Presentation on theme: "Professor of Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management"— Presentation transcript:
1 Professor of Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management Current Developments in Theory and Research on Human Resource ManagementDavid GuestProfessor of Organizational Psychology and Human Resource ManagementKing’s College, London
2 Aims of presentation Review progress Point to areas needing developmentSet some research agendasStart with definition of HRM
3 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 workAll 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.
4 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 performanceAdvances in understanding role of “external fit”Advances in understanding “internal fit”Recognition that HRM operates as some kind of systemEvidence that HRM can have a positive link with employee well-beingAdvances in understanding linkages between HRM and performance and determinants of effective implementationAdoption of multi-level models of analysis and sophisticated research methodologyBUT – still a lot of unanswered questions
5 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 commitmentEarly 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 perspectiveFocus on worker: employee accounts of HRM and employee attitudes and behaviour as central to impactGrowing sophistication: complex models and multi-level analysis
6 Research Challenges Defining the nature of HRM and measuring it Defining performance and other outcomes and measuring themTheorising and operationalising the process whereby HRM and outcomes (performance) might be linkedEstablishing the evidence
7 The First Research Challenge Defining Human Resource Management and Measuring ItLink between external and internal fitDeciding on the particular model of HRMDetermining sources of information
8 Linking Strategy and HRM (Schuler and Jackson, 1987) Company mission and valuesCompetitive strategyRequired employees and employee behavioursHR practices aligned to requirementsEmployee behaviour aligned with strategic goals
9 Clarifying HRM Systems Much contemporary research and writing is trying to describe human resource systemsSpecial 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 categoriesBut all are operating within a high performance work systems paradigm
10 Nature of HRM: Alternative Models Dominance of concept of HPWS – a misnomer. Need alternatives that recognise range of stakeholders in outcomesHigh commitment HRMHigh involvement HRMHigh partnership HRMAnd 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 HPWSCultural factors European and Australian legislation requires certain employment practices
11 High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) HRM Focus on human capital and mechanisms for leveraging it to enhance performance: neglects employee outcomesNote weakness of measures of human capital and neglect of much of HRMTendency to focus on incentives as motivators and controlsMeta-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
12 High Commitment HRM Recruitment & selection Training & Development Employee competenceHigher employee performanceandHigher employee well-beingPerformance appraisalFinancial rewardsFeedbackEmployee motivationJob designInvolvement systemsCommunicationOpportunity to participateInternal promotionSecurityFair treatmentMet psych. contractEmployee commitment
13 High Involvement Work System Business PracticesWork designIncentive practicesFlexibilityTrainingGoal-settingHigh Involvement Work ProcessesPowerInformationRewardKnowledgeWorkforcePsychological AdjustmentOrganizational commitmentJob satisfactionIntention to quitOrganization EffectivenessTurnoverReturn on Equity
14 Partnership HRMStakeholder approach, recognising the need to accommodate different interestsFocuses on both high performance and high well-beingCan 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 participationClose to Nordic/Germanic European model
15 Approaches to the Measurement of HRM Individual practicesBundles of practices – ideally theory-basedInteractions of bundles (and with strategy)Count of HR practices in place: choice of presence of practice; extent of coverage; application to key employee groupEffectiveness/implementation of HR practicesQuestion of who provides the information – ideally multiple respondentsChoice depends on theoretical perspective but note that a key feature of HRM is the ‘system’ concept
16 The Second Research Challenge: Measuring OutcomesFocus has been mainly on performanceIn the case of performance, need to distinguish proximal and distal outcomesNeed to broaden to consider a stakeholder perspective
17 Approaches to the Measurement of Performance Standard performance indicators: financial, productivity quits etc – both proximal and distalGoal-based perspectives – manage a mergerResource acquisition models – unions and universitiesBench-marking and ratios – popular but limitedProcess models; effectiveness of policiesStakeholder perspectives – subjective outcomes
18 What Outcomes do Workers Want? Job satisfactionWork-related well-beingWork-life balanceAdequate and fair rewardsGood employment relationsHigh quality of working lifeHealthLife satisfactionRaises the question of what employers are obliged to provide – what is the psychological contract?
