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Unpacking the relationship between high-performance work systems and innovation performance in SMEs

Khuram Shahzad (Department of Management, School of Business and Economics, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan) (School of Management, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Pia Arenius (School of Management, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Alan Muller (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Muhammad Athar Rasheed (Department of Management, School of Business and Economics, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan)
Sami Ullah Bajwa (Department of Management, School of Business and Economics, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 2 May 2019

Issue publication date: 23 May 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the black box between high-performance work systems (HPWS) and innovation performance in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through application of the ability, motivation and opportunity (AMO) framework, the study examines the mediating roles of innovation-specific ability, motivation and voice behaviors between HPWS and SMEs’ innovation performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses are tested on data collected through a self-administered questionnaire from 237 SMEs in Pakistan.

Findings

Findings indicate that human capital, motivation and employee voice fully mediate the relationship between HPWS and innovation performance in SMEs.

Research limitations/implications

The cross-sectional research design and self-reported measures warrant caution for the interpretation of findings. Future research may consider a longitudinal research design and objective measures.

Practical implications

SMEs need to invest in the adoption and implementation of HPWS that will develop innovation-specific abilities, motivation and voice behaviors simultaneously among employees that will lead to higher innovation performance.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its kind utilizing an AMO framework to investigate the underlying mechanism through which HPWS affect innovation performance in SMEs.

Keywords

Citation

Shahzad, K., Arenius, P., Muller, A., Rasheed, M.A. and Bajwa, S.U. (2019), "Unpacking the relationship between high-performance work systems and innovation performance in SMEs", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 4, pp. 977-1000. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-10-2016-0271

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited