Work Reorganization in an Era of Restructuring: Trends in Diffusion and Effects on Employee Welfare
High Performance Work Organizations (HPWOs) took root in the early 1990s but then faced an environment of organizational turmoil and restructuring. This paper, drawing on a second-round survey of employers that replicated and extended a 1992 survey, addresses two questions: whether HPWO practices continued to spread, and whether their productivity and quality gains redounded to employees' benefit. The results show that HPWO practices continued to diffuse at a rapid rate between the 1992 and 1997 survey dates, although more slowly for self-managed teams than for other practices. With regard to the second question, however, the author finds that adoption of HPWO practices in 1992 was associated with increased layoff rates in subsequent years and no compensation gains. In addition, HPWO practices are linked to employment reorganization, such as reductions in contingent and managerial employment.
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