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Women's participation in high performance work practices: a comparative analysis of Portugal and Spain

  • Ferreira, Pedro
  • Porto, Nelida
  • Portela, Marta

High-performance work systems (HPWS) can be seen as a set of new forms of work organization combined with flexible human resources (HR) practices that enhance organizational performance through employee involvement and empowerment. Although in the past two decades much research has been conducted on the effects that high-performance work practices can have on organizations, there is still much to know about the ideal conditions for the adoption of such practices. According to some research, there are organizational and employees’ determinants that can influence the adoption of high-performance work practices. On the other hand, gender, as an employee characteristic has not been much considered. However, according to the literature, female employees may be less likely to participate in HPWS (Heywood & Jirjahn, 2002). Women tend to have a greater need for flexible working conditions, such as part-time jobs or flexibility between work and home. This can lead to shorter tenure and less complex tasks, but also to more individualized job functions, which mean that workers with these kind of profile have less probability of making part of teams, a fundamental feature of HPWS. The main goal of this paper is to understand how employees’ characteristics can influence the adoption of high-performance work practices. Specifically, it will be given special attention to gender as a potential determinant of participation in HPWS. To accomplish this goal, we frame the debate in recent research on HPWS that include employees’ characteristics and then follow to an analysis of Portugal and Spain, using data from the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 36404.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision: 2010
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36404
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  1. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2002. "Payment Schemes and Gender in Germany," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 44-64, October.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bill Harley & Belinda C. Allen & Leisa D. Sargent, 2007. "High Performance Work Systems and Employee Experience of Work in the Service Sector: The Case of Aged Care," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(3), pages 607-633, 09.
  5. Pedro Ferreira & Isabel Neira Gómez & Elvira Vieira, 2010. "The influence of human capital of the workforce in the adoption of high-performance work systems: the case of Portugal and Spain," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5, in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 46, pages 915-930 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
  6. Michael J. Handel & Maury Gittleman, 1999. "Is There a Wage Payoff to Innovative Work Practices?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_288, Levy Economics Institute.
  7. Tomer, John F., 2001. "Understanding high-performance work systems: the joint contribution of economics and human resource management," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 63-73, January.
  8. John Godard, 2004. "A Critical Assessment of the High-Performance Paradigm," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 349-378, 06.
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