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Workplace practices and firm performance in manufacturing: A comparative study of Italy and Britain

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  • Annalisa Cristini
  • Dario Pozzoli

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of innovative workplace practices in a sample of manufacturing establishments. Design/methodology/approach – The sample comprises manufacturing establishments located in Italy and a comparable sample extracted from the British Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS). The paper controls for sector, size, skill quality and industrial relations. Findings – Job rotation and technical training are positively associated with current performance in both samples. On average, British establishments are more productive: the different endowment in terms of workplace practices, skills and industrial relations accounts for 40 per cent of the gap, while the different efficacy of the endowment on performance accounts for the remainder. Originality/value – In both samples the introduction of team working implies a relatively important advance along the reorganisation process, which was undertaken in the early stages of reorganisation in British establishments but much later in Italian firms. Linking the progression of the reorganisation to non-convexities in supermodular production functions may be an interesting line of future research.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (November)
Pages: 818-842

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:31:y:2010:i:7:p:818-842

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References

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 6120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cristini Annalisa & Gaj Alessandro & Labory Sandrine & Leoni Riccardo, 2003. "Flat Hierarchical Structure, Bundles of New Work Practices and Firm Performance," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 313.
  3. Colombo, Massimo G. & Delmastro, Marco, 2002. "How effective are technology incubators?: Evidence from Italy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1103-1122, September.
  4. Peter Cappelli & David Neumark, 2001. "Do "high-performance" work practices improve establishment-level outcomes?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 737-775, July.
  5. Bauer, Thomas K., 2003. "Flexible Workplace Practices and Labor Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 700, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Thomas Zwick & Anja Kuckulenz, 2004. "Heterogeneous Returns to Training in Personal Services," Working Papers of the Research Group Heterogenous Labor 04-10, Research Group Heterogeneous Labor, University of Konstanz/ZEW Mannheim.
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  11. Griffith, Rachel & Harrison, Rupert & Van Reenen, John, 2004. "How Special is the Special Relationship? Using the Impact of US R&D Spillovers on UK Firms as a Test of Technology Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Nick Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2008. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices in Italy," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(2), pages 15-56, March-Apr.
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  14. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Simon Kirby, 2005. "High-Involvement Management Practices, Trade Union Representation And Workplace Performance In Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(3), pages 451-491, 07.
  15. Domenico J. Marchetti & Francesco Nucci, 2004. "Pricing behavior and the comovement of productivity and labor: evidence from firm-level data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 524, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  16. Paolo Pini & Grazia Santangelo, 2005. "Innovation types and labour organisational practices: A comparison of foreign and domestic firms in the Reggio Emilia industrial districts," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 251-276.
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