and offers directions for future research examining multilevel relationships in strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Den Hartog, Deanne N., Corine Boon, Robert M. Verburg, and Marcel A. Croon. “HRM, Communication, Satisfaction, and Perceived Performance: A Cross-Level Test.” Journal of Management 39.6 (2013): 1637–1665.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the role of managers’ communication quality in moderating the relationship between manager-rated and employee-rated HRM practices. It finds that manager-rated and employee-rated HRM practices are more positively related when the communication quality is high than when it is low. The authors also find that employee-rated HRM mediates the relationship between manager-rated HRM and performance outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Liao, Hui, Keiko Toya, David P. Lepak, and Ying Hong. “Do They See Eye to Eye? Management and Employee Perspectives of High-Performance Work Systems and Influence Processes on Service Quality.” Journal of Applied Psychology 94.2 (2009): 371–391.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article differentiates management and employee perspectives of high-performance work systems and examines the two perspectives related to employee outcomes in the service context. By using multilevel analyses, the authors find that employee-experienced high-performance work systems rather than manager-rated high-performance work systems were positively related to employee psychological empowerment and perceived organizational support. They also find that both employee-experienced and manager-rated high-performance work systems were positively related to employee human capital.

    Find this resource:

  • Nishii, Lisa H., David P. Lepak, and Benjamin Schneider. “Employee Attributions of the ‘Why’ of HR Practices: Their Effects on Employee Attitudes and Behaviors, and Customer Satisfaction.” Personnel Psychology 61.3 (2008): 503–545.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article introduces the construct of HRM attributions and argues that employees make different attributions about the reasons why management adopts HRM practices. The authors propose a typology of five HRM attribution dimensions and find that the attributions were differentially associated with employee commitment and satisfaction.

    Find this resource:

  • Nishii, Lisa H., and Patrick M. Wright. “Variability within Organizations: Implications for Strategic Human Resources Management.” In The People Make the Place: Dynamic Linkages between Individuals and Organizations. Edited by D. Brent Smith, 225–248. New York: Taylor & Francis Group/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter proposes a process model of strategic HRM to explain why employees experience and react differentially to HRM systems within organizations. The authors argue that the intended HRM practices are not actually implemented HRM practices, which are not necessarily perceived by employees. The chapter also discusses different sources of variability in strategic HRM as potential moderators on the relationships between HRM practices and performance outcomes.

    Find this resource:

Theoretical Frameworks

Typically, hypotheses in strategic HRM are developed by using the logic of multiple established theories. Reflecting the field’s interest in applied problems, few studies of strategic HRM aim to rigorously test and refine one of these theories in particular, and there is recognition that additional theoretical development is needed in order to continue to advance the field. The most-influential theoretical frameworks include Systems Theory, the Behavioral Perspective for strategic HRM, the Ability-Motivation-Opportunity framework, the Resource-Based View, Human Capital Theory, Social Capital Theory, Institutional Theory, and, most recently, the Critical Management Perspective.

Systems Theory

Early models of strategic HRM viewed organizations as open systems that rely on human talents and energy to function. This open-systems perspective reflected the influence of the Tavistock school of thought, described in Miller and Rice 1967, and sociotechnical systems theory, as presented in Trist 1981. These theories treated the operational and human elements of an organizational system as inextricably bound together. The implication was that HRM practices, such as recruiting, pay, and training, should be designed or studied in isolation; they should be studied in the context of other elements in the organization, especially the methods of production used.

  • Miller, Eric J., and A. Ken Rice. Systems of Organization. London: Tavistock Institute, 1967.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a classic book that helped define and explain the relatively new field of sociotechnical systems theory. This theory is about the relationships between the human social system and the technical systems in organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Ostroff, Cheri, and David E. Bowen. “Reflections on the 2014 Decade Award: Is There Strength in the Construct of HR System Strength?” Academy of Management Review 41.2 (2016): 196–214.

    DOI: 10.5465/amr.2015.0323Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A decade after the authors described the concept of HRM system strength, several consistencies and inconsistencies from the original notions have appeared in the literature. These are identified and their implications for the related topic of strategic HRM (among others) are noted. Opportunities for further developing the construct of HRM system strength are identified also.

    Find this resource:

  • Trist, Eric. The Evolution of Socio-technical Systems: A Conceptual Framework and an Action Research Program. Toronto: Ontario Quality of Working Life Centre, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is also a classic book that further develops the logic and implications of sociotechnical systems theory. An important argument that is made by Trist is that the action-research approach should be used by scholars interested in improving both our understanding of organizations and the functioning of organizations.

    Find this resource:

Behavioral Perspective

Grounded in Katz and Kahn 1978 and its role theory view of organizations, the behavioral perspective of strategic HRM was first described in Schuler and Jackson 1987, which states that an HRM system is one of the primary means through which employers communicate, elicit, and sustain desired role-related behaviors—that is, behaviors approved of by role partners such as managers, peers, and customers. Role behaviors include those explicitly prescribed by formal job descriptions, as well as discretionary behaviors that contribute to the organization’s long-term success. The behavioral perspective has been used to understand how HRM can be used to improve customer service (e.g., see Chuang and Liao 2010), organizational citizenship (e.g., see Snape and Redman 2010), employees’ helping behaviors (e.g., see Mossholder, et al. 2011), and employees pro-environment behaviors (e.g., see Norton, et al. 2015).

  • Chuang, Chih‐Hsun, and Hui Liao. “Strategic Human Resource Management in Service Context: Taking Care of Business by Taking Care of Employees and Customers.” Personnel Psychology 63.1 (2010): 153–196.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2009.01165.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes high-performance work systems (HPWS) for customer service and examines the mediating process of the relationship between HPWS and service performance through two types of organizational climate—concern for employee climate and concern for customer climate.

    Find this resource:

  • Katz, Daniel, and Robert L. Kahn. The Social Psychology of Organizations. New York: John Wiley, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic book about the essential issues in organizations, such as work motivation, conflict resolution, leadership, and organizational change. The author analyze the influence of organizational demands and opportunities on individual outcomes and examine the relations between organizational and external environments.

    Find this resource:

  • Mossholder, Kevin W., Hettie A. Richardson, and Randall P. Settoon. “Human Resource Systems and Helping in Organizations: A Relational Perspective.” Academy of Management Review 36.1 (2011): 33–52.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2011.55662500Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a model of linkages among HRM systems, relational climates, and employee-helping behavior, arguing that HRM systems promote relational climates that vary in terms of the motivation and sustenance of helping behavior; proposes that different types of HRM systems (e.g., compliance-based, collaborative-based, commitment-based) indirectly influence the nature of relationships among organizational members and the character of helping within organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Norton, Thomas A., Stacey L. Parker, Hannes Zacher, and Neal M. Ashkanasy. “Employee Green Behavior: A Theoretical Framework, Multilevel Review, and Future Research Agenda.” Organization & Environment 28.1 (2015): 103–125.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article proposes a conceptual model based on person-environment interaction, job performance, and motivational theories to review employee green behavior literature. The review investigates a multilevel structure of employee green behavior and proposes the antecedents and outcomes at the institutional, organizational, leader, team, and employee levels. The article also offers an agenda for future research on this topic.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S., and Susan E. Jackson. “Linking Competitive Strategies with Human Resource Management Practices.” Academy of Management Executive 1.3 (1987): 207–219.

    DOI: 10.5465/AME.1987.4275740Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors argue that employers need to elicit and support employee role behaviors that fit their competitive strategies, and they present a number of dimensions for describing role behaviors, such as repetitive versus innovative and low risk taking versus high risk taking. Then they present a model of how the role behaviors needed in organizations vary for three types of strategies: innovation, cost reduction, and quality improvement.

    Find this resource:

  • Snape, Ed, and Tom Redman. “HRM Practices, Organizational Citizenship Behaviour, and Performance: A Multi‐level Analysis.” Journal of Management Studies 47.7 (2010): 1219–1247.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes and examines a cross-level mediation model that individual perceived organizational support and perceived job influence mediated the workplace-level HRM practices on individual-level task performance and organizational citizenship behavior.

