Paper 1: Comparative Growth (Gilman & Raby)

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Paper 1: Comparative Growth (Gilman & Raby)

  1. 1. 3rd July, IPM ‘10, Kent, UK National context as a predictor of HPWS effectiveness in SMEs: A British-French comparative study Dr Mark Gilman & Simon Raby
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HRM & Performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HPWS & small firms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HPWS across borders </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Method & results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribution & level of HPWP adoption by country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correlation between HPWP adoption & country </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discussion, conclusion and further research </li></ul>
  3. 3. HRM & Performance <ul><li>HRM & Performance! </li></ul><ul><li>Burgeoning range of empirical works on the performance enhancing effects of HRM. </li></ul><ul><li>High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) emphasise the integration of strategy, innovation, technology, flexibility and HRM </li></ul><ul><li>Large firm theory....application at a small firm level?!? </li></ul>
  4. 4. HPWS & Small Firms <ul><li>On the one hand it is believed that they…. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>avoid the complex employment relations issues and conflicts inherent in larger firms, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are more innovative, informal, flexible and in touch with their employees. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>However…. the key is in their ability to understand the sources of sustained competitive advantage: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing HRM practice, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Linking to wider business issues. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. HPWS Across Borders <ul><li>Institutional setting plays an important role in the way firms behave </li></ul><ul><li>Debates revolve around whether HR practices are converging or diverging and what the key forces at play - contextual, institutional or organisational? </li></ul><ul><li>Significant differences between British and French historical, religious, educational and political backgrounds…. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Method <ul><li>Comparative investigation into the incidence, nature and performance enhancing effects of HPWS in small firms. </li></ul><ul><li>Dataset of 351 British and French small firms. </li></ul><ul><li>Survey included a wide range of growth related variables including; firm strategies, HR practices, communications mechanisms, training and skills methods and performance measurement systems. </li></ul><ul><li>The analyses uses 38 work practices within 3 HPWS bundles: High Involvement Practices, Human Resource Practices and Reward & Commitment Practices. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Background <ul><li>Small (<50 employees) </li></ul><ul><li>Representative of main industry sectors </li></ul><ul><li>High levels of family-ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Age – relatively mature </li></ul><ul><li>Under intense competition </li></ul><ul><li>Business strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Price/quality strategy </li></ul><ul><li>HR expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Management qualifications </li></ul>
  8. 8. Level of adoption <ul><li>Low level of HPWS adoption….. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Correlation: HPWP by country <ul><li>High Involvement Practices </li></ul><ul><li>British: No variables discriminate British firms…. </li></ul><ul><li>French: Quality circles, teamwork and team briefings, sharing info, communication & problem solving skills development, culture/change programmes, process innovation (importance of). </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on strategic route to process improvement and innovation. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Correlation: HPWP by country <ul><li>Human Resource Practices </li></ul><ul><li>British: Formal recruitment & selection, selection testing, induction, appraisal, equipment operations skills, harmonised conditions, strategic skill development and quality improvement. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of a set of common HR practices, task focussed skill development, skills dev and quality integrated to strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>French: Strategic employment practices, Quality management system (ISO 9000), quality control skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Quality related skill dev and accreditation, employment policies & practices integrated to strategy. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Correlation: HPWP by country <ul><li>Reward & Commitment Practices </li></ul><ul><li>British: Employee share options (ESOPs), labour turnover & absenteeism records. </li></ul><ul><li>Less emphasis on employee relations practices that engender high levels of commitment, high level assessments of employee satisfaction. </li></ul><ul><li>French: Job satisfaction, internal promotion, job security, formal pay system, performance related pay. </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcing the importance of motivation, job security and internal development. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Correlation: HPWP by country <ul><li>Other contextual variables </li></ul><ul><li>British: Reliability/time mgt training, health & safety training, customer service training, email communication, communication through managers, skills development (importance of), long working hours. </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforces importance of skills dev, but compounds notion that largely statutory or task related, communication on individual level, long working hours. </li></ul><ul><li>French: Productivity records, business strategy, exports. </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforces quality and strategic emphasis. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Discussion & conclusion <ul><li>Few SMEs possess a comprehensive set of HPWPs – HRM potentiality? </li></ul><ul><li>British firms appeared to be more inclined to experiment with a wider range of practices – government's more liberal approach? </li></ul><ul><li>French firms appeared to adopt a narrower approach – strict regulatory environment? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Discussion & conclusion <ul><li>French SMEs more likely to reflect an integrated orientation towards quality & productivity-related practices </li></ul><ul><li>British SMEs displayed a tendency to focus on discrete practices </li></ul><ul><li>Intentional and rational? Strategic? </li></ul><ul><li>Imitation of large firms in response to national government ‘best practice’? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Discussion & conclusion <ul><li>This research does not identify any evidence of the presence of a HPWS in small firms…. And there isn’t even evidence of a set of comprehensive HR practices….. </li></ul><ul><li>Given that there seems to be a relationship between HR practices and performance….and the national differences highlighted on the previous slide….national policy effects? </li></ul><ul><li>This research raises need for greater understanding of processes, etc. through more detailed qualitative research. </li></ul><ul><li>Our future work will take a more qualitative stance and will aim to better understand the nature of HRM in small firms, and…. </li></ul><ul><li>What this means for HRM theory(s)? </li></ul><ul><li>Major implications for policy.... </li></ul>
  16. 16. Thank you for listening!!

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