First-line Implementation of High-Performance Work Systems: Effects on Work Unit Human Capital, Empowerment, and Performance
This study examines whether and how implementation of high-performance work systems (HPWS) by first-line managers relates to work unit performance. We hypothesized and tested a positive relationship between first-line managers’ implementation of HPWS and work unit performance, and we investigated cognitive (work unit human capital) and motivational (work unit empowerment) mechanisms through which this relationship occurs. Data were obtained from 135 employees of 62 Belgian branches of an employment agency and 10 middle managers overseeing these branches. Results revealed that first-line implementation of HPWS was positively related to work unit productivity and work unit customer service. Also, the relationship between first-line implementation of HPWS and work unit productivity was mediated by work unit human capital. These findings contribute to both theory and practice by providing an evidence-base of the proclaimed importance of first-line managers in establishing effective HPWS.
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