    Find this resource:

Ability-Motivation-Opportunity Framework

It has been long suggested in the psychology research that employee performance is a function of abilities, motivation, and opportunities. Strategic HRM scholars have applied this framework to explain how HRM practices influence organizational performance by enhancing employees’ abilities, motivation, and opportunities to perform (e.g., see Appelbaum, et al. 2000). This framework is useful to explain the components of HRM systems (e.g., see Lepak, et al. 2006) and the mediating role of employee outcomes in the relationship between HRM systems and organizational performance (e.g., see Jiang, et al. 2012).

  • Appelbaum, Eileen, Thomas Bailey, Peter Berg, and Arne L. Kalleberg. Manufacturing Advantage: Why High-Performance Work Systems Pay Off. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines the effect of high-performance workplace practices in three industries: steel, apparel, and medical electronic instruments and imaging. The authors collected data from both managers and workers from numerous sites to understand the mechanisms through which high-performance work systems influence firm performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Jiang, Kaifeng, David P. Lepak, Jia Hu, and Judith C. Baer. “How Does Human Resource Management Influence Organizational Outcomes? A Meta-analytic Investigation of Mediating Mechanisms.” Academy of Management Journal 55.6 (2012): 1264–1294.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reports the results of a meta-analytic review of the effects of skills-enhancing, motivation-enhancing, and opportunity-enhancing dimensions of HRM systems on proximal organizational outcomes (human capital, motivation) and distal organizational outcomes (voluntary turnover, operational outcomes, financial outcomes). It concludes that HRM systems influence financial outcomes both through direct and indirect effects.

    Find this resource:

  • Lepak, David P., Hui Liao, Yunhyung Chung, and Erika E. Harden. “A Conceptual Review of Human Resource Management Systems in Strategic Human Resource Management Research.” Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 25 (2006): 217–271.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews the conceptual content of HRM systems that have been studied, and contends that HRM systems should target a strategic objective and be designed to achieve it by influencing knowledge, skills, and abilities; motivation and effort; and opportunities. It also explores several methodological issues associated with studying HRM systems.

    Find this resource:

Resource-Based View

Wernerfelt 1984 describes the resource-based view of firms, which states that the need for resources is a primary determinant of management policies and procedures. Later, Barney 1991 expanded this idea to argue that organizations can succeed by gaining and retaining control over scarce, valuable, and inimitable resources. Subsequent elaboration of the resource-based view and descriptions of its implications for HRM in Wright, et al. 1994; Boxall 1988; and Wright, et al. 2001 ensured a central position for the resource-based view within scholarship on strategic HRM. However, a detailed critique of this perspective in Kaufman 2015 has challenged its dominance.

  • Barney, Jay. “Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage.” Journal of Management 17.1 (1991): 99–120.

    DOI: 10.1177/014920639101700108Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic article that helped support the earlier claims of Michael Porter regarding the importance of being able to gain competitive advantage through HRM practices.

    Find this resource:

  • Boxall, Peter. “Achieving Competitive Advantage through Human Resource Strategy: Towards a Theory of Industry Dynamics.” Human Resource Management Review 8.3 (1988): 265–288.

    DOI: 10.1016/S1053-4822(98)90005-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Builds on the resource-based view and other perspectives to sketch a theory of human resource advantage that addresses how firms can use HRM strategy to build and defend competitive superiority throughout phases of an industry life cycle; identifies aspects of the theory that are especially in need of more research.

    Find this resource:

  • Kaufman, Bruce E. “The RBV Theory Foundation of Strategic HRM: Critical Flaws, Problems for Research and Practice, and an Alternative Economics Paradigm.” Human Resource Management Journal 25.4 (2015): 516–540.

    DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques the resource-based paradigm for strategic HRM and develops an alternative economics-based decision model for making HRM choices, which is offered as a new paradigm for future theory and research in strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

  • Wernerfelt, Birger. “A Resource‐Based View of the Firm.” Strategic Management Journal 5.2 (1984): 171–180.

    DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250050207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is one of the most important articles about the resource-based view of the firm. It won the 1994 prize for the “best paper” published in the Strategic Management Journal five or more years prior, and set the basis for future research on this topic.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Patrick M., Benjamin B. Dunford, and Scott A. Snell. “Human Resources and the Resource Based View of the Firm.” Journal of Management 27.6 (2001): 701–721.

    DOI: 10.1177/014920630102700607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors review research on strategic HRM published during the previous decade and point out limitations and future directions for further integrating strategy and research on strategic HRM under the framework of the resource-based view of firms.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Patrick M., Gary C. McMahan, and Abagail McWilliams. “Human Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage: A Resource-Based Perspective.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 5.2 (1994): 301–326.

    DOI: 10.1080/09585199400000020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Integrates theories and findings on organizational behavior / HRM with the resource-based view of the firm to show how human resources can be important sources of sustained competitive advantage; describes how human resources can be valuable, rare, inimitable, and nonsubstitutable, and discusses the role of HRM practices and managers in this process.

    Find this resource:

Human Capital Theory

Human capital theory is presented in Becker 1964 to explain decisions made by individuals and organizations about investing in activities intended to enhance existing levels of human capital, such as the skills, experience, and knowledge of people. For individuals, investing time and money to improve one’s own human capital is justified to the extent that such investments are likely to improve outcomes such as career advancement, job mobility, and earning power. Tsang, et al. 1991 applies these ideas to decisions about investing in activities to enhance the human capital of the workforce—for example, that investments in recruiting, training, compensation, and benefits should be based on the expected economic returns. In the early 21st century, scholars of strategic HRM emphasize firm-level human capital and examine the role of HRM systems in creating human capital of value to firms. A review of sixty-six empirical studies in Crook, et al. 2011 provides support for the claim that human capital is associated with better firm performance. The specific processes through which an HRM system creates human capital that can be leveraged to achieve organizational objectives are now being investigated in work such as Coff and Kryscynski 2011, while the need to better understand the boundary conditions of such effects has been pointed out in Campbell, et al. 2012. Understanding the cross-level emergent processes through which the human capital of individual employees becomes strategically valuable has been the focus of a new line of work, including Ployhart, et al. 2006 and Ployhart and Moliterno 2011. Most recently, work grounded in human capital theory has applied the new label of “strategic human capital” to set the work apart from other research in the field of strategic HRM.

  • Becker, Gary S. Human Capital. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1964.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic book showing the similarity between the investment in an individual’s education and training and business investments in equipment. The author of the book won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economic Science.

    Find this resource:

  • Campbell, Benjamin A., Russell Coff, and David Kryscynski. “Rethinking Sustained Competitive Advantage from Human Capital.” Academy of Management Review 37.3 (2012): 376–395.

    DOI: 10.5465/amr.2010.0276Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper challenges the argument that firm-specific human capital is a source of competitive advantage because it constrains employee mobility. The authors propose three boundary conditions that limit the applicability of this logic. They further build on their discussion of the three boundary conditions to provide a more comprehensive framework for understanding the conditions under which human capital is likely to contribute to creating sustained advantages.

    Find this resource:

  • Coff, Russell, and David Kryscynski. “Invited Editorial: Drilling for Micro-foundations of Human Capital–Based Competitive Advantages.” Journal of Management 37.5 (2011): 1429–1443.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206310397772Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how individual-level phenomena underpin mechanisms that sustain human capital–based advantages while also creating management dilemmas that must be resolved to create value; argues that generic HRM best practices cannot provide solutions to the dilemmas because the dilemmas are idiosyncratic; offers a research agenda for exploring cross-level components of human capital–based advantages.

    Find this resource:

  • Crook, T. Russell, Samuel Y. Todd, James G. Combs, David J. Woehr, and David J. Ketchen Jr. “Does Human Capital Matter? A Meta-analysis of the Relationship between Human Capital and Firm Performance.” Journal of Applied Psychology 96.3 (2011): 443–456.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0022147Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This meta-analytic review examines studies of the relationship between human capital and firm performance and identifies moderators that might account for variation in that focal relationship. Consistent with the resource-based view of firms, the authors found that the focal relationship was stronger for studies using longitudinal data, studies examining firm-specific human capital, and those using operational indicators of firm performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Ployhart, Robert E., and Thomas P. Moliterno. “Emergence of the Human Capital Resource: A Multilevel Model.” Academy of Management Review 36.1 (2011): 127–150.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2011.55662569Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article offers a multilevel model to connect microlevel, intermediate-level, and macrolevel analysis when examining the concept of human capital. The authors define human capital as a unit-level resource and explain how individuals’ knowledge, skills, abilities, or other characteristics become unit-level human capital through emergent processes.

    Find this resource:

  • Ployhart, Robert E., Jeff A. Weekley, and Kathryn Baughman. “The Structure and Function of Human Capital Emergence: A Multilevel Examination of the Attraction-Selection-Attrition Model.” Academy of Management Journal 49.4 (2006): 661–677.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMJ.2006.22083023Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article proposes and tests a multilevel model of human capital measured as personality at the individual, job, and organization levels. The authors found that personality at the three levels was positively related to job satisfaction and performance, but the variances of higher-level personalities weakened the positive relationships.

    Find this resource:

  • Tsang, Mun C., Russell W. Rumberger, and Henry M. Levin. “The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Worker Productivity.” Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society 30.2 (1991): 209–228.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An empirical study that examines the relationships between human capital investment surplus and individual work attitudes and productivity. It reveals that surplus investment in human capital (e.g., surplus schooling) has a negative effect on job satisfaction and turnover.

    Find this resource:

Social Capital Theory

The concept of social capital draws attention to the important role of the social relationships that connect organizational members together and establish interdependencies between organizations. The value of social capital to individual employees is well established: for example, Burt 1997 shows that social capital is associated with one’s promotability, and Podolny and Baron 1997 demonstrates that people with more social capital experience greater career success. Nahapiet and Ghoshal 1998 argues that social capital contributes to the development of intellectual capital and thereby provides a source of competitive advantage for firms, and Leana and van Buren 1999 contends that employment practices are the primary means through which firms can create social capital. The role of strategic HRM for creating social capital has been demonstrated in several studies. For example, a study of top management teams in Collins and Clark 2003 found that HRM practices for top management were associated with their external and internal social networks, and that such social capital was associated with better financial performance.

  • Burt, Ronald S. “The Contingent Value of Social Capital.” Administrative Science Quarterly 42.2 (1997): 339–365.

    DOI: 10.2307/2393923Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An empirical article that examines the relationship between social capital and career outcomes, including rewards, early promotion, and bonus. The author found that social capital was positively related to career outcomes, and that the relationships became stronger when the focal employee had fewer peers doing the same work.

    Find this resource:

  • Collins, Christopher J., and Kevin D. Clark. “Strategic Human Resource Practices, Top Management Team Social Networks, and Firm Performance: The Role of Human Resource Practices in Creating Organizational Competitive Advantage.” Academy of Management Journal 46.6 (2003): 740–751.

    DOI: 10.2307/30040665Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study of seventy-three high-technology firms examined the relationships among network-building HRM practices, the social networks of top management teams, and firm performance. It shows that the relationship between the HRM system and firm performance was partially explained by characteristics of top managers’ social networks.

    Find this resource:

  • Leana, Carrie R., and Harry J. van Buren III. “Organizational Social Capital and Employment Practices.” Academy of Management Review 24.3 (1999): 538–555.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews meanings of social capital found in literature to date, introduces the construct of organizational social capital, and defines it as a resource reflecting the character of social relations in an organization—specifically, realized collective goal orientation and shared trust; discusses employment practices as primary mechanisms that foster/discourage the development of organizational social capital.

    Find this resource:

  • Nahapiet, Janine, and Sumantra Ghoshal. “Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organizational Advantage.” Academy of Management Review 23.2 (1998): 242–266.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper provides a theoretical model to explain why social capital can lead to competitive advantage for firms. The authors argue that social capital can facilitate the creation of new intellectual capital, which may serve as a source of competitive advantage.

    Find this resource:

  • Podolny, Joel M., and James N. Baron. “Resources and Relationships: Social Networks and Mobility in the Workplace.” American Sociological Review 62.5 (1997): 673–693.

    DOI: 10.2307/2657354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An empirical article that examines how the structure and content of individuals’ networks affect their mobility within organizations. The authors found that having a large and sparse network of informal ties for acquiring information and resources could enhance an individual’s mobility.

    Find this resource:

Institutional Theory

In contrast to the psychological heritage of the behavioral perspective, and the strategic and economic heritage of the resource-based view, institutional theory adopts a sociological perspective. Institutional theory views organizations as social entities that respond to environmental pressures in order to gain legitimacy and ensure their survival. The authors of Tolbert and Zucker 1983 use institutional theory to describe the dynamic processes through which firms copy the HRM systems of other firms, resulting in the spreading of HRM policies and practices throughout a population of organizations. Institutional theory is especially helpful for understanding the diffusion and the convergence (or divergence) of HRM systems throughout the global population of firms, as described in Lewis, et al. 2019, and as demonstrated in Zhu and Warner 2019; Croucher, et al. 2012; and Thory 2008.

  • Croucher, Richard, Geoff Wood, Chris Brewster, and Michael Brookes. “Employee Turnover, HRM and Institutional Contexts.” Economic and Industrial Democracy 33.4 (2012): 605–620.

    DOI: 10.1177/0143831X11424768Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined employee turnover rates in market-based and other forms of economies found throughout Europe. The findings show that employee exits are more common in market-based economies, and also that institutionalized employee voice reduces turnover.

    Find this resource:

  • Lewis, Alexander C., Robert L. Cardy, and Lulu S. R. Huang. “Institutional Theory and HRM: A New Look.” Human Resource Management Review 29.3 (2019): 316–335.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors argue that institutional theory provides a useful perspective for research examining the role of context in strategic HRM and its consequences for HRM professionals. The article is valuable for providing an update of research conducted during the prior fifteen years and offers suggestions for future research that takes into account institutional complexity, multilevel dynamics, and human agency.

    Find this resource:

  • Thory, Kathryn. “The Internationalisation of HRM through Reverse Transfer: Two Case Studies of French Multinationals in Scotland.” Human Resource Management Journal 18.1 (2008): 54–71.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2007.00058.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study presents two case studies of the reverse transfer of HRM practices within two French multinational companies operating in Scotland. It identifies several factors that constrained the transfer of practices in multinational companies from foreign subsidiaries to parent headquarter operations.

    Find this resource:

  • Tolbert, Pamela S., and Lynne G. Zucker. “Institutional Sources of Change in the Formal Structure of Organizations: The Diffusion of Civil Service Reform, 1880–1935.” Administrative Science Quarterly 28.1 (1983): 22–39.

    DOI: 10.2307/2392383Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined the diffusion and institutionalization of change in formal organization structure. Its findings indicate that the adoption of a policy or program by an organization is determined by the extent to which the policy is institutionalized.

    Find this resource:

  • Zhu, Cherrie Jiuhua, and Malcolm Warner. “The Emergence of Human Resource Management in China: Convergence, Divergence and Contextualization.” Human Resource Management Review 29.2 (2019): 87–97.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article aims to shed light on the field of convergence, divergence, and contextualization in the field of international human resource management. It proposes that the ways to manage people in China diverge or converge with HR theories and practices developed in the West that reflect the varying contexts of the countries and regions and the periods of time.

    Find this resource:

Critical Management Perspective

As these descriptions of the dominant theoretical perspectives make clear, most scholarship on strategic HRM is uncritical of capitalist systems and economic motives. Even as it acknowledges the legitimate concerns of multiple stakeholders, such scholarship often allows the financial interests of investors to dominate. The firm-centric foundations of strategic HRM have been critiqued and bemoaned occasionally by proponents of critical management studies, as seen in Legge 1995, Delbridge and Keenoy 2010, and Thompson 2011, as well as empirical evidence such as that presented in Jensen, et al. 2013, which shows there may be a “dark” side to strategic HRM.

