Current Developments in Theory and Research on Human

Report
Current Developments in Theory and
Research on Human Resource Management
David Guest
Professor of Organizational Psychology and
Human Resource Management
King’s College, London
Aims of presentation
• Review progress
• Point to areas needing development
• Set some research agendas
• Start with definition of HRM
What is Human Resource Management?
“All those activities associated with the management of
work and people in organizations”
(Boxall and Purcell, 2011)
HRM is concerned with a set of practices and their
application and can be viewed as a ‘system’ for
management of people at work
All organizations need HRM; but HRM is only likely to be
taken seriously if it can demonstrate impact. This is why
the link between HRM and outcomes is so important.
The Good News: Impressive Progress
After 25 years of ‘contemporary’ research and writing, we are much
more knowledgeable about HRM:
• Strong evidence of a link between HRM and performance
• Advances in understanding role of “external fit”
• Advances in understanding “internal fit”
• Recognition that HRM operates as some kind of system
• Evidence that HRM can have a positive link with employee wellbeing
• Advances in understanding linkages between HRM and
performance and determinants of effective implementation
• Adoption of multi-level models of analysis and sophisticated
research methodology
• BUT – still a lot of unanswered questions
Recognise the Challenges of a Maturing Field:
Stages in the Development of HRM Research
• The promise of HRM and mapping the field: concern for
strategy and commitment
• Early empiricism: demonstration of link between HRM and
performance – Huselid, MacDuffie, Arthur etc.
• Backlash: conceptual critique (Legge, Keenoy); empirical
critique (Dyer & Reeves, Becker & Gerhart)
• Conceptual refinement: AMO model: resource-based view;
Institutional perspective
• Focus on worker: employee accounts of HRM and employee
attitudes and behaviour as central to impact
• Growing sophistication: complex models and multi-level
analysis
Research Challenges
• Defining the nature of HRM and measuring it
• Defining performance and other outcomes and
measuring them
• Theorising and operationalising the process whereby
HRM and outcomes (performance) might be linked
• Establishing the evidence
The First Research Challenge
Defining Human Resource Management and
Measuring It
• Link between external and internal fit
• Deciding on the particular model of HRM
• Determining sources of information
Linking Strategy and HRM
(Schuler and Jackson, 1987)
Company mission and values
Competitive strategy
Required employees and employee behaviours
HR practices aligned to requirements
Employee behaviour aligned with strategic goals
Clarifying HRM Systems
• Much contemporary research and writing is trying to describe
human resource systems
• Special issue of Human Resource Management Review (Vol
22: Issue 1) addresses this.
• Posthuma et al (2013) in JoM offer an empirical taxonomy,
sorting 61 practices into 9 categories
• But all are operating within a high performance work systems
paradigm
Nature of HRM: Alternative Models
• Dominance of concept of HPWS – a misnomer. Need
alternatives that recognise range of stakeholders in outcomes
• High commitment HRM
• High involvement HRM
• High partnership HRM
• And their opposites; so commitment vs compliance (control in
Walton)
• Boxall and Macky 2009 distinguish focus on work practices
from focus on employment practices; show their link and
argue for neglect of many aspects of employment in HPWS
• Cultural factors European and Australian legislation requires
certain employment practices
High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) HRM
• Focus on human capital and mechanisms for leveraging it to
enhance performance: neglects employee outcomes
• Note weakness of measures of human capital and neglect of
much of HRM
• Tendency to focus on incentives as motivators and controls
• Meta-analyses show:
– Human capital considered alone has an association with financial
performance (Crook et al)
– Human capital and incentive based motivation combine additively to
affect performance (Jiang et al)
– Limited attention paid to ‘Contribution’ dimension – because often
neglected in research
High Commitment HRM
Recruitment & selection
Training & Development
Employee
competence
Performance appraisal
Financial rewards
Feedback
Employee
motivation
Job design
Involvement systems
Communication
Opportunity to
participate
Internal promotion
Security
Fair treatment
Met psych. contract
Employee
commitment
Higher employee
performance
and
Higher employee
well-being
High Involvement Work System
Business Practices
High Involvement
Work Processes
Workforce
Psychological
Adjustment
Organization
Effectiveness
Work design
Incentive practices
Flexibility
Training
Goal-setting
Power
Information
Reward
Knowledge
Organizational
commitment
Job satisfaction
Intention to quit
Turnover
Return on
Equity
Partnership HRM
• Stakeholder approach, recognising the need to accommodate
different interests
• Focuses on both high performance and high well-being
• Can accommodate a wider range of HRM: both work
organisation and traditional ‘personnel’ that is neglected in
other models (the fairness agenda)
• Evidence consistently suggests direct participation through
autonomy/job design works well but best of all when
combined with representative participation
• Close to Nordic/Germanic European model
Approaches to the
Measurement of HRM
•
•
•
•
Individual practices
Bundles of practices – ideally theory-based
Interactions of bundles (and with strategy)
Count of HR practices in place: choice of presence of practice;
extent of coverage; application to key employee group
• Effectiveness/implementation of HR practices
• Question of who provides the information – ideally multiple
respondents
• Choice depends on theoretical perspective but note that a key
feature of HRM is the ‘system’ concept
The Second Research Challenge:
Measuring Outcomes
• Focus has been mainly on performance
• In the case of performance, need to distinguish
proximal and distal outcomes
• Need to broaden to consider a stakeholder
perspective
Approaches to the Measurement of
Performance
• Standard performance indicators: financial,
productivity quits etc – both proximal and distal
• Goal-based perspectives – manage a merger
• Resource acquisition models – unions and
universities
• Bench-marking and ratios – popular but limited
• Process models; effectiveness of policies
• Stakeholder perspectives – subjective outcomes
What Outcomes do Workers Want?
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Job satisfaction
Work-related well-being
Work-life balance
Adequate and fair rewards
Good employment relations
High quality of working life
Health
Life satisfaction
Raises the question of what employers are obliged to
provide – what is the psychological contract?
The Third Research Challenge
Understanding and Exploring the
Implementation of HRM
• Extent of implementation
• Influences on implementation
• Key actors in implementation
Exploring the Linkages: HRM and the Role
of Employee Responses
Background
factors
Sector
Size
Ownership
Strategy
Human
resource
practices
Employee
attitudes and
behaviour
Internal
performance
indicators
External
performance
indicators
HR practices
Employment
relations
practices
and climate
Job
satisfaction
Organizational
commitment
Motivation
OCB
Individual
performance
Productivity
Quality of
goods and
services
Labour
turnover
Absence
Accidents
Sales
Financial
performance
HRM Practices at Company Level in the
UK: Counting the Practices
16
Per cent of Organiza tions
Number of HR
practices in UK
companies
(N=610)
FofW data
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Key HR Practices
10
11
12
13
14
Why the Low Adoption of Practices?
(Guest and King, 2004)
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Not aware of the evidence/message
Don’t believe the message
Don’t believe it is relevant to them
Already do it all/do enough
More important priorities
Sceptical of HR fad and fashions and gurus
Don’t know how to implement high commitment
HR/where to start
The Implementation Challenge
• Khilji and Wang (2006) highlighted a gap between
intended and implemented practices
• Implies that it is not enough to have good HR policy
and practice
• Guest & Conway (2011) show that
implementation/effectiveness is more strongly
associated with performance than HR practices
• Draws attention to the roles of HR specialists, top
management and line managers
A Case Study of Implementation
• Specific case of practices versus
implementation
• Context of healthcare in the UK
• Levels of reported bullying and harassment of
staff by staff higher than in most other sectors
• Considerable pressure to reduce reported
levels
A Process Theory of HR Implementation
• Stage 1: Decide to introduce a practice
• Stage 2: Determine the quality of the practice
• Stage 3: Line managers agree to implement the
practice
• Stage 4: Line managers implement in a quality
way
• Stage 5: Staff accept rationale for practice and
respond appropriately
• Stage 3-5 cannot occur without 1 and 2
• Board/HR responsible for 1-2: line for 3-5?
Definitions of Bullying and Harassment
Harassment
“Unwelcome words, actions, or physical contact that frightens,
intimidates or otherwise discomforts another person”. Can
involve an isolated incident.
Bullying
“Harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively
affecting someone’s work tasks”. Must occur repeatedly over a
period.
NHS Staff Survey
“In the past 12 months, have you personally experienced
harassment, bullying or abuse at work?”
Bullying and Harassment in the UK
Healthcare. Regional Comparisons
25.0
21.6
% Satff reporting B&H
20.0
17.3
17.7
17.8
17.9
18.0
18.0
18.4
17.2
West
Midlands
North
West
Yorkshire
and the
Humber
East of
England
South
Central
South
West
East
Midlands
South
East
Coast
16.2
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
North
East
London
Bullying and Harassment at a London
Acute Hospital 2004-2008
35
30
% reporting B&H
25
20
15
10
Host organisation
National Acute trust average
5
0
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
Bullying and Harassment by Care Group in
the Hospital
40
35
35
33
% Reporting B&H
30
26
29
29
Dental
Liver & Renal
27
24
25
20
20
15
13
11
10
5
0
Co rpo rate &
Facilities
Specialist
M edicine
Clinical Services
Cardiac &
Neuro sciences
Finance
Wo men's &
Children's
Care Group
Critical & Surgery
M edical Care
Evidence on Bullying from Staff Surveys
and Interviews
• Bullying associated with increased stress /reduced
job satisfaction/higher intention to quit
• Bullying affects PSSQ through reduced motivation
and concern to do a good job
• Bullying by staff associated with unsupportive work
environment and lack of faith in effectiveness of
relevant HR systems
• How does this relate to HR policy and practice in the
hospital?
Best Practice in Management of Bullying
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Implementation of a Formal Bullying Policy
Zero Tolerance Approach
Selection of Staff
Implementation of Awareness Campaigns
Address Environmental Problems
Training and Development for Managers and for Staff
Providing Informal Advisory Services
Data monitoring
Support for Victims of Bullying
• All are in place at this hospital
Implications for HRM
• The hospital has all the right policies and practices in
place but B&H still very high. Why?
• Clear gap between ‘intended’ and ‘implemented’
practice
• In this context, seemingly good HR can get bad
results because of a poor implementation climate
• Implementation may be particularly challenging in
public sector professional bureaucracies
• Implies need to focus in implementation on roles of
key actors – line, senior and HR management
The Boundaries of HR Functional Responsibility
What can the HR function be expected to contribute?
The function has the promise of exerting distinctive influence through
three main routes
• Through the Ulrich model of structure and function
• Through promoting the link between HR and performance
• Through the traditional role of ensuring fair treatment
The evidence suggests that the HR function has failed on all three
counts, partly because of problems of implementation
As a result, it is unrealistic to expect a major independent HR
contribution. The HR function cannot do it on its own.
Adoption of the Ulrich Model in the UK
• CIPD survey: responses from 787 out of 12,000 senior HR
figures
• 53% have re-structured HR roles in the previous year
• 81% have re-structured in the past five years
• Of those who have re-structured, over half say their current
structure fully or partly reflects the Ulrich model
• In practice, only 18% have all three elements in place
• Restructuring of the function continues at the same pace
(King’s Speechly Bircham survey). No consensus on the right
structure.
Evaluating the Ulrich Framework:
Evidence from the CIPD/IES Survey
• No evidence that organisations using the full model
report better performance
• Some indication that those concentrating on the use
of business partners have poorer performance
• Issues of cause and effect; are poorer performing
organisations more likely to adopt a new model?
Are HR Managers HR Champions and
HR Innovators?
Analysis of 25 years of WERS (Guest and Bryson) reveals:
• No association between presence of a specialist role and
greater use of innovative HR practices
• No association between presence of qualified HR
specialist and greater adoption of innovative HR practices
• Association between adoption of innovative HR practices
and ratings of workplace performance
• No association between presence of HR specialist and
workplace performance
HR managers are still not championing innovative HR
Kochan’s (2007) USA Evaluation
“The human resource management profession faces a
crisis of trust and a loss of legitimacy in the eyes of
its major stakeholders. The two-decade effort to
develop a new ‘strategic human resource
management’ role in organizations has failed to
realize its promised potential of greater status,
influence and achievement” (p.599.
