Posted: February 28th, 2023

Research Project

    

    

Type of assessment: Brief Literature Review on Employee Perceptions in Hotels
 

Strategic HRM as process: how HR system and organizational climate
strength influence Chinese employee attitudes

Xiaobei Lia*, Stephen J. Frenkela and Karin Sandersb

aSchool of Organization and Management, Australian School of Business, The University of New
South Wales, Sydney, Australia; bOrganizational Psychology and Human Resource Development,

Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, Twente University, Enschede, The Netherlands

In contrast to the high-performance work systems literature that focuses on HR practices,
we follow Bowen and Ostroff in examining human resource management (HRM)
processes, specifically the strength of an HR system (its distinctiveness, consistency, and
consensus) and its contribution to the organizational climate (employees’ shared
perceptions of the HR system). Based on 810 employees within 64 units in three Chinese
hotels, we examine how employee perceptions of HRM system strength and organizational
climate are associated with employees’ work satisfaction, vigor, and intention to quit. The
distinctiveness of an HRM system was found to be related to the three employee work
attitudes, and high climate strength increases both the positive relationship between
consensus and work satisfaction, and the negative relationship between consensus and
intention to quit. We draw on aspects of Chinese society to interpret these findings. Several
important research and HR practice implications are highlighted and discussed.

Keywords: China; high-performance work system; human resource practices;
organizational climate; strategic HRM; work attitudes

Introducti

on

An interest in the effects of high-performance work systems (HPWS) on employees in

service industries has been growing in recent years (Batt 2002; Boxall and Macky 2007).

HPWS is usually defined as a set of human resource (HR) practices aimed at increasing

employees’ abilities, motivation, and opportunity to participate in decision making (Tsui

and Wang 2002; Guest 2007; Sun, Aryee and Law 2007). HPWS, like high-commitmen

t

Human Resource Management (HRM) (Benkhoff 1997; Agarwala 2003) and high-

involvement work systems (Xiao and Bjorkman 2006; Macky and Boxall 2008), assumes

that various types of HR practices interact to improve employees’ work attitudes,

ultimately contributing to positive employee behaviors and organizational effectiveness

(Boxall and Macky 2009). Despite some skepticism (Wood and Wall 2007), the weight of

empirical evidence favors this assumption (Hailey, Farndale and Truss 2005; Combs, Liu,

Hall and Ketchen 2006; Boxall and Macky 2009).

Rather than focusing on HR practices or the content of HRM, some academics (Bowen

and Ostroff 2004; see also Patterson, Warr and West 2004; Neal, West and Patterson 2005;

ISSN 0958-5192 print/ISSN 1466-4399 online

q 2011 Taylor & Francis

DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2011.573965

http://www.informaworld.com

Dr. Xiaobei Li is now a research fellow at Guanghua Leadership Institute, Guanghua School of
Management, Peking University, China.

*Corresponding author. Email: xiaobei.li@gsm.pku.edu.cn

The International Journal of Human Resource Management,

Vol. 22, No. 9, May 2011, 1825–1842

Nishii, Lepak and Schneider 2008) have recently turned their attention to HRM process, in

particular, the way HR policies and practices are communicated to employees. Bowen and

Ostroff (2004) identify a strong HRM system as comprising three features: distinctiveness,

consistency, and consensus. They suggest that these features contribute to a strong

organizational climate defined as the shared perceptions of the organization in terms of

practices, policies, procedures, routines, and rewards (Bowen and Ostroff 2004: 205). The

establishment of a strong organizational climate builds on an individual’s psychological

climate, defined as an experientially based perception of what people ‘see’ and report

happening to them as they make sense of their environment (pp. 205).

When HR practices are perceived by employees as distinctive, consistent with each

other, and applied by key policy makers in a similar way, individual perceptions are likely

to converge and will tend to be reinforced by the collectivity. In other words, feelings of

well-being will lead to higher performance through ‘motivating employees to adopt

desired attitudes and behaviors that in the collective, help achieve the organization’s

strategic goals’. (Bowen and Ostroff 2004, p. 204)

In this article, we test Bowen and Ostroff’s key ideas by examining the effects of the three

features of an HRM system and shared perceptions regarding HPWS on three commonly

used measures of employee work attitudes: work satisfaction, vigor, and intention to quit.1 In

addition, we examine the moderating effects of organizational climate on the relationships

between features of an HRM system and employee work attitudes. Our contribution is to

subject a leading theory of strategic HRM process to empirical test and by so doing advance

our understanding of the mechanisms linking HR systems to employee attitudes. In pursuing

this path, we improve on a previous study by Sanders, Dorenbosch and de Reuver (2008) by

using three dependent variables rather than a single measure (affective commitment), and by

employing a more convincing measure of consensus based on employee perceptions of HR

policy and practice implementation rather than the extent of agreement as reported by line

and HR managers (Fiske and Taylor 1984; Boxall and Macky 2007; see also Sanders et al.

2008). Employee surveys in three five star-hotels located in comparable urban areas in China

provide the data for our study. Focusing on a single industry segment helps to minimize the

influence of labor and product markets, and other environmental characteristics (Baron and

Kreps 1999; Wright and Haggerty 2005). HPWS is relevant to these workplaces, because,

compared to other privately-owned organizations in China (Zhu 2005, Zhu, Thomson and

Cieri 2008), five-star Chinese hotels have been eager to adopt advanced HRM practices

including extensive training and formalized performance appraisal systems (Sun et al. 2007).

The remainder of this article is organized in four sections. First, we outline our key

concepts and theoretical framework followed by a discussion of motivating hypotheses.

Second, we describe the data and methodology. Third, we report our results that are

discussed in a fourth section that identifies some of the limitations of the study and

considers the implications for further research and HR policy and practice.

The research framework

As mentioned above, the key concepts in our study are features of an HRM system and

employee attitudes. The research framework is summarized in Figure 1, followed by an

outline of our hypotheses.

Relationships between HRM system features and employee attitudes

Based on attribution theory (Kelley 1973), the process view of HRM explains how HR

practices shape an individual’s psychological climate (Ostroff and Bowen 2000; Bowen

X. Li et al.1826

and Ostroff 2004). Employees use HRM messages as communication signals from

management to make sense of their work situation (Guzzo and Noonan 1994;

Schneider 2000). This sense-making process is facilitated by individual attributions about

cause–effect relationships (Nishii et al. 2008). When employees become increasingly

confident in making such cause–effect inferences, a strong psychological climate is likely

to emerge. As noted earlier, three features of an HRM system that contribute to a strong

climate are distinctiveness, consistency, and consensus (Bowen and Ostroff 2004).

Distinctiveness refers to an HRM system being visible, understandable, legitimate, and

relevant to employees’ goals (Kelley 1973; Bowen and Ostroff 2004; Sanders et al. 2008).

When the HRM process clearly captures attention, employees are more likely to attribute HR

messages to a purposeful management. Consistency refers to the features of an HRM system

being internally aligned. This means that HR practices reinforce one another synergistically

and are more likely to be viewed as a causal bundle having distinctive effects ultimately

attributable to management across contexts and time (Sanders et al. 2008, p. 414). Consensus

refers to the extent to which there is agreement among policy makers – typically HR and line

managers – in the way HR practices are implemented. Thus, when HRM policy

implementation, including procedures, are seen as highly consensual among decision makers,

employees are more likely to agree that these emanate from management, i.e. that there is a

cause–effect relationship. According to Bowen and Ostroff (2004), when an HRM system is

high in the three features referred to above, employees will tend to have a clearer view of

cause (HRM)–effect (a purposeful management) relationships and are likely to be strongly

influenced by these system properties, especially where it conveys positive messages. This

conjecture is largely but not entirely supported by the only empirical study we are aware of

that has tested Bowen and Ostroff’s key ideas. Sanders et al. (2008) used multi-actor data

(671 employees, 67 line-managers, and 32 HR managers) from 18 departments in four Dutch

hospitals to analyze the relationships between HRM system features and employees’

affective commitment. Distinctiveness and consistency were found to be positively related to

affective commitment, but consensus (measured as the deviance score of the perceptions of

line and HR managers concerning HR practices) did not predict affective commitment.

As noted above, in this study, we focus on three employee attitudes: work satisfaction,

vigor, and intention to quit rather than affective commitment as our dependent variables

and following Bowen and Ostroff (2004) we hypothesize that:

Employees’ perceptions of the distinctiveness, consistency, and consensus of the HRM
system are positively related to their work satisfaction (H1) and vigor (H2), and are negatively
related to intention to quit (H3).

HRM system features:
Distinctiveness,

Consistency, and Consensus

HPWS Climate Strength

Employee attitudes:
Work satisfaction, Vigor

and Intention to Quit

Individual Level

Unit Level

Figure 1. Hypothesized relationships linking HRM system features, HPWS climate strength and
employee outcomes.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1827

Shared perceptions: the moderating effects of HPWS climate strength

Bowen and Ostroff (2004, p. 204) propose organizational climate as a mediator in the

relationship between HRM system strength and organizational performance. Sanders et al.

(2008) suggest that the concept of strong organizational climate used by Bowen and

Ostroff (2004) refers to climate strength rather than climate level. Although climate level

represents the convergent ratings of perceptions of a specific facet of the work situation

such as safety, service, or HRM (Schneider 1990, 2000; Klein, Conn, Smith and Sorra

2001; Schneider, Salvaggio and Subrirats 2002) and is usually measured by the mean of

individual perception scores, climate strength refers to the extent of agreement about the

climate. It is measured by homogeneity statistics relating to the aggregation of members’

perceptions, such as standard deviation and within-group correlations (Klein et al. 2001;

Luria 2008). Thus, the concept of climate strength more closely represents Bowen and

Ostroff’s (2004) concept of organizational climate as employees’ shared perceptions.

In this study, we define HPWS climate strength as the extent of shared perceptions of

HPWS in an organization. Where this is high, established norms induce conformity in

terms of responses and foster skills that facilitate appropriate attitudes and behavior

(Mischel 1973, 1977; Mischel and Peake 1982; Bowen and Ostroff 2004; Johns 2006).

According to organizational climate research, climate strength usually has a moderating

effect on outcomes (Gonzalez-Roma, Peiro and Tordera 2002; Schneider et al. 2002;

Ehrhart 2004). Specifically, the relationship between antecedents and outcomes is stronger

in a strong situation than in a weak one. Reflecting the convergence of group members’

perceptions regarding climate level, strong climate strength implies that associated

relationships of antecedents and outcomes are inclined to be interpreted in a similar way

by group members (Mossholder, Bennett and Martin 1998; Schneider et al. 2002; Yang,

Mossholder and Peng 2007). Moreover, contra Bowen and Ostroff (2004), Sanders et al.

(2008) found that organizational climate moderated rather than mediated the relationship

between consistency and affective commitment, this relationship being stronger when

employees had more similar perceptions concerning the existence of high commitment

work systems within their department. Accordingly, we expect that HPWS climate

strength has a moderating rather than mediating effect on the relationship between the

features of the HRM system and employee attitudes. In a situation where HPWS climate

strength is high, implying that employees share perceptions regarding HPWS (HRM

content), employees will be more confident about attributing this as having benign effects

on their work experience. Thus, it can be hypothesized that:

HPWS climate strength moderates the relationships between key features of an HRM system
(distinctiveness, consistency and consensus) and work satisfaction (H4), vigor (H5), and intention
to quit (H6) such that these relationships are stronger when HPWS climate strength is high.

Method

Sample and procedures

Data were collected from three five-star hotels, located in three urban cities (Shanghai,

Ningbo and Dongguan) in China. Each hotel has at least 200 rooms and is more than 4

years old. Each is privately owned and one is managed by an international hotel

group. Management was approached through personal contacts, which is useful in doing

research in China (Easterby-Smith and Malina 1999). Surveys were distributed to each

participating hotel. Sealed completed questionnaires were returned first to the hotel’s HR

manager and then to a researcher. For all three hotels, 810 valid responses of frontline

employees (90% response rate) were collected. This high response rate has been observed

X. Li et al.1828

in several Chinese management studies (see Cooke 2009). The dataset included 484

(59.8%) female and 326 (40.2%) male employees, with an average of 25.5 (SD ¼ 7.9)

years of age and an average tenure in the organization of 26.6 months (SD ¼ 37.15). Over

two-thirds of employees (68%) had obtained qualifications from vocational or high

schools and earned higher salaries than their counterparts in other local hotels.2

Each hotel consists of several service departments, such as catering, reception, and

security. Within each department, there are several work units. For example, the catering

department of one hotel includes banqueting, beverage, restaurants, and room service

units. Our dataset comprising the three hotels included 64 units.

Measures

The questionnaire was administered in Mandarin after initially being developed in

English. Two bilingual researchers back-translated the survey independently (Brislin

1980). In addition, a pilot study was conducted on a group of frontline employees; these

were subsequently excluded from the final dataset. The questionnaire was finalized with a

few changes in wording.

For the items of all scales, we used six-point rather than five-point Likert scales. This

was done in order to address Chinese people’s tendency to conceal positive emotions and

hence select midpoints of a range (Lee, Jones, Mineyama and Zhang 2002). Response

items ranged from 1 ¼ strongly disagree to 6 ¼ strongly agree.

Work satisfaction (Cammann, Fichman, Jenkins and Klesh 1983) was measured by a

three-item scale (Cronbach’s a ¼ 0.81). Two illustrative items were: ‘All in all, I am

satisfied with my job’ and ‘In general, I like working here’. Vigor (Schaufeli and Bakker

2004) was measured by a five-item scale (Cronbach’s a ¼ 0.74). Example items included

‘At my work, I feel bursting with energy’ and ‘When I get up in the morning, I feel like

going to work’. Intention to quit (Firth, Mellor, Moore and Loquet 2004) was measured by

a three-item scale (Cronbach’s a ¼ 0.84). For example, ‘I often think about quitting my

job’ and ‘I am starting to ask my friends/contacts about other job possibilities’.

High-performance HR practices was measured by a 17-item scale, modified from the

scale specifically developed by Sun et al. (2007) to study Chinese hotel employees. This

covered five HR practices related to training, internal promotion, employee participation,

results-oriented pay, and job security. Items included ‘I have had sufficient job-related

training’ and ‘My job allows me to make decisions on my own’. Each HR practice

demonstrated good reliability (Cronbach’s a ranged from 0.70 to 0.88). Assuming that the

system of HR practices rather than a single practice reflects an organization’s investment

in employees and influences the organization’s performance beyond the sum of such

practices (Rousseau 1995; Delery and Doty 1996; Allen, Shore and Griffeth 2003;

Whicker and Andrews 2004; Guest 2007), a HPWS index was developed along lines

similar to other scholars (Ramsay, Scholarios and Harley 2000; Batt 2002; Beugelsdijk

2008; Doellgast 2008). The sum of the item scores for each of the five HR practices

mentioned earlier was averaged and then an average was calculated across the five

practices (Cronbach’s a ¼ 0.72). Confirmatory factor analysis suggested a good fit with

the data as indicated by the fit statistics (x 2(109) ¼ 424.30; x 2/df ¼ 3.89; p , 0.001;

TLI ¼ 0.92; CFI ¼ 0.94; RMSEA ¼ 0.06).

Following several climate studies (Luria 2008; Sanders et al. 2008), climate strength of

HPWS was calculated as the inverse standard deviation of the HPWS index at the unit level.

Regarding the HRM system, distinctiveness was measured by a shortened five-item

scale developed by Frenkel, Li and Restubog (in press) with good reliability (Cronbach’s

The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1829

a ¼ 0.84). Example items included ‘HR practices here help me to achieve the company’s

goals’ and ‘HR practices here make me feel much more confident in my ability to do my

job well’. Consistency (Sanders et al. 2008) was assessed by within-respondent agreement

in relation to the HPWS index, operationalized as the inverse average deviation for each

HR practice for each respondent (consistency-based approach, Burke, Finkelstein and

Dusig 1999). Consensus (Delmotte, Winne, Gilbert and Sels 2007) was measured by a

modified four-item scale (Cronbach’s a ¼ 0.86), with items such as ‘HR practices are

delivered by mutual agreement between HR management and line management’ and

‘Management unanimously supports HR policies’. Confirmatory factor analysis

demonstrated that a two-factor (distinctiveness and consensus) structure

(x 2(26) ¼ 183.33; x 2/df ¼ 7.05; p , 0.001; TLI ¼ 0.94; CFI ¼ 0.97; RMSEA ¼ 0.08)

fits the data better than a one-factor structure (x 2(27) ¼ 322.63; x 2/df ¼ 11.95;

p , 0.001; TLI ¼ 0.89; CFI ¼ 0.93; RMSEA ¼ 0.11).3 Therefore, although distinctive-

ness and consensus were strongly related (see later), they were analyzed as two

variables.

Based on the proposition that employees’ personal and employment characteristics are

likely to influence the three dependent variables, the following characteristics were included

as controls: age, gender, type of labor contract (permanent vs. temporary), educational level

(from junior middle school to master degree and above), and workplace tenure.

Most measures were based on self-report data collected at one point in time. The

analysis may, therefore, be vulnerable to the problem of common method variance (CMV)

(Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee and Podsakoff 2003). Spector (2006) suggests that CMV

caused by a single data source (a single rater rather than multi-raters) should be

distinguished from CMV caused by the same measurement techniques (such as item

formats, data collection procedures, key methods). Regarding the data source, as

addressed by many researchers, information on employee perceptions and attitudes is

difficult to measure accurately using methods other than self-reports (Frese and Zapf 1988;

Spector 2006). One way to confirm the accuracy of the self-report measures is to link them

with data from other sources. In Table 1, we attempted to compare the self-report measures

from the survey with information obtained from hotels and an industry report. As shown in

the table, the ranking of turnover rate for the three hotels accords with the intention to quit

ranking. Assuming a positive relationship between employee attitudes and performance

(Boxall and Macky 2009), employee self-reported work satisfaction and vigor match well

with the hotel performance ranking. Thus, it can be concluded that bias introduced by a

single source is likely to be limited.

Regarding CMV attributed to common method (survey), most of the correlations

between independent and dependent variables were significantly related (20.43 #

r # 0.52). This raises the possibility that the observed relationships were inflated. In order

Table 1. A comparison of self-reported measures and industry data.

Means of measured variables Objective figures

Organization
Work
satisfaction Vigor

Intention
to quit

Turnover in
2008 (%)

Rankings of city-level hotel
performance (by average
revenue per available room)a

1. Hotel A 4.57 4.28 2.73 21 1
2. Hotel B 4.22 3.80 3.08 30 2
3. Hotel C 4.17 3.83 3.42 42 3

Source: aChina Hotel Industry Study report (CHIS 2008).

X. Li et al.1830

to rule out the possibility that CMV is so large that this alters the key results, we conducted

a method-variance–marker-variable analysis proposed by Lindell and Whitney (2001).

The rationale for this is to compare the original correlations between independent and

dependent variables with those after controlling a theoretically irrelevant marker-variable

obtained by the same method. If the correlations stay significant and non-zero, the original

correlations observed cannot reasonably be accounted for by a common method factor. In

our study, individual prevention self-regulatory focus, defined as the extent to which

individuals use prevention strategies to reach their goals (Kark and Van Dijk 2007), was

used as a marker-variable. A partial correlation analysis, as reported in Table 2, shows that

the relationships between independent and dependent variables continue to have

significant and non-zero coefficients. Hence, it can be concluded that the bias originating

from the same method has limited influence on the relationships in this study.

Data analysis

The data consist of employees (n ¼ 810) nested in units (n ¼ 64), which are situated in

three hotels. As the variance in the three employee attitude measures is only slightly related

to the hotel level (intra class correlations (ICC(1)’s) are below 0.05), this level was not

taken into account (LeBreton and Senter 2008). This means that the data can be

conceptualized at two levels: employee (level 1) and unit (level 2). Level 1 refers to

individual employee information in each unit (work satisfaction, vigor, and intention to quit

and independent variables). Level 2 captures the variance between units (climate strength).

Accordingly, it is appropriate to employ hierarchical two-level modeling, which allows

simultaneous analysis of the effects of both within- and between unit-levels (Raudenbush

and Bryk 2002). Parameter estimates and chi-square information based on this analysis is

analogous to beta coefficients and R-square indicators in regression analysis. The deviance

in chi-square of two models can be used to judge whether there is significant model

improvement. The cross-level interactions needed to test the hypotheses H4–H6 were

calculated by the interactions of mean-centered perception of the HRM system features

(level 1) and climate strength (level 2) in order to eliminate nonessential correlations

between the interaction terms and their component variables (Aiken and West 1991).

Results

Table 3 reports the means, standard deviations, and correlations between all variables at

the employee level. As shown in the table, distinctiveness and consensus between line and

HR were positively related to work satisfaction (r ¼ 0.52, p , 0.01 and r ¼ 0.42,

p , 0.01 respectively) and vigor (r ¼ 0.43, p , 0.01 and r ¼ 0.38, p , 0.01,

Table 2. Partial correlations among key variables after controlling for a marker-variable.