  • Delbridge, Rick, and Tom Keenoy. “Beyond Managerialism?” In Special Issue: Critical Reflections on HRM and Its Possible Futures. International Journal of Human Resource Management 21.6 (2010): 799–817.

    DOI: 10.1080/09585191003729309Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A theoretical paper that suggests using a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches of critical HRM to enrich the mainstream HRM research.

    Find this resource:

  • Jensen, Jaclyn M., Pankaj C. Patel, and Jake G. Messersmith. “High-Performance Work Systems and Job Control: Consequences for Anxiety, Role Overload, and Turnover Intentions.” Journal of Management 39.6 (2013): 1699–1724.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206311419663Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This multilevel investigation looks at how the HRM practices measured at the unit level could influence individuals’ anxiety, role overload, and turnover intentions. The study cautions us to remember that “strategic” HRM systems—that is, those designed to maximize employee performance—may have unintended negative consequences for employees’ satisfaction as well as their psychological health.

    Find this resource:

  • Legge, Karen. Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities. London: Macmillan Business, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-24156-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reflecting a skeptical UK perspective prominent in the mid-1990s, the author asks whether HRM is different from personnel management. Adopting a critical perspective, this book raises probing questions concerning the appropriateness of the strategic-HRM approach to workforce management, paying particular attention to the broader socio-politico-economic context.

    Find this resource:

  • Thompson, Paul. “The Trouble with HRM.” Human Resource Management Journal 21.4 (2011): 355–367.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2011.00180.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Asserts that the legitimacy of (strategic) HRM is threatened, and considers the sources and perceived solutions of the threat, addresses the question of what a critical approach can contribute to a discussion of the field’s troubles, presents the case for a political-economy approach that situates HR troubles within the constraints of the accumulation regimes of financialized capitalism, and seeks to identify common ground for dialogue between mainstream and critical approaches.

    Find this resource:

Types of HRM Systems

Strategic-HRM authors have used many different labels to describe the several types of HRM systems they study, but the most commonly used labels are High-Involvement and High-Commitment HRM Systems and High-Performance HRM Systems. In addition, several Targeted HRM Systems have been studied.

High-Involvement and High-Commitment HRM Systems

When they reviewed the types of HRM systems that have been studied by scholars of strategic HRM, the authors of Lepak, et al. 2006 identified high-involvement and high-commitment systems as among the most prominent. As Wood 1999 explains, high-involvement systems provide employees with opportunities to participate in shaping the nature of their work though input into important decisions, since they emphasize empowerment and devolution of decision-making power to employees. As Boxall and Macky 2009 explains, high-commitment HRM incorporates HRM philosophies, policies, practices, and processes designed to increase or enhance the employees’ sense of identification and attachment to the organization and job. A high-commitment system is aimed at increasing the employees’ sense of loyalty and dedication to the organization. After they reviewed the body of evidence concerning the challenges and benefits of high-involvement HRM systems, the authors of Boxall, et al. 2019 conclude “that the high-involvement pathway should be considered one of the most important vectors available to improve the quality of work and employee well-being” (p. 2).

  • Boxall, Peter, Meng-Long Huo, Keith Macky, and Jonathon Winterton. “High-Involvement Work Processes and Systems: A Review of Theory, Distribution, Outcomes, and Tensions.” Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 37 (2019): 1–52.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors provide a thorough review of research that has examined the firm- and employee-level outcomes associated with employee involvement. They also critique most-used research methods and summarize some of the theoretical issues embedded in this literature, and they use these as a springboard for suggesting future research directions.

    Find this resource:

  • Boxall, Peter, and Keith Macky. “Research and Theory on High‐Performance Work Systems: Progressing the High‐Involvement Stream.” Human Resource Management Journal 19.1 (2009): 3–23.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors critique the terminology of high-performance work systems (HPWS) and contrast it with high-involvement work systems and high-commitment management, arguing that the latter usefully acknowledges the phenomenon of workplace change. They also present a model of the linkages among high-involvement HRM systems, related management actions and investments, employees’ experiences, employees’ affective outcomes, and operational outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Lepak, David P., Hui Liao, Yunhyung Chung, and Erika E. Harden. “A Conceptual Review of Human Resource Management Systems in Strategic Human Resource Management Research.” Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 25 (2006): 217–271.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0742-7301(06)25006-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews the conceptual content of HRM systems that have been studied, and the authors contend that HRM systems should target a strategic objective and be designed to achieve it by influencing knowledge, skills, and abilities; motivation and effort; and opportunities. It also explores several methodological issues associated with studying HRM systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Wood, Stephen. “Human Resource Management and Performance.” International Journal of Management Reviews 1.4 (1999): 367–413.

    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2370.00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a detailed critique of the early empirical studies on strategic HRM; first Wood describes the conceptual underpinnings of high-involvement management, and then he reviews and critiques fifteen studies of the relationship between HRM systems (including high-involvement and high-performance systems) and organizational performance in light of debates concerning universalistic and contingency perspectives.

    Find this resource:

High-Performance HRM Systems

In contrast to the High-Involvement and High-Commitment HRM Systems, the high-performance HRM system is designed to enhance or increase levels of rather generic measures of organizational performance (also referred to as the organization’s bottom line). Studies of the relationship between high-performance HRM systems and generic firm performance have dominated the field of strategic-HRM research since the mid-1990s, inspired by an early study, Huselid 1995. After nearly twenty years of subsequent research, Posthuma, et al. 2013 proposes an integrative taxonomy of high-performance work practices that may be useful for future studies of such systems.

  • Huselid, Mark A. “The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity, and Corporate Financial Performance.” Academy of Management Journal 38.3 (1995): 635–672.

    DOI: 10.2307/256741Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    For a large sample of firms in the United States, a positive relationship was found between the use of so-called high-performance HRM practices and both the intermediate or near-term outcomes of productivity and employee turnover, as well as longer-term indicators of the firms’ financial performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Posthuma, Richard A., Michael C. Campion, Malika Masimova, and Michael A. Campion. “A High Performance Work Practices Taxonomy: Integrating the Literature and Directing Future Research.” Journal of Management 39.5 (2013): 1184–1220.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206313478184Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper reviews the components of HPWS by analyzing 193 published studies and classifying sixty-one specific practices into nine categories. The authors analyzed the usefulness of this taxonomy by considering how often those practices have been used, when they were most frequently used, and in which countries those practices have been used.

    Find this resource:

Targeted HRM Systems

Targeted HRM systems comprise HRM activities that are expected to have positive consequences for more-specific measures of organizational performance. As described previously, Human Capital Theory and Social Capital Theory have stimulated research on those particular outcomes. In addition, other frequently investigated targeted HRM systems are those aimed at improving customer-oriented outcomes such as customer service, as illustrated in Chuang and Liao 2010. Interest in HRM systems designed to influence knowledge-intensive teamwork and other outcomes of particular interest to firms that compete on the basis of knowledge and innovation are also attracting scholars’ attention, as illustrated in Chang, et al. 2013 and Chuang, et al. 2016. Most recently, HRM systems that target environmental sustainability have begun to receive attention, often under the label of “Green HRM”, as described in Ren, et al. 2018.

Antecedents of HRM Systems

Scholars studying strategic HRM systems have invested most energetically in studying the consequences of HRM systems rather than striving to understand the antecedents that influence the design and content of HRM systems. The few studies that have investigated antecedents can be divided into studies that look at factors external to the organization and aspects of the organization itself. The most commonly studied external antecedents include national culture, as described in Brewster, et al. 2019; country industrial relations and union representation, as shown in Liu, et al. 2009; and market complexity and competition, as demonstrated in Patel and Cardon 2010. The importance of industry effects is noted in Datta, et al. 2005 and Carmeli and Schaubroeck 2005. The more commonly studied internal antecedents—that is, conditions within the organization but external to the HRM system—are business strategy, as in Bae and Lawler 2000, and organizational culture/climate, as explained in Harrison and Bazzy 2017.

