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Perceptions of HR practices on job motivation and work-life balance: Mixed drives and outcomes in a labor-intensive sector

Hong T.M. Bui (Strategy and Organisation in the School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK and VNUK Institute, Da Nang, Vietnam)
Gordon Liu (School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK)
Sarah Footner (Business School, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 5 September 2016




Based on regulatory focus theory and social exchange theory, the purpose of this paper is to explain how care service workers’ job attitudes, such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment and perceived organizational support, help form their promotion-focus or prevention-focus perceptions of firms’ HR practices.


A survey study of 709 residential care service workers was used to test the developed framework with structure equation modeling analysis.


The empirical results show that the adoption of HR practices in the British care service sector can simultaneously enhance workers’ job motivation and help to correct their work-life imbalance, which have different effects on workers’ job attitudes.

Research limitations/implications

Perceptions of HR practices can create both promotion- and prevention-focussed perceptions from the workers’ perspective. The mixed perceptions about HR practices trigger both perceptions of job motivation and perceptions of work-life imbalance that can then lead to different outcomes with regard to job attitudes.

Practical implications

This study helps practitioners apply HR practices suitably, to certain types of employees in order to drive positive, rather than negative impacts. It is important for managers in the care service industry to take into account the conditions that determine the impacts of HR practices on workers’ job attitudes when deciding to adopt HR practices.


This study contributes to the management literature by providing empirical evidence of the critical role played by job motivation and work-life imbalance in the perceptions of HR practices and job attitudes link.



Bui, H.T.M., Liu, G. and Footner, S. (2016), "Perceptions of HR practices on job motivation and work-life balance: Mixed drives and outcomes in a labor-intensive sector", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 1004-1023.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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