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High performance work practices in the health care sector: a Dutch case study

Paul Boselie (Department of HR Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Publication date: 30 March 2010



This paper aims to present an empirical study of the effect of high performance work practices on commitment and citizenship behaviour in the health care sector. The theory suggests that individual employees are willing “to go the extra mile” when they are given the opportunity to develop their abilities and to participate, and when they are motivated.


The data were gathered in a Dutch general hospital using employee questionnaires. Medical specialists were not included in the study.


The results of the study suggest that employee development (e.g. skills training, general training, and task enrichment) and employee involvement (e.g. job autonomy, participation in decision making) are important HR practices in creating a high performance work climate in a health care organisation.

Research limitations/implications

The data come from one hospital and the analysis is cross‐sectional. However, the importance of the study lies in its focus on the individual employee perspective rather than the organisational level analyses which currently predominate in the HRM and performance debate.

Practical implications

The training and development of health care employees can increase their affective commitment. Increasing employee involvement can also help stimulate citizenship behaviour.


The paper looks at the non‐profit sector, whereas the majority of previous HR research has focused on multinational companies.



Boselie, P. (2010), "High performance work practices in the health care sector: a Dutch case study", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 42-58.



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