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Implementation of high-performance work practices in the Spanish private sector: Stronger or weaker during the economic downturn?

Gabriel Pruneda (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overall picture of the level of implementation of high-performance work practices (HPWP) in Spain, as well as to identify changes after three years of severe economic and financial crisis. The practices analysed include selective hiring, extensive training, information sharing, contingent remuneration and job security.


By means of logistic regressions, the author estimates the determinants of these practices, during a crisis and pre-crisis period. As a source of information, the author uses a representative sample of the whole Spanish private sector of 9,086 wage workers, drawn from the 2006 and 2010 waves of the Quality of Life at Work Survey.


Job security and skills utilisation are widely spread in Spain, whilst contingent remuneration and extensive training show low levels of usage. Highly skilled individuals holding high-quality jobs display a greater probability of being affected by HPWP. Similar patterns emerge for employees in large companies and for those in the health and education industries.

Research limitations/implications

Design limitations are caused by data that are cross-sectional, not longitudinal.

Practical implications

The author is able to reach conclusions that can be generalised for the entire Spanish private sector. Thus, they might be used to propose policy recommendations.


This is the first in-depth analysis of HPWP in the Spanish private sector. The results encourage the discussion about the suitability of these practices.



The author wishes to thank three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and constructive comments, and to acknowledge all the valuable suggestions that an earlier version of this paper received at the Global Conference on International Human Resource Management and SASE 25th Annual Conference.


Pruneda, G. (2015), "Implementation of high-performance work practices in the Spanish private sector: Stronger or weaker during the economic downturn?", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 159-180.



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