The Challenge of Implementation:
The Role of Line Managers
• Consistent gap between ‘intended’ and
‘implemented’ practices (Khilji and Wang) points to
failures by line managers
• UK research suggests line managers
“are neither capable nor motivated to take on these
(HR) issues” (Hope Hailey et al)
• Dutch evidence more positive about line managers;
main challenge is pressure of time
• Line management role illustrated by case of bullying
and harassment in NHS hospitals
The Challenge of Implementation and the Role
of A Strong HR System
Bowen and Ostroff (2004): implementation a function of the
strength of the HR system:
• High consensus; agreement among key stakeholders; fairness of HR
systems
• High distinctiveness: visible, legitimate, relevant and understandable
• High consistency: consistent, integrated HR policy and practice,
instrumental for goal achievement
Some provisional testing (Stanton et al, 2010) but highly and
imprecise complex model
Role of top management likely to be crucial
Developing Linkage Research
Strategy
Climate
Leadership
Implementation
Role of HR Function
HRM
Individual
differences
Role of Line
AMO
PROXIMAL
BEHAVIOUR
Attribution
FINANCIAL
PERFORMANCE
The Fourth Challenge
Establishing the Evidence
• Ideally longitudinal multi-level, multi-respondent
• Most research is cross-sectional
• Varied measures, especially of HRM, challenge the
accumulation of evidence
• Need to differentiate outcomes
• Key challenge it mutual gains versus transaction/
exploitation
HRM and Performance:
The Starting Point: The Simple Model
HRM
Organizational Performance
HR Practices and Profit per Employee in
the UK Private Sector
4000
3000
2000
1000
0 to 4
5 to 7
8 to 10
Number of HR practices
Sourc e: FoW (N=297)
11+
HR Practices and Labour Turnover
40
30
20
10
0 to 4
5 to 7
8 to 10
HR practices (UK)
11+
HRM and Performance: Reviewing the
Evidence
Around 1995, a series of studies appeared all showing an
association between a combination of HR practices and
workplace or organizational performance
–
–
–
–
Huselid (1995) – top US organizations
Arthurs (1994); Ichniowski et al (1994) - strip steel mills
Delery and Doty (1996) - banks
MacDuffie (1995) - auto industry
A decade later, major reviews confirmed an association across
many studies
•
•
Boselie, Dietz and Boon (2005)
Combs, Liu, Hall and Ketchen (2006)
Also highlighted research challenges and issue of causality
Bringing Employees Centre-Stage
• Linkage model confirms that HRM has its
impact on performance through the way it
affects employee attitudes and behaviour.
• So if employees like experiencing HRM and
respond positively to it, we may get happy
productive workers
Work-Related Well-Being 1
Grant, Christianson and Price (2007) suggest well-being has
three dimensions in workplace settings:
• Health: includes physical well-being, health and safety
• Happiness: includes job satisfaction, contentment,
enthusiasm/engagement
• Relationships: fairness, trust , openness, friendship, freedom
from bullying and harassment
Most of the research on HRM and well-being focuses on
happiness
Work-Related Well-Being 2
Warr views employee well-being in terms of positive mental health:
Warr’s (2007) model has three dimensions
Job satisfaction
(Pleasure)
-
Dissatisfaction
(Displeasure)
Contentment
-
Anxiety
Enthusiasm
-
Depression
Satisfaction is a component of well-being
HRM and Well-Being: Evidence from the
Psycones Study
• Seven country, three sector European study with 1981
temporary workers and 3307 permanent workers from over
200 organizations
• Obtained measures of HRM practices from managers and
employees and standard measures of well-being from
workers.
• Key finding: temporary workers report higher well-being than
permanent workers
• Also explored factors associated with well-being including
HRM (though both self-report here)
HRM & Work-Related Well-being
3.1
3.1
3.1
2.9
2.9
2.9
2.7
2.7
2.7
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.3
2.3
2.3
2.1
2.1
2.1
1.9
1.9
1.9
1.7
1.7
1.7
Anxiety
Low HRM
High HRM
Depression
Low HRM
High HRM
Irritation
Low HRM
High HRM
HRM and Work Attitudes
4.3
4.3
2.3
4.1
4.1
2.1
3.9
3.9
1.9
3.7
1.7
3.7
3.5
1.5
3.5
3.3
1.3
3.3
Org' Commitment
Low HRM
High HRM
Self-rated Performance
Low HRM
High HRM
Intention to Quit
Low HRM
High HRM
HRM and Health and Satisfaction
4.3
4.3
4.3
4.1
4.1
4.1
3.9
3.9
3.9
3.7
3.7
3.7
3.5
3.5
3.5
3.3
3.3
3.3
General Health
Low HRM
High HRM
Life Satisfaction
Low HRM
High HRM
Job Satisfaction
Low HRM
High HRM
The Exploitation Issue: Does HRM Lead to
Worker Exploitation or Work Engagement?
