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Employees and High-Performance Work Systems: Testing inside the Black Box


  • Harvie Ramsay
  • Dora Scholarios
  • Bill Harley


Most work on high-performance work systems has examined only the direct relationship between a set of management practices and performance outcomes. This presumes that any connection operates through the incentive and motivational effects captured as 'high-commitment' or 'high-involvement' employee outcomes. No attempt has been made to examine the alternative, Labour Process conceptualization, which expects performance gains from new management practices to arise instead from work intensification, offloading of taskcontrols, and increased job strain. Using data from WERS98, we tested models based on high-performance work systems and labour process approaches. Both were found wanting, and we consider the possible implications of these failures. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd/London School of Economics 2000.

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  • Harvie Ramsay & Dora Scholarios & Bill Harley, 2000. "Employees and High-Performance Work Systems: Testing inside the Black Box," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 501-531, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:38:y:2000:i:4:p:501-531

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Colin Green & John Heywood, 2012. "Don't Forget the Gravy! Are Bonuses and Time Rates Complements?," Working Papers 13424023, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. Brian Bell & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Firm Performance and Wages: Evidence from Across the Corporate Hierarchy," CEP Discussion Papers dp1088, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. John Forth & Alex Bryson & Lucy Stokes, 2016. "Are firms paying more for performance?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 323-343, May.
    4. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2003. "Nominal wage rigidity and the rate of inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 762-781, October.
    5. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1996. "Wages, Profits, and Rent-Sharing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 227-251.
    6. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of Real Wages within Employer-Employee Matches," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
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