High performance work practices in small and medium-sized firms

Wu, Ning Liu (2011) High performance work practices in small and medium-sized firms. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Drawing on data from Workplace Employment Relations Survey 2004, this thesis assesses the uptake of High Performance Work Practices (HPWPs), the factors associated with the uptake of HPWPs and the relationship between HPWPs and performance (also termed the "HPWP-performance link") in small and medium-sized firms.

The findings show that medium-sized firms have a higher uptake of HPWPs compared to small firms in general. They also show that the extent of the use of HPWPs in small firms tends to be influenced more by internal than external factors, while the opposite holds true for medium-sized firms.

Although the widely reported HPWP-performance link holds in large firms, the findings suggest only a specific bundle of HPWPs seeking to develop opportunities for employees to participate in management decision making and use their skills and abilities at work are related to improved financial performance in small firms. However, neither the overall use of HPWPs nor any specific bundles of practices are associated with better performance in medium-sized firms. In medium-sized firms, some HPWPs are positively associated with performance and some others are negatively associated with performance. These findings suggest the HPWP-performance link in medium-sized firms is distinct from that in small and large firms.

Overall, the findings suggest small and medium-sized firms should be analyzed as two distinct groups and the HPWP-performance link is not universal. The lack of a consistent HPWP-performance link in medium-sized firms has important implications for HRM theory, the HR advice that medium-sized firms should be offered, and government support and employment policies targeted at medium-sized firms.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bacon, N.A.
Hoque, D.K.
Keywords: Business enterprises, size, small business, performance, management
Subjects: H Social sciences > HF Commerce
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 13631
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 08:57
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 09:46
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13631

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