High-performance work system (HPWS) can be defined as a specific combination of HR practices, work structures, and processes that maximizes employee knowledge, skills, commitment, and flexibility (Bohlander & Snell, 2004, p. 690, Marchington and Wilkinson, 2008, P92). A basic aim of HPWS is leveraging human resource system to improve employees’ overall contribution and performance by enhancing their discretion, competency and commitment.
Among enormous researches of HPWS, researchers have empirically established a positive relationship between HPWS and a variety of organizational performance such as turnover (Guthrie, 2001; Huselid, 1995), labor productivity (Huselid, 1995), firm productivity (Guthrie, 2001), and firm financial performance (Guthrie, 2001; Huselid, 1995).
Before we discuss further about HPWS, we need to sort out its main conceptual companions: high-involvement work systems (HIWSs) and high-commitment management (HCM). ‘High commitment management’ (Walton 1985; Guest 2001a, 2001b; Wood & de Menezes, 1998) highlights the role of effective human resource management in enhancing employee commitment and thereby reducing the need for managerial control. And ‘high involvement work system’ (Wood 1999a; Lawler, 1986) is particularly used to emphasize the importance of opportunities for employees to make decisions and exercise discretion. ‘High performance work systems’ (Berg 1999; Appelbaum et al 2000), aim at reducing turnover, absenteeism and costs through a reduction in the need for control and monitoring (Ramsay et al., 2000). In comparison, HPWS appear to be more comprehensive as it usually entails effort on improving both employees’ commitment and involvement. Despite the variation in terminology, the concept is similar: a particular bundle of human resource practices have the potential to engender improved organizational performance (Hegan, 2006).
1.1 Comparison to Taylorism
If we want to examine the implications
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