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Service implementation in manufacturing firms: The role of service-orientated human resource management practices and demand-side search

Yapu Zhao (Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Wenhong Zhang (School of Business, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China)
Depeng Liu (School of Business, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China)
Fenghua Bao (Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Longwei Tian (Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 15 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Given the importance of frontline employees in implementing the service strategy, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether service-orientated human resource management (SHRM) practices are important organizational antecedents to help manufacturing firms gain the benefit of the service strategy. Furthermore, the paper also explores whether SHRM practices promote manufacturing firms’ performance through demand-side search.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employs survey methodology to examine a research model that explores whether and how SHRM practices influence manufacturing firms’ performance through demand-side search. Data from 151 high-tech manufacturing firms in a science park of China are analyzed to test the research model.

Findings

This study finds that SHRM practices can enhance manufacturing firms’ performance, and demand-side search plays a mediating role in this relationship.

Research limitations/implications

Depending on a single science park in China to provide cross-sectional subjective data for the core variables and the choice of firms limits the capacity to generalize the findings.

Practical implications

These findings suggest that during transition to service business model, manufacturing firms should design supported organizational systems, especially SHRM practices, and commit to demand-side search as an efficient means to gain the benefit of the service strategy.

Originality/value

The study highlights the crucial role of SHRM practices in the implementation of the service strategy, as well as the mediating role of demand-side search. These results provide some new insights to explain the inconsistent findings in the servitization literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71372026; No. 71132006).

Citation

Zhao, Y., Zhang, W., Liu, D., Bao, F. and Tian, L. (2017), "Service implementation in manufacturing firms: The role of service-orientated human resource management practices and demand-side search", Management Decision, Vol. 55 No. 4, pp. 648-661. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-12-2015-0605

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited