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High-performance work system: a systematic review of literature

Dilip Kaushik (Department of Human Resource Management, Jain University, Bangalore, India)
Ujjal Mukherjee (Department of Human Resource Management, CMS Business School, Bangalore, India)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 18 May 2021




This paper aims to review the existing body of knowledge on high-performance work systems (HPWS) with a special focus on the recent developments that strengthen its prevalence. Considering the current business ecosystem, the author proposes two more characteristics of HPWS which will add value to the literature. It also aims to propose several gaps in the literature considering the role of HPWS in the organization.


This paper uses a systematic literature review methodology to strengthen the concept, its connection with people and organization, theoretical underpinnings and intervening mechanisms that have not received much attention. The information collected from various studies was analyzed thematically and synthesized to assess the existing body of literature. For a better understanding of HPWS, the review is organized under the following subthemes: definition and meaning, conceptualization, technology infusion, relationship with people and organization, theories commonly used and positives and negative consequences of HPWS.


This study identifies and describes key characteristics of HPWS such as system, synergistic effect, performance and proposes two new characteristics – agility and adoption of technology. Further findings of this study indicate that HPWS has both positive and negative influences on employee outcomes. The positive outcome helps in the development of human capital that provides a competitive advantage to the organization. The study also underlines some negative influences of HPWS on employee behavior due to the misalignment of HR practices. Scope for further research is also provided for future researchers.


The paper adds the recent developments in the area of HPWS literature and proposes research directions for future researchers.



Data availability statement: The authors of this paper confirm that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article.


Kaushik, D. and Mukherjee, U. (2021), "High-performance work system: a systematic review of literature", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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