Positive Employee Attitudes: How Much Human Resource Management Do You Need?

| Publication date: 23 Mar 2013 | Theme: Employment & Social policy | NIESR Author(s): Bryson, A | External Author(s): White, M. | JEL Classification: J28; L23; M12; M54 | Journal: Human Relations No 3 Vol 66 | Pages: 385-406

We propose a selective view of HRM that is guided by work motivation theory, arguing that one of the means by which firms achieve higher performance is by investing in certain forms of HRM practice that help fulfill intrinsic work values and thereby influence employees' attitudes to their jobs and to the firm in a positive direction. Additionally, an accumulation of complementary practices has important communicative functions that intensify positive employee attitudes. Using nationally representative linked employer-employee data for Britain we investigate the strength and form of the association between the array of practices deployed by the workplace on one hand, and organizational commitment (OC) and intrinsic job satisfaction (IJS) on the other – two types of job attitude that research has shown to be related to a range of performance measures. We find strong evidence that the relationship between employee job attitudes and our measure of HRM is non-linear, rising chiefly at higher levels of HRM. Results are robust to altered composition of the HRM index. Higher OC and IJS emerge at HRM intensity values which are attained by roughly half the British population of workplaces.

Keyword tags: 
human resource management, high performance, organizational commitment, intrinsic job satisfaction
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Research programmes