High-performance work systems and organizational performance across societal cultures

Abstract

This paper assesses whether societal culture moderates the relationship between human resource management (HRM) practices and organizational performance. Drawing on matched employer–employee data from 387 organizations and 7187 employees in 14 countries, our findings show a positive relationship between HRM practices combined in High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS) and organizational performance across societal cultures. Three dimensions of societal culture assessed (power distance, in-group collectivism, and institutional collectivism) did not moderate this relationship. Drawing on the Ability–Motivation–Opportunity (AMO) model, we further consider the effectiveness of three bundles of HRM practices (skill-enhancing, motivation-enhancing, and opportunity-enhancing practices). This analysis shows opportunity-enhancing practices (e.g., participative work design and decision-making) are less effective in high-power-distance cultures. Nevertheless, in markedly different countries we find combinations of complementary HPWS and bundles of AMO practices appear to outweigh the influence of societal culture and enhance organizational performance.

Resume

Cet article évalue si la culture sociétale modère la relation entre les pratiques de gestion des ressources humaines (GRH) et la performance organisationnelle. S’appuyant sur des données appariées employeur-employé provenant de 387 organisations et de 7 187 employés dans 14 pays, nos résultats montrent une relation positive entre les pratiques de gestion des ressources humaines combinées dans les systèmes de travail à haute performance (STHP) et la performance organisationnelle à travers les cultures sociétales. Trois dimensions de la culture sociétale évaluées (distance hiérarchique, collectivisme intra-groupe et collectivisme institutionnel) n’ont pas modéré cette relation. En nous appuyant sur le modèle Capacité-Motivation-Opportunité (CMO), nous examinons en outre l’efficacité de trois ensembles de pratiques de GRH (des pratiques de renforcement des compétences, de renforcement de la motivation et de renforcement des opportunités). Cette analyse montre que les pratiques de renforcement des opportunités (par exemple, la conception de travail et la prise de décision participatives) sont moins efficaces dans les cultures à forte distance hiérarchique. Néanmoins, dans des pays très différents, nous trouvons que des combinaisons de STHP complémentaires et de groupes de pratiques de CMO semblent l’emporter sur l’influence de la culture sociétale et améliorer les performances organisationnelles.

Resumen

Este artículo evalúa si la cultura social modera la relación entre las prácticas de gestión de recursos humanos y el desempeño organizacional. Basándose en datos combinados de empleador-empleado de 387 organizaciones y 7.187 empleados en 14 países, nuestros hallazgos muestran una relación positiva entre las prácticas de gestión de recursos humanos combinadas en los Sistemas de Trabajo de Alta Rendimiento y el desempeño organizacional entre las culturas sociales. Las tres dimensiones de la cultura social evaluadas (distancia al poder, colectivismo en el grupo, y colectivismo institucional) no moderaron esta relación. Basándonos en el modelo de Habilidad-Motivación-Oportunidad (AMO por sus iniciales en inglés), consideramos además la efectividad de tres conjuntos de prácticas de gestión de recursos humanos (prácticas de mejoramiento de habilidades, de mejoramiento de motivación, y mejoramiento de oportunidad). Este análisis muestra que las prácticas de mejoramiento de oportunidades (por ejemplo, el diseño de trabajo participativo y la toma de decisiones) son menos efectivas en culturas de alta distancia de poder. Sin embargo, en países marcadamente diferentes encontramos combinaciones de Sistemas de Trabajo de Alta Rendimiento y conjuntos de prácticas de Habilidad-Motivación-Oportunidad que parecen compensar la influencia de la cultura social y mejorar el desempeño organizacional.

Resumo

Este artigo avalia se a cultura social modera a relação entre práticas de gestão de recursos humanos (HRM) e o desempenho organizacional. Com base em dados correspondentes de empregador-empregado de 387 organizações e 7.187 funcionários em 14 países, nossas descobertas mostram uma relação positiva entre práticas de HRM combinadas em Sistemas de Trabalho de Alto Desempenho (HPWS) e desempenho organizacional em culturas sociais. Três dimensões de cultura social avaliadas (distância do poder, coletivismo em grupo e coletivismo institucional) não moderaram essa relação. Com base no modelo de Capacidade-Motivação-Oportunidade (AMO), consideramos ainda a eficácia de três conjuntos de práticas de HRM (práticas de aprimoramento de habilidades, aprimoramento de motivação e aprimoramento de oportunidades). Essa análise mostra que práticas de aprimoramento de oportunidades (por exemplo, design de trabalho participativo e tomada de decisão) são menos eficazes em culturas de alta distância de poder. No entanto, em países notadamente diferentes, concluímos que combinações de HPWS complementares e conjuntos de práticas de AMO parecem compensar a influência da cultura social e melhorar o desempenho organizacional.

摘要

本文评估社会文化是否调节人力资源管理(HRM)实践与组织绩效之间的关系。用来自14个国家387个组织和7,187名员工的雇主-雇员的匹配数据, 我们的研究结果显示, 结合高绩效工作系统(HPWS)的HRM实践与跨社会文化的组织绩效之间存在正相关关系。所评估的社会文化的三个维度(权力距离, 群内集体主义和制度集体主义)并未调节这种关系。借鉴“能力-动机-机会”(AMO)模型, 我们进一步考虑了三类HRM实践(提高技能的、增强动机的和增加机会的实践)的有效性。该分析表明, 在高权力距离的文化中, 增加机会的实践(例如,参与式的工作设计和决策)不够有效。但是, 在明显不同的国家里, 我们发现互补的HPWS和AMO实践的结合似乎超过了社会文化的影响并提高了组织绩效。

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This research study is funded by two Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant (Grant Numbers PDG-890-2010-0043; IOF-861-2007-3002). Dr. Pinar Imer’s research was funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) BIDEB 2219 International Research Fellowship Programme. We would like to thank Shari Wierenga and Deborah Wickins for their valuable assistance in completing this multi-country project. We would like to thank Dr. Carolyn Egri for her comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. We dedicate this manuscript to the passion and memory of Dr. Carlotta Meo Colombo who passed unexpectedly during the course of this project. Thanks also to the anonymous reviewers.