  • Bae, Johngseok, and John J. Lawler. “Organizational and HRM Strategies in Korea: Impact on Firm Performance in an Emerging Economy.” Academy of Management Journal 43.3 (2000): 502–517.

    DOI: 10.2307/1556407Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This empirical study examines differentiation strategy and the value of HRM as antecedents of high-involvement HRM systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Brewster, Chris, Wolfgang Mayrhofer, and Elaine Farndale, eds. Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management. 2d ed. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2019.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited book is an excellent resource for scholars who wish to understand the challenges and differences in HRM systems across countries. It includes descriptions of relevant theories and research methods and also describes specific HRM practices found in many different counties and geographic regions.

    Find this resource:

  • Carmeli, Abraham, and John Schaubroeck. “How Leveraging Human Resource Capital with Its Competitive Distinctiveness Enhances the Performance of Commercial and Public Organizations.” Human Resource Management 44.4 (2005): 391–412.

    DOI: 10.1002/hrm.20081Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the relationship between human capital and firm performance, finding that human capital was positively related to performance criteria only when human capital was considered distinctive in terms of being highly valuable, inimitable, rare, and nonsubstitutable. The authors found consistent results both from private- and public-sector organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Datta, Deepak K., James P. Guthrie, and Patrick M. Wright. “Human Resource Management and Labor Productivity: Does Industry Matter?” Academy of Management Journal 48.1 (2005): 135–145.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMJ.2005.15993158Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined the role of three industry characteristics in moderating the relationships between high-performance work systems (HPWS) and productivity. The authors found that the impact of high-performance work systems on productivity became more positive for industries with lower capital intensity, higher growth, and higher differentiation.

    Find this resource:

  • Harrison, Teresa, and Joshua D. Bazzy. “Aligning Organizational Culture and Strategic Human Resource Management.” Journal of Management Development 36.10 (2017): 1260–1269.

    DOI: 10.1108/JMD-12-2016-0335Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors describe a model linking firm strategy, organization culture, and strategic HRM and propose that organizational culture moderates the linkage between an organization’s strategy and strategic HRM. They present testable propositions concerning how firm performance and effectiveness are influenced by the linkage between strategy and using HRM as a competitive advantage.

    Find this resource:

  • Liu, Wenchuan, James P. Guthrie, Patrick C. Flood, and Sarah MacCurtain. “Unions and the Adoption of High Performance Work Systems: Does Employment Security Play a Role?” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 63.1 (2009): 109–127.

    DOI: 10.1177/001979390906300106Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines the relationship between union membership rates and the use of HPWS. It finds that firms were less likely to use HPWS as union membership rate increased, but employment security significantly ameliorated this negative impact.

    Find this resource:

  • Patel, Pankaj C., and Melissa S. Cardon. “Adopting HRM Practices and Their Effectiveness in Small Firms Facing Product‐Market Competition.” In Special Section: Entrepreneurship. Edited by Domingo Ribeiro Soriano, Salvador Roig Dobón, and Judith Tansky. Human Resource Management 49.2 (2010): 265–290.

    DOI: 10.1002/hrm.20346Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examined the interaction between group culture and product-market competition on the use of HRM systems. They found that firms with group culture were more likely to adopt HRM systems as product-market competition increased.

    Find this resource:

Outcomes and Strategic HRM Systems

To date, most research on strategic HRM has focused on documenting the relationship between HRM systems and either financial outcomes of interest to owners/investors or employee responses such as commitment, satisfaction, and various forms of stress and strain. The evidence generally supports the assumption that strategic HRM systems are beneficial for firms, and often for employees as well. Nevertheless, more research is needed to fully understand how HRM systems can help organizations simultaneously satisfy the concerns of these and other stakeholders.

Financial Performance

Many researchers have investigated HRM systems and their impact on organization success, in particular success as measured by financial performance. Jiang, et al. 2012 finds that the most commonly used financial measures are profitability, stock price performance, sales growth, and revenue growth (these various indicators may also be referred to as “bottom line” indicators of success). Studies that have been conducted since the mid-1990s in countries around the world have found a positive relationship between HRM systems and these financial outcomes. For many strategic HRM researchers, finding evidence to support the relationship between HRM systems and these indicators of positive financial outcomes, such as that found in Saridakis, et al. 2017, is the essence of the field. As found in Tzabbar, et al. 2017, however, such effects depend on several contextual conditions.

  • Jiang, Kaifeng, David P. Lepak, Jia Hu, and Judith C. Baer. “How Does Human Resource Management Influence Organizational Outcomes? A Meta-analytic Investigation of Mediating Mechanisms.” Academy of Management Journal 55.6 (2012): 1264–1294.

    DOI: 10.5465/amj.2011.0088Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reports the results of a meta-analytic review of the effects of skills-enhancing, motivation-enhancing, and opportunity-enhancing dimensions of HRM systems on proximal organizational outcomes (human capital, motivation) and distal organizational outcomes (voluntary turnover, operational outcomes, financial outcomes). It concludes that HRM systems influence financial outcomes both through direct and through indirect effects.

    Find this resource:

  • Saridakis, George, Yanqing Lai, and Cary L. Cooper. “Exploring the Relationship between HRM and Firm Performance: A Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies.” Human Resource Management Review 27.1 (2017): 87–96.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2016.09.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors use meta-analysis to estimate the effect sizes of the relationship between high-performance work practices and firm performance measures based only on data from longitudinal studies. The results indicate that a system of practices has stronger relationships with operational and financial firm performance than do individual HRM practices.

    Find this resource:

  • Tzabbar, Daniel, Shay Tzafrir, and Yehuda Baruch. “A Bridge over Troubled Water: Replication, Integration and Extension of the Relationship between HRM Practices and Organizational Performance Using Moderating Meta-analysis.” Human Resource Management Review 27.1 (2017): 134–148.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2016.08.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using moderating meta-analysis of eighty-nine studies, the authors show that context and research design have strong influences on the relationship found between HRM practices and firm performance. Societal context, industry sector, and firm size have large consequences for the effects of HRM practices, providing strong support for the contingency perspective of strategic HRM.

    Find this resource:

Operational Outcomes

An alternative way of studying the outcomes of strategic HRM is through examining indicators of operational performance. It is thought that measures of organizational performance might provide an understanding of the relationship between financial outcome measures and HRM systems. Guest and Conway 2011, among other works, argues that HRM systems can influence financial outcomes through their impact on productivity, innovation, customer service, and quality. Findings of studies thus far generally support this scenario.

  • Guest, David, and Neil Conway. “The Impact of HR Practices, HR Effectiveness and a ‘Strong HR System’ on Organisational Outcomes: A Stakeholder Perspective.” In Special Issue: Comparative Approaches on HR and Line Manager Relationships and Their Effects on Employees. International Journal of Human Resource Management 22.8 (2011): 1686–1702.

    DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2011.565657Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Adopting a stakeholder perspective and building on the idea that “strong” HRM systems create consensus and shared perceptions, this study of senior line managers and HR managers found that HRM effectiveness was viewed as better, and firm performance was higher in firms with more HRM practices in place and when there are also high levels of agreement between HRM and line managers.

    Find this resource:

Organizational Capabilities

Taking another step back in the chain of relationships, it is also likely that strategic HRM systems influence operational and financial outcomes indirectly by improving the organization’s organizational capabilities, such as adaptive capabilities, problem solving, learning capability, organizational ambidexterity, and flexibility. Following this logic, Chang, et al. 2013 finds that flexibility-oriented HRM systems contribute to improved absorptive capacity, which, in turn, facilitates innovation. An interesting principle illustrated in Li, et al. 2018 indicates that high-involvement work systems are valuable for developing an organization’s innovation capability.

