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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Lin Xiu, Xin Liang, Zhao Chen and Wei Xu

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of innovative HR practices as an important mechanism through which strategic flexibility affects firm performance as well…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of innovative HR practices as an important mechanism through which strategic flexibility affects firm performance as well as the role of female leadership in this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered from a sample of 113 firms in China. The authors collected information on organizational strategy, HR practices, CEO information, corporate social responsibility and other firm characteristics in terms of firm age, location, and financial performance. Conditional procedural analysis was conducted to test the model.

Findings

The authors found strong evidence in support of the mediation relationship in which organizations with a strong focus on strategic flexibility are more likely to adopt Innovative HR Practices. Furthermore, the authors found that the extent to which firms have adopted innovative HR practices has a strong effect on employee productivity. In addition, the authors found that female leadership enhances strategic flexibility-performance relationship.

Research limitations/implications

Information on strategic flexibility, HR practices and firm performance was collected at the same time. Future studies based on panel data would be helpful to establish the causal relationships in the model.

Practical implications

The authors’ findings suggest that practitioners should put more emphasis on developing innovative HR practices, as they are required by strategic flexibility.

Social implications

Firms pursuing strategic flexibility should feel more confident when appointing a female CEO, because the results show that female leadership may enhance the positive impact of strategic flexibility on firm performance.

Originality/value

This research study is the first empirical examination of the mediating influence of innovative HR practices on the relationship between strategic flexibility and firm performance. The study also shows that female leadership benefits an organization in implementing strategic flexibility. The results are of value to researchers, human resource management managers, employees, and executives who are seeking to develop practices that are flexible and innovative in order to stay competitive in dynamic environments.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 46 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2008

Angel Martínez‐Sánchez, Manuela Pérez‐Pérez, María José Vela‐Jiménez and Pilar de‐Luis‐Carnicer

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contribution of human resource (HR) commitment practices to firm performance through the adoption of workplace practices that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contribution of human resource (HR) commitment practices to firm performance through the adoption of workplace practices that require the organisational climate created by HR commitment practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a survey of 156 Spanish firms and statistical test of research hypotheses through structural equation modelling.

Findings

The results indicate that the extent that employees have access to HR commitment practices and HR social benefits is positively related to the intensity of telework adoption. Firm performance is positively associated to the intensity of telework adoption, functional flexibility and internal numerical flexibility, and negatively related to external numerical flexibility. HR commitment practices impact directly and indirectly on different measures of firm performance.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐sectional, survey‐based data that cannot infer causality. Longitudinal and qualitative designs are needed to get a better understanding of the relationships. A follow‐up study of employees perception of several variables analysed in this study (e.g. access to HR commitment practices and employee benefits) could reveal possible contradictions between what policies managers claim there exist, and what policies employees perceive to exist.

Practical implications

The adoption of HR commitment practices can facilitate the organisational change required by the adoption of telework.

Originality/value

The findings provide evidence that HR commitment practices are indirectly related to firm performance through their effects on the use of flexibility practices like telework that require organisational climates containing high levels of trust.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2012

J. Bruce Tracey

The purpose of this paper is to present a more refined and comprehensive explanation of the HR‐firm performance relationship. Based on the recent conceptual and empirical…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a more refined and comprehensive explanation of the HR‐firm performance relationship. Based on the recent conceptual and empirical research that is grounded in attribution theory, the model posits that flexibility regarding firm's HR system is a key mediator in the focal relationship, and that environmental dynamism determines the extent to which flexibility may be required. Specifically, the model specifies that a firm's high commitment work system will have a direct influence on the flexibility of the HR system, as well as climate perceptions about commitment and performance. HR flexibility and climate will in turn influence employees' evaluative attributions regarding the effectiveness of the firm's HR system, which will in turn affect employee commitment and performance and ultimately, firm‐level performance outcomes. And finally, the model specifies that environmental dynamism will have a direct influence on HR flexibility and the resulting employee‐ and firm‐level outcomes. This explanation is designed to have broad utility in light of the adaptive requirements for firms that operate in rapidly changing and highly competitive conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper.

Findings

The proposed model provides a more comprehensive explanation of the mechanisms by which a firm's high commitment work practices may influence firm performance, and as such, offers both a diagnostic and prescriptive basis for improving and enhancing the firm's competitive position.