• The Low Road Critique – HRM as exploitation, leading to intensification of
work and increased stress
– Focus on performance (high performance work systems) to neglect of
employees concerns
– Some evidence of work intensification/stress: the Godard critique – too much
HRM is bad for workers
• The High Road Argument
– HRM offers mutual gains: HR can enhance commitment, satisfaction, and wellbeing as well as performance
– Jensen et al (2013) highlight key role of job control in limiting negative
employee outcomes
– Put simply, workers prefer to be in interesting jobs, to be well managed and
fairly treated and, within an exchange framework, will respond with higher
performance
HRM and Well-Being: The Wider Survey
Evidence
• Few studies exploring HRM and both performance and well-being (due to
bias for performance)
Review* exploring the ‘mutual gains’ hypothesis distinguished “happiness”
(21 studies) from “health” (6 studies)
• Most happiness studies report an association between HRM,
satisfaction/commitment and performance.
• Most studies of health show no clear association with HRM; two are
negative, showing higher performance and higher stress
• Reviews fail to distinguish ‘type’ of HRM
• Responses depend on source of information about HRM; workers
accounts show positive happiness and health outcomes
* Peccei, Van De Voorde and van Veldhoven* In Paauwe, Guest & Wright (2013): “HRM and Performance:
Achievements and Challenges” (Wiley).
Mutual Gains or Exploitation: An Assessment
• The rationale for a mutual gains approach is that everyone
wins and it is ethical. Counter is that it is costly
• Offers a strong case for a stakeholder perspective
• Much research ignores employees except as means to high
performance. Reflects a USA vs. Europe (and Australia?)
perspective
• Case against mutual gains may be based on narrow view of
HRM (HPWS)
• Autonomy can be associated with stress through high
involvement
• Key question of causality remain unaddressed
Summary: The Contemporary Research Agenda
• Start by celebrating progress
• Avoid ‘complexification’ as reflected in ever more complex
models, the call for often unrealistic multi-level longitudinal
studies and use of ever more complex statistical analysis
• Compare different HRM “systems”
• Study origins of/changes in HRM – why they occur, who drives
them and what their impact is
• Study contingent factors in implementation and role of actors
• Broaden outcomes to incorporate a stakeholder perspective
• Adopt an ethical research perspective that focuses on ‘good’
HRM and mutual gains
Thank you
For
Listening
[email protected]
Some References
Boxall, P. & Macky, K. (2009). “Research and theory on high-performance work
systems: progressing the high involvement stream”. Human Resource
Management Journal, 19: 3-23.
Crook, T.R. et al (2011). “Does human capital matter? A meta-analysis of the
relationship between human capital and firm performance”. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 96: 443-56.
Godard, J. (2004). “A critical assessment of the high-performance paradigm”.
British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42: 249-78.
Jensen, J. et al (2013). “High performance work systems and job control:
Consequences for anxiety, role overload and turnover intentions”. Journal of
Management, 39: 1699-1724.
Kaufman, B. (2012). “Strategic human resource management research in the
United States: A failing grade after 30 years?” Academy of Management
Perspectives, 26: 12-36.
Posthuma, R. et al (2013). “A high performance work practices taxonomy…”
Journal of Management, 39: 1184-1220.
More References
Guest, D. (2011). “Human resource management and performance: Still
searching for some answers”. Human Resource Management Journal, 21:3-13.
Guest, D. & Bos-Nehles, A. (2013). “HRM and performance: The role of
effective implementation”. In Paauwe, J., Guest, D. & Wright, P. (eds). HRM
and Performance: Achievements and Challenges. Wiley
Guest, D. & Bryson, A. (2009) “From industrial relations to human resource
management: The changing role of the personnel function”. In Brown, W et al
(eds). The Evolution of the Modern Workplace. Cambridge: CUP.
Guest, D. & Conway, N. (2011). “The impact of HR practices, HR effectiveness
and a strong HR system on organizational outcomes: A stakeholder
perspective”. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22:
1686-1702.
Woodrow, C. & Guest, D. (2013 in press) “When good HR gets bad results”.
Human Resource Management Journal.

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