  • Chang, Song, Yaping Gong, Sean A. Way, and Liangding Jia. “Flexibility-Oriented HRM Systems, Absorptive Capacity, and Market Responsiveness and Firm Innovativeness.” Journal of Management 39.7 (2013): 1924–1951.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206312466145Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors propose flexibility-oriented HRM systems and find that the relationship between HRM systems and innovation is mediated through potential and realized absorptive capacity.

    Find this resource:

  • Li, Yixuan, Mo Wang, Danielle D. van Jaarsveld, Gwendolyn K. Lee, and Dennis G. Ma. “From Employee-Experienced High-Involvement Work System to Innovation: An Emergence-Based Human Resource Management Framework.” Academy of Management Journal 61.5 (2018): 2000–2019.

    DOI: 10.5465/amj.2015.1101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors conducted research in Canadian workplaces to examine the relationship between high-involvement HRM and organizational innovation. They found a positive relationship and describe three enabling conditions that strengthen the relationship.

    Find this resource:

Employee Reactions

Another set of outcomes that have been studied by researchers of strategic HRM are employee responses, including positive reactions such as commitment, satisfaction, citizenship behavior, innovative behavior, and positive perceptions about the organization’s concern for quality and safety. Many published studies have found that employees generally react positively to strategic HRM systems, but as Boxall and Macky 2009; Ramsay, et al. 2000; and van de Voorde, et al. 2012 remind us, some HRM systems may also be associated with less positive outcomes, such as turnover rates, employee stress, tension, and absenteeism. Such evidence is a reason why Guest 2017 calls for a new analytic approach that places greater emphasis on employee well-being.

  • Boxall, Peter, and Keith Macky. “Research and Theory on High-Performance Work Systems: Progressing the High‐Involvement Stream.” Human Resource Management Journal 19.1 (2009): 3–23.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2008.00082.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors critique the terminology of high-performance work systems and contrast it with high-involvement work systems and high-commitment management. They present a model of the linkages among high-involvement HRM systems, related management actions and investments, employees’ experiences, employees’ affective outcomes, and operational outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Guest, David. “Human Resource Management and Employee Well‐Being: Towards a New Analytic Framework.” Human Resource Management Journal 27.1 (2017): 22–38.

    DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12139Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author notes that a mutual gains model of HRM says that HRM practices should have positive outcomes for individuals and organizations alike, but HRM scholarship tends to focus mostly on organizational performance with little concern for employees. The article presents an alternative model to HRM that emphasizes employee well‐being and a positive employment relationship, which Guest argues can improve the performance of both individuals and organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Ramsay, Harvie, Dora Scholarios, and Bill Harley. “Employees and High-Performance Work Systems: Testing Inside the Black Box.” British Journal of Industrial Relations 38.4 (2000): 501–531.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8543.00178Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study explores the relationships between high-commitment HRM systems and distal firm performance through different mediating processes, including job satisfaction, management relations, discretion, work intensification, job security, and job strain.

    Find this resource:

  • van de Voorde, Karina, Jaap Paauwe, and Marc van Veldhoven. “Employee Well‐Being and the HRM–Organizational Performance Relationship: A Review of Quantitative Studies.” International Journal of Management Reviews 14.4 (2012): 391–407.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00322.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviewed the relationships between HRM practices and employee well-being outcomes. Based on thirty-six empirical studies, the authors conclude that HRM practices tend to have positive relationships with employee well-being in terms of happiness and relationship but negative relationships with health-related well-being outcomes.

    Find this resource:

Sustainability

Reflecting increasing pressures to include sustainability as an objective in implementing new strategies to achieve positive financial, social, and environmental outcomes and promote the common good, HRM scholars and practitioners are beginning to examine the implications of sustainability for human resource management. Building on the principles of strategic HRM, sustainable HRM is an evolutionary step forward for the field. Of particular relevance for HRM are new concerns about how organizations address societal needs and protect the natural environment, as described in Ehnert, et al. 2014; Kainzbauer and Rungruang 2019; and Mariappanadar 2019. While societal needs have long been of concern to HRM scholars, addressing the impact of business on the natural environment requires new HRM systems, as described in Ren, et al. 2018, while also providing new opportunities for HRM professionals to expand their roles, as illustrated in Jackson, et al. 2012 and described in Ren and Jackson 2019.

  • Ehnert, Ina, Wes Harry, and Klaus J. Zink, eds. Sustainability and Human Resource Management: Developing Sustainable Business Organizations. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This groundbreaking book summarizes the debates around the emerging field of sustainability and its implications for HRM. An international array of authors discuss HRM’s role in developing economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable organizations, and illustrate how this new research topic is evolving in different areas of the world.

    Find this resource:

  • Jackson, Susan E., Deniz Ones, and Stephan Dilchert, eds. Managing Human Resources for Environmental Sustainability. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume draws attention a number of workplace issues associated with environmental sustainability with chapters that describe HRM sustainability research and practices in organizations around the world. The cases describe indicate that many HRM professionals are creating and implementing initiatives with positive environmental impact, despite the current lack of little empirical research on this topic.

    Find this resource:

  • Kainzbauer, Astrid, and Parisa Rungruang. “Science Mapping the Knowledge Base on Sustainable Human Resource Management, 1982–2019.” Sustainability 11.14 (2019): 1–22.

    DOI: 10.3390/su11143938Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors describe the results of a bibliometric review that used science mapping tools to examine 475 Scopus-indexed articles about sustainable HRM. Graphs are used to show the field’s size, growth, regional distribution, primary journal outlet, and authors. They identify four major schools of thought and highlight topical trends.

    Find this resource:

  • Mariappanadar, Sugumar. Sustainable Human Resource Management: Strategies, Practices and Challenges. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2019.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This textbook provides a thorough discussion of the relationship between how firms manage their employees and their goal of achieving long-term social and environmental sustainability while also maintaining economic viability. It describes both cutting-edge scholarship and industry best-practices and is appropriate for upper-level undergraduate as well as postgraduate and MBA students.

    Find this resource:

  • Ren, Shuang, and Susan E. Jackson. “HRM Institutional Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Business Organizations.” Human Resource Management Review (2019): 100691.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2019.100691Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article draws upon the institutional theory literature to introduce the concept of HRM institutional entrepreneurship. The authors provide a framework for future research and discuss how HRM can engage internal and external stakeholders to help organizations pursue sustainability.

    Find this resource:

  • Ren, Shuang, Guiyao Tang, and Susan E. Jackson. “Green Human Resource Management Research in Emergence: A Review and Future Directions.” Asia Pacific Journal of Management 35.3 (2018): 769–803.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10490-017-9532-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors provide a narrative review to describe and evaluate the emerging field of “green HRM.” Among the research challenges to be addressed are refined conceptualizations and measurement of the green HRM construct. They also argue for adopting a multilevel perspective that considers employee perceptions and experiences related to green HRM as well as contextual and cultural conditions.

    Find this resource:

Contingency Perspectives

Delery and Doty 1996 describes the contingency perspective of strategic HRM as an approach that assumes HRM systems are more likely to have their desired consequences when they fit with the needs or characteristics of the organization. So rather than use a universalistic approach and assume that one type of HRM system fits all situations, the contingency perspective says that there are certain types of HRM systems for certain types of organization situations. The potential value of this perspective is demonstrated in Datta, et al. 2005 and Youndt, et al. 1996.

  • Datta, Deepak K., James P. Guthrie, and Patrick M. Wright. “Human Resource Management and Labor Productivity: Does Industry Matter?” Academy of Management Journal 48.1 (2005): 135–145.

    DOI: 10.5465/amj.2005.15993158Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study focuses on the contextual conditions of the relationship between HRM systems and performance outcomes. The authors found that the positive effects of high-performance work systems on labor productivity were more profound in industries with lower capital intensity, higher growth, and higher product differentiation.

    Find this resource:

  • Delery, John E., and D. Harold Doty. “Modes of Theorizing in Strategic Human Resource Management: Tests of Universalistic, Contingency, and Configurational Performance Predictions.” Academy of Management Journal 39.4 (1996): 802–835.