Originality/value

The analysis and discussion presented in this paper demonstrates the need for a broader perspective on the internal and external contingencies that influence the HR‐firm performance relationship. The proposed model addresses this need and offers a more detailed, flexibility‐based explanation of how HCWS affect individual and organizational performance outcomes. It is hoped that this expanded framework offers new insights that will help scholars and practitioners to consider the ways in which HR practices can be leveraged to promote committed, high‐performing employees that help organizations achieve sustained levels of superior performance.

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Chandra Sekhar, Manoj Patwardhan and Vishal Vyas

This paper aims to measure the human resource (HR) flexibility and firm performances confirmatory model and to map the causal relation structures in the HR flexibility and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to measure the human resource (HR) flexibility and firm performances confirmatory model and to map the causal relation structures in the HR flexibility and firm performance dimensions using the DEMATEL method.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from leading national and multinational information technology (IT) firms operating in the southern part of India. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to measure the confirmatory model, and the DEMATEL method was used to map the causal relation among the dimensions of HR flexibility and firm performance.

Findings

HR flexibility could exist across IT firms. Organisations are required to anticipate and respond promptly to changing conditions in such a way that both technical and stakeholders’ complexity are effectively managed.

Research limitations/implications

The study was conducted at leading national and multinational IT firms operating in the southern part of India.

Practical implications

HR flexibility allows employees with a wide variety of work styles and lifestyles to be successful contributors, to advance and to lead in the parent firm. It brings out diversity and individuality, shared responsibility, wholeness, etc., among the employees. It applies to work schedules and career paths across the organisation. IT firms are advised to adopt an external focus, an organic and employee-oriented approach and long-term orientation.

Originality/value

Confirming the measurement model and mapping the causal relationship among the dimensions of HR flexibility and firm performance would be the novel contributions to the research in the areas of HR flexibility and firm performance with regard to IT firms. This paper contributes to the literature by theoretically and empirically investigating such relationships, thereby addressing the research gaps reviewed from literature.

Details

Journal of Modelling in Management, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5664

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Ben-Roy Do, Pi-Wen Yeh and Jean Madsen

Human resource (HR) flexibility is a firm-level capability that consists of employee skill flexibility, employee behavior flexibility, and HR practice flexibility. HR

Abstract

Purpose

Human resource (HR) flexibility is a firm-level capability that consists of employee skill flexibility, employee behavior flexibility, and HR practice flexibility. HR flexibility allows organizations to adapt and be responsive to changes in their environments. Findings from this paper indicate that if the organization is highly innovative and has flexible HR policies, then that influences organizational culture, risk-taking and experimentation within a firm. This paper has also revealed that process innovation mediates between adaptability culture and product innovation. It also revealed that managers should emphasize processes to improve efficiency for resource exploitation. The lessons learned from process innovation activities indicated that having a strong knowledge base assists a firm in developing innovative technology such as automation for manufacturing, handling and testing or simply smart manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

Questionnaires were sent to employees at 23 Taiwanese companies in high-tech industries, where innovation is the key to their survival, and 293 valid surveys were collected. Structural equation modeling, (SEM) using IBM SPSS Amos, was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results fully support the hypotheses that HR flexibility positively influences adaptability culture and contributes to organizational innovation. Furthermore, it was found that adaptability culture has a direct impact on process innovation and an indirect impact on product innovation through process innovation.

Originality/value

The critical role of HR flexibility and adaptability culture on organizational innovation in the high-tech sector were highlighted. The importance of HR flexibility is emphasized to provide managerial hints to top managers.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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Article
Publication date: 18 March 2020

Angel Martinez-Sanchez, Silvia Vicente-Oliva and Manuela Pérez-Pérez

The study analyzes the relationship between human resources (HR) flexibility and absorptive capacity (AC) of knowledge in a sample of Spanish manufacturing firms. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The study analyzes the relationship between human resources (HR) flexibility and absorptive capacity (AC) of knowledge in a sample of Spanish manufacturing firms. The purpose of the research is to analyze if firms with greater AC are more flexible than other firms and to assess the implications of different combinations of HR flexibility and AC for innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study sample consisted of 1,666 Spanish industrial firms in 2015 compiled from a large set of statements from the Survey of Business Strategies (SBS) questionnaire. The methodology includes a cluster analysis and a case study of selected firms. First, a k-means clustering analysis was carried out to explore how homogeneous are the SBS firms according to several HR flexibility and AC measures. The authors complement the clustering itself with some descriptive statistics for each cluster. Second, the statistical analysis is followed by a selection of case studies from industrial firms in different positions regarding innovation, AC, and HR flexibility. The information for the cases studies comes from secondary sources such as corporate governance reports and statements of managers and employees from company websites and public reports.

