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Configuring and Contextualising HR Systems: An Empirical Study of Manufacturing SMEs


  • Richard Lacoursière

    () (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada)

  • Bruno Fabi

    () (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada)

  • Louis Raymond

    () (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada)


Human resource management (HRM) has become for SMEs a critical factor of adaptation to an increasingly complex and uncertain business environment. Founded on open systems and contingency theory, the present study seeks to identify configurations of HR systems in manufacturing SMEs, and to determine the extent to which these configurations are associated to the environmental and organisational context. Survey data analysis of 176 manufacturing SMEs revealed three configurations of HR systems, namely a "strategic-high-commitment system", a "functional-high-commitment system", and a "traditional-low-commitment system". Differences in these systems are associated to variables that reflect the SMEs’ environmental, organisational and technological context.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Lacoursière & Bruno Fabi & Louis Raymond, 2008. "Configuring and Contextualising HR Systems: An Empirical Study of Manufacturing SMEs," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 19(1+2), pages 106-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:doi_10.1688/1861-9908_mrev_2008_1+2_lacoursiere

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    Cited by:

    1. Brigitte Kroon & Karina Voorde & Jules Timmers, 2013. "High performance work practices in small firms: a resource-poverty and strategic decision-making perspective," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 71-91, June.
    2. Gabriela ÞUÞUEANU & Elena Claudia ªERBAN, 2014. "High Performance Activity Practices in Small Firms in Romania," Economia. Seria Management, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 17(2), pages 290-303, December.

    More about this item


    HRM; gestalts; open systems theory; context; small business;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General


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