Variables 1 2 3 4 5

1. Distinctiveness
2. Consensus 0.63**
3. Work satisfaction 0.48** 0.37**
4. Intention to quit 20.41** 20.31** 20.66**
5. Vigor 0.39** 0.36** 0.43** 20.34*

Note: n ¼ 810; *p , 0.05, **p , 0.01; individual prevention self-regulatory focus measured in the same survey
was controlled.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1831

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X. Li et al.1832

respectively), and were negatively related to intention to quit (r ¼ 20.43, p , 0.01 and

r ¼ 20.34, p , 0.01, respectively).

Table 4 reports the results of multi-level analyses, testing hypotheses H1–H6. Model 1

shows that several controls – most notably, age, and type of labor contract – had

significant effects. The (chi-square) deviance reported for Model 1 compared this model to

a model with no predictors. The significant chi-square decrease indicates that the control

variables significantly improved the model.

Model 2 examines the relationships between the three features of an HRM system and

the dependent variables. As anticipated, we found significant relationships between the

HPWS index and work satisfaction (0.38, p , 0.01), vigor (0.27, p , 0.01), and intention

to quit (20.26, p , 0.05). This means that a one unit increase in the independent variable

– in this case HPWS – is associated with increases in work satisfaction, vigor, and

intention to quit of the order of 0.38, 0.27, and 20.26 of a unit, respectively. For work

satisfaction, distinctiveness showed a significant effect (0.45, p , 0.01). Consistency and

consensus did not have significant influences on work satisfaction. Thus, the results

partially confirm H1.

For vigor, distinctiveness had a significant effect (0.27, p , 0.01). Consistency and

consensus did not have significant influences. The results indicate partial support for H2.

For intention to quit, distinctiveness showed a negative effect (20.50, p , 0.01) and

consistency showed a positive effect (0.28, p , 0.05), while consensus had no significant

influence. Thus, H3 was also partially supported.

Considering the three dependent variables together, the predicted relationships

between HRM system features and employee attitudes (H1–H3) were partially confirmed.

Distinctiveness in particular, demonstrated a strong influence on all three dependent

variables.

In Model 3, we explored the mediating effect of HPWS climate strength. Sanders et al.

(2008) hypothesized a positive relationship between climate strength and affective

commitment, and in line with Bowen and Ostroff (2004), a mediating effect for climate

strength. In an exploratory analysis, we tested the mediating effect of climate strength on

the three dependent variables in Model 3. This occurs when climate strength has

significant effects on the dependent variables and when the significant relationships that

exist between the HRM features and the dependant variables (shown in Model 2)

disappear (Baron and Kenny 1986). The results indicate that there was no significant effect

of climate strength on the three employee attitudes’ variables, nor do the results of the

HRM system features differ compared to Model 2.

In Model 4, we examined the moderating effects of HPWS climate strength on the

relationships between the HRM system features and the dependent variables. As illustrated

in Model 4, the interaction of climate strength and consensus had significant effects on

work satisfaction and intention to quit. For work satisfaction, the positive relationship

between the interaction and work satisfaction indicates that when climate strength was

higher, the effects of consensus on work satisfaction were stronger. This is depicted in

Figure 2, partially confirming H4.

For vigor, none of interaction effects were found to be significant, thus disconfirming

H5. Intention to quit had a significant and negative relationship between interaction of

climate strength and consensus. As illustrated in Figure 3, this suggests that when climate

strength was higher, the effect of consensus on intention to quit was stronger. This partially

supports H6.

Together, Model 4 shows that H4–H6, which predict the moderating effects of climate

strength on relationships between HRM system features and employee work attitudes,

The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1833

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X. Li et al.1834

were partially confirmed. The interaction of climate strength and consensus in particular

showed a strong influence on work satisfaction and intention to quit.

In sum, based on a study of employees in three five-star hotels in China, our research

confirms that employee perceptions of the distinctiveness, consistency, and consensus

associated with so-called high-performance HR practices significantly contribute to

employees’ work satisfaction and vigor, and reduce their intention to quit. Controlling for

specific HR practices, these features are in some respects significantly associated with our

three measures of employee work attitudes. Specifically, when employees see HR

practices as more distinctive, they are more satisfied, more enthusiastic about their work,

and less inclined to quit. However, consensus shows no significant effects on the three

variables. In contrast to part of H3, consistency has a positive relationship with intention to

quit. This means that when employees perceive HR practices as more internally consistent,

they are more likely to quit. We address this apparently surprising finding below.

Low Consensus High Consensus

W
or

k
Sa

ti
sf

ac
ti

on

Low Climate Strength

High Climate Strength

Figure 2. Effects of interaction between climate strength and consensus on work satisfaction.

Low Consensus High Consensus

In
te

nt
io

n
to

Q
ui

t

Low Climate Strength

High Climate Strength

Figure 3. Effects of interaction between climate strength and consensus on intention to quit.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1835

The results also showed that shared perceptions of HR practices (HPWS climate

strength) within a unit have a moderating effect on the relationships between perceptions

of HRM system features and measures of employee work attitudes. Two cross-level

interaction effects were found significant in this study: (1) HPWS climate strength

moderates the relationship between consensus and work satisfaction, and (2) HPWS

climate strength moderates the relationship between consensus and intention to quit. Both

interactions suggest that the relationship between consensus and employee outcomes is

stronger when HPWS climate strength is higher.

Discussion and conclusion

In contrast to the HPWS literature that focuses on HR practices, in this study we followed

Bowen and Ostroff (2004) in examining HRM processes, specifically the strength of an

HR system (its distinctiveness, consistency, and consensus) and its contribution to

organizational climate (employees’ shared perceptions of the HR system). Comparing the

detailed results of our study with those of Sanders et al. (2008), we found both similarities

and differences. One similarity is that the HRM system features have main effects on

employee work attitudes. In particular, distinctiveness has a strong influence on the three

measures of employee attitudes. This suggests that where HRM practices were perceived

as distinctive, visible, relevant, and legitimate, their effects on employee work attitudes

will be positive regardless of national culture. Both studies failed to find an interaction

effect between HPWS climate strength and distinctiveness (one of three HR system

features) on the three employee attitudes.

Regarding differences, the effects of consistency on employee attitudes varied in the

two studies. In Sanders et al. (2008), a positive relationship was found between

consistency and affective commitment for Dutch hospital employees, which would seem

to imply a negative relationship with intention to quit. However, as noted earlier, we found

a positive relationship between HRM consistency and intention to quit for Chinese hotel

employees. One possible explanation is that Chinese people value ‘rule-of-man’ rather

than ‘rule-of-law’ as a governance system (Jacobs, Gao and Herbig 1995). In other words,

they perceive social relationships to be more important than formal rules in management

decision making. The notion of ‘rule-of-man’ presumes that key decision makers are wise

and will not abuse their power and so those in higher positions are granted authority to

make decisions, which are seldom questioned. Regarding HR practices, this implies

variability and perceived inconsistency in relationships between managers and

subordinates, particularly when managers use quality of social relationships rather than

objective criteria to make important decisions regarding performance evaluation, pay, and

promotion. This might explain why, contrary to expectation, there is no relationship

between consistency in HR policies and intention to quit. Moreover, according to Jacobs

and colleagues (1995), compared to Europeans, ‘the Chinese hold a negative attitude

towards civil law . . . [Because] there was no civil law to protect their interests’ (pp. 31).

Treating HR policies and regulations as analogous to ‘laws’, employees may see such

regulations as distinctly unsupportive substitutes for personal relationships. This might

explain why there is a positive relationship between consistency – in HR policies and

procedures – and intention to quit.

This consideration invites an interpretation of a further difference in the two studies. In

contrast to the findings of Sanders et al. (2008), and as noted above, consensus was found

to have a significant interaction effect in our study. It is likely that a strong positive norm

reinforces existing relationships thereby explaining the interaction between HPWS

X. Li et al.1836

climate strength and consensus on employee work satisfaction and intention to quit;

however, the norm may not be sufficiently strong to impact work vigor because

enthusiasm for work is probably related to individual opportunities, contributions, and

accompanying rewards rather than more general HR policies and practices (Johns 2006).

Another possible explanation relates to cultural differences. Consensus tends to be

valued differently in the two cultures. With respect to Hofstede’s (1980, 1994) dimension

of collectivism, many cross-cultural studies have demonstrated (Triandis, Bontempo,

Villareal, Asai and Lucca 1988; Verbury, Drenth, Koopman, Muijen and Wang 1999;

Vliert, Shi, Sanders, Wang and Huang 2004) that Chinese people are more inclined than

their Dutch counterparts to act as members of groups rather as individuals. This suggests

that consensus may be more valued in China than in the Netherlands. Therefore, the

significant impact of the interaction of climate strength and consensus on work satisfaction

and intention to quit in our study can be interpreted as reflecting the importance placed on

workplace harmony, i.e. a consensus between employees (climate strength) and between

managers (consensus) in maintaining a stable, satisfied workforce. This contrasts with the

Netherlands, where, as shown by Sanders et al.’s study, there is no significant relationship

between interaction of these variables and affective commitment. These differences in

results suggest that future research would benefit by including cultural variables in studies

examining employee responses to HRM system features (Aumann and Ostroff 2006).

Finally, it is possible that this variation in the interaction effect of HPWS climate

strength on consensus in relation to employee attitudes in the two studies may reflect

measurement differences. As noted earlier, we used employee perceptions rather than

manager reports to measure this variable. We argued that in contrast to the findings of

Sanders et al., this is a more accurate measure, which yields results in accordance with our

hypotheses (H3 and H6). Future research will need to address this measurement issue more

carefully, an observation that leads us to consider additional implications of our study.

Limitations and implications for research and management practice

Our study has four main limitations that suggest ways in which future research might be

pursued. First, although potential problems were addressed earlier, the cross-sectional

design and reliance on single informants may nevertheless limit our confidence in

explaining the relationships between HRM system features and employee attitudes, and in

making cause–effect inferences. Future research would benefit by pursuing multi-source,

longitudinal studies. A second limitation is that we evaluated the effects of high-

performance HR practices and shared perceptions of employees only in relation to three

measures of employee attitudes. These could be extended to include additional variables

such as creativity and proactivity. Third, our model is relatively simple. Further

elaboration requires incorporation of additional moderator variables (e.g. task

interdependence) and clear specification of the mechanisms linking antecedent and

moderator variables to employee attitudes (Grant and Parker 2009). Social identity

and social exchange theory could prove useful in future model building, which ultimately

needs to include behavioral and attitudinal variables. Fourth and finally, our study was

restricted to a single industry. In order to generalize, it would be desirable for future

studies to include additional service industries.

Regarding implications for management practice, our results suggest that managers

should make their HR systems (sets of practices) attractive to employees and communicate

this clearly and frequently so that employees appreciate their value (Burton, Lauridsen and

Obel 2004; Ngo, Lau and Foley 2008). This is similar to internal employer branding

The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1837

(Edwards 2010). It implies that employees should be consulted regularly about the

distinctiveness and advantages of the organization’s HR practices. Problems associated

with such practices should be rectified immediately so that employee perceptions remain

strongly positive. This might be costly and so the potential benefits in terms of worker

satisfaction, work vigor, reduced labor turnover, and probably performance needs to be

weighed against these costs. Accordingly, managers may choose to be selective,

concentrating HR policy and practices on those aspects deemed to be most significant by

employees. Alternatively, they may wish to restrict their attention to those employees who

add the most value to the organization. However, this approach risks the possibility of

adverse reaction by other employees who perceive inequitable treatment.

HPWS climate strength is important in relation to the influence of intra-management

consensus on work satisfaction and intention to quit. This implies that it is important for

senior line management, their subordinates, and HR managers to display unity in

articulating and implementing HR policy. This unity confers legitimacy on policy and it

suggests effective implementation, with all managers knowing, articulating, and

implementing the policy in a consistent fashion. This avoids employees perceiving that

the policy is being applied selectively or inequitably causing confusion and dissatisfaction.

It is not enough that managers act in a united manner, rather than as suggested earlier, this

has to be complemented by communication so that HR policies and practices are noticed

and appreciated by employees.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Xiongwen Lu and Min Li for facilitating data collection and Paul Edwards for comments
on an earlier draft. Prof. Karin Sanders worked on this paper during a visit as Professorial Fellow at
the School of Organization and Management, Australian School of Business, UNSW, Sydney,
Australia.

Notes

1. Intention to quit is important for hotel employers because the turnover rates in the hotel industry
average over 40% in several countries (Cheng and Brown 1998; Boella, Goss-Turner and Eade
2005). Five-star hotels do their best to limit turnover as they depend on providing consistently
high-quality service.

2. Interviews with HR managers and employees at the three hotels suggested that employees’
salaries were higher than at other local hotels. Based on official statistics (NBSC 2008), we
found that average salaries at each of the hotels were slightly lower than the local, all industry
average pay rates as follows: RMB 1000 vs. 1030 (Dongguan), 2400 vs. 2892 (Shanghai), and
2100 vs. 2254 (Ningbo). However, the local all-industry average statistics overstate the salary
rates for service workers because they include managers.

3. Consistency is an ipsative measure, derived from the average deviation of several items.
Consequently, it is not included in the confirmatory factor analysis.

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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN

LINE MANAGER BEHAVIOR,

PERCEIVED HRM PRACTICES, AND

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE:

EXAMINING THE MEDIATING

ROLE OF ENGAGEMENT

K E R S T I N A L F E S , C AT H E R I N E T R U S S , E M M A C .
S O A N E , C H R I S R E E S , A N D M A R K G AT E N B Y

This article examines the role played by line managers in the

link between

HRM practices and individual performance outcomes. Drawing on social ex-

change theory, the authors test a mediated model linking perceived line man-

ager behavior and perceived human resource management practices with

employee engagement and individual performance. The study focuses on

two self-report measures of individual performance; task performance and

innovative work behavior. Two studies with a total of 1,796 participants were

conducted in service-sector organizations in the United Kingdom and ana-

lyzed using structural equation modeling. The data reveal that perceived line

manager behavior and perceived HRM practices are linked with employee

engagement. In turn, employee engagement is strongly linked to individual

performance and fully mediates the link between both perceived HRM prac-

tices and perceived line manager behavior and self-report task performance

(study 1), as well as self-report innovative work behavior (study 2). The fi nd-

ings show the signifi cance of the line manager in the HRM-performance

link, and the mediating role played by employee engagement. © 2013 Wiley

Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: perceived HRM practices, perceived line manager behavior,
employee engagement, self-report task performance, self-report innova-
tive work behavior

Correspondence to: Kerstin Alfes, Department of Human Resource Studies, Tilburg University, Warandelaan 2,

5037 AB Tilburg, The Netherlands, Phone: + 31 13 466 2499, E-mail: k.alfes@uvt.nl.

Human Resource Management, November–December 2013, Vol. 52, No. 6. Pp. 839–859

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com).

DOI:10.1002/hrm.21512

840 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

There is a case to be

made for focusing

on attitudinal or

behavioral outcomes

at the individual

level, where the

link between

experiences of HRM

practices and a

range of outcomes

is more proximal,

and which may be

considered to be

an intermediary

outcome and core

driver of overall

organizational

performance.

Introduction

A
growing body of research has per-
suasively argued that there is now
evidence of a causal link between
certain HRM practices and firm-
level outcomes, such as financial

performance and organizational effectiveness
(Batt, 2002; Datta, Guthrie, & Wright, 2005;
Sun, Aryee, & Law, 2007; Wright, Gardner,
Moynihan, & Allen, 2005). Efforts to unlock
the “black box” between HRM interventions
and performance outcomes have led to a
number of studies that explore the mediating
role played by either employee attitudes such
as job satisfaction and commitment, behav-

iors such as task performance and
organizational citizenship behav-
ior (OCB), or experienced organi-
zational practices such as perceived
organizational support, organiza-
tional justice, or job design
(Kuvaas, 2008; Snape & Redman,
2010; Sun et al., 2007). Most re-
cent studies situate their analyses
within the framework of social
exchange theory, arguing that or-
ganizational HRM practices send
overt and implicit signals to em-
ployees about the extent to which
they are valued and trusted, giving
rise to feelings of obligation on the
part of employees, who then recip-
rocate through high levels of per-
formance (Allen, Shore, & Griffeth,
2003; Gould-Williams, 2007;
Purcell & Hutchinson, 2007).

Although substantial progress
has been made, there are several
areas where research evidence
remains limited. First, although
it has been argued that the role of
line managers as agents in imple-
menting HRM practices is fun-
damental to understanding how
employees interpret and respond
to their employer’s HRM system
(Holt Larsen & Brewster, 2003),
studies that examine the line
manager role alongside HRM pol-
icy and practice remain rare (Den

Hartog, Boselie, & Paauwe, 2004; Tekleab &
Taylor, 2003).

Second, few studies have used mea-
sures of perceived HRM practices from the
employee perspective, yet it has been shown
that intended, implemented, and perceived
HRM practices differ substantially (Conway
& Monks, 2008; Gratton & Truss, 2003; Snape
& Redman, 2010).

Third, most studies have focused on a
relatively restricted range of potential media-
tors, such as affective commitment or OCB
(Allen et al., 2003; Snape & Redman, 2010).
The HRM-performance literature has there-
fore overlooked developments in other,
related areas and specifically evidence link-
ing levels of employee engagement with
individual performance (Christian, Garza, &
Slaughter, 2011; Kahn, 1990; Rich, LePine, &
Crawford, 2010; Saks, 2006; Truss et al., 2006).
The multi-factorial psychological construct of
employee engagement, originally defined by
Kahn (1990) as the harnessing of individuals’
selves to their role performance on physical,
cognitive, and emotional levels, represents an
alternative and conceptually promising factor
that is increasingly used as a mediator linking
a range of workplace phenomena as demon-
strated in a recent meta-analysis by Christian
et al. (2011).

Fourth, it has been argued that aggregate
outcome variables used in the extant litera-
ture, such as firm financial performance and
organizational effectiveness, are too distal
from the micro-level of HRM interventions,
and that more proximal outcome indicators
at the individual level would provide a bet-
ter and more reliable measure (Paauwe, 2004;
Purcell & Kinnie, 2007; Wright & Haggerty,
2005). A further consideration is that a focus
on purely short-term financial gains may
be at the expense of potentially desirable
longer-term outcomes, such as sustainabil-
ity and resilience at the organizational level,
and well-being at the individual level (e.g.,
Boxall & Purcell, 2008; Guest, 2002; Ramsay,
Scholarios, & Harley, 2000). There is a case
to be made for focusing on attitudinal or
behavioral outcomes at the individual level,
where the link between experiences of HRM
practices and a range of outcomes is more

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 841

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

proximal, and which may be considered to be
an intermediary outcome and core driver of
overall organizational performance (Wright
& Haggerty, 2005). However, very few stud-
ies have focused on behavioral outcomes at
all (Ostroff & Bowen, 2000; Snape & Redman,
2010; Takeuchi, 2009), or examined the link
between employee experiences of HRM and
behavioral outcomes such as individual per-
formance, aside from intent to quit (Allen,
2006; Conway & Monks, 2009).

To address these various limitations in
the existing literature, we examine the rela-
tionship between perceived line manager
behavior, perceived HRM practices, and the
individual-level outcomes of self-report task
performance and self-report innovative work
behavior, exploring the role of employee
engagement as a mediating construct. Using
a social exchange framework, we argue that
employee experiences of HRM practices inter-
act with perceived line manager behavior to
impact on levels of employee engagement
and individual performance (Figure 1). We
test our model through structural equation
modeling on questionnaire data obtained
from two studies involving service-sector
organizations in the

United Kingdom.

Perceived HRM, Perceived Line
Manager

Behavior

, and
Employee

Engagement

Previous researchers have argued that com-
plementary sets of HRM practices, rather than

individual HRM practices, can lead to higher
levels of organizational performance (Combs,
Yongmei, Hall, & Ketchen, 2006; Takeuchi,
2009). These bundles of HRM practices, com-
monly referred to as high-performance HRM
practices, are built on the notion that indi-
vidual experiences of clusters of HRM prac-
tices shape employees’ beliefs about the na-
ture of the exchange relationship they enter
into with their organization (Rousseau &
Greller, 1994). Hence, in order to assess the
impact of HRM, the entire system of HRM
practices rather than individual practices
should be taken into account (Wright &
Boswell, 2002). A consensus is emerging that
high-performance HRM practices are broadly
focused around three areas (Conway, 2004;
Wright & Boswell, 2002): (1) employee skills,
including selective recruitment; (2) motiva-
tion, including such practices as performance-
based rewards; and (3) empowerment, includ-
ing participation mechanisms (Snape &
Redman, 2010). Most commentators argue
that these act synergistically. Snape and
Redman (2010, p. 4) define such an HRM sys-
tem as consisting of “interconnected HR ac-
tivities, designed to ensure that employees
have a broad range of superior skills and abili-
ties, which are utilized to achieve the organi-
zation’s goals.” In the present study, we there-
fore aim to assess how employees’ overall
positive perceptions of high-performance
HRM practices will be related to their behav-
ior such as task performance and innovative
work behavior.