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Accepted by Wayne Cascio, Area Editor, 22 October 2019. This article has been with the authors for four revisions.

Appendix 1: Construction of HPWS and AMO Bundles

Appendix 1: Construction of HPWS and AMO Bundles

HPWS items
Skill-enhancing practicesemployees have appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities
Selective recruitmentWhen filling vacancies at this workplace for [LOG], do you ever conduct any type of personality or attitude test? When filling vacancies at this workplace for [LOG], do you ever conduct any type of performance or competency test? (No tests conducted/yes). 1 = none, 2 = either or both
InductionIs there a standard orientation/induction program designed to introduce new [LOG] to this workplace? (yes/no). [If yes] How much time do [LOG] spend on orientation/induction activities? (hours) 1 = <16 h, 2 = 16 h+
TrainingWhat proportion of [LOG] have been given time-off from their normal daily work duties to undertake training over the past 24 months?a 1 = <60%, 2 = 60% +
Motivation-enhancing practicesemployee motivation to provide discretionary effort
Internal labor marketWhich of these statements best describes your approach to filling vacancies at this workplace? [card shown] Internal applicants are our only source, no external recruitment (= 2); internal applicants are given preference, other things being equal, over external applicants (= 2); applications from internal and external applicants are treated equally (= 1); external applicants are given preference, other things being equal, over internal applicants (= 1); external applicants are only source (= 1)
Incentive compensationDo any of [LOG] in this workplace get paid by results or receive merit pay? [If yes] What proportion of [LOG] at this workplace are paid in this way/in either of these ways?a 1 = <60%, 2 = 60%+
Performance appraisalDo [LOG] employees have their performance formally appraised? [If yes] What proportion of [LOG] employees at this workplace have there performance formally appraised?a 1 = <60%, 2 = 60%+
BenefitsAre [LOG] entitled to any of these non-pay terms and conditions? Sick pay in excess of statutory requirements; more than 28 days of paid annual leave (including public holidays); private health insurance; company vehicle or vehicle allowance; employer contributions to a pension scheme. 1 = <3 provided, 2 = 3 + provided
Employment securityIs there a policy of guaranteed job security or no compulsory redundancies for [LOG] employees? 1 = no, 2 = yes
Flexible work arrangementsDo you provide [LOG] employees with any of the following working time arrangements at this workplace? (yes/no) Working only during school term-times; the ability to change set working hours; compressed hours; the ability to reduce working hours; job-sharing schemes; flexi-time; work at or from home in normal working hours. 1 = <3 available, 2 = at least 3 available
Equal opportunitiesDo you monitor recruitment and selection by any of the following characteristics? (yes/no) Gender, ethnic background, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs. Do you monitor promotions by any of these characteristics? (yes/no for each). 1 = <3 characteristics monitored, 2 = at least 3 characteristics monitored
Opportunity-enhancing practicesemployees offered opportunities to contribute towards organizational objectives
Work teamsWhat proportion, if any, of [LOG] at this workplace work in formally designated teams?a 1 = <60%, 2 = 60% +
Flexible work (functional flexibility)Approximately what proportion of [LOG] are formally trained to be able to do jobs other than their own?a 1 = <60%, 2 = 60%+
Information-sharing (team briefing)How frequently do you have meetings between line managers or supervisors and [LOG] for whom they are responsible? These are sometimes known as ‘briefing groups’ or ‘team briefings’. 1 = none, < once every 3 months, < monthly, < fortnightly, 2 = < weekly, < daily
Information-sharing (quality-circles)Do you have groups of [LOG] employees at this workplace that solve specific problems or discuss aspects of performance or quality? They are sometimes known as problem-solving groups, quality circles or continuous improvement groups. [If yes] In the last 12 months, roughly what proportion of [LOG] employees have been involved in them?a 1 = <60%, 2 = 60% +
Employee attitude surveyHave you or a third party conducted a formal attitude survey of your [LOG] employees’ views or opinions during the past 2 years? 1 = no, 2 = yes
Grievance proceduresIs there a formal procedure for dealing with individual grievances raised by any [LOG] employee at this workplace? [If yes] Are [LOG] employees required to set out in writing the nature of the grievance? Are [LOG] employees asked to attend a formal meeting with a manager to discuss the nature of their grievance? Do [LOG] employees have a right to appeals against a decision made under the procedure? 2 = yes to all, 1 = no procedure or not all four stages
Labor-management participationAre there any committees of managers and employees at workplace primarily concerned with consultation, rather than negotiation? These committees may be called joint consultative committees, works councils or representative forums. 1 = no, 2 = yes
  1. a0 = none (0%), 1 = just a few (1–19%), 2 = some (20–39%), 3 = around half (40–59%), 4 = most (60–79%), 5 = almost all (80–99%), 6 = all (100%).

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Dastmalchian, A., Bacon, N., McNeil, N. et al. High-performance work systems and organizational performance across societal cultures. J Int Bus Stud 51, 353–388 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-019-00295-9

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Keywords

  • high-performance work systems
  • societal culture
  • cross-cultural management
  • organizational performance