19 The Third Research Challenge Understanding and Exploring the Implementation of HRMExtent of implementationInfluences on implementationKey actors in implementation
20 Exploring the Linkages: HRM and the Role of Employee Responses Background factorsSectorSizeOwnershipStrategyHuman resource practices HR practicesEmployment relations practices and climateEmployee attitudes and behaviourJob satisfaction Organizational commitment Motivation OCB Individual performanceInternal performanceindicatorsProductivityQuality of goods and servicesLabourturnoverAbsenceAccidentsExternal performanceindicatorsSalesFinancial performance
21 HRM Practices at Company Level in the UK: Counting the Practices Number of HR practices in UK companies (N=610)FofW data
22 Why the Low Adoption of Practices? (Guest and King, 2004) Not aware of the evidence/messageDon’t believe the messageDon’t believe it is relevant to themAlready do it all/do enoughMore important prioritiesSceptical of HR fad and fashions and gurusDon’t know how to implement high commitment HR/where to start
23 The Implementation Challenge Khilji and Wang (2006) highlighted a gap between intended and implemented practicesImplies that it is not enough to have good HR policy and practiceGuest & Conway (2011) show that implementation/effectiveness is more strongly associated with performance than HR practicesDraws attention to the roles of HR specialists, top management and line managers
24 A Case Study of Implementation Specific case of practices versus implementationContext of healthcare in the UKLevels of reported bullying and harassment of staff by staff higher than in most other sectorsConsiderable pressure to reduce reported levels
25 A Process Theory of HR Implementation Stage 1: Decide to introduce a practiceStage 2: Determine the quality of the practiceStage 3: Line managers agree to implement the practiceStage 4: Line managers implement in a quality wayStage 5: Staff accept rationale for practice and respond appropriatelyStage 3-5 cannot occur without 1 and 2Board/HR responsible for 1-2: line for 3-5?
26 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?”
27 Bullying and Harassment in the UK Healthcare. Regional Comparisons 27
28 Bullying and Harassment at a London Acute Hospital 2004-2008 28
29 Bullying and Harassment by Care Group in the Hospital 29
30 Evidence on Bullying from Staff Surveys and Interviews Bullying associated with increased stress /reduced job satisfaction/higher intention to quitBullying affects PSSQ through reduced motivation and concern to do a good jobBullying by staff associated with unsupportive work environment and lack of faith in effectiveness of relevant HR systemsHow does this relate to HR policy and practice in the hospital?30
31 Best Practice in Management of Bullying Implementation of a Formal Bullying PolicyZero Tolerance ApproachSelection of StaffImplementation of Awareness CampaignsAddress Environmental ProblemsTraining and Development for Managers and for StaffProviding Informal Advisory ServicesData monitoringSupport for Victims of BullyingAll are in place at this hospital31
32 Implications for HRMThe hospital has all the right policies and practices in place but B&H still very high. Why?Clear gap between ‘intended’ and ‘implemented’ practiceIn this context, seemingly good HR can get bad results because of a poor implementation climateImplementation may be particularly challenging in public sector professional bureaucraciesImplies need to focus in implementation on roles of key actors – line, senior and HR management32
33 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 routesThrough the Ulrich model of structure and functionThrough promoting the link between HR and performanceThrough the traditional role of ensuring fair treatmentThe evidence suggests that the HR function has failed on all three counts, partly because of problems of implementationAs a result, it is unrealistic to expect a major independent HR contribution. The HR function cannot do it on its own.
34 Adoption of the Ulrich Model in the UK CIPD survey: responses from 787 out of 12,000 senior HR figures53% have re-structured HR roles in the previous year81% have re-structured in the past five yearsOf those who have re-structured, over half say their current structure fully or partly reflects the Ulrich modelIn practice, only 18% have all three elements in placeRestructuring of the function continues at the same pace (King’s Speechly Bircham survey). No consensus on the right structure.
35 Evaluating the Ulrich Framework: Evidence from the CIPD/IES Survey No evidence that organisations using the full model report better performanceSome indication that those concentrating on the use of business partners have poorer performanceIssues of cause and effect; are poorer performing organisations more likely to adopt a new model?
36 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 practicesNo association between presence of qualified HR specialist and greater adoption of innovative HR practicesAssociation between adoption of innovative HR practices and ratings of workplace performanceNo association between presence of HR specialist and workplace performanceHR managers are still not championing innovative HR
37 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.
