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HRM and Workplace Motivation: Incremental and Threshold Effects

  • Alex Bryson
  • Michael White

The HRM-performance linkage often invokes an assumption of increased employee commitment to the organization and other positive effects of a motivational type. We present a theoretical framework in which motivational effects of HRM are conditional on its intensity, utilizing especially the idea of HRM 'bundling'. We then analyse the association between HRM practices and employees' organisational commitment (OC) and intrinsic job satisfaction (IJS). HRM practices have significantly positive relationships with OC and IJS chiefly at high levels of implementation, but with important distinctions between the domain-level analysis (comprising groups of practices for specific domains such as employee development) and the across-domain or HRM-system level. Findings support a threshold interpretation of the link between HRM domains and employee motivation, but at the system-level both incremental and threshold models receive some support.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1097.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1097
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Peter Cappelli & David Neumark, 2001. "Do “High-Performance†Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 737-775, July.
  2. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  3. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
  4. David E. Guest & Jonathan Michie & Neil Conway & Maura Sheehan, 2003. "Human Resource Management and Corporate Performance in the UK," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(2), pages 291-314, 06.
  5. Nick Bloom & Tobias Kretschmer & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Are family-friendly workplace practices a valuable firm resource?," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 343-367, 04.
  6. 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.
  7. Paul Osterman, 2000. "Work Reorganization in an Era of Restructuring: Trends in Diffusion and Effects on Employee Welfare," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 179-196, January.
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