FIGURE 1. Model Linking Perceived Line Manager Behavior and

Perceived HRM Practices to Individual

Performance

Perceived

HRM

Practices

Employee

Engagement

• Self-report Task

Performance

• Self-report

Innovative Work

Behavior

Perceived

Line Manager

Behavior

842 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

Although most researchers have argued
that certain HRM approaches can drive up
organizational performance (Batt, 2002; Datta
et al., 2005; Huselid, 1995; Som, 2008), oth-
ers have been more circumspect (Den Hartog
et al., 2004; Gooderham, Parry, & Ringdal,
2008; Guest, Michie, Conway, & Sheehan,
2003; Truss, 2001). While large-scale surveys
of senior HRM practitioners have helped to
develop a broad understanding of relevant
HRM factors, a focus on HRM as intended by
the employer may not capture employees’
lived experiences of HRM, which arguably
are more relevant in the HRM-performance
chain (Wright & Boswell, 2002; Wright &
Haggerty, 2005). Studies have in fact found
that the links between intended, imple-
mented, and perceived HRM strategies are
poor, due to variability in implementation
and diverse individual-level cognitive sche-
mas (Edgar & Geare, 2005; Khilji & Wang,
2006; Kuvaas, 2008; Wright & Haggerty,
2005). However, research that focuses on the
perceived HRM-performance linkage is rare.
As Nishii, Lepak, and Schneider (2008, p.
504) argue: “[E]mpirical research that begins
to explore the role of employees’ perceptions
of HRM practices in the causal chain is sorely
needed.” We respond to this call by focusing
our attention on employee experiences of
HRM practices, rather than simply intended
HRM strategies. In doing so, we build upon
two earlier studies. First, in an investigation
involving 215 salespeople in a department
store and 197 insurance agents, Allen et al.
(2003) showed that perceptions of support-
ive HRM practices—such as participation,
reward fairness, and growth opportunities—
contributed to the development of perceived
organizational support, which mediated
their relationship with job satisfaction and
organizational commitment and showed a
negative relationship with turnover. Second,
Conway and Monks (2009) studied 288
employees in three Irish financial services
firms and found that attitudes toward HRM
practices had a greater impact on affective
than on other forms of commitment, regard-
less of context, and also established links
between perceived HRM practices, intent to
quit, and job satisfaction.

While early studies tended to propose a
direct link between HRM and organizational
performance, recent evidence suggests that
the relationship is most likely mediated by
a range of attitudinal and behavioral vari-
ables at the individual level, particularly job
satisfaction, affective and continuance com-
mitment, task performance, and OCB (Den
Hartog et al., 2004; Guest, Conway, & Dewe,
2004; Kinnie, Hutchinson, Purcell, Rayton, &
Swart, 2005; Kuvaas, 2008; Snape & Redman,
2010; Takeuchi, 2009).

Studies of mediation often draw on social
exchange theory to provide an explanatory
framework. Social exchange theory is based on
norms of reciprocity within social relationships
(Blau, 1964; Emerson, 1976). It is argued that
employees are motivated within the employ-
ment relationship to demonstrate positive
attitudes and behaviors when they perceive
that their employer values them and their
contribution (Cropanzano, Rupp, & Byrne,
2003; Kuvaas & Dysvik, 2010; Wayne, Shore,
& Liden, 1997). Certain HRM practices may
be viewed as signaling an intent for long-term
investment in employees that obliges them to
reciprocate with discretionary role behavior
and contributions (Gong, Chang, & Cheung,
2010; Shaw, Dineen, Fang, & Vellella, 2009;
Sun et al., 2007). As Hannah and Iverson (2002,
p. 339) note: “HRM practices are viewed by
employees as a ‘personalized’ commitment to
them by the organization which is then recip-
rocated back to the organization by employees
through positive attitudes and behavior.”

Although social exchange theory has
proven a useful lens through which to view
the relationship between HRM practices and
organizational performance, evidence con-
cerning the mediating effects of the proposed
range of attitudes and behaviors has so far
proved contradictory. For example, while
Sun et al. (2007) showed that OCB partially
mediates the relationship between high-per-
formance HRM practices and organizational
performance, Kuvaas (2008) found no evi-
dence of the mediating effects of affective
commitment in the link between develop-
mental HRM practices and individual per-
formance, and Snape and Redman’s (2010)
findings on mediation were inconclusive.

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 843

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

There is therefore no consistent evidence
as to which mediators are most relevant, nor
how they operate within mediated models.
For example, it could be argued that the pro-
posed attitudinal mediators of job satisfac-
tion and commitment have no immediate
relevance to individual performance (Judge,
Bono, Thoresen, & Patton, 2001), as borne out
by Conway and Monks’s (2009) study. OCB
clearly is relevant for individual performance,
but the focus is on extra-role rather than
within-role performance, and a case could
be made that employees’ task performance
is equally important. There would therefore
appear to be scope to search for an alterna-
tive, and possibly more relevant, mediator. In
order to address this point, we introduce the
concept of employee engagement as a poten-
tially significant mediating variable.

The construct of employee engagement
was first proposed by Kahn (1990) to signify
the expression of self in-role, involving physi-
cal, cognitive, and emotional dimensions,
and has since been the focus of extensive the-
oretical and empirical research (Alfes, Truss,
Soane, Rees, & Gatenby, 2010; Christian et al.,
2011; Macey & Schneider, 2008; May, Gilson,
& Harter, 2004; Rich et al., 2010; Rothbard,
2001; Truss et al., 2006). Engagement is con-
ceived as a multi-factorial behavioral, atti-
tudinal, and affective individual differences
variable (Macey & Schneider, 2008; May
et al., 2004; Rich et al., 2010). Researchers have
argued that engagement differs from other
attitudinal and behavioral constructs, includ-
ing those most commonly used as mediators
in many HRM practice studies: commitment,
job satisfaction, and OCB. Engagement is
seen as more than job satisfaction, since it
implies activation and not merely satiation
(Macey & Schneider, 2008). Equally, it differs
from commitment, which is merely attitudi-
nal, in that engagement additionally implies
attentiveness to work and absorption in its
performance (Saks, 2006). Engagement has
some associations with discretionary effort
and OCB (Campbell & Pritchard, 1976), but
additionally refers purely to someone’s state
of mind in, and behavior in relation to, the
performance of their formal work role, while
OCB is concerned with extra-role activities

(Bateman & Organ, 1983; Griffin, Parker, &
Neal, 2008; Macey & Schneider, 2008).

There have been no prior studies examin-
ing whether there is a link between HRM, or
perceived HRM, and engagement. However, it
would be reasonable to extrapolate, from the
studies referred to earlier that have established
a link between perceived HRM practices and a
variety of other attitudinal or behavioral con-
structs, that perceived HRM practices may be
linked with employee engagement. This gives
rise to our first hypothesis:

Hypothesis 1: Perceived HRM practices are posi-
tively related to employee engagement.

Prior research has also acknowledged
that line managers have a significant role to
play in the HRM-performance chain (Bredin
& Söderlund, 2007; Den Hartog et al., 2004;
Kuvaas & Dysvik, 2010; Purcell & Hutchinson,
2007). They signal to employees the value
placed upon them by the employer, both
in terms of the way they implement HRM
practices and through their leadership style
(Den Hartog et al., 2004; McGovern, Gratton,
Hope Hailey, Stiles, & Truss, 1997; Snape &
Redman, 2010). As Purcell and Hutchinson
(2007, p. 6) note, line manager behavior “has
to be included in any causal chain seeking to
explain and measure the relationship between
HRM and organizational performance.”

In a multinational study, Holt Larsen
and Brewster (2003) showed that line man-
agers are taking on increasing responsibil-
ity for HRM implementation. There have
been a small number of previous studies on
the role of line managers in implementing
HRM. For example, in an exploratory study
involving structured interviews in 12 orga-
nizations, Purcell and Hutchinson (2007)
found a symbiotic relationship for employees
between HRM and front-line manager behav-
ior. Kuvaas and Dysvik (2010), in a study of
331 employees in a Norwegian telecoms com-
pany, similarly found that perceived invest-
ment in employee development only led to
increased work effort, work quality, and OCB
when associated with high levels of perceived
supervisor support. Equally, Kuvaas (2008)
showed that employees can only respond

844 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

positively to developmental HRM initia-
tives when there is a high-quality employee-
organization relationship in place.

While some prior studies have therefore
suggested that perceived line manager behav-
ior interacts with HRM practices in their impact
on individual-level outcomes, a separate body
of research has similarly shown that perceived
line manager behavior can act as an anteced-
ent to engagement (Bates, 2004; De Mello e
Souza Wildermuth & Pauken, 2008; Frank,
Finnegan, & Taylor, 2004). Line managers
can foster trust relationships between them-
selves and their direct reports, for example,
through encouraging open communication,
sharing critical information, and providing
support (Settoon, Bennett, & Liden, 1996).
This, in turn, will lead to positive emotional
states and higher levels of employee engage-
ment (Avolio, Gardner, Walumbwa, Luthans,
& May, 2004). For instance, Robinson,
Perryman, and Hayday (2004) showed how
increased opportunities for upward feed-
back led to higher levels of engagement, and
Blizzard (2003) demonstrated that effective
interpersonal relationships between employ-
ees and managers raised engagement levels.
This gives rise to our second hypothesis:

Hypothesis 2: Perceived line manager behavior is
positively related to employee engagement.

Studies of engagement, like those of high-
performance HRM practices, draw on social
exchange theory to suggest that employees
will become engaged with their work when
antecedents are in place that signal to them
that they are valued and trusted (Rich et al.,
2010; Saks, 2006). Although no research has
examined the link between HRM practices
and engagement, empirical studies have
demonstrated a link between high levels of
engagement and the same outcomes as the
high-performance HRM practices literature.
Engaged employees invest themselves fully
in their roles (Rothbard, 2001), which may
lead to the enactment of active in-role per-
formances (Ho, Wong, & Lee, 2011; Macey
& Schneider, 2008). Engaged employees may
achieve higher performance because they
focus their efforts on work-related goals, are

cognitively vigilant, and are emotionally and
socially connected to their work (Kahn, 1990).
Since engaged employees feel more spirited,
they can accomplish their in-role tasks with
less effort (Hockey, 2000), and additionally
invest time and resources in seeking new
ways of delivering their work or changing and
improving their environment (Ramamoorthy,
Flood, Slattery, & Sardessai, 2005).

These findings have been supported by
further recent studies. In a study of 245 fire-
fighters, Rich et al. (2010) found that engage-
ment mediated the relationship between
value congruence, perceived organizational
support, core self-evaluations, task perfor-
mance, and OCB, while Sonnentag (2003)
demonstrated that engagement leads to pro-
active behavior, initiative taking, and the
pursuit of learning goals. These findings are
consistent with Christian et al.’s (2011) meta-
analysis, which found support for a mediat-
ing effect of engagement on the relationship
between job characteristics, leadership, per-
sonal traits, task performance, and OCB. This
leads to our final set of hypotheses:

Hypothesis 3a: Employee engagement is positively
related to task performance and mediates the re-
lationship between perceived HRM practices and
task performance.

Hypothesis 3b: Employee engagement is positively
related to innovative work behavior and mediates
the relationship between perceived HRM practices
and innovative work behavior.

Hypothesis 4a: Employee engagement is positively
related to task performance and mediates the rela-
tionship between perceived line manager behavior
and task performance.

Hypothesis 4b: Employee engagement is positively
related to innovative work behavior and mediates
the relationship between perceived line manager
behavior and innovative work behavior.

Methods

Overview of the Research Process

We employed a cross-sectional

research design

in two case study organizations operating in

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 845

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

We employed a

cross-sectional

research design

in two case study

organizations

operating in the

service sector in the

United Kingdom.

the service sector in the United Kingdom
(Bryman & Bell, 2007). This methodology was
chosen because we were interested in explor-
ing the patterns of associations within organi-
zational settings between perceived HRM
practices and line manager behavior, and
their relationship with engagement and self-
report individual performance. We used a
questionnaire survey of employees in both
organizations, which enabled us to gather
data on the constructs of interest from a vari-
ety of employees in each organization. The
cases were chosen as they were fairly similar
with regard to the range of different staff em-
ployed, their size, and the sector they were
operating in. Both online and paper versions
of the questionnaire were created and admin-
istered by the authors, and sent to a selection
of employees with and without Internet ac-
cess. In both organizations employees were
selected in collaboration with the HR man-
ager to ensure that the sample was representa-
tive of the whole workforce. Employees were
informed about the purpose of the study and
its confidentiality, and encouraged to partici-
pate in the survey within two weeks. In both
organizations, employees were given time to
complete the questionnaire during work.
While the online responses were stored on a
secure server, the paper questionnaires were
returned directly to the researchers to ensure
confidentiality. For study 1, we analyzed the
relationships between perceived line manager
behavior, perceived HRM practices, employee
engagement, and self-report task perfor-
mance. For study 2, we examined those rela-
tionships with self-report innovative work
behavior as a dependent variable.

Samples

Organization A is a support services partner
in the United Kingdom providing business
solutions for clients across the local govern-
ment, transport, education, and defense sec-
tors. A total of 2,500 employees from differ-
ent locations were asked to take part in the
survey. From this sample, 1,157 question-
naires were returned. Listwise deletion of
missing data led to a usable sample of 924
respondents, a response rate of 37 percent.

The sample comprised 72.5 percent men; the
average age was 40.79 years (SD = 12.15); and
the average tenure was 4.04 years (SD = 4.11).
Respondents were from different levels in
their organization and represented a range of
occupational backgrounds, including profes-
sionals (51.6 percent); administration (10.7
percent); managers or senior officials (14.9
percent); retail, customer, and personal ser-
vices (2.3 percent); skilled trades (5.9 percent);
machine operators (8.5 percent); and elemen-
tary occupations (6.1 percent).

Organization B is a recycling and waste
management company. The sample com-
prised 2,217 employees, ensuring an accu-
rate representation of workforce population.
A total of 1,153 questionnaires
were completed. Listwise dele-
tion of missing data led to a
usable sample of 872 respondents,
which resulted in a slightly higher
response rate of 39 percent. There
were 25.9 percent female respon-
dents within this sample. The
average age was 41.42 years (SD
= 11.56), and the average tenure
was 5.92 years (SD = 5.72). Again,
the respondents represented dif-
ferent levels in the organization and
diverse occupational backgrounds
including professionals (12.3 per-
cent); administration (21.4 percent);
managers or senior officials (19.0
percent); retail, customer, and personal ser-
vices (5.0 percent); skilled trades (4.3 per-
cent); machine operators (33.0 percent); and
elementary occupations (5.0 percent).

Measures

Perceived HRM Practices

Perceived HRM practices were measured
based upon Gould-Williams and Davies’s
(2005) HRM practices scale. This was chosen
as it has been found to demonstrate high reli-
ability and validity in previous studies of
high-performance HRM systems (Gould-
Williams, 2003; Gould-Williams & Davies,
2005), but at the same time is of a reasonable
length to be included in an employee survey

846 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

including different occupational groups.
Specifically, we asked employees to assess six
HRM practices identified by the high-perfor-
mance HRM practices literature—namely, the
selection process, training opportunities, re-
wards systems, career management, develop-
ment opportunities, and feedback mecha-
nisms. A sample item was “I am provided
with sufficient opportunities for training and
development.” The response scale ranged
from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5 (“strongly
agree”). The alphas were 0.83 for Organization
A and 0.85 for Organization B.

Perceived Line Manager Behavior

Perceived line manager behavior was measured
using four items derived from Cook and Wall
(1980) and Unden (1996). The items asked for
employee perceptions of the effectiveness, eq-
uity, and integrity of their line manager. A sam-
ple item was “I think my line manager is fair in
his/her treatment of me.” The response scale
ranged from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5
(“strongly agree”). The alphas were 0.93 for
Organization A and 0.94 for Organization B.

Employee Engagement

We measured engagement using a scale devel-
oped by Soane et al. (2012). The scale was
chosen because it operationalizes Kahn’s
(1990) original conceptualization of engage-
ment as the extent to which employees invest
themselves fully in their role by establishing
meaningful connections to others, and expe-
riencing positive cognitive and emotional re-
actions to the task. In line with the multidi-
mensional nature of engagement, the scale
encompasses three subscales of engagement.
Intellectual engagement focuses on the extent
to which employees are cognitively involved
in their work. There were three items (e.g., “I
get completely absorbed in my work”).
Affective engagement measures the extent to
which employees are emotionally involved
with, and attached to, their work. There were
three items, including “I am happy when I do
a good job.” Social engagement was assessed
with three items and measures the extent to
which employees talk to their colleagues

about how to improve their work. Items in-
cluded “I talk to people at work about how to
improve the way I do my job.” Response op-
tions ranged from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5
(“strongly agree”) for all subscales. Because we
were interested in an overall measure of en-
gagement, the three subscales were aggregated
to form an overall measure of engagement,
resulting in alpha values of 0.81 for
Organization A and 0.86 for Organization B.

Individual Task Performance

A five-item scale from Janssen and Van Yperen
(2004) was used to assess individual task per-
formance. We slightly altered the wording of
the original scale to reflect the fact that em-
ployees were asked to self-rate their perfor-
mance. A sample item was “I always complete
the duties specified in my job description.”
The response scale ranged from 1 (“strongly
disagree”) to 5 (“strongly agree”). The alpha
was 0.81 for Organization A.

Innovative Work Behavior

We measured innovative work behavior with
a five-item scale based on Janssen and Van
Yperen (2004). Similarly to task performance,
we changed the wording of the original items
to enable employees to self-rate their innova-
tive work behavior. A sample item was
“Transforming innovative ideas into useful
applications.” The response scale ranged from
1 (“never”) to 5 (“daily”). The alpha was 0.96
for Organization B.

The difficulties in gaining individual-
level performance data have been thoroughly
discussed in previous literature (Huselid &
Day, 1991; Mannheim, Baruch, & Tal, 1997).
We took additional steps to limit problems
associated with common method variance as
described next.

Data Analysis

Because all our variables were collected from
a single source only, we had to deal with two
concerns prior to proceeding to hypothesis
testing: common method variance and dis-
criminant validity.

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 847

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

To examine and control for the influ-
ence of common method bias in our study,
we performed a series of confirmatory factor
analyses (CFA) on both datasets. Following
established recommendations (Hair, Black,
Babin, Anderson, & Tatham, 2005) we cal-
culated five fit indices to determine how
the model fitted our data: χ2, goodness of
fit index (GFI), comparative fit index (CFI),
root mean square error of approximation
(RMSEA), and standardized root mean square
residual (SRMR). For GFI and CFI, values
greater than .9 represent a good model fit,
and for SRMR and RMSEA, values less than
.07 indicate a good model fit (Hu & Bentler,
1998; Kline, 2005).

We initially performed a CFA on the full
measurement model (Anderson & Gerbing,
1988) including all latent variables. Overall,
the measurement models exhibited good psy-
chometric properties (Organization A: χ2 =
407, df = 129, GFI = .95, SRMR = .04, RMSEA
= .05, CFI = .96; Organization B: χ2 = 379,
df = 129, GFI = .95, SRMR = .04, RMSEA =
.05, CFI = .98) and all standardized regres-
sions coefficients in the measurement mod-
els were significant at the 0.001 level. To test
for common method variance, we then con-
ducted Harman’s single-factor test (Podsakoff,
MacKenzie, Jeong-Yeon, & Podsakoff, 2003),
which involves a CFA where all variables are
allowed to load onto one general factor. The
model exhibited very poor fit for both organi-
zations (Organization A: χ2 = 3,595, df = 135,
GFI = .56, SRMR = .15, RMSEA = .17, CFI =
.44; Organization B: χ2 = 6,973, df = 135, GFI
= .44, SRMR = .21, RMSEA = .24, CFI = .41),
which provided a good indication that a sin-
gle factor did not account for the majority of
variance in our data.

Additionally, we conducted a second test
as recommended by Podsakoff et al. (2003),
introducing an unmeasured latent methods
factor to our original measurement model
allowing all items to load on their theoretical
constructs, as well as on the latent methods
factor. A comparison of both models revealed
that including the method factor in the model
significantly improved the overall fit of the
model (Organization A: Δχ2(df) = 80(12);
Organization B: Δχ2 (df)= 40(12)). However,

the χ2 difference test is distributed χ2, and
researchers argue that χ2 values are very sen-
sitive to large sample sizes and a high num-
ber of observed variables, leading to biased
results (Bentler, 1990; Bentler & Bonett, 1980;
Bollen, 1989; Hair et al., 2005; Hu & Bentler,
1995; Kline, 2005). We therefore assessed the
change of CFI values for both models as an
indicator of significance as recommended
by Byrne (2001). The change of CFI between
both models was 0.02 for Organization A and
0.03 for Organization B, which is below the
suggested rule of thumb of 0.05 (Bagozzi &
Yi, 1990).