    DOI: 10.2307/256713Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Identifies three dominant theoretical perspectives in research on strategic HRM—contingencies, universalistic, and configurational—and discusses how each can be used to explain why several strategic HRM practices are associated with firm performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Youndt, Mark A., Scott A. Snell, James W. Dean Jr., and David P. Lepak. “Human Resource Management, Manufacturing Strategy, and Firm Performance.” Academy of Management Journal 39.4 (1996): 836–866.

    DOI: 10.2307/256714Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines the moderating role of business strategy on the relationship between HRM and firm performance and finds that business strategy emphasizing high quality strengthened the positive relationship between human capital–enhancing practices and operational performance.

    Find this resource:

Workforce Segmentation

Another approach to understanding contingencies is to segment employees into distinct groups, from which the organization requires different skills and behaviors. Schuler and Jackson 1987 shows that the HRM practices used to manage lower-level employees and line managers are often quite different, for example. Lepak and Snell 1999 uses the term “HRM architecture” to refer to the way that organizations structure their HRM system around distinct groups of employees.

  • Lepak, David P., and Scott A. Snell. “The Human Resource Architecture: Toward a Theory of Human Capital Allocation and Development.” Academy of Management Review 24.1 (1999): 31–48.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes an HRM architecture typology for four forms of employment: internal development, acquisition, contracting, and alliance. Builds on the resource-based view of the firm, human capital theory, and transaction cost economics to pose new research questions about employment modes and relationships, HRM configurations, and competitive advantage.

    Find this resource:

  • Schuler, Randall S., and Susan E. Jackson. “Organizational Strategy and Organization Level as Determinants of Human Resource Management Practices.” Human Resource Planning 10.3 (1987): 125–141.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article further describes the organizational determinants of HRM practices. On the basis of a large organizational survey, the authors found that HRM practices varied across hierarchical levels within organizations, and also by the strategy that a company was pursuing.

    Find this resource:

Differentiated Workforce

One common HRM approach that uses different HRM practices for distinct groups of employees considers which groups of employees have the most strategic value to the organization. Thus, some companies manage their “A-players” (top performers) differently from the rest of the workforces, or they may use different HRM practices to manage employees in “A-positions” (those essential to the strategic mission) versus employees in less strategically central jobs. Becker, et al. 2009 refers to this approach to designing HRM systems as creating a “differentiated workforce.” As Tarique and Schuler 2010 describes, many organizations use this approach as a principle for effective global talent management strategy, but Marescaux, et al. 2013 cautions that such practices may be a double-edged sword that can have some negative consequences. Most recently, as Meijerink and Keegan 2019 describes, growth in the so-called “gig economy” presents new challenges for HRM.

  • Becker, Brian E., Mark A. Huselid, and Richard W. Beatty. The Differentiated Workforce. Boston: Harvard Business, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors recommend managing a firm’s workforce like a portfolio of investments, with larger investments being made in jobs that create greater company wealth. Instead of adopting “best practices” for all categories of employees, employers are urged to create a differentiated workforce and use HRM practices that leverage the talent of people employed in wealth-creating “A-positions.”

    Find this resource:

  • Marescaux, Elise, Sophie De Winne, and Luc Sels. “HR Practices and Affective Organisational Commitment: (When) Does HR Differentiation Pay Off?” Human Resource Management Journal 23.4 (2013): 329–345.

    DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the curvilinear relationship between perceived favorability of HR practices and affective organizational commitment, finding that the impact of perceived favorability was attenuated at positive levels. The finding suggests that differentiation of HR practices among employees may not always have a positive impact on employees.

    Find this resource:

  • Meijerink, Jeroen, and Anne Keegan. “Conceptualizing Human Resource Management in the Gig Economy: Toward a Platform Ecosystem Perspective.” In Special Issue: Work in the Gig Economy. Journal of Managerial Psychology 34.4 (2019): 214–232.

    DOI: 10.1108/JMP-07-2018-0277Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors describe how gig work is transforming the meaning of employment and then they conceptually explore its implications for HRM. They offer an ecosystem perspective and use it to suggest propositions about HRM’s new role and activities.

    Find this resource:

  • Tarique, Ibraiz, and Randall S. Schuler. “Global Talent Management: Literature Review, Integrative Framework, and Suggestions for Further Research.” Journal of World Business 45.2 (2010): 122–133.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2009.09.019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is one of the most cited articles published in the Journal of World Business. It reviews the growing field of global talent management in detail and also offers an integrative framework that others can use to guide their research in the future.

    Find this resource:

Methodological Issues

As empirical research on strategic HRM began to accumulate, it stimulated the field to consider more carefully a variety of issues that came into sharper focus as scholars sought to interpret the results of empirical research. Discussions about various methodological issues became inextricably entwined with important substantive questions, as Paauwe 2009 describes. Many of these challenges have been discussed without resolution for more than a decade. With the recent explosion of personal and work-related electronic “big data” available, and the developing field of HR analytics, new methodological opportunities as well as concerns and challenges are emerging, as Angrave, et al. 2016 describes.

  • Angrave, David, Andy Charlwood, Ian Kirkpatrick, Mark Lawrence, and Mark Stuart. “HR and Analytics: Why HR Is Set to Fail the Big Data Challenge.” Human Resource Management Journal 26.1 (2016): 1–11.

    DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12090Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the issues with HR analytics or big data solely based on HR information system. It argues that it is unlikely that the existing practices of HR analytics can deliver transformational change unless the HR profession engages operationally and strategically to develop better methods and approaches. The authors also emphasize the role of academics and believe that academics can help HR professionals to build more rigorous data collection and data analysis models to answer more important HR questions.

    Find this resource:

  • Paauwe, Jaap. “HRM and Performance: Achievements, Methodological Issues and Prospects.” Journal of Management Studies 46.1 (2009): 129–142.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2008.00809.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author reviews progress in the field during the previous fifteen years and discusses ongoing challenges that need to be addressed in the future. These include the methodological issues of how best to measure HRM systems and performance outcomes, as well as establishing causal relationships between the two.

    Find this resource:

Informants and What to Ask Them

Most studies of strategic HRM use methodologies that are suitable for empirical hypothesis testing, although some qualitative and exploratory studies have also been reported. For those conducting empirical research on strategic HRM, the two most important methodological questions discussed involve whom to ask (informants) and what to ask them. The most commonly used informants in research on strategic HRM are HR managers and senior line managers. Huselid and Becker 2000 states that this approach is appropriate because these organizational members are likely to have the information required to describe the HRM practices and policies. On the other hand, as Gerhart, et al. 2000 points out, it is also possible that nonmanagerial employees can serve as valuable informants, since it may be that their perceptions of the HRM system also provide some of the information needed to understand the impact of an HRM system. As the field has matured, it has begun to approach a consensus that there are strengths and weaknesses associated with each methodological approach, as recommended in Wright and Boswell 2002.

  • Gerhart, Barry, Patrick M. Wright, Gary C. McMahan, and Scott A. Snell. “Measurement Error in Research on Human Resources and Firm Performance: How Much Error Is There and How Does It Influence Effect Size Estimates?” Personnel Psychology 53.4 (2000): 803–834.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2000.tb02418.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors criticize the use of a single respondent to assess firm-level HRM practices or HRM effectives, and they suggest examining the collection data from multiple respondents in order to reduce measurement error and increase construct validity.

    Find this resource:

  • Huselid, Mark A., and Brain E. Becker. “Comment on ‘Measurement Error in Research on Human Resources and Firm Performance: How Much Error Is There and How Does It Influence Effect Size Estimates?’ by Gerhart, Wright, McMahan, and Snell.” Personnel Psychology 53.4 (2000): 835–854.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2000.tb02419.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors emphasize that information of HRM practices should be collected from people who have the best knowledge of such information, rather than from multiple respondents who may not have the accurate information.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Patrick M., and Wendy R. Boswell. “Desegregating HRM: A Review and Synthesis of Micro and Macro Human Resource Management Research.” Journal of Management 28.3 (2002): 247–276.

