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The impact of strategic human resource management on the performance of firms in India: A study of service sector firms

Ajit Kumar Nigam (Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways, New Delhi, India)
Sonia Nongmaithem (Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Shillong, India)
Sudeep Sharma (Department of Organizational Behavior and Strategy, Olin Business School, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, USA)
Nachiketa Tripathi (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, India)

Journal of Indian Business Research

ISSN: 1755-4195

Article publication date: 23 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between strategic human resource management (SHRM) and performance in service sectors firms in India. Also, it has tried to explore whether the three main approaches in the area of SHRM – universalistic, contingency and configurational approaches hold true in an Indian setting.


Data were collected from 25 organizations, using two sets of questionnaires. Set 1 comprised measures of business strategy (n=98) and key informant approach was used to collect the data. Set 2 had measures of SHRM which consisted of two sections – human resource management (HRM) system orientation and HRM capabilities and organizational effectiveness (n=750). Performance was measured in terms of organizational effectiveness. Regression analysis was carried out at two levels: industry level and overall level.


Results indicated that there is positive relationship between SHRM and effectiveness, business strategy has an impact on the relationship between SHRM and effectiveness and universalistic theory of SHRM does not work in the Indian service sector.

Practical implications

The results of this study revealed that transport and IT‐enabled industries require more strategic HR capability while finance requires more technical HR capability. The SHRM policies need to be dynamic and contingent on the business strategy to attain maximum impact on effectiveness.


This study contributes to the sparse literature on the role of SHRM in the service sector industry where dependence on human resources is more critical as compared to other sectors.



Nigam, A.K., Nongmaithem, S., Sharma, S. and Tripathi, N. (2011), "The impact of strategic human resource management on the performance of firms in India: A study of service sector firms", Journal of Indian Business Research, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 148-167.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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