The strategic human resource management

The strategic human resource management (SHRM) field has witnessed significant growth in the last 25 years since companies started to consider human resources as their most critical factor for success and for obtaining a competitive advantage (Boxall & Purcell, 2011). Extensive research has shown that the right combinations of human resource management (HRM) practices can have a significant effect on employee and firm performance (Delery & Gupta, 2016). The idea behind this is that combinations of HRM practices, rather than individual practices by themselves, have a positive impact on employee’s performance and yield major benefits for organizations (Delery ; Gupta, 2016). Unfortunately, there is no empirical evidence of this argument that tests these practices in all their complexity (Chadwick, 2010). In other words, it is still ambiguous and obscure which HRM practices constitute an effective HRM system and contribute successfully to organizational effectiveness (Guest, 2011).
In the strategic human resource management (SHRM) literature, academics generally distinguish human resource management (HRM) practices into two competing categories: commitment and control (Whitener, 2001). The commitment practices’ purpose is to increase organizational performance by influencing positively employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), motivation, and opportunities to participate in the strategy of the firm (Appelbaum, Bailey, Berg, ; Kalleberg, 2000), while the control practices’ purpose is to ameliorate employees’ efficiency and productivity through their compliance to company rules, regulations and common operating processes (Wood ; Albanese, 1995). Many researchers advised organizations to abandon control-based HRM approaches and adopt the commitment-based ones, as many empirical studies revealed a positive relationship between commitment practices and organizational performance and a negative relationship with the compliance practices (Walton, 1985). Furthermore, research has shown that the implementation of high involvement, high performance or high commitment practices can bring enormous economic returns to the organization (Pfeffer ; Veiga, 1999). Finally, increased global and local competition and the perception that employee involvement practices can lead to organizational success, led managers and researchers to focus on various forms of involvement practices and processes (Vandenberg, Richardson ; Eastman, 1999). This point of view became the foundation for many contemporary managerial practices, such as participative decision making, quality circles and gainsharing. These kinds of practices constitute part of the commitment-based HRM approaches and are called High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP), (Whitener, 2001). Once implemented, they are supposed to increase product or service quality, to lead to higher innovation, to motivate the employees, to reduce the costs and at the same time increase the pace of production, and to decrease employee’s absenteeism and turnover (Lawler, 1992).
On the other side, Edwards and Wright (2001) argue that High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) do not always have the positive results that they are intended to and should not always be considered as beneficial for the employees by taking into consideration only their positive effect on performance. For example, Grant, Christianson and Price (2007) stated that even well-intentioned managerial practices like High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) can frequently have mixed results and unforeseen consequences on employee’s well-being. The well-being of the employees is, nowadays, a hot topic for the organizations which try to find new approaches and practices to improve it (Grant, Christianson ; Price, 2007). Employee well-being is divided into three general dimensions which are happiness, health and relationships dimensions (Van De Voorde, Paauwe ; Van Veldhoven, 2012). The first type of well-being, happiness, refers to how committed and satisfied the employee is from his/her everyday work life (Grant et al., 2007). Furthermore, the health-related type of well-being refers to the stress and strains that the employee has to deal with in his work like heavy workload, stress and burnout (Spector ; Jex, 1998). The last dimension of the well-being is somewhat distinct from the other two as it refers to interactions and the kind of relationship that the employee has with his/her colleagues and supervisors (Grant et al., 2007). Recent research, conducted by Grant, Christianson and Price (2007), claims that High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) often result in employee well-being tradeoffs, which means that one dimension of employee well-being is improved, while another one is undermined. This can be explained also by the fact that managers, usually, have a narrow thinking when it comes to employee well-being, as they are restricting their considerations to one dimension such as job satisfaction. Finally, extensive research supports that employee well-being has a significant impact on the performance of organizations by minimizing costs related to illnesses and health care (Danna ; Griffin, 1999), absenteeism and turnover (Spector, 1997), organizational citizenship behavior (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, ; Bachrach, 2000), and job performance (Wright ; Cropanzano, 2000).
According to Gerstner and Day (1997), the line-managers, like team leaders and supervisors, can significantly motivate their employees’ work and increase their performance. Related to this fact, the Leader-Member Exchange (LXM) theory was developed under the broader scope of leadership research. Leader-Member Exchange (LXM) theory refers to the relationship between the leader and his/her subordinates (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). The main idea is that the quality of their relationship plays a significant role on the performance of a subordinate and his/her leader (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). Additionally, the Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory considers three essential aspects of the relationship with subordinates: mutual respect, mutual trust and sense of obligation (Walumbwa, Cropanzano & Goldman, 2011). According to evidence found in the literature, Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) quality positively influences employee attitudes and work behaviors, such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors (de Oliveira & da Silva, 2015).
The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationship between High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) and employee’s performance. Additionally, it tests how this relationship is affected by employee’s well-being focusing on two dimensions of well-being: happiness and relationship. Especially, the relationship dimension of well-being was discovered recently by Grant et al. (2007) and there are still many aspects of this parameter that need to be discovered and analyzed in depth in theory and practice regarding the relationship of this dimension with the other variables of this model. Furthermore, it investigates the role of leadership, and more specifically the role of Leader-Member Exchange (LXM) theory in the relationship between High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) and employee’s well-being. In other words, this model tests if people with leadership skills can have a positive impact or play a significant role in the relationship between High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) and well-being. The purpose of this research is to identify if High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) contribute positively to employee’s performance through the mediating role of employee’s well-being and what the role of leadership is in this model. Finally, the scope of this study is to test the relationships between the variables of the model by adding value to the existing literature but also become the base for future research. All the above result in the following research questions:
“Does the introduction of High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) lead to increased Employee Performance through the mediating role of Employee’s Well-being? And does high quality Leader-Member Exchange (LXM) positively influence the relationship between High-Involvement Work Practices (HIWP) and Employee’s Well-being?”
This paper first analyzes the theoretical framework by introducing five main hypotheses. Subsequently, the conceptual model is presented, followed by the method and results section. Finally, the research question is answered in the discussion and conclusion part along with some limitations of this study and suggestions for future research.