    DOI: 10.1177/014920630202800302Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors note that the field of HRM has bifurcated into independent subfields of strategic and functional HRM, which is dysfunctional. They propose a four-cell typology of HRM research based on level of analysis (individual/group or organization) and number of HRM practices (single or multiple), review then-recent research in each cell, and argue that future research should adopt a more integrative view.

    Find this resource:

Establishing Causality

The establishment of causal relationships remains a big challenge for strategic HRM. Much evidence points to significant and meaningful associations between HRM systems and a variety of important outcomes, but when David Guest reviewed the evidence (in Guest 2011), he concluded that it is insufficient for drawing conclusions about causality. Longitudinal investigations such as those in Piening, et al. 2013; Kim and Ployhart 2014; Shin and Konrad 2017; Schmidt and Pohler 2018; and Devaraj and Jiang 2019 have begun to address this void, however, and provide good examples to follow when designing future studies. Understanding causality is also likely to be improved as research increasingly explores multilevel explanatory models, as illustrated in Peccei and van de Voorde 2019.

  • Devaraj, Sarv, and Kaifeng Jiang. “It’s about Time–A Longitudinal Adaptation Model of High-Performance Work Teams.” Journal of Applied Psychology 104.3 (2019): 433–447.

    DOI: 10.1037/apl0000372Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study uses a quasi-experimental design to examine how implementation of work teams influences performance outcomes over time. The authors proposed and found that the growth rates of performance outcomes initially decline after implementation of high-performance work teams and later increase and become higher than the rates before implementation.

    Find this resource:

  • Guest, David E. “Human Resource Management and Performance: Still Searching for Some Answers.” Human Resource Management Journal 21.1 (2011): 3–13.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2010.00164.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews twenty years of theory and research on strategic HRM, identifies phases in its development, and sets out a number of challenges regarding theory, management processes, and research methodology. Guest concludes that the field is still unable to answer core questions about the relationship between HRM and performance, largely due to the lack of longitudinal data.

    Find this resource:

  • Kim, Youngsang, and Robert E. Ployhart. “The Effects of Staffing and Training on Firm Productivity and Profit Growth before, during, and after the Great Recession.” Journal of Applied Psychology 99.3 (2014): 361–389.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0035408Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing on research from strategy, economics, and applied psychology, the authors propose and find support for viewing staffing and training as key HRM practices that firms can use to generate slack resources, which, in turn, buffers them during recessions and helps promote post-recession recovery.

    Find this resource:

  • Peccei, Riccardo, and Karina van de Voorde. “The Application of the Multilevel Paradigm in Human Resource Management–Outcomes Research: Taking Stock and Going Forward.” Journal of Management 45 (2019): 786–818.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206316673720Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article evaluates forty-six empirical studies of relationships between HRM and for the purpose of considering how much progress has been made using the multilevel perspective. The authors conclude that effective multilevel research on HRM is still at an early stage and suggest areas for improvement in the application of the multilevel approach in studies of the HRM-outcome relationship. They conclude by arguing that greater application of the multilevel approach could improve understanding of the processes through which strategic HRM systems affect outcomes for individuals, teams, and organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Piening, Erk P., Alina M. Baluch, and Torsten Oliver Salge. “The Relationship between Employees’ Perceptions of Human Resource Systems and Organizational Performance: Examining Mediating Mechanisms and Temporal Dynamics.” Journal of Applied Psychology 98.6 (2013): 926–947.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0033925Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the first studies in strategic HRM that examined the dynamic nature of the relationships among HRM practices, employee outcomes, and organizational outcomes. It found that the trajectories in employees’ experiences of HRM practices were positively related to the changes in job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. It also found that increased organizational performance could, in turn, enhance the use of HRM systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Schmidt, Joseph A., and Dionne M. Pohler. “Making Stronger Causal Inferences: Accounting for Selection Bias in Associations between High Performance Work Systems, Leadership, and Employee and Customer Satisfaction.” Journal of Applied Psychology 103.9 (2018): 1001–1018.

    DOI: 10.1037/apl0000315Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors draw upon eight years of employee and customer survey data to examine whether the relationship between high-performance work systems and satisfaction outcomes can be explained by reverse causality, selection effects, or omitted variables.

    Find this resource:

  • Shin, Duckjung, and Alison M. Konrad. “Causality between High-Performance Work Systems and Organizational Performance.” Journal of Management 43.4 (2017): 973–997.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206314544746Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The causal associations between high-performance work systems and performance are examined by using a large longitudinal data set. Results revealed a reciprocal relationship, such that HRM systems contributed to productivity, and also that higher productivity supports the use of strategic HRM systems.

    Find this resource:

Practical Usefulness of Research Results

When the field of strategic-HRM scholarship was born, HRM expertise was seldom present in corporate boardrooms. While this has changed for the better since the 1980s, the field continues to strive toward gaining the respect enjoyed by other functional areas. Wright, et al. 2012 finds that chief HR officers are more likely to be members of the top management teams now as compared to in the past, but those responsible for designing and delivering effective HRM systems do not yet know how to fulfill the expectations of many company executives or many employees. One explanation for the current status of HR is that the evidence being generated by scholars is not sufficiently useful. Sparrow, et al. 2013 argues for research that draws lessons from the ongoing experimentation that firms are engaged in concerning how best to structure the HRM function. Others have attacked the problem of producing results that have practical useful implications by focusing on important problems. For example, in a study of 5,220 French firms, Delmas and Pekovic 2013 shows that adopting environmental-management standards led to increased training for employees and higher labor productivity. Using a strategic-HRM perspective to improve postmerger integration, as was done in Brueller, et al. 2016, is another example of the benefits that arise from research that focuses specifically on the practical problems that managers must address. Clearly, there is no shortage of important practical management problems to be solved by intelligent consideration and the appropriate use of strategic HRM systems.

  • Brueller, Nir N., Abraham Carmeli, and Gideon D. Markman. “Linking Merger and Acquisition Strategies to Postmerger Integration: A Configurational Perspective of Human Resource Management.” Journal of Management 44.5 (2016): 1793–1818.

    DOI: 10.1177/0149206315626270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using a configurational perspective, the authors developed a conceptual framework that explains how HRM practices can be used to align three types of merger-and-acquisition strategies (annex and assimilate, harvest and protect, link and promote) with desired postmerger integration outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Delmas, Magali A., and Sanja Pekovic. “Environmental Standards and Labor Productivity: Understanding the Mechanisms That Sustain Sustainability.” In Special Issue: Greening Organizational Behavior. Edited by Lynne Andersson, Susan E. Jackson, and Sally V. Russell. Journal of Organizational Behavior 34.2 (2013): 230–252.

    DOI: 10.1002/job.1827Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study investigated the relationship between environmental standards and labor productivity by using survey data from 5,220 French firms. Firms that had adopted environmental standards were found to have higher labor productivity, due, in part, to improvements in employee training.

    Find this resource:

  • Sparrow, Paul, Elaine Farndale, and Hugh Scullion. “An Empirical Study of the Role of the Corporate HR Function in Global Talent Management in Professional and Financial Service Firms in the Global Financial Crisis.” In Special Issue: Talent Management. International Journal of Human Resource Management 24.9 (2013): 1777–1798.

    DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.777541Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors present an empirical analysis of corporate HRM roles for global talent management in the financial and professional services sector. They reveal how these roles were affected by international business strategies, corporate centralization, and the 2008 global financial crisis.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Patrick M., Ozias Moore, and Mark Stewart. HR in the C-Suite: CAHRS 2012 Chief Human Resource Officer Survey Results. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In surveying a sample of 143 senior HR managers, the authors focus on the role of chief HR officers (CHROs) in three aspects: corporate social responsibility, the executive leadership team dynamics and how CHROs seek to make the teams more effective, and the CEO’s leadership style and how CHROs help them increase their leadership effectiveness.

    Find this resource:

back to top

Article

Up

Down