38 The Challenge of Implementation: The Role of Line Managers Consistent gap between ‘intended’ and ‘implemented’ practices (Khilji and Wang) points to failures by line managersUK 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 timeLine management role illustrated by case of bullying and harassment in NHS hospitals
39 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 systemsHigh distinctiveness: visible, legitimate, relevant and understandableHigh consistency: consistent, integrated HR policy and practice, instrumental for goal achievementSome provisional testing (Stanton et al, 2010) but highly and imprecise complex modelRole of top management likely to be crucial
40 Developing Linkage Research StrategyClimateLeadershipImplementationRole of HR FunctionRole of LinePROXIMAL BEHAVIOURFINANCIAL PERFORMANCEHRMAMOIndividual differencesAttribution
41 Establishing the Evidence The Fourth ChallengeEstablishing the EvidenceIdeally longitudinal multi-level, multi-respondentMost research is cross-sectionalVaried measures, especially of HRM, challenge the accumulation of evidenceNeed to differentiate outcomesKey challenge it mutual gains versus transaction/ exploitation
42 HRM and Performance: The Starting Point: The Simple Model Organizational Performance
43 HR Practices and Profit per Employee in the UK Private Sector
45 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 performanceHuselid (1995) – top US organizationsArthurs (1994); Ichniowski et al (1994) - strip steel millsDelery and Doty (1996) - banksMacDuffie (1995) - auto industryA decade later, major reviews confirmed an association across many studiesBoselie, Dietz and Boon (2005)Combs, Liu, Hall and Ketchen (2006)Also highlighted research challenges and issue of causality
46 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
47 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 safetyHappiness: includes job satisfaction, contentment, enthusiasm/engagementRelationships: fairness, trust , openness, friendship, freedom from bullying and harassmentMost of the research on HRM and well-being focuses on happiness
48 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 - Dissatisfaction (Pleasure) (Displeasure) Contentment - Anxiety Enthusiasm - Depression Satisfaction is a component of well-being
49 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 organizationsObtained 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 workersAlso explored factors associated with well-being including HRM (though both self-report here)Guest, Isaksson and De Witte (2010) Employment Contracts, Psychological Contracts and Employee Well-Being (OUP)
53 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 stressFocus on performance (high performance work systems) to neglect of employees concernsSome evidence of work intensification/stress: the Godard critique – too much HRM is bad for workersThe High Road ArgumentHRM offers mutual gains: HR can enhance commitment, satisfaction, and well-being as well as performanceJensen et al (2013) highlight key role of job control in limiting negative employee outcomesPut 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
54 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 stressReviews fail to distinguish ‘type’ of HRMResponses 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).
55 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 costlyOffers a strong case for a stakeholder perspectiveMuch research ignores employees except as means to high performance. Reflects a USA vs. Europe (and Australia?) perspectiveCase against mutual gains may be based on narrow view of HRM (HPWS)Autonomy can be associated with stress through high involvementKey question of causality remain unaddressed
56 Summary: The Contemporary Research Agenda Start by celebrating progressAvoid ‘complexification’ as reflected in ever more complex models, the call for often unrealistic multi-level longitudinal studies and use of ever more complex statistical analysisCompare different HRM “systems”Study origins of/changes in HRM – why they occur, who drives them and what their impact isStudy contingent factors in implementation and role of actorsBroaden outcomes to incorporate a stakeholder perspectiveAdopt an ethical research perspective that focuses on ‘good’ HRM and mutual gains
58 Some ReferencesBoxall, P. & Macky, K. (2009). “Research and theory on high-performance work systems: progressing the high involvement stream”. Human Resource Management Journal, 19: 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: Godard, J. (2004). “A critical assessment of the high-performance paradigm”. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42: Jensen, J. et al (2013). “High performance work systems and job control: Consequences for anxiety, role overload and turnover intentions”. Journal of Management, 39: Kaufman, B. (2012). “Strategic human resource management research in the United States: A failing grade after 30 years?” Academy of Management Perspectives, 26: Posthuma, R. et al (2013). “A high performance work practices taxonomy…” Journal of Management, 39:
59 More ReferencesGuest, 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: Woodrow, C. & Guest, D. (2013 in press) “When good HR gets bad results”. Human Resource Management Journal.