Union Impact on High Performance Work Practices

12850 Words Apr 24th, 2010 52 Pages
Union impact on the effective adoption of High Performance Work Practices
Please cite this article as: Gill, C. (2009) Union impact on the effective adoption of High Performance Work Practices, Human Resource Management Review, 19, 39-50.

Dr. Carol Gill Program Director - Organizational Leadership Melbourne Business School Melbourne University Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia Phone +61 3 9349 8452 Facsimile +61 3 9349 8404 Email: c.gill@mbs.edu

Abstract

This paper examines the literature and research on unions relevant to the effective adoption of High Performance Work Practices. It demonstrates that unions that have a cooperative relationship with management can play an important role in overcoming barriers to the effective
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In addition to this, whilst there is a growing body of evidence supporting an association between HPWP and organization performance, there is not much on why the association exists with most research to date only examining the direct relationship between a set of management practices and performance outcomes (Guest, 1997). The mechanical links between these practices and outcomes are currently a “black box” with empirical and theoretical gaps (Luthans & Sommer, 2005).

Despite the link between HPWP and organisational outcomes, there is a lower level of sustained and effective adoption than would be anticipated. Godard and Delaney (2001) cite multiple studies that suggest that HPWP are hard to implement and sustain and Pfeffer and Veiga (1999) argue that many organizations have failed to adopt a full suite of these practices despite research indicating that these practices are most effective when they are implemented together as a practice or bundle of complementary, highly-related and overlapping practices. From this evidence we can conclude that many organisations may not be maximising the net benefit from HPWP.

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Methodological constraints include the common use of cross-sectional analysis and single data sources, use of simple constructs to model complex and dynamic phenomenon making even panel data problematic, small
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