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Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: Organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry

  • John MacDuffie
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    Using a unique international data set from a 1989-90 survey of 62 automotive assembly plants, the author tests two hypotheses: that innovative HR practices affect performance not individually but as interrelated elements in an internally consistent HR "bundle" or system; and that these HR bundles contribute most to assembly plant productivity and quality when they are integrated with manufacturing policies under the "organizational logic" of a flexible production system. Analysis of the survey data, which tests three indices representing distinct bundles of human resource and manufacturing practices, supports both hypotheses. Flexible production plants with team-based work systems, "high-commitment" HR practices (such as contingent compensation and extensive training), and low inventory and repair buffers consistently outperformed mass production plants. Variables capturing two-way and three-way interactions among the bundles of practices are even better predictors of performance, supporting the integration hypothesis. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 48 (1995)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 197-221

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:48:y:1995:i:2:p:197-221
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