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HRM strength, situation strength and improvisation behavior

Tânia Rodrigues Ribeiro (ISCTE‐IUL Business School, Lisboa, Portugal)
Joaquim Pinto Coelho (Faculty of Economy and Business Sciences/Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Lusíada University of Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal)
Jorge F.S. Gomes (ISEG‐UTL, Lisbon, Portugal)

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the connections between human resource (HR), situation strength and improvisation behavior. A high degree of “fit” among HR practices and between such practices and organizational strategy, is said to have an impact on organizational outcomes. How these fits are achieved is not fully understood in the literature. It has been proposed that horizontal fit is achieved when messages regarding HR matters are communicated to employees in a distinct, consensual, and consistent way. This will create a strong situation, which in turn will affect outcomes such as improvisation behavior. Situation strength is captured by the concepts of climate strength, and culture strength.


The research was conducted at a call center of a company belonging to a Portuguese Telecommunications Group. In total, 91 questionnaires were collected. Scales in the questionnaire are based on existing indicators, but a new measure of HR strength (HRS) was also used. The data were analyzed with structural equation modeling.


Results show that HRS has a direct effect on improvisation behavior. Furthermore, culture is a mediator between HRS and climate. There was also a strong indication that culture may be a mediator between HRS and improvisation behavior.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations concern the sample size and the fact that research was conducted in a call center. Implications for research include the need to introduce leadership into this type of studies, as well as model and scales validation.


The current research advances knowledge in the area in three ways. First, it presents a new instrument to measure HRS. Second, it introduces improvisation as an outcome of HR. And third, it tests a full model that links HR to social common structures (climate and culture) and performance outcomes (improvisation behavior in this work).



Rodrigues Ribeiro, T., Pinto Coelho, J. and Gomes, J.F.S. (2011), "HRM strength, situation strength and improvisation behavior", Management Research, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 118-136.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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