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Composing the same song: when and how high-performance work systems can stimulate proactive behavior

Chiou-Shiu Lin (Department of Business Administration, Business School, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan, China)
Ran Xiao (Department of Business Administration, Business School, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan, China)
Pei-Chi Huang (Institute of Business and Management, College of Management, National University of Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Liang-Chih Huang (Department of Labor Relations, National Chung Cheng University, Chiayi, Taiwan)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 8 November 2021

Issue publication date: 13 December 2022

425

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on signaling theory, the purpose of this study is to explore how high-performance work systems (HPWS) interact with leader–member exchange (LMX) to predict employees' proactive behavior and job engagement. Moreover, the present study also proposes the mediating role of job engagement in the interactive effects of HPWS and LMX quality on proactive behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

The data of this study include 228 customer-contact employees and 44 store managers from chain store enterprises in the service sector in Taiwan. The proposed models were tested with hierarchical linear modeling and Monte Carlo simulation.

Findings

The results show a significant interactive effect of HPWS and LMX on job engagement and proactive behavior. In addition, job engagement serves as a vital mechanism linking the interactive effect of HPWS and LMX quality on proactive behavior.

Originality/value

This study uses signaling theory to unpack the question when and how HPWS can be more influential on employees' proactive behavior. In particular, the positive effect of HPWS on proactive behavior is more prominent only when employees enjoy high LMX quality with their respective line managers. In addition, the interactive effects of HPWS and LMX quality on proactive behavior are mediated by job engagement. The findings provide valuable theoretical and managerial contribution by integrating HRM and leadership research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study is sponsored by following institutions: the Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (18YJC630089); the Hunan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (2018JJ2407); the Research Center for Hubei Business Service and Development, Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Science of Hubei Province, China (2020Z02).

Citation

Lin, C.-S., Xiao, R., Huang, P.-C. and Huang, L.-C. (2022), "Composing the same song: when and how high-performance work systems can stimulate proactive behavior", Personnel Review, Vol. 51 No. 9, pp. 2388-2403. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-11-2020-0820

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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