To determine whether the constructs in
our model were distinct from each other, we
performed a test of the scales’ discriminant
validity following Fornell and Larcker (1981).
We first calculated the average variance
extracted for each scale variable. According
to Fornell and Larcker (1981), scale variables
are sufficiently different from one another if
a scale’s average variance extracted is greater
than its shared variance with any other scale
variable in the model. This condition was
met in both datasets, and we concluded that
all scales were distinct from one another. The
values are portrayed along the diagonals of
Tables I and III, together with interscale cor-
relations and descriptive statistics for all scale
variables in both organizations.

Results—Study 1

Descriptive Statistics

Table I presents the means and standard de-
viations for each scale, and interscale correla-
tions, for all study variables for Organization
A. The interscale correlations show the ex-
pected direction of association and are all sig-
nificant at the p < .01 level. Specifically, per-
ceived HRM practices are positively related to
perceived line manager behavior (r = .52).
Moreover, employee engagement is positively
associated with perceived HRM practices
(r = .35), perceived line manager behavior (r
= .34), and self-report task performance (r =
.32). The relationships between perceived
HRM practices (r = .11) and perceived line
manager behavior (r = .18) and self-report

848 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

performance are positive and significant, but
weaker compared to the relationship between
engagement and self-report performance.
Gender is positively, but weakly, associated
with self-report task performance (r = .11),
while age is negatively associated with per-
ceived line manager behavior (r = −.09), and
management responsibilities is positively as-
sociated with engagement (r = .21).

Tests of Hypotheses

We employed latent variable structural equa-
tion modeling (Jöreskog & Sörbom, 1993)
using maximum likelihood estimation in
AMOS 18.0 (Arbuckle, 2006) to evaluate our
model. Structural equation modeling simul-
taneously estimates the structure within a se-
ries of dependent relationships between la-
tent variables with multiple indicators, while
correcting for measurement errors (Bollen &
Long, 1993; Hair et al., 2005). This approach
seemed the most appropriate for testing our
empirical model. Given that perceptions of
HRM practices and line manager behavior are
likely to be positively associated, both con-
structs were allowed to correlate in the struc-
tural model. Overall, the model provided a
good fit for our data (χ2 = 414, df = 131, GFI
= .95, SRMR = .05, RMSEA = .05, CFI = .96).

As the sample in Organization A consists
of a diverse range of employees, we carried out
multigroup analyses to test for the reliability

of our proposed model across different gen-
ders, age groups, and hierarchical levels. Our
results1 showed that although there were dif-
ferences with regard to the strength of the
association between the groups, we did not
find any significant differences with regard to
the overall model proposed. We therefore con-
cluded that the proposed model was a consis-
tent reflection of the relationships between
perceived HRM, perceived line manager
behavior, employee engagement, and self-
report performance within Organization A.

Our hypothesized model implied that
engagement mediates the link between the
antecedents of engagement and self-report
task performance. To analyze whether media-
tion according to Baron and Kenny (1986)
could be found in our model, we examined
whether an alternative model would lead to
a significant improvement in the model fit
compared to our hypothesized model by test-
ing a series of nested models (Anderson &
Gerbing, 1988; Mayer & Davis, 1999). Table
II presents the fit statistics for three alterna-
tive models compared to our hypothesized
model. We used the same five fit indices as
described earlier and carried out sequential χ2
difference tests to compare all models to our
hypothesized model.

In model 2, we added a direct path from
perceived HRM practices to self-report task
performance to test whether there was a
direct association between both variables,

T A B L E I Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations for Scale Variables—Organization Aa

Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Gender .27 .45 n/a

2. Age 40.79 12.15 −.16** n/a

3. Management

Responsibilities
.50 .50 −.21** .15** n/a

4. Perceived HRM

Practices
3.05 .69 .04 −.05 .02 .67

5. Perceived Line

Manager Behavior
3.67 .87 .06 −.09** .03 .52** .87

6. Engagement 3.75 .47 .00 0.00 .21** .35** .34** .67

7. Self-Report Task

Performance
4.09 .51 .11** −0.04 .02 .11** .18** .32** .69

an = 924. The values reported on the main diagonal in italics are square roots of the average variance explained. According to Fornell

and Larcker’s (1981) discriminant validity test, this value must be larger than a focal variable’s zero-order correlations in the same row

and column.

**p < .01.

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 849

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

as suggested in early strategic HRM research
(Arthur, 1994; Huselid, 1995; Koch &
McGrath, 1996; MacDuffie, 1995). As Table
II shows, the model fit was lower; hence,
we found no support for this model. For
alternative model 3, we added a direct path
from perceived line manager behavior to self-
report task performance to examine whether
perceived line manager behavior had a direct
impact upon individual performance, as
research indicates that managerial behavior
may have a direct influence on performance
(De Jong & Den Hartog, 2007). However,
the fit statistics in Table II reveal that this
additional path did not improve the overall
model fit. For model 4 we combined both
modifications and added direct paths from
perceived HRM practices and perceived line
manager behavior to self-report task perfor-
mance, respectively. Again results in Table II
show that we did not find an improvement in
model fit. Hence, data from our nested model
comparison suggested that the hypothesized

model fitted the data best and engagement
mediated the link between perceived HRM
practices, perceived line manager behavior,
and self-report task performance. The stan-
dardized path coefficients for this model are
shown in Figure 2.

Results—Study 2

Descriptive Statistics

Table III shows the descriptive statistics for,
and interscale correlations among, all study
variables for Organization B. All correlations
show the expected direction of association
and are significant at the p < .01 level.
Perceived HRM practices are positively corre-
lated with perceived line manager behavior (r
= .53). Furthermore, engagement is positively
associated with perceived HRM practices (r =
.37) and perceived line manager behavior
(r = .36), and all three variables are positively
correlated with self-report innovative work

T A B L E I I Structural Equation Model Comparisons—Organization Aa

Models χ2 (df) GFI SRMR RMSEA CFI Comparisons

Hypothesized: Model 1 414 (131)** .951 .045 .048 .964

Alternative Model 2b 411 (130) .952 .045 .048 .964 Model 2 compared to Model 1

Alternative Model 3c 414 (130) .951 .045 .049 .964 Model 3 compared to Model 1

Alternative Model 4d 407 (129) .952 .044 .048 .964 Model 4 compared to Model 1

an = 924.
bDirect path from perceived HRM practices to self-report task performance.
cDirect path from perceived line manager behavior to self-report task performance.
dDirect paths from perceived HRM practices and perceived line manager behavior to self-report task performance.

**p < .01.

FIGURE 2. Standardized Path Estimates: Final Model Organization A

Perceived
HRM

Practices

Employee
Engagement

.37***

.31***

.25***

.57***
Self-report Task

Performance

Perceived
Line Manager

Behavior

***p < 0.001.

850 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

behavior (r between .21 and .39). The data
also show a positive association between
management responsibilities and our study
variables (r between .09 and .26), and between
being female and perceived line manager be-
havior (r = .13) and engagement (r = .18),
while the relationship between being female
and self-report innovative work behavior is
weak and negative (r = −.11).

Tests of Hypotheses

As for Organization A, we tested our hypoth-
eses with structural equation modeling
(Jöreskog & Sörbom, 1993) in Amos 18.0
(Arbuckle, 2006). Again we allowed perceived
HRM practices and line manager behavior
to correlate. The model revealed a very good
overall fit (χ2= 385, df = 131, GFI = .95,
SRMR = .05, RMSEA = .05, CFI = .98) for our
hypothesized model. As for Organization A,
we carried out multigroup analyses to test our
proposed model across different genders, age
groups, and hierarchical levels. As we did not
find any significant differences with regard
to the model proposed, we concluded that
the model was overall an accurate reflection
of the relationships between perceived HRM,
perceived line manager behavior, employee
engagement, and self-report innovative work
behavior within Organization B.

Again, we aimed to determine whether an
alternative model would better represent our
data. We therefore tested and compared the
same series of nested structural models as for
Organization A using sequential χ2 difference
tests. Five fit statistics and the model compar-
isons are depicted in Table IV.

For the nested model comparisons
we found substantively similar results for
Organization B. As Table IV demonstrates,
model 2, where we added a direct path from
HRM practices to self-report innovative work
behavior, fitted the data equally well as our
hypothesized model ( Δχ2 (1) = 6.3, p < 0.025).
This indicates that HRM practices might have
a direct influence on innovative work behav-
ior (Collins & Smith, 2006). However, the first
model was superior to model 2, as it was more
parsimonious. Table IV also demonstrates that
the other two alternative models fitted our data
less well than the hypothesized model. The stan-
dardized path coefficients for the best-fitting
model for Organization B are shown in Figure 3.

Discussion

Key Findings and Theoretical
Implications

The purpose of this research was to develop
and test a more complete model of how

T A B L E I I I Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations for Scale Variables—Organization Ba

Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Gender .26 .44 n/a

2. Age 41.42 11.56 −.24** n/a

3. Management

Responsibilities
.38 .49 −.14** .14** n/a

4. Perceived HRM

Practices
2.99 .76 .04 −.03 .11** .70

5. Perceived Line

Manager Behavior
3.53 .96 .13** −.08 .09** .53** .89

6. Engagement 3.63 .59 .18** −.03 .18** .37** .36** .72

7. Self-Report Innova-

tive Work Behavior
2.11 1.10 −.11** −.09 .26** .26** .21** .39** .91

an = 872. The values reported on the main diagonal in italics are square roots of the average variance explained. According to Fornell

and Larcker’s (1981) discriminant validity test, this value must be larger than a focal variable’s zero-order correlations in the same row

and column.

**p < .01.

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 851

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

perceived line manager behavior, together
with employees’ experiences of HRM prac-
tices, affect levels of employee engagement
and, further, how the relationship between
HRM practices, perceived line manager
behavior, and individual performance is me-
diated through engagement. We thereby re-
sponded to calls for studies analyzing the role
of line managers in the HRM-performance
chain (Guest, 2011; Purcell & Hutchinson,
2007). Data from 1,796 employees in two or-
ganizations largely supported our theoretical
framework. In both organizations, perceived
HRM practices were positively associated with
employee engagement (β = .31), lending sup-
port to Hypothesis 1. Furthermore, perceived
line manager behavior was positively associ-
ated with engagement in both organizations
(β = .25 and .26), supporting Hypothesis 2.
Moreover, perceptions of HRM practices and

line manager behavior were positively corre-
lated, supporting the notion of a joint effect
on individual levels of engagement (r = .57
and .54). Engagement, in turn, led to higher
levels of task performance (β = .37) and in-
novative work behavior (β = .45), as measured
by self-report questionnaires, and mediated
the link between line manager behavior, HRM
practices, and individual performance. Hence,
Hypotheses 3 and 4 were fully supported.
These results have several theoretical implica-
tions, which we consider in turn.

First, we show that employees’ experi-
ences of perceived line manager behavior are
an essential element in the HRM-performance
linkage. Viewed through the lens of social
exchange theory, our data suggest that line
managers have an important role to play, not
just in the way they implement and enact
HRM policy (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004), but also

T A B L E I V Structural Equation Model Comparisons—Organization Ba

Models χ2 (df) GFI SRMR RMSEA CFI Comparisons

Hypothesized: Model 1 385 (131)** .953 .046 .047 .978

Alternative Model 2b 378 (130) .953 .040 .047 .978 Model 2 compared to Model 1

Alternative Model 3c 384 (130) .953 .044 .047 .978 Model 3 compared to Model 1

Alternative Model 4d 379 (129) .953 .040 .047 .978 Model 4 compared to Model 1

an = 872.
bDirect path from perceived HRM practices to self-report innovative work behavior.
cDirect path from perceived line manager behavior to self-report innovative work behavior.
dDirect paths from perceived HRM practices and perceived line manager behavior to self-report innovative work behavior.

**p < .01.

FIGURE 3. Standardized Path Estimates: Final Model Organization B

Perceived

HRM

Practices

Employee

Engagement

.45***

.31***

.26***

.54***
Self-report

Innovative Work

Behavior

Perceived
Line Manager

Behavior

***p < 0.001.

852 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

through their daily behavior toward their
staff, which sends signals about the extent of
the value placed upon them. Hence, employ-
ees’ experiences of HRM occur along at least
two dimensions, first their experiences of
HRM policies and practices, and second the
way they are treated by their line manager.
Positive experiences of HRM practices alone
appear insufficient to generate high lev-
els of engagement and performance; rather,
our data suggest that it is the combination
of positive perceived line manager behavior
and positive experiences of HRM practices
together that is associated with an engaged
and high-performing workforce. These find-
ings support the argument that a systemic
approach is needed when examining the
HRM-performance linkage, one that focuses
on the general working climate experienced
by employees, which will inevitably include
their perceptions of their line manager as
well as HRM policy implementation (Purcell
& Hutchinson, 2007).

Our findings also lend support to the
small number of other studies that have dem-
onstrated a link between positive experiences
of HRM practices and individual-level perfor-
mance outcomes. Data from our study show
that where employees’ experiences of HRM
practices are positive, self-report individual
performance in terms of task performance
and innovative work behavior is enhanced.
This can be understood through the lens of
social exchange theory, which suggests that
where employees feel that their organiza-
tion is investing in them through the posi-
tive experiences they have of HRM policy and
line manager behavior, they are more willing
to reciprocate through high levels of engage-
ment and performance. A focus on intended
HRM strategy alone will not capture the lived
experiences of employees and will omit critical
dimensions of the exchange relationship. This
reflects the findings of other studies that have
suggested that it is not the HRM strategies
intended by the organization that are most
significant in the HRM-performance chain,
but rather how employees experience those
HRM practices (Gratton & Truss, 2003; Kinnie
et al., 2005; Nishii et al., 2008). Consequently,
this lends further weight to the argument that

studies of the HRM-performance linkage need
to seek the views not just of HRM managers,
but also of individual employees (Den Hartog
et al., 2004).

Finally, we bring together two hitherto
disparate bodies of literature by demon-
strating that employee engagement acts as
a mediator linking perceived HRM practices
and perceived line manager behavior to self-
report individual performance. No prior stud-
ies have examined the link between HRM,
employee engagement, and individual per-
formance. Some earlier research has shown
that attitudes are an important element in
the HRM-performance chain, focusing on
other attitudinal constructs such as commit-
ment, job satisfaction, and OCB (Allen et al.,
2003; Batt, 2002; Sun et al., 2007). Equally,
several prior studies have argued that there is
a link between perceived line manager behav-
ior and engagement (May et al., 2004), and
between engagement and individual perfor-
mance (Rich et al., 2010). By bringing these
lines of argument together, consistent with
our predictions, our data suggest that engage-
ment acts as an important mediator between
HRM and individual performance. Although
this is a new finding, it is in line with our
predictions based on the engagement litera-
ture (Christian et al., 2011; Halbesleben &
Wheeler, 2008; Rich et al., 2010), and on
the literature linking perceived HRM with
attitudinal and behavioral outcomes (Allen
et al., 2003; Snape & Redman, 2010). Within
a social exchange relationship, employees’
positive perceptions of organizational invest-
ments in them, communicated through line
manager behavior and perceived HRM prac-
tices, give rise to a willingness to engage cog-
nitively, affectively, and behaviorally, and to
consequent high levels of task performance
and innovative work behavior.

Implications for Practitioners

Our data provide further support to the grow-
ing interest in the changing relationship be-
tween line managers and HRM professionals in
the management of employees. The current
study shows that line managers play an impor-
tant role in creating and maintaining a positive

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 853

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

Our study

demonstrates that it

is through effective

partnership that

HRM practitioners

and line managers

are able to elicit

positive responses

from their workforce.

environment in which employees are willing
to engage and perform. This emphasizes the
importance of a symbiotic relationship be-
tween HRM professionals and line managers
(Purcell & Hutchinson, 2007). Collaboration
between both parties will enable the effective
implementation of HRM practices, which are
positively perceived by employees and encour-
age them to reciprocate by enacting desired be-
haviors. Our study demonstrates that it is
through effective partnership that HRM practi-
tioners and line managers are able to elicit posi-
tive responses from their workforce.

Our findings have specific implications
for HRM professionals. Arguably, the goal of
strategic HRM is to evoke positive employee
attitudes and improve performance. The cru-
cial question for HRM practitioners is how to
achieve these objectives. A key challenge is
to ensure that HRM policies and practices are
enacted in a consistent way by different line
managers across the organization. One focus
for HRM professionals should be the align-
ment of line managers’ performance goals
and objectives with desired strategic HRM
outcomes, and the assessment of line manag-
ers’ performance based on their approach to
managing people.

Moreover, our data show that employee
perceptions of HRM practices play an impor-
tant role in determining individual perfor-
mance and, in conjunction with perceived
line manager behavior, are associated with
higher levels of employee engagement.
Creating a highly engaged workforce has
become a significant focus for many organi-
zations recently (MacLeod & Clarke, 2009;
Truss, Soane, Alfes, Rees, & Gatenby, 2010),
and our study indicates to HRM profession-
als that line managers have to be integrated
in any strategies designed to maintain or
increase engagement levels.

Limitations

Although our research provides interesting
insights into the causal chain linking line
manager behavior, HRM practices, employee
engagement, and individual performance,
the findings should be assessed against the
background of the limitations inherent in our

study. First, we collected data in each organi-
zation at one point in time, which limits the
conclusions that can be made regarding
the causal order of our relationships. It might,
for example, be possible that employee en-
gagement leads to positive perceptions of
HRM practices. Second, we relied on individu-
als’ self-reports on all variables of our model,
which raises concerns about possible com-
mon method bias. However, our analysis indi-
cated that common method bias was not an
issue in either organization and the results ob-
tained were stable in two different organiza-
tions and generalizable across a number of
demographic criteria. Moreover, in terms of
the current study, our focus was on employee
perceptions of HRM as the first
link between HRM practices and
outcomes (Wright & Boswell,
2002), and so we would argue that
self-report measures might actually
be the most valid measurement
method for most of our constructs,
as individuals are best placed to re-
port their own levels of engage-
ment, their perceptions of HRM
practices, and line manager behav-
ior. Hence, the only constructs
that could have been measured by
multiple data sources are self-
report performance and innova-
tive work behavior. Although at
least two data sources are required
to help rule out the validity threats
of self-report and single-method bias
(Donaldson & Grant-Vallone, 2002), a recent
review of performance appraisal research sug-
gests that performance ratings by line manag-
ers might be equally biased as self-rated
performance (Levy & Williams, 2004).
Moreover, authors have recently questioned the
assumption that common-method variance
causes serious problems in organizational re-
search (Spector, 2006). Nevertheless, we encour-
age future researchers to collect data from mul-
tiple sources to investigate our findings further.

Implications for Research

In our study we shed light on the roles line
managers and HRM professionals play in

854 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2013

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

shaping employees’ attitudes and behaviors at
work. We have demonstrated that it is impor-
tant to consider how line managers affect em-
ployees’ perceptions of HRM practices and poli-
cies, which supports the notion of a symbiotic
relationship between both parties for the effec-
tive management of people. We encourage fu-
ture research to further explore the dynamics
between HRM professionals and line managers
in the enactment of HRM practices and their
effect on employee attitudes and behaviors.

An interesting question arising out of our
research is whether different occupational
groups within one organization share the same
perceptions of line management behavior,
HRM practices, engagement, and individual
performance. Although we found some vari-
ability in path coefficients between individuals
with and without management responsibili-
ties, we did not find a significant difference
with regard to the overall model. We encour-
age future research to assess whether there are
differences in individuals’ perceptions based
on their occupational background. Indeed,
Kinnie et al. (2005) suggest that the relation-
ships depicted in our model may well vary
between different groups of employees.

Future research might also analyze
whether different leadership styles have a
differential impact on employees’ percep-
tion of, and attributions to, HRM systems.
For example, would an engaging leader-
ship style (Chartered Institute of Personnel
and Development [CIPD], 2008) lead to a
more positive evaluation of the HRM system
compared to traditional transactional and
transformational leadership styles? We also
encourage consideration of how employ-
ees’ perceptions of the wider organizational
climate, such as perceived organizational
support and organizational trust, might be
related to perceived HRM practices and line
management behavior.

Our study has demonstrated that it is
important to consider employee perceptions
when evaluating the impact of HRM practices.
Future research could assess to what extent line
managers’ perceptions of HRM practices influ-
ence their employees’ perceptions of HRM
practices, using multilevel data from different
data sources in the organization. It might be

that line managers who have positive experi-
ences of HRM themselves shape their subordi-
nates’ perceptions and attitudes toward HRM.

Finally, we encourage researchers to
evaluate changes in the effect of line man-
ager behavior and HRM practices over time.
By adopting longitudinal research designs,
researchers will be able to demonstrate
causal effects in the HRM-performance chain
and assess the impact of any intervention
designed to enhance employee attitudes and
performance.

Conclusion

Our study has contributed to debates around
the HRM-individual performance link
through the development and testing of a
mediated model incorporating employee en-
gagement as the key attitudinal variable, and
analyzing the role of line managers in this
causal chain. Through structural equation
modeling on a sample of 1,796 respondents
from two organizations, we tested a number
of hypotheses to determine how these factors
are interrelated. We found that employees’
perceptions of line manager behavior and
HRM practices are positively related to levels
of employee engagement, and that engage-
ment, in turn, mediated the link with self-
report individual performance. These find-
ings are consistent with social exchange the-
ory, which suggests that organizations able to
cultivate a climate of reciprocity will elicit
positive attitudinal and behavioral outcomes
from employees. We argue that HRM’s impact
on performance outcomes is therefore indi-
rect rather than direct, and that the focus of
HRM efforts should be first on the effective
selection, deployment, and performance
management of line managers, second on
supporting line managers to ensure the fair
and consistent enactment of intended HRM
practices, and third on developing and imple-
menting employee engagement strategies.
These factors together will create a virtuous
cycle fostering high levels of performance.

Note

1. The full results are available from the fi rst author

upon request.

LINE MANAGERS, HRM PRACTICES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ENGAGEMENT AND INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE 855

Human Resource Management DOI: 10.1002/hrm

KERSTIN ALFES is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Resource Studies

at Tilburg University. Her research interests include employee engagement, strategic hu-

man resource management, overqualifi cation, and the management of change. She has

written on these topics in journals such as Human Resource Management Journal; the

International Journal of Human Resource Management; Gender, Work & Organization;

and International Public Management Journal.

CATHERINE TRUSS is head of Group, People, Management and Organisation at Kent

Business School, University of Kent, UK. She has held research grants valued at over

£900,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Chartered Institute of

Personnel and Development, the National Institute for Health Research, and Industry,

and has written or coauthored over 180 articles, papers, books, and reports. Her research

interests include strategic HRM, employee engagement, and meaningful work. She is

co-editor of Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice, published by Routledge in 2013.

EMMA C. SOANE is a lecturer in the Department of Management at the London School

of Economics. She is the academic director, CEMS MSc International Management; a

chartered occupational psychologist; and a chartered scientist. Her research interests

are centered on individual differences in leadership, personality, decision making, risk,

and engagement with work. She has written a number of journal articles, book chap-

ters, and practitioner articles. She coauthored the book Traders: Risks, Decisions, and

Management in Financial Markets published by Oxford University Press in 2006.

CHRIS REES is a senior lecturer in employment relations in the School of Management

at Royal Holloway, University of London. His current research centers on comparative

corporate governance and trade union responses to corporate social responsibility;

the cross-border transfer of employment practices in multinational corporations; and

European information and consultation regulations. His work has been published in jour-

nals such as Organization Studies, Work Employment and Society, the European Journal

of Industrial Relations, and Human Resource Management Journal.

MARK GATENBY is a lecturer in organizational behavior in the School of Management at

the University of Southampton. His research interests include public service reform, the

role of managers, and critical realism.

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Disentangling the strength of the
HRM system: effects on
employees reactions

Dolores de la Rosa-Navarro, Mirta Díaz-Fernández and
Alvaro Lopez-Cabrales

Department of Business Administration, Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain

Abstract
Purpose – A strong HRM system (encompassing the dimensions of distinctiveness, consistency and
consensus) facilitates a collective interpretation of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices in a common
direction, and consequently, a conjoint response by employees. The purpose of this paper is two fold: first to
argue that those dimensions have a direct impact on the reaction of employees (organisational citizenship
behaviour, OCB and intention to remain, IR); and second, the authors propose that these dimensions are not
independent, but rather can interact in such a way that consensus impacts on the consistency of an HRM
system, and consistency mediates the relationship between consensus and OCB and IR.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors surveyed HR managers and employees from a sample of
102 Spanish hotels. Specifically, HR managers were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing the
dimensions of HRM strength, and employees completed a different questionnaire reporting their levels of
OCB and IR. The authors examined the reliability and validity of measures by means of Confirmatory Factor
Analysis. Finally, structural equations models were applied to test direct effects and mediating hypotheses.
Findings – As an initial finding, the authors obtained two dimensions of HRM strength: consistency and a
new factor, which is a combination of distinctiveness and consensus, labelled the “Reputation” of

the HRM
system

. A second result is that such the reputation of the HRM system positively affects OCB and IR. Third,
consistency mediates in the relationships between the reputation of the HRM system and OCB and IR.
Research limitations/implications – Although the authors are aware of the limitations of our paper,
regarding the cross-sectional data design and the assessment of HR strength by managers, the authors
believe that the results highlight the importance of HRM system strength, since it affects individual outcomes.
Originality/value – One of the valuable contributions made by this paper is that the authors obtained two
dimensions for HRM strength instead of the three proposed by Bowen and Ostroff (2004): consistency and
reputation (as a combination of distinctiveness and consensus). The authors explain that the new dimension is
related to the concept of employer branding, emphasising HRM system’s internal image, facilitating common
expectations that guide employees towards the desired responses. Second, Reputation impacts Consistency,
improving employees’ OCB and IR; hence, the dimensions of HRM system strength are not independent, but
they are better able to interact in order to affect employee outcomes.
Keywords Intention to remain, Organizational citizenship behaviour, Strength of HRM system
Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction
The main theoretical approaches to understanding the influence of Human Resource
Management (HRM) on organisational results have focused on HRM practices as drivers of
performance and competitiveness. The behavioural approach (Schuler and Jackson, 1987)
argues that certain HRM practices develop employees’ skills, knowledge and motivation in
such a way that their behaviours contribute to the implementation of strategy and the
achievement of strategic goals. For its part, the resource-based view (Barney, 1991) relies on
certain characteristics of human resources and the way in which they are managed by
means of specific HRM practices to provide a source of sustainable competitive advantage
(Wright et al., 1994). These research streams study the content of HRM practices. Employee Relations: The

International Journal
Vol. 42 No. 2, 2020

pp. 281-

299

© Emerald Publishing Limited

0142-5455
DOI 10.1108/ER-12-2018-0322

Received 13 December 2018
Revised 9 April 2019

26 June 2019
Accepted 16 August 2019

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/0142-5455.htm

This work was supported by FEDER/Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades-Agencia
Estatal de Investigación (ECO2017-82208-P) and Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Plan
Nacional de IþDþ I (ECO2013-44274-P).

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According to Bowen and Ostroff (2004), the content of an HRM system refers to the set of
practices devised for meeting strategic goals. However, this approach seems to be
insufficient to answer the question regarding how HRM affects organisational performance
(Paauwe, 2009; Boselie et al., 2005). In that respect, researchers have shifted the focus from
HRM content onto process (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004; Nishii et al., 2008). Research has
gradually moved away from an exclusive focus on HRM content and static concepts of
positioning towards HRM processes and a dynamic approach (Heffernan et al., 2016). HRM
process refers to “the features of an HRM system that send signals to employees that allow
them to understand the desired and appropriate responses and form a collective sense of
what is expected” (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004, p. 204).

As long as perceptions are shared by employees, the intended attitudes and behaviours are
more likely to be achieved (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). A strong organisational climate will
facilitate a collective interpretation of HRM practices in a common direction, and
consequently, a conjoint response by employees. Bowen and Ostroff (2004), on the basis of
Kelley’s (1967) attribution theory, propose the features that make a strong HRM system, which
are distinctiveness, consistency and consensus. The distinctiveness of an HRM system implies
that it stands out in the environment, showing it to be significant, thereby drawing attention
and provoking certain uniformity in employees’ reactions (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004).
Consistency generally refers to coherence in the event-effect relationship, which remains
steady over time regardless of people and contexts (Katou et al., 2014). Consensus refers to
features that produce agreement in employees’ views of the event-effect relationship, in part
because there is agreement among the message senders (Sanders et al., 2008).

In spite of the interest surrounding the concept of strength and its popularity among HRM
researchers (Bednall et al., 2014; Coelho et al., 2012; Delmotte et al., 2012; Katou et al., 2014;
White and Bryson, 2013), there is a research gap surrounding the way the different
dimensions work together in order to achieve employee outcomes. Indeed, Ostroff and Bowen
(2016), in their critical review of the research being developed about their proposal of strength,
suggested that distinctiveness, consistency and consensus are not in fact independent
dimensions and that they can influence each other. Therefore, this paper pursues two specific
objectives: first, to study the effects of HRM strength on employee reactions in the form of
organisational citizenship behaviours (OCB) and intentions to remain (IR), as a strong HRM
system creates a shared attribution of meaning to HRM practices, thereby generating common
expectations, and conjoint attitudes and behaviours. Second, to ascertain whether the different
dimensions of HRM strength influence each other in order to trigger these expected effects.
This second objective is relevant and novel because it empirically verifies the suggestion
made by Ostroff and Bowen (2016) that those dimensions might be related to one other.

One distinctive feature of this paper is the perspective chosen to study such relationships.
Previous research testing the strength of HRM systems has focused on employees as
respondents who assess distinctiveness, consistency and consensus. The logic behind this is
that it is not only important to offer certain HRM practices to employees (HRM content) but
also to ensure they are similarly perceived by employees, in order to achieve the employer’s
intended aims (Nishii et al., 2008). This paper adopts managerial perceptions in order to assess
the strength of HRM systems. As HR managers are the key players who design HRM
practices and policies, this paper focuses on their perceptions in terms of the distinctiveness of
the messages they send out, consistency in the way HR practices work and the degree of
consensus they generate. Although more respondents and perceptions are usually
recommended to avoid the Common Method Bias, the literature has stated the validity of
using just one informant, the HRmanager, in cases where very specific information is required
that this person knows (Arthur and Boyles, 2007; Bou-LLusar et al., 2016). By asking HR
managers, we are seeking to ascertain how the HRM system is introduced or how it is actually
applied, following the typology developed by Renkema et al. (2017). It is similar to the

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approach taken byWhitener (2001), who only asked HR managers about “High Commitment”
HRM practices while employees reported their commitment and perceptions of trust and
organisational support.

Therefore, this paper seeks to make two specific contributions. First, it addresses the
interrelationship between the dimensions of HRM system strength and extends present
conceptual understanding by suggesting that some of the dimensions mediate in the
explanation of OCB and IR. Second, as an empirical result, a new dimension named
“Reputation of HRM system” will explain the internal relationships between distinctiveness,
consistency and consensus; as such dimensions can influence each other. The theoretical
proposal and empirical testing of the notion that HRM strength dimensions are combined and
that they also interact in order to influence employees’ reactions is a general contribution that
responds to Ostroff and Bowen (2016) call for research about how the features outlined for
HRM strength might operate together, as these authors suggest, for example.

The structure of this paper is as follows. The next section is dedicated to explaining in
detail the concept of HRM strength and its impact on employees’ reactions. Section 3 is
concerned with how such dimensions work together and influence each other. Section 4
contains methods and results, closing with a final point that sets out the discussion and
implications of the results obtained.

2. Strength of the HRM system and its effects on employees’ reactions
HRM departments design practices that configure the HRM system to be implemented
within organisations. The strength of the HRM system (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004) could
mean that the area of HR works well, has credibility, and is valued by employees and other
organisational units. In that sense it can be related to the notion of perceived organisational
competence, which means that employees trust in the organisation’s ability to achieve its
goals and objectives (Kim et al., 2016). Individuals who perceive that their organisations
have a high level of organisational competence may feel that several of their socio-emotional
needs are being met, such as the need for esteem, a sense of belonging or the need for
emotional support, which feeds into employee commitment (Kim et al., 2016). Therefore, the
process approach seems to have its own weight in explaining certain employee reactions,
regardless of the HRM practices offered.

Although Bowen and Ostroff (2004) postulated that HRM system strength mediates HR
practices and outcomes, the research reveals its direct effect on employees’ attitudes and
behaviours. Different studies have found the positive impact of a strong HRM system on
work satisfaction, vigour (Li et al., 2011), motivation, commitment (Katou et al., 2014; Hauff
et al., 2017; Cafferkey et al., 2019) or work engagement and OCB (Katou et al., 2014).

Furthermore, the good reputation of a firm in terms of corporate social responsibility
allows employees to meet their basic needs and feel satisfied (Vlachos et al., 2013). The
multiple needs model of organisational justice (Cropanzano et al., 2001) suggests that
employees’ reactions to social responsibility actions derive from instrumental-, relational-
and morality-based needs (Rupp et al., 2006), which are related to the satisfaction of needs
regarding control, a sense of belonging and the need for meaningful existence, respectively.
In a similar way, a strong HRM system can help to satisfy those needs. The need for control
can be satisfied, as the consistency of HR practices implies continuity and stability over
time. The perception of justice enhances the quality of the social exchange relationships
between employees and organisations (Rupp et al., 2006), making employees feel part of the
firm and thus helping to satisfy the need for a sense of belonging. The need for meaningful
existence also can be satisfied, as the HRM system takes into account the interests of the
employees; its procedures and decisions are considered fair, and it has credibility and
legitimacy. The foreseeable motivation and satisfaction of employees will probably lead to
higher levels of OCB. At the same time, the positive image or reputation of the HRM system

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can feed into the expectations of employees, in such a way that they are ready to invest in
extra-role behaviour in order to get a similar response from the firm.

Therefore, this paper proposes that each of the dimensions of the strength of the HRM
system (distinctiveness, consistency and consensus) will positively impact on OCB and
intention to remain, as explained below.

2.1 Effects of distinctiveness on employee reactions
The first dimension, distinctiveness, refers to those features that make an HRM system
stand out, drawing the attention of the employee (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). In order to do
so, situational characteristics are salient and visible to the majority of employees in their
daily work activities. Visibility can be enhanced as there are a greater number and type of
practices, increasing the complexity of the HRM system and its scope, allowing a greater
number of employees to be exposed to those practices (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004).

However, such practices must be useful to employees, a second feature of distinctiveness.
Employees can satisfy some of their needs because the HR practices are relevant, that is,
they are significant not only for organisational goals, but also for individual ones.

Another characteristic of distinctiveness is understandability, in the sense that it is
important not only to communicate the existence of HR practices offered to employees, but
also to explain how they work (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). Based on attribution theory and
research from Kelley (1955) and Feldman (1981), if employees perceive that stimulus are
unclear or ambiguous, they cannot understand how they work, transparency can help to
foster the legitimacy of the HR decision-makers’ authority, as it avoids suspicion and
rumours among employees (Gillespie and Dietz, 2009). Employees are more likely to
conclude that the organisation has good intentions, thereby facilitating the acceptance of
HR policies.

Furthermore, the legitimacy of authority implies that subordinates accept someone else
as a model who sets behavioural standards (Kelman and Hamilton, 1989), and in turn, they
are ready to perform according to such standards. This legitimacy will be attributed to the
HRM function when it is perceived to be a high-status and high-credibility function, which
depends largely on senior management support and the strategic importance given to that
area (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). Communicator credibility is a key factor in the attribution or
influence processes (Rousseau, 1995).

In order to understand the influence of distinctiveness on employee reactions, the
relevance dimension could be key, since it means that an organisation offers HR practices
that are important for employees and help to satisfy their needs. OCB has been found to be a
common reaction when individuals perceive their working conditions to be satisfying
(Organ and Ryan, 1995; Dalal, 2005). According to social exchange theory and the norm of
reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960), employees respond in ways that benefit the organisation and
other employees. Prior to displaying citizen behaviour, employees probably perceive that
the workplace processes, outcomes and interactions are fair and feel committed to the
organisation (Dalal, 2005). Consequently, they will probably have the intention to remain.

The other components of distinctiveness help to explain OCB and IR as they attribute
credibility to the message (legitimacy of authority) and make it easier to perceive (visibility),
and be understood (understandability). However, the essential influence on OCB and IR is
the relevance of what it is offered.

In sum, when HR practices are relevant for employees, they have been communicated in
a way that is easy to understand (understandability), employees know what can be expected
(visibility) and they attribute a legitimacy of authority to persons responsible for HR
policies, they are more likely to feel that their interests and needs are taken into account,
reinforcing their motivation and leading them to greater levels of commitment, IR and
extra-role behaviours.

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Based on the previous arguments, the first research hypothesis posited is as follows:

H1a. Distinctiveness is positively related to OCB and the intention to remain.

2.2 Effects of consistency on employee reactions
The second dimension, consistency, refers to the stability of the HRM system itself. It is
composed of instrumentality, which means that there is a clear cause-effect relationship so
that employees really know the consequences of their behaviours. It guarantees the
existence of an adequate incentives system that rewards the desired behavioural pattern
(Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). According to Vroom’s (1964) expectancy theory, individual
motivation is explained by three factors: valence, instrumentality and expectancy. Thus,
instrumentality together with the relevance of the HR practices could boost levels of
employee motivation (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004), leading them to increase their commitment
to the organisation and their extra-role behaviours as well (Lavelle et al., 2007).

Instrumentality can help to construct a predictable working environment, providing
employees with a greater sense of control as they can know and understand the
consequences of their behaviours. In this regard, employees have guidelines for a better
orientation of their behaviours, and thus they are less likely to experience disappointments
or rupture of their psychological contract, consequently decreasing their intentions to leave
(Rousseau, 1995).

Consistency also refers to the coherency between what HRM practices are aiming to
achieve and what they actually achieve. It is what Bowen and Ostroff (2004) called validity.
This coherence regarding the behaviour of HRM actors gives them credibility, which is
necessary in order influence employee behaviour. The credibility of the issuer is a
prerequisite for modifying the conduct of the recipient (Rousseau, 1995).

The third component of consistency pertains to consistency between different HR
practices. This concept has repeatedly been presented as strategic HRM, as it is the foundation
of the configurational approach. This model highlights the synergistic effects resulting from
this fit, in such a way that the practices reinforce each other producing a joint positive effect
(Huselid, 1995; Delery and Doty, 1996). In fact, the literature on strategic HRM also refers to it
as horizontal fit, in contrast to vertical fit, which refers to the coherence between an HRM
system and other external and organisational factors (Schuler and Jackson, 1987). However, so
far, research has not yielded any definitive findings regarding the best results of the
consistency of HR practices. Effectively, the HPWS or ability–motivation–opportunity model
(AMO) has been associated with greater levels of productivity, commitment or extra-role
behaviours (Huselid, 1995; Jiang et al., 2012), along with decreased turnover and absenteeism
(Batt and Valcour, 2003).

However, it cannot be affirmed definitively whether those results are explained by
coherence among HR practices or by the superiority of such practices (Huselid, 1995).
Studying the strength of an HRM system provides a better understanding of the particular
influence of consistency on OCB and the intention to remain. This concept is studied
through the process approach, in contrast to the content approach, where the congruence of
HR practices is studied through configurations. In addition to the synergies derived from the
conjoint action of HR practices acting in the same direction, consistency helps to set
employee expectations, sending them a clear message about what is expected of them and
what they can receive in exchange (Baron and Kreps, 1999). Therefore, expectations are
more realistic, and there will be fewer possibilities of breaking the psychological contract,
which in turn reduces employees’ intentions to leave (Robinson and Morrison, 2000).
Employees perceive a more stable and predictable working environment, which can enhance
the credibility of the organisation when it comes to influencing their behaviours, in terms of
OCB and IR.

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According to the preceding discussion, the second research hypothesis formulated is
as follows:

H1b. Consistency is positively related to OCB and the intention to remain.

2.3 Effects of consensus on employee reactions
The last dimension of the strength of an HRM system is consensus. In order to promote
consensus with regard to the reaction of employees, there are at least two requisites: the
existence of consensus among HR decision-makers or “message senders”, and the fairness of
the HRM system; both distributive and also procedural justice (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004).

There is more likely to be consensus among employees if they see that the message
senders agree among themselves (Rousseau, 1995). Agreement among HR decision-makers
helps to increase the legitimacy of the HRM system’s authority, as HR managers and line
managers are supported by senior management. Hence, employees appreciate the coherence
among the different agents, facilitating the acceptance and implementation of HRM policies
(Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). Additionally, the extent to which employees perceive that the
process for allocating benefits and resources (procedural justice), and the results of that
distribution are fair, positively affects the capacity of the HRM system to influence employee
attitudes and behaviours (Waldman and Bowen, 1998). In order to obtain procedural justice,
the reasons behind any decisions made must be well explained (Özbek et al., 2016). The
perception of fairness facilitates the acceptance of proposed HR practices, thus contributing to
the credibility and legitimacy of the HR department.

The interest of researchers in studying organisational justice has largely focused on
work-related outcomes, grounding its influence in trust (Colquitt and Rodell, 2011),
organisational commitment (McFarlin and Sweeney, 1992) and OCB (Moorman, 1993). In
this present study, organisational justice is analysed as part of the strength of an HRM
system, but it is also expected to have an impact on OCB. Again the authors base their
hypotheses on the norm of reciprocity, arguing that when managers treat employees fairly,
employees respond with high levels of OCB (Organ, 1988). Thus, a positive social exchange
emerges, where both parties are making a mutual investment, reinforcing the employees’
commitment and their intention to remain (Tsui et al., 1997).

Based on the previous arguments, the third hypothesis formulated is as follows:

H1c. Consensus is positively related to OCB and the intention to remain.

3. Internal relationships within the dimensions of HRM strength
The meta-features of HRM system strength explained above may interrelate, but this
proposition has not been empirically tested (Hewett et al., 2018). Considering the features
separately allows for the possibility of interactions between them. In this regard, Sanders
and Yang (2016) found that a high combination of the three features strengthened the
relationship between high commitment HR practices and affective commitment.

Although such interactions may exist and would provide a promising strand of
research, we have not found any research testing whether some features may be
precursors to the development of others, as proposed by Ostroff and Bowen (2016). They
argue that consensus among key HR decision-makers is a precursor to consensus among
employees. Consensus among decision-makers and agents of the HRM system sends out a
consistent message to employees, thus facilitating a similar interpretation of these
practices among employees. They maintain that the lack of consensus could explain some
of the inconsistent findings regarding the importance of HRM system strength and HPWS
(Ostroff and Bowen, 2016).

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An HRM system comprises different agents: not only HR experts who work in the HRM
department, but also senior management, who set the strategic objectives that determine HRM
policies, and line managers who apply these practices (Rousseau, 1995; Graen and Uhl-Bien,
1995). Different agents at different levels within the organisation with different responsibilities
are simultaneously sending messages about the employment relationship (Rousseau and
Greller, 1994). Accordingly, it is hard to ensure consensus between all the agents and their
respective messages. If message senders do not agree regarding the intended message,
consistency will likely be hampered (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). The managerial perceptions
communicated by the HRM philosophy can mutually reinforce employees’ shared perceptions
of their working climate (Kellner et al., 2016). When employees receive clear and uniform
communications about HRM, this can create a strong situation and positively influence
organisational performance outcomes (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004).

An important part of consistency is stability over time. HRM practices will acquire their
meaning across time, and expected behaviours are more likely to be achieved if HR practices
are administered consistently over time (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). The stability of such
practices over time enhances agreement among employees in relation to what is expected of
them and what they expect of the organisation in return (Rousseau and Wade-Benzoni,
1994). The desired stability will be easier to achieve if there is consensus among
decision-makers; otherwise different messages coming from different sources create an
unpredictable working environment, where employees do not know in advance the
consequences of their behaviours. A lack of consensus promotes ambiguous situations
subject to individual interpretation as employees try to reduce uncertainty by interacting
and consulting with one another to develop shared interpretations (Bowen and Ostroff,
2004). Therefore, consensus is especially important among senior executive managers and
the HR department, as they seem to perform a key role in the dissemination of HRM
philosophy (Kellner et al., 2016). The consistency between the tangible and intangible
elements of the HRM architecture requires a fluid relationship between the HR department
and senior management (Kellner et al., 2016).

Based on previous arguments, we propose that consensus among HR decision-makers
will facilitate the consistency of the different HRM practices, as the complementarity of
these practices requires the agreement of the different agents involved in the design and
implementation of the HRM system. Consequently, H2 is formulated as follows:

H2. Consensus will promote the consistency of the HRM system.

However, in spite of the importance of consensus among HR decision-makers, previous
research has not found any relationships between consensus and employee performance
(Guest and Conway, 2011), affective commitment (Sanders et al., 2008), or work satisfaction,
vigour and intentions to quit (Li et al., 2011). However, regarding consistency, Sanders et al.
(2008) found that it was positively related to affective commitment, and Li et al. (2011) found
that it was negatively related to intentions to quit. These results lead us to think about the
possible mediating role that consistency plays between consensus and individual outcomes.
The overall idea is that employees will behave in a better way in terms of OCB and IR if the
consensus among HR decision-makers has been translated into consistent HRM practices.
We argue that consensus among HR decision-makers will help to develop consistent and
complementary HRM practices (Baron and Kreps, 1999), which in turn will foster common
expectations among employees and their adequate response.

Therefore, it is assumed that consensus among HR decision-makers is a prerequisite of
consistency (Ostroff and Bowen, 2016), and that the latter will fully mediate the relationship
between consensus and the intended effects (Figure 1). Hence, we finally propose that:

H3. Consistency will mediate the relationship between consensus, OCB and intention
to remain.

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4. Method
4.1 Population and sample
The hypotheses formulated here were tested out in the hospitality sector because tourism is one
of the most relevant industries in the Spanish economy. During the last financial crisis it
suffered a tremendous blow, so HRmanagers are quite concerned about employees’ behaviours
because of the high level of turnover within this sector. The population included 4-star Spanish
hotels with more than 50 employees from the SABI database, containing 392 firms.
Questionnaires were sent to each firm in the population. The HR manager and four employees
per firm were selected as respondents. Finally, we received completed questionnaires (one HR
manager and four employees) from 102 firms, giving a response rate of 26.02 per cent.

HR managers were chosen because they have in-depth knowledge of the HRM system
implemented in their firm. Furthermore, HR managers are involved in designing the HRM
system and also receive feedback about different HRM practices from employees and other
managers in their firms, and they also assess employees’ behaviours at work. Hence, it was
felt that HR managers would be the best respondents for questions about the strength of the
HRM system as they can assess the HRM level introduced, as suggested by Renkema et al.
(2017). Questions related to OCB and IR, on the other hand, were answered by the four
employees from each firm.

Regarding the specific characteristics of our sample, it comprised 102 four-star Spanish
hotels with more than 50 employees. In general, these hotels are successful and well-
established firms, although the oldest hotel has been running for 93 years and the youngest
for 3 years, giving an average “age” of 27.14 years when the data were collected. With
regard to the gender of the employees that answered our questionnaire, 213 were women
and 195 were men (52.28 and 47.72 per cent, respectively). All of these employees occupied
non-managerial positions. These 408 employees were distributed in five different labour
categories: reception and reservations, administration, cleaning and maintenance, catering
and other services (spa, golf and social events organisation). Specifically, 59 employees
(14.38 per cent) work in reception and reservations, 109 employees (26.79 per cent) in
administration, 103 employees (25.16 per cent) in cleaning and maintenance, 109 employees
(26.79 per cent) in catering and 21 employees (6.86 per cent) in other services such as spa,
golf and social events organisation.

We have data from two different types of respondents from each firm: HR managers and
four employees. Therefore, first of all, we determined whether the employees’ responses
within each firm were similar, calculating the inter-rater agreement ratio (rwg) for OCB and
IR following the procedures described by James et al. (1993). In both cases, we obtained
favourable values: rwgedwards¼ 0.81 for OCB and rwg¼ 0.71 for IR. These results point
to the agreement of the various respondents from the same firm and ensure the validity of
aggregating the employees’ responses surveyed at the same firm. So, for each item, we used
the average of the responses from the four employees from the same firm.

Consensus

Consistency

IR

OCB

Distinctiveness

Figure 1.
Theoretical model

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An ANOVA was performed to identify potential non-response bias. The ANOVA was
carried out between respondent and non-respondent firms, considering industry
membership, number of employees and revenue. The results revealed no significant
differences between respondent and non-respondent firms, indicating that the data were not
affected by non-response bias, as shown in Table I.

4.2 Measurement
Strength of the HRM system. Following Bowen and Ostroff (2004), three dimensions of HRM
strength were identified: distinctiveness, consistency and consensus. The three dimensions
of HRM system strength were measured using the scale proposed by Delmotte et al. (2012),
who measured it as a composite of three subscales, which included the dimensions of
distinctiveness, consistency and consensus. All the items included in the questionnaire were
measured using a five-point Likert scale.

Organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB). The scale proposed by Kehoe and Wright
(2013) was used to measure OCB. Employees were asked to indicate, on a scale from 1 to 5,
the extent to which they agreed with six items related to their OCB.

Intention to remain (IR). We used the scale proposed by Kehoe and Wright (2013) to
measure IR. Employees answered four items regarding their intention to remain with the
firm on a scale from 1 to 5.

Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed to assure the reliability and validity of
all the scales considered in this study. Table II shows the results of the CFA (Goodness of fit:
χ2¼ 417.7866; p¼ 0.01327; BB-NFI¼ 0.731; BB-NNFI¼ 0.939; CFI¼ 0.946; RMSEA¼ 0.037).
Two factors were obtained for strength of HRM system – unlike the proposal formulated by
Bowen and Ostroff (2004) – namely reputation of the HRM system (t¼ 3.10) and consistency
(t¼ 3.21). Reputation of the HRM system comprised the dimensions of distinctiveness and
consensus proposed by Bowen and Ostroff (2004). We have chosen the name “reputation”
because the new construct includes items regarding distinctiveness sub-dimensions of
visibility (e.g. “employees are regularly informed about the initiatives taken by the HR
department”), legitimacy (items like “in general, the HR staff are appreciated in this
organisation”) and relevance (“the HR department in this organisation has high added value”,
for example). The sub-dimensions of consensus included in reputation of the HRM system are
agreement and distributive justice, and comprised items such as “Senior management and HR
management clearly share the same vision” and “in this organisation, rewards are clearly
related to performance”, respectively. We consider that this new construct assesses the good
image and credibility of the HRM system and the extent to which it is agreed.

Related to extra-role behaviour, two factors were obtained: OCB (t¼ 3.66) and IR
(t¼ 3.62).

Table III shows correlations between factors as well as descriptive statistics and
Cronbach’s α.

Table III shows the reliability and validity of the scales used in this study. Reliability of
the scales is guaranteed. Composite reliability is higher than 0.7 in all cases. Convergent

Mean SD F Sig.

Number of employees Respondent (0)
Non-respondent (1)

1,599.38
1,796.05

2,017.008
2,978.421

6.047

0.542

Sales revenues Respondent (0)
Non-respondent (1)

2.0E+008
2.0E+008

184,093,973.2
174,238,074.2

1.829 0.196

Labour costs Respondent (0)
Non-respondent (1)

35,494,039
36,014,511

32,748,343.301
31,526,154.948

2.540 0.111
Table I.

Analysis of non-
response bias

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Reputation of
HRM system Consistency OCB IR

Employees are regularly informed about the initiatives taken by
the HR department

0.567

The HR staff has enough authority to get their ideas accepted 0.624
In this organisation, HRM is synonymous with excellent work 0.549
In general, the HR staff is met with much appreciation in
this organisation

0.540

The HR department undertakes exactly those actions that meet
our needs

0.636

The HR department in this organisation has a high added value 0.576
Many of the practices introduced by the HR department are
useless (R)

0.510

HR management and line management are clearly on the
same wavelength

0.674

All HR staff members in this firm mutually agree with the
manner in which employees are managed

0.711

Top management and HR management clearly share the
same vision

0.617

Management unanimously supports HR policy in
this organisation

0.660

In this organisation, the distribution of bonuses and other
rewards is perceives as fair by employees

0.482

In this organisation, employees consider promotions as fair 0.555
If employees perform well, they get the necessary recognition
and rewards

0.616

In this organisation, rewards are clearly related to performance 0.522
In this organisation, the results of the yearly appraisals are
generally considered as fair

0.608

The HR instruments for employee appraisal succeed in
encouraging the desired behaviour

0.574

The HR practices implemented in this firm sound good in
theory, but do not function in practice (R)

0.731

The appraisal procedure developed by the HR department, has
in practice other effects than the intended effects (R)

0.565

There is a wide gap between intended and actual effects of HR
initiatives (R)

0.688

The various HR initiatives send inconsistent signals (R) 0.603
The successive initiatives introduced by the HR department
often clash badly (R)

0.542

Employees provide constructive suggestions about how their
department can improve its effectiveness

0.663

For issues that may have serious consequences, employees
express their opinions honestly even when others may disagree

0.689

Employees encourage others to try new and effective ways of
doing their job

0.756

Employees help others who have large amounts of work 0.658
Employees willingly share their expertise with their coworkers 0.700
I plan to spend my career at this organisation 0.802
I intend to stay at this organisation for at least the
next 12 months

0.756

I do not plan to look for a job outside of this company in the next
6 months

0.710

Notes: Goodness of fit: χ2¼ 417.7866; p¼ 0.01327; BB-NFI¼ 0.731; BB-NNFI¼ 0.939; CFI¼ 0.946;
RMSEA¼ 0.037. All items are significant at 99 per cent

Table II.
Confirmatory analysis
factor (standardized
solution)

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validity is assured by the average variance extracted (AVE), which in all cases is higher
than 0.5 (Table IV ).

4.3 Results
In order to test the proposed hypotheses, structural equations models (SEM) were used in
order to analyse the goodness of fit of two different and opposite models using EQS 6.4
statistical software. It is an appropriate technique for identifying the presence of mediating
role of consistency in the relationships between visibility/consensus and OCB/IR. Two
different analyses were applied, simultaneously, each one corresponding to a different
dependent variable, OCB vs IR.

The results show a direct and positive relationship between reputation of the HRM
system and consistency (Model 2 in Tables V and VI), and between consistency and OCB
and IR (Model 3 in Table V and Model 3 in Table VI). These results indicate that H1b is
supported. Furthermore, as shown by Model 1 in Table V and Model 1 in Table VI, there are
direct and positive relationships between reputation of the HRM system and OCB and IR,
respectively. As reputation combines items from distinctiveness and consensus, H1a and
H1c are partially supported.

Mean SD Reputation of HRM system Consistency OCB IR

Reputation of HRM system 3.9846 0.9644 (0.900)
Consistency 4.6000 0.7635 0.496** (0.893)
OCB 4.6462 0.6689 0.563** 0.462** (0.828)
IR 4.0462 0.1197 0.481* 0.144*** 0.478** (0.872)
Notes: Cronbach’s α appear on the diagonal. *po0.05; **po0.01; ***po0.001

Table III.
Correlations and

descriptive statistics

Reputation of HRM system Consistency OCB IR Composite reliability

Reputation of HRM system 0.858 0.932
Consistency 0.246 0.729 0.856
OCB 0.317 0.213 0.731 0.886
IR 0.231 0.020 0.228 0.582 0.824
Notes: The values in the diagonal are the average variance extracted of each factor (AVE); The rest of the
numbers correspond to the existing squared correlations between factors

Table IV.
Discriminant validity

Independent variables
Model 1 dependent

variable OCB
Model 2 dependent
variable consistency

Model 3 dependent
variable OCB

Reputation of HRM system 0.362** 0.390** 0.303**
Consistency

0.125*

Goodness of fit
χ2 200.0437 200.0307 199.1097
p 0.02893 0.02897 0.02838
BB-NFI 0.746 0.746 0.748
BB-NNFI 0.930 0.930 0.930
CFI 0.940 0.940 0.940
RMSEA 0.047 0.047 0.047

Table V.
Results related to OCB

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Since a new dimension was created for this study, namely “Reputation” of the HRM system,
which combined distinctiveness and consensus, H2 could not be tested in the way it was
theoretically suggested originally. Nevertheless, the new dimension of “reputation”was seen
to have a positive and significant effect on consistency. As the new dimension mixes items
from distinctiveness and consensus, H2 is partially supported.

The final tests conducted sought to ascertain whether consistency mediates in the
relationships between reputation of the HRM system and OCB and IR (H3). In order to do so,
the method proposed by Baron and Kenny (1986) and Judd and Kenny (1981) was used,
which consists of estimating three models.

Model 1:

Y ¼ b11 Xþe1:

Model 2:

Me ¼ b21 Xþe2:

Model 3:

Y ¼ b31Xþb32Meþe3;

where Y is the dependent variable, X the independent variable and Me is the mediator
variable. Furthermore, the following conditions must be met:

(1) in the second equation, β21 must be significant;

(2) in the third equation, β32 must be significant; and

(3) in the third equation, β31 must be less than (in absolute terms) β11 in the first
equation.

Tables V and VI show the results for the regressions where the independent variables (OCB
and IR, respectively) and the mediator variable (consistency) are considered. The pattern for
different coefficients related to reputation of the HRM system, consistency, OCB and IR fulfil
all the aforementioned proposed conditions (Baron and Kenny, 1986; Judd and Kenny, 1981).

Therefore, the results initially support the mediating effect of consistency in the
relationships between reputation of the HRM system and OCB and IR as shown in Tables V
and VI and in Figure 2. These results indicate that H3 is supported.

5. Discussion, implications and future research lines
The main objectives of this paper were, first, to study how HRM process or strength (instead
of content) is associated with employee outcomes and, second, to see the internal configuration

Independent variables
Model 1 dependent

variable IR
Model 2 dependent
variable consistency

Model 3 dependent
variable IR

Reputation of HRM system 0.345*** 0.390** 0.288**
Consistency

0.121*

Goodness of fit
χ2 240.7726 200.0307 239.9788
p 0.02897 0.02897 0.03118
BB-NFI 0.741 0.746 0.742
BB-NNFI 0.937 0.930 0.936
CFI 0.945 0.940 0.944
RMSEA 0.044 0.047 0.044

Table VI.
Results related to IR

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and relationships within HRM strength itself. To this end, a survey was conducted on a
sample of HR managers and employees in the hospitality sector, since these managers make
major decisions regarding HR issues. In light of the results obtained, this paper makes a
contribution to the theory and has practical implications that can be discussed.

In relation to the first objective, our results confirm the direct and positive effects of HRM
system strength on both OCB and IR. However, only two features are identified: reputation
and consistency. In any case, this research has corroborated that employees are more
committed and engaged when the HRM system is strong, specifically when the HRM system
has a strong reputation (it is visible, relevant, legitimate, agreed and fair) and a high level of
consistency. Our results are in line with previous studies such as those of Sanders et al.
(2008), Li et al. (2011), Hauff et al. (2017) and Cafferkey et al. (2019), which have revealed the
direct impact of HRM system strength on individuals’ attitudes and behaviours. Hence, the
few empirical studies conducted to date have shown that the features of the HRM system
have value in themselves, regardless of the specific HR practices, highlighting the relevance
of the HRM process approach (Hauff et al., 2017).

In relation to the second objective of the paper, that is, to test the internal effects between
the dimensions of strength, we have found that a new dimension labelled “reputation of the
HRM system” improves its consistency. In other words, it is not possible to talk about
consistent HRM systems unless they guarantee, as a prerequisite, certain mixed
characteristics of distinctiveness and consensus. This result confirms and even enriches
somewhat the proposal made by Ostroff and Bowen (2016) that consensus is the necessary
antecedent to develop strong HRM systems, although in this case a hybrid between
distinctiveness and consensus is considered to be the antecedent. Furthermore, the fact that
consistency mediates between the reputation of an HRM system and OCB seems to reinforce
that suggestion. In any case, more research is needed to confirm the interrelations between
the features of HRM system strength. In that regard, Hauff et al. (2017) pointed out that “the
different components of strength are more interrelated than expected” (p. 725).

It is also interesting to note the failure to obtain three reliable and valid dimensions of
HRM strength, such as the theoretical ones of distinctiveness, consistency and consensus.
Interestingly, the measurement model used here defined a new dimension that combines
items from distinctiveness and consensus. It seems that HR managers consider both
dimensions to be a single factor, pertaining to the “Reputation” of the HRM system, as it
combines notions of visibility, relevance, legitimacy, agreement and fairness. These
dimensions are related to the concept of employer branding, which emphasises the
organisation’s goal relating to managing its identity as an employer and creating an
image for itself as a “great place to work” to attract potential and retain current employees

Reputation of HRM
system

Consistency

IR

OCB

0.362**

0.121*

0.125*

0.390**

0.345***

Notes: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; ***p<0.001

Figure 2.
Tested model

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(Ambler and Barrow, 1996). Our results are in line with these kinds of studies, where brand
distinctiveness and brand prestige were found to have a positive effect on employees’ brand
commitment (App and Büttgen, 2016). Along similar lines, we have found that the
“reputation” of the HRM system is positively related to OCB and intention to remain.

Hence, an interesting question arises regarding the differences and similarities between
the notion of employer branding and the reputation feature of the HRM system. The origin
and the objectives of these concepts are different. Employer branding comes from the field
of marketing and emphasises the company’s image, establishing the identity of the firm as
an employer for its actual and potential employees (Edwards, 2009). Whereas the reputation
of the HRM system is focused on the internal image, facilitating common expectations that
guide employees towards the desired responses. Therefore, reputation, as part of the HRM
system strength, seeks to achieve certain behaviours among employees, playing a central
role in the translation of designed into implemented HRM practices (Bowen and Ostroff,
2004). In short, reputation is a feature of the HRM system that seeks to influence employees’
behaviour, whereas the main objective of employer branding is to create the identity of the
firm as an employer, highlighting its differentiated offering regarding its competitors
(Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004).

In previous studies, distinctiveness was the strongest predictor of target outcomes
(Hewett et al., 2018), as found by Li et al. (2011) in relation to work satisfaction and vigour,
or in the case of Sanders et al. (2008) in relation to affective commitment. Furthermore,
Aksoy and Bayazit (2014) found that consensus and consistency were significant
predictors of goal quality and strength but only when mediated by distinctiveness. In our
case, the distinctiveness dimension merges with consensus, but our relabelling as
“reputation” emphasises the image and relevance of the HRM system, as explained above,
in line with the concept of employer branding, which in turn necessarily implies a certain
degree of distinctiveness.

The HRM contextual approach (Farndale et al., 2017; Martín-Alcázar et al., 2005) can also
be helpful in understanding this interesting but unexpected result. Following this approach,
the HRM function is integrated within the macro-social framework with which it interacts,
conditioning HRM strategy. Therefore, the Spanish economic context, and especially in the
case of the hospitality sector that has suffered the effects of recent crises, may explain
managerial concerns regarding how to enhance the legitimacy and good image of the HRM
function. Consequently, the reputational dimension of the HRM system is outstanding in
this particular context, although future research should explore this in more detail.

The results discussed previously also have some interesting practical implications.
First, HR managers should be aware of the need to guarantee the good image and
respectfulness of the HR function; something that is critical in the “post crisis” context and
which is covered by the new dimension of “Reputation”. Hence, it is suggested that HRM
departments should invest in reporting their practices to employees, explaining how they
add value, agree with line managers or how well performance is rewarded, to cite a few
examples of reputational practices. Second, our results show that investment in this
“Reputation” of the HRM system will produce positive outcomes, as it leverages both IR
and OCB in employees. Finally, if managers consider OCB to be an extra-role behaviour
and a bonus over and above the mere IR, they must design and implement HRM systems
that guarantee at the same time its consistency and reputation. In other words,
consistency will motivate OCB, and such consistency will benefit from a good reputation
of the HRM system. Again, it is recommended that managers do their best in explaining
how intended and realised HRM practices converge, something that is critical in the case
of performance appraisals.

These results present certain limitations. First, the cross-sectional data design is not
the best choice for testing causality within internal dimensions of HRM system strength.

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A longitudinal data set would be preferable. Second, variables were measured by just one
of the main actors involved in HRM: HR managers. Bou-LLusar et al. (2016) recognise that
HR managers can be key informants because they possess the most qualified knowledge
about the variables studied. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to complement and even
compare their point of view by considering the perceptions of employees or workers’
representatives regarding these issues. In this regard, the work carried out by Sanders
et al. (2008) is outstanding and could be used as a guideline for methodological issues.
Third, it would have been useful to verify empirically whether OCB and IR help to
improve hotel results ( financial ratios, customer satisfaction, etc.), since the literature
suggests that employee behaviours can influence firm performance (Katou et al., 2014;
Sarikwal and Gupta, 2013).

However, the limitations explained above could provide potential and promising
research avenues to explore. Other future research lines could address questions
regarding the need to consider new ways of managing employees. In this regard, one
option would be to explore the extent to which the strength dimensions we obtained
leverage the effects of HRM practices that are oriented towards sustainability or social
responsibility, as these practices are concerned with the needs of employees and other
stakeholders (Barrena-Martínez et al., 2019; Guerci et al., 2018). Future research might also
establish links between the reputation of an HRM system and employer branding, as
suggested previously. Finally, subsequent research could study other possibilities of
internal relationships within the concept of strength, considering the new feature of
reputation. This new feature, reputation, might moderate the relationship between
consistency and OCB, as a reputational HRM system can act as a valid vehicle to reinforce
consistent messages sent to employees, for example.

In summary, the findings presented here demonstrate the effects of HRM strength
dimensions on employee OCB and IR. A different internal configuration of strength
dimensions is obtained, suggesting interactions between them. These results make a
contribution to the emerging debate surrounding HRM content vs process and how they
interact in order to produce employee outcomes, a debate that is generating high
expectations among researchers and practitioners.

References

Aksoy, E. and Bayazit, M. (2014), “The relationships between MBO system strength and goal‐climate
quality and strength”, Human Resource Management, Vol. 53 No. 4, pp. 505-525.

Ambler, T. and Barrow, S. (1996), “The employer brand”, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 4 No. 3,
pp. 185-206.

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About the authors
Dolores de la Rosa-Navarro is Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Business
Administration Department, Pablo de Olavide University (Seville). She received a PhD Degree in
Business Administration from the Pablo de Olavide University in 2006. She has been Visiting Scholar
at the Carlos III University (Madrid), Tilburg University (The Netherlands) and King’s College of
London. Her current work focuses on research in organisational behaviour, leadership, and
employment relationships. She has published in journals like British Journal of Management or
European Journal of Management and Business Economics. Dolores de la Rosa-Navarro is the
corresponding author and can be contacted at: mdrosnav@upo.es

Mirta Díaz-Fernández is Assistant Professor of Management in the Universidad Pablo de Olavide,
Spain. Her research interests include strategic human resource management, compensation, individual
competencies and intellectual capital. Her publications include The International Journal of Human
Resource Management, Business Research Quarterly and Personnel Review.

Alvaro Lopez-Cabrales is Associate Professor of Human Resource Management in the Business
Administration Department, Pablo de Olavide University (Seville), where he obtained his Doctorate
Degree in 2003. He has been Visiting Scholar at the Texas A&M University, in the USA. His current
work focuses on research in human capital, employment relationships, organisational capabilities and
innovation. He is publishing his research in international journals as Human Resource Management,
R&D Management, Personnel Review, British Journal of Management or The International Journal of
Human Resource Management.

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Disentangling
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  • Disentangling the strength of the HRM system: effects on employees reactions

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Introduction

The analysis of employment relationships (ERs) at an
organizational level has been examined from two differ-
ent points of view: employee versus employer. The first
perspective, that of employees, has focused mainly—in
terms of published papers—on the psychological contract
and the responses developed by employees as a conse-
quence of the organization’s failure to fulfill some of its
promises, frustrating employees’ expectations about
career prospects or compensation, for example (Birtch
et al., 2016; Conway & Coyle-Shapiro, 2012; Guest,
2004). The second perspective—of the employer—is
much more limited in the literature and has focused previ-
ously on analyzing the relationships between inducements
offered by the organization and its expectations about

employees’ behavior or the effects of Leader-Member
Exchange (LMX) and the development of sustainable
strategies on ERs (Audenaert et al., 2017; Bornay-
Barrachina et al., 2012; Lopez-Cabrales & Valle-Cabrera,
2020; Tsui et al., 1997). The employer’s perspective on
the ER is distinct from the employee’s perspective, focus-
ing on exchange between the organization and jobholders,
instead of on individual perceptions of exchange (Shore
et al., 2004; Tsui et al., 1997). Therefore, when examining

Strength of HRM systems and perceived
organizational support as determinants
of employment relationships: The
perspective of HR managers and workers’
representatives

Mirta Díaz-Fernández , Alvaro López-Cabrales
and Ramón Valle-Cabrera

Abstract
This article seeks to explain and understand how the strength of a human resource management (HRM) system and
perceived organizational support (POS) determine employment relationships (ERs) in organizations and the behaviors
they generate in terms of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and intentions to remain (IR). A typology of ERs
is proposed, considering perceptions about the HRM system (Ability, Motivation, and Opportunity [AMO] model),
its strength, and POS. An analysis was adopted, looking into organizations in two separate studies in service sectors
(hospitality and financial services), taking as informants to 130 and 87 HRM managers and 30 workers’ representatives
as proxies of organizations and employees, respectively. Cluster analysis and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were
conducted, and results are congruent with theoretical frameworks such as Attribution Theory and Social Exchange
Theory. Depending on how stakeholders understand the way in which the HRM system is implemented and the level of
POS, certain ERs are developed and explain employees’ responses in terms of OCB and IR behaviors.

JEL CLASSIFICATION: M1.

Keywords
Employment relationships, AMO HRM practices, strength of HRM system, perceived organizational support,
organizational citizenship behavior, intention to remain

Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain

Corresponding author:
Mirta Díaz-Fernández, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Carretera de
Utrera, Km1., 41013 Sevilla, Spain.
Email: mdiafer@upo.es

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research-article2020

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2 Business Research Quarterly

the employee’s perspective, the focus is on knowing the
consequences and reactions from employees when they
perceive a breach in the commitments and promises they
expect from the firm. In a different way, analysis of the
employer’s perspective studies what the organization
expects from employees in accordance with the offers
made by managers, management systems, and/or firm
strategy. Both approaches contribute to the literature with
interesting but partial results. The question we ask here is
whether it is possible to understand ERs between the two
parties when we only have information from one side.

This article considers that the study of ER should
include the two main groups of stakeholders, employees
and employers, and that their reactions must be understood
as a consequence of their perceptions of the entire human
resource management (HRM) system (content of the HRM
System) offered by a firm to its employees and how it is
applied (HRM process). For example, a manager may
expect and understand that an employee’s intention to
remain in his or her firm will be lower than at other firms
that are able to pay higher salaries and offer better devel-
opment prospects to their employees. Moreover, both per-
ceptions (employees vs employer) may differ, as what is
high for managers may be perceived as low for employees.
Hence, we believe all perceptions are necessary and useful
to gain a better understanding of behavior in organizations
(Liao et al., 2009; Nishii & Lepak, 2008). Hence, the two
broad research questions we attempt to answer are as fol-
lows: first, how do employers and employees perceive the
HRM system? What is the degree of employer/employee
agreement? Where do disagreements in perceptions occur?
And second, what are the effects of such perceptions on
employee behavior?

To address the research questions proposed, we must
take into account the way ERs are analyzed. In this regard,
in this article, not only do we consider a partial aspect of
these working relationships (compensation, career man-
agement, type of contract, etc.) as analyzed mainly in the
literature (Conway & Coyle-Shapiro, 2012; Guest, 2004),
but we also consider the whole HRM system, as it affords
us a more comprehensive understanding than if practices
are studied in isolation or individually (Combs et al.,
2006). We have chosen the Ability, Motivation, and
Opportunity (AMO) model (Appelbaum et al., 2000; Jiang
et al., 2012; Paauwe & Boselie, 2005) as it covers the
whole HRM system. However, in line with Bowen and
Ostroff (2004), we also believe that perceptions about the
strength (process) of such a system, in other words, how
that HRM system is applied or implemented (Bowen and
Ostroff, 2004; Ostroff & Bowen, 2016), can explain
behaviors and the nature of ERs. Attribution Theory indi-
cates individual perceptions about the intentions pursued
by the HRM system, the applied procedures, and relation-
ships among variables condition behaviors (Hewett et al.,
2018; Nishii & Lepak, 2008). In other words, the way in

which the development and application of the HRM sys-
tem (process) is perceived directly explains employee
behaviors.

As well as HRM Strength, a second variable related to
ERs studied here is perceived organizational support
(POS). This variable contains aspects not included in the
strength of the HRM system, such as the degree to which a
firm values employees’ contributions and pays attention to
aspects related to their well-being, which also affects
employees’ behavior (Edwards, 2009; Eisenberger et al.,
1986; Lee & Peccei, 2007). In this case, Social Exchange
Theory (Blau, 1964) and the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner,
1960) indicate that employee behaviors will reflect the
degree to which they perceive that the firm pays attention
to and supports aspects that go beyond just the issues set
out in their formal employment contract. Therefore, HRM
system strength and POS, as we will detail further, have
been related to certain employee behaviors, specifically,
their intention to remain (IR) and organizational citizen-
ship behavior (OCB), both of which have received atten-
tion from researchers due to their impact on organizations
(Kehoe & Wright, 2013).

The conceptual development of both explanatory vari-
ables allows us to identify four different types of ER and to
offer different hypotheses regarding how each one of the
ER models is associated not only with different employee
behaviors in terms of IR and OCB but also with different
levels within the AMO systems that emphasize different
HRM practices.

A last issue to be highlighted is our choice of inform-
ants for analyzing ERs. First, HRM managers in our sam-
ple as organizational representatives and managers with
the most qualified knowledge in the object of our study.
And second, workers’ representatives. We decided to ask
them as informants because it was impossible to get a rep-
resentative sample of employees in all the sample firms
and workers’ representatives are democratically elected by
all employees to be their proxies in the collective bargain-
ing processes. We consider that both informants (HRM
managers and workers’ representatives) are quite qualified
and well-known of issues that we analyze in this article, so
they can provide a global vision in each sector (Arthur &
Boyles, 2007; Bou-Llusar et al., 2016; Spanish Law
36/2011, articles 62, 63, and 88).

Overall, we believe this article, based on Social
Exchange Theory and Attribution Theory, makes four con-
tributions to the literature on ERs and HRM. First, by pro-
posing a novel analytical framework of ERs based on the
strength of the HRM system and POS, setting out four dif-
ferent employment models. This would be a contribution
from the strand of research initiated by Tsui et al. (1997),
because our proposal assesses the ER considering manag-
ers’ and employees’ perceptions about HRM system
strength and POS, instead of Tsui’s interests in induce-
ments versus expectations from a managerial perspective

Díaz-Fernández et al. 3

only. Second, by highlighting the effects of each ER model
on employees’ extra role behaviors and intention to remain
in the organization, instead of considering firm perfor-
mance as the main outcome of ER, as Wang et al. (2003)
did. Third, we identify the values of each dimension of the
AMO model for each of the four employment models. This
is a contribution as it is a way of analyzing the content of
the ER itself. And fourth, we contrast perceptions from
two different stakeholders in ER: HRM Managers and
union representatives, thereby seeking to enrich the indi-
vidual and the organizational perspective of ER.

The structure of this article is as follows: the next sec-
tion is dedicated to the development of the theoretical
framework that supports our proposed ER typology and
specific hypotheses regarding ERs and employee behav-
iors. The third section contains the empirical analyses, and
the article ends with conclusions and implications in the
fourth and last section.

Theoretical background and
hypotheses

As Shore et al. (2014) pointed out, the term “Employment
Relationship” (ER) is vague, encompassing many issues,
and it has been studied from several theoretical frame-
works. This article adopts a firm-level perspective, to
understand and explain the behaviors displayed by the
main stakeholders involved in ERs, as the internal factors
that determine such behaviors. Therefore, the theoretical
frameworks that support our analyses are Attribution
Theory (Kelley, 1967; Kelley & Michela, 1980) and Social
Exchange Theory (Blau, 1964), as both of them explain
that behavior is a form of response to the assumptions and
interpretations made about organizational actions and
decisions.

Analysis of some of the definitions provided for ERs
shows that these definitions refer to an exchange agree-
ment between employer and employee whereby the
employer hires people to contribute to the production of
goods and services that generate benefits by means of their
manual/intellectual work in exchange for compensation
(Bosch, 2004; Torka et al., 2005). Boxall (2013) notes that
the quality of ERs is good when employer and employee
achieve an alignment or fit in terms of capacities, commit-
ments, and contributions, with such a balance providing
benefits for both parties.

The above clearly highlights two aspects that should be
considered: first, the content of the exchange and, second,
the players within the relationship. An analysis of exchange
requires the specification of which aspects endow it with
content, while the second aspect establishes the perspec-
tive from which the analysis is performed: employee or
employer. Given that this latter aspect—the perspective
adopted—can condition the analysis of the former, we will

start by looking at this point and highlighting its most rel-
evant features.

ER perspectives: employer or employee

A review of the existing literature on the subject reveals a
clear imbalance in the attention paid to the players within
ERs, with a major focus on the employees’ perspective and
the predominant use of Social Exchange Theory (Blau,
1964) and the Psychological Contract (Coyle-Shapiro &
Kessler, 2002 ; Guest, 2004) as the frameworks used for
analysis.

As Guest and Conway (2002) pointed out, the
Psychological Contract attempts to capture the employers’
or employees’ perceptions of their ERs in terms of their
reciprocal obligations. The focus of the Contract is on the
fulfillment of expectations, obligations, and promises,
considering the effects of such compliance on employee
satisfaction, well-being, commitment to the organization,
and performance.

In addition, a key concept in the analysis of ERs is reci-
procity (Gouldner, 1960). Reciprocity means that one
party (the employee) will behave in the same way and with
the same intensity as the other (the employer) to compen-
sate for the behavior and/or decisions of the latter (Social
Exchange Theory: Blau, 1964), and this would explain the
development of extra role behaviors by the employee.
However, as pointed out by Coyle-Shapiro and Shore
(2007), it is interesting to take into account that the rule of
reciprocity has some limitations when applied to ER anal-
ysis, since it does not work in the same way for economic
and social exchanges, and also because the value attached
to the content of the exchange is different, depending on
the parties involved.

On the contrary, when ERs have been studied from the
employers’ point of view, they have been analyzed accord-
ing to the inducement-contribution model of March and
Simon (1958). One example of this approach is the study
carried out by Tsui et al. (1997) and other subsequent
papers based on her proposed ER (Hom et al., 2009; Tsui
& Wu, 2005; Wang et al., 2003). Tsui et al. (1997) defined
ERs as the managers’ expectations regarding employees’
contributions to the firm in response to organizational
inducements. Tsui’s proposal has been further developed
in other studies linking ER to other variables such as com-
pany strategy and ownership structure (Wang et al., 2003),
staff turnover and commitment (Hom et al., 2009), flexi-
bility and learning (Lopez-Cabrales et al., 2011), as well as
human capital and business innovation (Bornay-Barrachina
et al., 2012).

In contrast to the two approaches mentioned above—
separate analyses from either the employees’ or employers’
point of view—a third path may be taken, which aims to
capture the perspectives of the employer and the employee

4 Business Research Quarterly

regarding the dimensions that characterize the ER.
Empirical studies show that employees’ perceptions regard-
ing these practices vary significantly from the reports com-
piled by managers (Liao et al., 2009; Nishii & Lepak,
2008). This article aims to fill this gap by suggesting that
the analysis of ERs should include the perceptions of both
the employer and the employee in terms of what the busi-
ness organization offers, thereby setting it apart from exist-
ing studies. Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler (2002) examine the
content of the Psychological Contract from the perspective
of the employer and the employee, giving consideration to
their mutual obligations and the effects of a perceived rup-
ture or breach of the contract on commitment and OCB, as
well as on subsequent behavior. Taylor and Tekleab (2004)
also lean toward this tendency, considering both the
employer and employee in their analysis, albeit the authors
focus on agreements governing reciprocal obligations
between the two parties as well as the consequences of
breaking those agreements on job satisfaction, staff turno-
ver, OCB, and performance. Atkinson (2007) demonstrates,
based on interviews carried out with employers and
employees, the consequences of breaching the obligations
established between the parties on the development of extra
role behaviors.

Content of the ER

The literature seems to suggest that ERs can be linked to
development and training opportunities, the abilities and
knowledge of individuals, the involvement of employees
in decision-making processes, job security, and fair pay
systems, among others (Roehling et al., 2000). All the ele-
ments mentioned above are linked to the management pro-
cesses that share the firm’s human resource system, which
allows us to consider the necessity of studying all of them
in an integrated manner.

Taking into account the content of ERs, this article pro-
poses focusing on the HRM system and, more specifically,
on human resource management practices that act in rela-
tion to the competences, abilities, and capacities of people
(ability-enhancing), which affect motivation through the
establishment of reward systems linked to individual or
group performance, or to promotion (motivation-enhanc-
ing), and those linked to the opportunities open to employ-
ees to participate in the organization’s formal processes
(opportunity-enhancing) (Kehoe & Wright, 2013). These
practices determine the “What” of the HRM system. The
AMO framework (Appelbaum et al., 2000) focuses on the
importance of taking into account variables at the individ-
ual level, such as employees’ skills and competences, their
motivation, and their opportunity to participate. Paauwe
and Boselie (2005: 69) have pointed out that the AMO
framework is a key element when explaining the effect of
HRM practices on both firm and employee performance
(Appelbaum et al., 2000; Boselie et al., 2005).

The literature has widely demonstrated the relation-
ships between the AMO model and OCB, turnover inten-
tions, employee affective commitment, and individual
performance (Gardner et al., 2011; Knies & Leisink,
2014). However, analysis of employee and employer per-
ceptions of such relationships (AMO-individual behav-
iors) has been scarce. This fact is interesting, since the
employees’ perception of their ERs could be a determinant
when explaining their behavior.

Strength of the HRM system and POS as
dimensions of the ER: a typology of ERs

The contradictory results obtained when analyzing the
effects of HRM systems within organizations justify the
need for researchers to pay attention not only to the con-
tent of HRM systems but also their processes (Heffernan
et al., 2016; Katou et al., 2014; Sanders et al., 2014). In
doing so, we propose to study employees’ and employers’
perceptions, taking into account two dimensions: “strength
of the HRM system” (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004) and
“Perceived Organizational Support (POS)” (Eisenberger
et al., 1986). The reason for this choice of variables is that
both of them exert an influence on employees’ behavior
(Delmotte et al., 2012; Lee & Peccei, 2007).