Findings

The empirical evidence indicates that some combinations of HR flexibility and AC are positively related to innovation outputs whereas others are not. Firms with greater AC, R&D effort and innovation outputs have less “bad” HR flexibility (external numerical flexibility from temporary employees and temporary help agencies) and more “good” HR flexibility (internal and external functional flexibility). On the contrary, firms with minimum or non-existent innovation and AC efforts have the highest levels of temporary employment and do not hire external R&D experts.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the cross-sectional nature of the study make the authors cautious about any proposition that may suggest a causal relationship among the studied variables.

Practical implications

Managers should pay attention to the different implications of each HR flexibility dimension for innovation activities since innovative companies value more those HR flexibility dimensions that contribute to the dispersion of knowledge within the firm.

Originality/value

The authors propose a framework to analyze the combination of HR flexibility and AC most suitable to different types of firms. Based on the statistical analyses and the case studies, the authors propose some strategic implications useful for the management of human resources. The matrix's framework analyzes the firm's innovation strategies according to the interactions between AC and the mix of HR flexibility dimensions.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Mercedes Úbeda-García, Enrique Claver-Cortés, Bartolomé Marco-Lajara and Patrocinio Zaragoza-Sáez

The purpose of this paper is to explore if human resource (HR) flexibility facilitates the development of organizational ambidexterity, which in turn has positive effects…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore if human resource (HR) flexibility facilitates the development of organizational ambidexterity, which in turn has positive effects on firm performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The research hypotheses are tested by partial least squares with data from a sample of 100 Spanish hotels.

Findings

The results confirm a total mediator effect of organizational ambidexterity on the relationship between HR flexibility and performance. However, it was not possible to check that such flexibility directly influences performance. This may be due to the fact that HR flexibility has a gradual effect on the development of organizational ambidexterity.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study contribute to the knowledge on the impact of HR flexibility on performance. This paper, thus, stresses the strategic role that HRs play within organizations, insofar as their flexibility makes it possible to develop a highly relevant organizational capability such as ambidexterity. The study’s limitations are the analysis technique utilized (it assumes linearity between latent variables) and that the research only explores the hotel industry.

Practical implications

HR managers need to consider that HR flexibility contributes to developing organizational ambidexterity and the ability to combine the learning of exploration and exploitation, which affects the firm’s performance and, therefore its competitiveness.

Originality/value

The results of this study can contribute to broaden the knowledge about the impact of HR flexibility on performance. In fact, the studies on HR flexibility performed so far have focused on analysing the role played by that flexibility as a mediator variable between high performance work system and performance. This work goes one step further, trying to examine the extent to which HR flexibility influences the ability to undertake exploitation and exploration processes at the same time. This paper, thus, stresses the strategic role that HRs play within organizations, insofar as their flexibility makes it possible to develop a highly relevant organizational capability as is ambidexterity.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 46 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Luu Trong Tuan

Service-dominant logic perspective underscores the role of customers as value co-creators for an organization. The purpose of this paper is to build the understanding of…

Abstract

Purpose

Service-dominant logic perspective underscores the role of customers as value co-creators for an organization. The purpose of this paper is to build the understanding of how HR flexibility contributes to customer value co-creation behavior through mediating roles of employees’ role breadth self-efficacy and customer-organization identification and also to assess the interaction between CSR and role breadth self-efficacy in predicting customer-organization identification, leading to a higher level of customer value co-creation behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

Responses to the questionnaire survey came from 214 managers and 427 sales employees from 62 software companies, and 427 purchase managers of their customer companies in Vietnam context.

Findings

Research findings confirmed the path from HR flexibility to customer value co-creation behavior through the mediating mechanisms of role breadth self-efficacy and customer-organization identification. The research data also provided evidence for the role of CSR in enhancing the effect of employees’ role breadth self-efficacy on customer-organization identification.

Originality/value

The novel relationship between HR flexibility and customer value co-creation behavior extends both HRM and service-dominant logic literature. The moderation mechanism of CSR for that relationship further converges CSR into HRM research stream.

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

María-José Vela-Jiménez, Ángel Martínez-Sánchez, Manuela Pérez-Pérez and Silvia Abella-Garcés

The purpose of this paper is to further explore the relationship between several dimensions of human resource (HR) flexibility and firm performance by introducing two…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to further explore the relationship between several dimensions of human resource (HR) flexibility and firm performance by introducing two moderator effects: inter-organizational cooperation and environmental changes. There is need for such studies because the relationship between HR flexibility and firm performance remains ambiguous and inconclusive. Whereas some theoretical perspectives and empirical evidences suggest the need to develop and support full-time and permanent employees, others argue that flexible labour relations are beneficial to firm performance. One of the reasons that could explain the lack of conclusive evidences is the scarce use of moderator effects.

Design/methodology/approach

Research hypotheses are tested by structural equation analysis with data from a sample of 156 Spanish companies from different sectors.

Findings

The results confirm the positive influence of internal HR flexibility on firm performance whereas the influence of external flexibility depends of each dimension in relation to the level of knowledge involved. However, the main finding is that environmental changes and cooperation moderate positively the relationship between functional flexibility and financial performance, as well as between external high skilled expertise and performance (at total level and its subcategories) which focus the importance of flexibility in their contribution to accessing and deploying knowledge into the firm.

Research limitations/implications

Main limitations are the small sample size, the use of cross-sectional data and a structured questionnaire. Longitudinal studies and larger samples should test the causal relationships suggested by the results of the paper. The assessment of flexibility at the enterprise level could also be extended in future studies at the network level since some firms may obtain functional and numerical flexibility through its relationships with other companies in networks. The study of the relationships between different combinations of flexible work and firm performance, considering different groups of employees, could follow from the recommendations of moderator effects found in this research.

Practical implications

Executives need to consider how the different units in the organizational structure interface with the contextual environmental, and they also need to understand the performance implications of different HR flexibility practices because their implications may change according to the exogenous business environment. The authors have found that the contribution of high skilled expertise from consulting/contracting firms is going to be more important than the contribution of short-term hires and temporary agency workers. Experts from outside not only bring knowledge of industry best practices into the firm that supports the innovative output, but they can also contribute to improve financial and relational performance. The results also suggest that external high skilled expertise may be more beneficial to the firm in highly changing environments than in more stable environments.

Originality/value

Two are the main contributions of the paper: first, it analyses the influence of a comprehensive group of HR flexible practices on three different dimensions of firm performance which helps to understand in greater detail the causal mechanisms that link HR flexibility and firm performance in comparison to other studies that are more focused on singular flexible practices and measures of firm performance; and second, the paper analyses the moderator effect of both environmental dynamism and inter-organizational cooperation, which advances the theoretical understanding of flexibility and firm performance by studying different scenarios of HR flexibilities with these two moderators. The results of the paper could help managers to take advantage of different combinations of flexibility dimensions according to contingent situations and in order to improve firm performance.

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

Kunle Akingbola

The change in the environment of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) has accentuated the need for managers to understand the relationship between strategy, HRM and…

Abstract

Purpose

The change in the environment of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) has accentuated the need for managers to understand the relationship between strategy, HRM and organizational effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to examine contingencies that underlie strategy, HRM and the dimensions of fit and flexibility in the actual HRM practices implemented by two study organizations that have deployed HRM in strategic change.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used two case studies of NPOs who reported that they adopted HR practices as an integral component of their adaptive strategy to achieve a fit. Thus, the research adopted purposive sampling to determine the cases that are appropriate to examine the research questions.

Findings

The findings provide evidence of horizontal and vertical fit and flexibility‐focused HRM practices designed to provide strategic alternatives. The research raises questions about how well NPOs’ managers understand contingency drivers of strategy, HRM practices and the direction of HRM in NPOs. A number of factors contributed to promote fit, flexibility and HR practices. First, the emphasis on HRM as a critical priority in strategy by senior management. Second, factor that may have contributed to fit and flexibility dimension is the use of professional managers in the NPOs. The case organizations involved either internal or external consultants with HRM expertise in strategic planning process. Finally, organisational structure that facilitated communication channels within both organizations. Both organizations emphasized internal communications as a way of engaging employees.

Research limitations/implications

The findings set the groundwork for major research which could extend findings from previous empirical research, that strategy of NPOs is aligned with the level of HR practices in some functions such as training and not aligned in others practices such as recruitment.

Practice implications

For nonprofit managers, this research reinforced the importance of senior management commitment and HR expertise to develop and implement HR practices that are aligned with current strategy and the need to develop employees’ skills to facilitate flexibility to adapt to change in the environment. It is imperative for the HR practices of NPOs not only to achieve horizontal and vertical fit, but also to build in flexibility the organization requires to develop, deploy and sustain employee skills and behaviour needed to cope with the competitive environment and to help with the achievement of organisational goals.

Originality/value

The important point of this research is that it extends our understanding of fit and flexibility in NPOs. It provides an example of how two NPOs adopted and emphasized SHRM as a critical component of their strategy.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 35 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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