Research and Practice in Human Resource Management

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Chew, Y. T. (2005). Achieving Organisational Prosperity through Employee Motivation and Retention: A Comparative Study of Strategic HRM Practices in Malaysian Institutions, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 13(2), 87-104.

Achieving Organisational Prosperity through Employee Motivation and Retention: A Comparative Study of Strategic HRM Practices in Malaysian Institutions Yin Teng Chew

A growing concern among companies operating in the Malaysian labour market with high job mobility is how to maintain a workforce

capable of fulfilling corporate exigencies. This study compares and contrasts how strategic human resource management activities from different country origins are implemented in Malaysian companies

to motivate and retain talented cadres. The findings reveal there were significant differences across the study countries. Moreover, the study results demonstrate that, while an attractive pay package is effective in manifesting job motivation, complementary strategic human resources practices are profoundly important in reducing staff turnover. These findings are discussed in terms of the other application aspects of well integrated human resource practices.


Human resources (HR) are the backbone of an organisation (Gerhart & Milkovich 1990, Pfeffer 1998). Moreover, the continuing prosperity of a firm is likely to be enhanced by employees who hold attitudes, value and expectations that are closely aligned with the corporate vision (Borman & Motwidlo 1993, Spector 1997, Cable & Parsons 2001, Feldman 2003). Clearly, hiring capable people is an attractive point of departure in the process, but building and sustaining a committed workforce is more likely to be facilitated by the employment of sophisticated human resource management (HRM) infrastructures (Schuler & Jackson 1987, Beechler, Bird & Raghuram 1993). Arguably, HRM policies and practices can be strategically designed and installed to promote desirable employee outcomes, which include the enhancement of the in role and extra role behaviours of employees. Yet, despite such costly investments, corporations are continually searching for techniques to improve and cement the linkage between employees and their organisations.

Weak employee organisational linkages are often displayed as the phenomenon of turnover. Indeed, people are likely to job hop to obtain better monetary rewards and career development opportunities. However, traditional approaches that rely heavily on competitive monetary rewards often have limited success in staff retention and job motivation in the long run. This limitation has brought practitioners to consider, along with the facilitation of sophisticated HRM infrastructures, other techniques to enhance employee attachment towards their organisation (i.e., person organisation fit selection approach, performance based incentives, extension of the attractive executive perks to all employees). With proper implementation, these techniques often facilitate a more committed workforce. This effect can be achieved through the enhancement of in role (i.e., organisational commitment) and extra role (i.e., organisational citizenship) behaviours (Allen & Meyer 1990, Organ 1990). The form of organisational attachment and in role behaviour, the organisational commitment that psychologically characterises an employee’s relationship with the organisation for which he or she works, has implications for whether or not an employee will choose to remain with the organisation. Past research (Porter & Steers 1973, Allen & Meyer 1990) found that organisations with strong employee attachment, or organisational commitment, tend to have lower turnover or intention to leave than would those with weak employee attachment. Organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), a form of extra role behaviour and reciprocation of fair treatment by employees (Colye-Shapiro,...
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