As Ostroff and Bowen (2016) suggest, HRM system
strength has implications with regard to the way employ-
ees perceive the exchange agreement they have with their
employer. What is distinctive about the strength concept is
that it is focused on the HRM process, that is, how the
HRM system is distributed, implemented, and how it sends
messages to employees and generates a climate within the
organization. Different studies have found the positive
impact of a strong HRM system on commitment (Cafferkey
et al., 2019) or work engagement and OCB (Katou et al.,
2014).

POS was chosen as a second explanatory variable for
ER because it also aims to capture employees’ behaviors,
since POS is defined as perceptions regarding the extent to
which the firm values employees’ contributions and pays
attention to aspects related to their well-being (Allen et al.,
2003; Eisenberger et al., 1986; Lee & Peccei, 2007). As
Baran et al. (2012) pointed out, POS explains the relation-
ships between employer and employee, based on social
exchange and its effects on relevant outcomes such as citi-
zenship behavior and turnover. Furthermore, POS is used
as a mediator to explain the relationship between HRM
practices and employee behaviors such as improved com-
mitment, job satisfaction, organizational citizenship, cus-
tomer-oriented behaviors, and reduced employee turnover
(Gavino et al., 2012; Meyer & Smith, 2000; Rhoades et al.,
2001).

Following Bowen and Ostroff (2004) and Ostroff and
Bowen (2016), HRM system strength is defined by its dis-
tinctiveness, consistency and consensus, variables that

Díaz-Fernández et al. 5

positively affect a psychological and organizational cli-
mate that produces individual and firm performance. The
distinctiveness of an HRM system would be defined as the
extent to which it stands out and captures employees’
attention, arousing their interest. It has four dimensions
(Delmotte et al., 2012): Visibility, the degree to which
employees have a clear idea of HR practices, know which
HR programs are implemented and what can and cannot be
expected of the HR department; Understandability, the
degree to which employees understand how HR practices
work. Based on Attribution Theory and research from
Kelley (1967) and Feldman (1981), if employees perceive
that stimuli are unclear or ambiguous, they cannot under-
stand how they work. Legitimacy means that the HR func-
tion is perceived as a high-status and high-credibility
function; and finally, Relevance is defined as the degree to
which HR initiatives and practices are perceived as useful,
significant, and relevant for employees’ daily work.

A second feature of a strong HRM system is its consist-
ency. For employees to make accurate attributions about
what behaviors are expected and rewarded, attributional
principles of causation must be present. These notions are
related to Kelley’s (1967) concept of consistency.
Consistency generally refers to establishing an effect over
time whereby the effect occurs each time the entity is pre-
sent, regardless of the form of the interactions.

Thus, consistency focuses on features such as instru-
mentality, validity, and consistent HRM messages.
Instrumentality can be defined as the degree to which HR
practices and programs positively influence levels of
motivation, competence, and empowerment and are thus
able to steer the behavior of employees in the desired
direction. Validity refers to the degree to which there is an
agreement between what HR practices purport to do and
what they actually do. Finally, the continuity and stability
of HR practices over time are considered consistent HRM
messages.

A strong HRM system implies consensus or agreement
among employees and managers with regard to the even-
effect relationship. In this case, procedural justice—the
degree to which the process whereby decisions are reached
or outcomes are allocated is fair (Folger & Cropanzano,
1998)—and distributive justice—the degree to which the
allocation of benefits and resources (the result of a deci-
sion) is fair—are the main drivers of this consensus.

Although HRM system strength could be a powerful
dimension for information about how managers and
employees perceive the ER, a second dimension to explore
to understand employee behaviors is POS, as analyzed by
both managers and workers. POS is the employee’s belief
that organizational practices help to fulfill his or her socio-
emotional needs and that the firm also values his or her
contributions and is even concerned about his or her well-
being (Eisenberger et al., 1986). The literature has pointed
out that HRM practices that contribute to employees’

development, favor their participation in decision making,
and are fair in rewarding workers are an antecedent to
POS, having a positive impact on satisfaction at work,
employee commitment, and intention to remain (IR) (Allen
et al., 2003; Shore & Wayne, 1993). Rhoades et al. (2001)
found that favorable working conditions and rewards
increase POS and minimize quit intentions. HRM systems
can be perceived as practices that invest in employees,
meaning organizational inducements and commitments to
workers, favoring their identification with the firm and
enhancing their intention to remain and display extra role
behaviors (Edwards, 2009). Research also shows that the
effects of POS are not always produced directly on
employees’ behaviors but rather are mediated by other
variables such as, for example, affective commitment, and
they can even be reduced by the perception of the support
that supervisors give to employees (Lee & Peccei, 2007;
Maertz et al., 2007; Wayne et al., 1997). Some research
demonstrates that POS activates socio-emotional aspects
that buffer the negative effects of some job aspects on
employee well-being (Babalola, 2010; Byrne &
Hochwarter, 2008). In this regard, Armeli et al. (1998)
pointed out that reciprocity may drive improvements in
employee performance and involvement. Baran et al.
(2012) detail papers that demonstrate the relationships
between affective commitment and POS in non-US con-
texts, thus explaining employee behaviors.

In this article, we propose that, depending on the per-
ceived high or low strength of the HRM system and high
or low POS, four different ERs can be deduced (Figure 1).
We think that this approach takes a step further than other
ER typologies, proposed as relational versus transactional,
and which are based on the specification and duration of
relationships, or other types suggested by Tsui et al. (1997,
2005) which are focused on inducements from the organi-
zation to employees and managers’ expectations regarding
workers’ behaviors.

The case of ER1 supposes ERs that are high in both
aspects: Strength of HRM system and POS. As mentioned

St
re

ng
ht

H
RM

sy
te

m
Lo

w

H
ig

h

ER2
Hypotheses 3.1. & 3.2

Medium AMO
Medium OCB

Medium IR

ER1
Hypotheses 1.1. & 1.2

High AMO
High OCB

High IR

ER3
Hypotheses 2.1. & 2.2

Low AMO
Low OCB

Low IR

ER4
Hypotheses 4.1. & 4.2
AMO Higher than ER2
OCB Higher than ER2

IR Lower than ER2

POS
Low High

Figure 1. Theoretical model.

6 Business Research Quarterly

earlier, previous research (Allen et al., 2003; Shore &
Wayne, 1993; Wayne et al., 1997) suggests that a high
level of POS is due to the perception that the HRM system
(antecedent to POS) contains HRM practices associated
with the three dimensions that define the AMO model
(Abilities-, Motivation-, and Opportunities-enhancing
practices); hence, these practices should also have a high
assessment. Moreover, considering that POS is positively
and directly associated with satisfaction at work, employee
commitment, and IR (Allen et al., 2003; Eisenberger et al.,
1990), and taking into account that developmental HRM
practices that contribute to employee motivation also posi-
tively affect IR and activate OCB (Shaw et al., 1998), we
might think that these employee behaviors should be pre-
sent in this type of ER. Studies indicate that high POS and
strong HRM systems are important for extra role behaviors
and commitment (Allen et al., 2003; Kim et al., 2016).
Furthermore, when HRM practices clearly set out desira-
ble behaviors, individual outcomes such as OCB and lower
turnover and absenteeism (proxies of intention to remain)
are reinforced (Jackson et al., 2014).

The arguments set out above have led us to label this
ER an “Efficient and Productive ER” and to propose our
first hypotheses:

H1.1. Employment Relationship ER1, defined by high
values in both perceptions about HRM Strength and
POS, will be characterized by AMO systems with high
values in Abilities-, Motivation-, and Opportunity-
Enhancing Practices.

H1.2. Employment Relationship ER1, defined by high
values in both perceptions about HRM Strength and
POS, will be characterized by a high level of OCB and
a high level of IR.

The opposite model would be ER3, characterized by a
weak, deficient, and ambiguous HRM system. Based on
the above reasoning, one might expect that a low level of
POS not only translates into a weak HRM system (AMO)
in terms of its content, but also that ambiguity in the way it
is defined, low level of consensus and lack of consistency
(weak HRM system) will provoke employee behaviors
associated with intentions to leave the organization and an
absence of OCB (Jackson et al., 2014; Jiang et al., 2012).
This ER is inconsistent, and we might label it an
“Unproductive and Inefficient ER.” Consequently, our
second hypotheses are as follows:

H2.1. Employment Relationship ER3, defined by low
values in both perceptions about HRM Strength and
POS, will be characterized by AMO systems with low
values in Abilities-, Motivation-, and Opportunity-
Enhancing Practices.

H2.2. Employment Relationship ER3, defined by low
values in both perceptions about HRM Strength and

POS, will be characterized by a low level of OCB and a
low level of IR.

Whereas these cases provide a certain equilibrium (both
high and both low) in terms of Strength and POS, that is
not the case with the other ERs, which can be understood
differently. Situation ER2 shows a clear imbalance, since
the HRM system is perceived to be strong, that is, clearly
defined, well structured, and fair, but it is perceived as sup-
porting only organizational requirements, but not employ-
ees’ needs—suggesting a low assessment on POS. In such
a case, employees will look to improve support from the
organization, showing their dissatisfaction through absen-
teeism and a lack of extra role behaviors. Employees sim-
ply comply with organizational standards and procedures.
The low value in POS suggests that HRM practices are
mainly focused on the job instead of the employee.
Therefore, the values associated with HRM system will be
lower than ER1. These relationships will generate low
commitment and work satisfaction (Allen et al., 2003), so
OCB is not expected (Shore & Wayne, 1993). However,
the value obtained in Strength of the HRM system, that is,
the positive assessment made of the system’s distinctive-
ness, consistency in application, and procedural justice
may explain an employee’s willingness to remain in the
organization, because the working climate can be positive
(Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). As DeNisi and Smith (2014)
suggested, strong HRM systems send clearer messages
about behaviors required at work and how they can be lev-
eraged by HRM practices (AMO systems in our case).
Disagreement or dissatisfaction with this type of ER is not
because of the “process” of the HRM system (attribution
theory), but rather because of the lack of support to per-
sonal issues that are extra job-oriented (exchange theory).
Therefore, this ER is clearly organization-oriented, and we
have labeled it “Organization-Oriented and Highly-
Structured ER,” suggesting our third hypotheses:

H3.1. Employment Relationship ER2, defined by high
values in perceptions about HRM Strength and low
POS, will be characterized by AMO systems with val-
ues in Abilities-, Motivation-, and Opportunity-
Enhancing Practices, lower than ER1.

H3.2. Employment Relationship ER2, defined by high
values in perceptions about HRM Strength and low
POS, will be characterized by a low level of OCB and a
moderate level of IR.

Finally, ER4 implies a low perception of HRM strength but
a high level of POS. Based on the theoretical arguments
explained previously, the high value in POS could be
explained by perceptions about HRM practices that cover
individual needs but they fail in the administration, imple-
mentation, formalization, and clarity of the HRM system
itself, as it can be observed from their low values in Strength.

Díaz-Fernández et al. 7

Taking into account reasonings from Social Exchange
Theory, OCB in employees will be moderated, as if employ-
ees perceive that the organization cares about their well-
being and values their contribution (POS) they have a
motivation to improve their outcomes (Gavino et al., 2012).
Also, the low values in Strength of HRM system, suggesting
the lack of formalization and presence of discretionality fol-
lowing the Attribution Theory, make us expect low values in
IR. The lack of either clear or formal performance appraisal
mechanisms that assess and reward employees’ results
define this type of ER as inefficient (DeNisi & Smith, 2014).
This model could be called the “Employee-Oriented and
Poorly-Structured ER.” Therefore, we can set out our final
hypotheses:

H4.1. Employment Relationship ER4, defined by low
values in perceptions about HRM Strength and high
POS, will be characterized by AMO systems with mod-
erate values in Abilities-, Motivation-, and Opportunity-
Enhancing Practices, higher than ER2.

H4.2. Employment Relationship ER4, defined by low
values in perceptions about HRM Strength and high
POS, will be characterized by a moderate level of OCB
and a low level of IR, lower than ER2.

Methods

This article combines perceptions from two ER stakehold-
ers, HR managers and employees’ representatives. The
research focused on two different sectors, Hospitality and
Financial Services, for the purpose of studying how the
different variables behave in each sector. The first sector—
hospitality—has the highest impact on Spanish gross
domestic product (GDP); the second—financial services—
has experienced dramatic changes in recent years during
the financial crisis. In 2017, the hospitality sector’s contri-
bution to the country’s GDP was 13.7%, whereas the
financial services sector’s contribution was 14.2% (INE,
2017). In addition, during the last decade, both activity
sectors have overcome different challenges and difficul-
ties. Financial services firms, on the other hand, have dras-
tically downsized their networks of branches and offices.
Whereas, in 2008, there were 45,662 financial service
offices and branches in Spain, by 2018, this number had
fallen to 27,706. Financial services firms have also had to
deal with new information technologies (IT). IT develop-
ments have changed the relationships between financial
services firms and their customers (Banco de España,
2018; INE, 2017).

We performed two different and separate studies
focused on hotels and financial services firms, respec-
tively, namely “Study 1: hotels” and “Study 2: financial
services firms.” We studied 4-star hotels and financial ser-
vices firms with more than 50 employees. We chose this
size of firm because Spanish labor regulations require such

firms to comply with the obligation to have trade union
representatives. Our two populations, applying these
requirements, included 392 hotels and 295 financial firms.

Respondents

To gather information from the employers’ point of view,
we called the HR Managers who represented the organiza-
tion and who were experts in the topic of our research. Our
decision to consider the expectations of HR managers is
justified because they are ultimately responsible for
designing and implementing the HRM system, in terms of
the distinctiveness of the messages it sends out, consist-
ency in the way HR practices work, and the degree of con-
sensus they generate. This choice of managerial perceptions
is similar to the one made by Tsui in her research (Tsui
et al., 1997; Wang et al., 2003). Therefore, this article
introduces the perceptions and beliefs of such managers
regarding the content of HRM systems, their strength, and
the impact they believe such variables have on the behav-
iors of the employees for whom they are responsible.

We sent a questionnaire to each HR manager in both
populations, that is, we sent a questionnaire to HR manag-
ers in each hotel and financial services firm. We received
130 valid questionnaires from hotels and 87 from financial
firms, representing a 33.16% and 29.49% response rate,
respectively.

To obtain information from the employees’ point of
view, we decided to call their trade union representatives,
and we contacted the largest unions in the Spanish hospi-
tality and financial service sectors. These unions—which
have participated in collective bargaining processes in
their respective sectors, negotiating employees’ working
conditions—were in charge of sending the questionnaire
to workers’ representatives in the hotels and financial ser-
vices firms surveyed. In this case, we obtained data from
30 valid questionnaires in each sector from workers’ repre-
sentatives who participated in the last collective bargain-
ing in each sector. They are representatives of all the
employees in both samples we are analyzing (Law 36/2011,
article 88 point 4). Collective bargaining agreements are
agreements between union representatives and firm repre-
sentatives and they set out the rights and responsibilities of
all employees. (Specifically, collective bargaining agree-
ments standardize the following issues: work schedule and
productivity, training, career, salaries and compensations,
overtime remuneration, holidays, and work–life balance;
Estatuto de los Trabajadores, articles 62 and 63, Law
36/2011.)

Measurements

All the items included in the questionnaire assess the vari-
ables through a 5-point Likert-type scale, ranging from 1
(Totally disagree) to 5 (Totally agree). They are detailed

8 Business Research Quarterly

below. All HR managers and workers’ representatives
answered the same questionnaire.

HRM. To analyze HRM practices, we considered the AMO
system. We measured the AMO system using the scales
proposed by Gardner et al. (2011). The scale identifies
three different sets of HRM practices: HRM practices that
reinforce abilities. Examples of items are as follows: appli-
cants undergo structured interviews before being hired;
applicants for this job take formal tests (paper and pencil
or work sample) before being hired; on average how many
hours of formal training do employees in this job receive
each year?; HRM related to motivation, for example: Pay
raises for employees in this job are based on job perfor-
mance; employees in this job have the opportunity to earn
individual bonuses (or commissions) for productivity, per-
formance, or other individual-performance outcomes;
qualified employees have the opportunity to be promoted
to positions of greater pay and/or responsibility within the
company; and HRM practices that favor opportunity, for
example: How often do employees receive formal com-
pany communication regarding company goals (objec-
tives, actions, and so on)?; how often do employees receive
formal company communication regarding operating per-
formance (productivity, quality, customer, satisfaction,
and so on)?; how often do employees receive formal com-
pany communication regarding financial performance
(profitability, stock price, and so on)?

Strength of the HRM system. We measured the strength of
HRM systems using the scale proposed by Delmotte et al.
(2012). These authors measured the three dimensions of
HRM strength referred to as distinctiveness, consistency,
and consensus, as proposed by Bowen and Ostroff (2004).
The scale includes items such as: In this organization,
rewards are clearly related to performance; In this organi-
zation, the results of the yearly appraisals are generally
considered to be fair; HR staff have enough authority to get
their ideas accepted; In this organization, HRM is synony-
mous with excellent work; The HR practices implemented
in this organization sound good in theory, but do not work
in practice; The appraisal procedure developed by the HR
department has in practice other effects than the intended
ones (Reverse coded); Top management and HR manage-
ment clearly share the same vision; and Management unan-
imously supports HR policy in this organization.

POS. We measured POS using the scale proposed by
Rhoades et al. (2001). These authors identify only one
dimension for POS. This scale includes items such as: The
organization really cares about my well-being; the organi-
zation values my contributions to its well-being; the organ-
ization strongly considers my goals and values; the
organization shows little concern for me; and the organiza-
tion is willing to help me if I need a special favor.

Extra role behaviors. We considered organizational citizen
behavior (OCB) and intention to remain (IR) as extra role
employee behaviors. In this study, we used the scale from
Kehoe and Wright (2013) to measure OCB and IR. Spe-
cifically, Kehoe and Wright (2013) identify two dimen-
sions, one dimension for OCB and another for IR. The
OCB scale includes items such as: I provide constructive
suggestions about how my department can improve its
effectiveness; for issues that may have serious conse-
quences, I express my opinions honestly even when others
may disagree; I “touch-base” with my coworkers before
initiating actions that might affect them; I encourage oth-
ers to try new and effective ways of doing their job; and I
help others who have large amounts of work. The IR scale
includes items such as: I would turn down a job with more
pay to stay with this organization; I plan to spend my
career at this organization; I intend to stay at this organiza-
tion for at least the next 12 months; and I do not plan to
look for a job outside of this company in the next 6 months.

Data analyses and results

We performed two different studies in two different sec-
tors. First, we analyzed the reliability and validity of each
construct and then we separately tested the proposed
hypotheses in both studies, Study 1: hotels and Study 2:
financial services firms.

We performed confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to
assess the internal reliability and validity of each construct.
Furthermore, discriminant validity was guaranteed for
both studies. Then, we performed a two-step cluster analy-
sis and an analysis of variance (ANOVA) to identify differ-
ent types of ER and test the proposed hypotheses in each
study.

To perform CFA on our sample (Goodness of fit: χ2:
2,362.008; p: .02251; Bentler–Bonnet normed fit index
[BB-NFI]: 0.896; Bentler–Bonnet non-normed fit index
[BB-NNFI]: 0.0.952; comparative fit index [CFI]: 0.967;
root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA]:
0.036), we considered all of the information obtained from
247 questionnaires completed by 130 HR managers and 30
workers’ representatives from hotels, along with 87 HR
managers and 30 workers’ representatives from financial
firms. We obtained three factors for the AMO model,
namely ability, motivation, and opportunity (t = 2.670,
t = 3.230, and t = 4.445, respectively). Three factors related
to the strength of HRM systems were found: consensus,
distinctiveness, and consistency (t = 2.955, t = 3.169,
t = 3.466, respectively). In addition, we obtained a second-
order factor as a measure of the strength of the HRM sys-
tem (t = 3.22; goodness of fit: χ2 = 152.2521, p = .02640,
BB-NFI = 812, BB-NNFI = 0.949, CFI = 0.952, and
RMSEA = 0.042). For POS, OCB, and IR, we found one
factor for each one, namely POS (t = 6.86), OCB (t = 3.53),
and IR (t = 4.12), respectively. Table 1 shows the results of

Díaz-Fernández et al. 9

discriminant validity, and Table 2 includes descriptive sta-
tistics and correlations. We concluded from Table 1 that
the scales were reliable and that convergent and discrimi-
nant validities were confirmed. The reliability of the scales
was measured by the composite reliability value, which in
all cases was greater than or equal to 0.7. Convergent
validity was confirmed by the average variance extracted,
which in all cases was greater than 0.5. Discriminant valid-
ity was also confirmed, as the average variance extracted
(principal diagonal in Table 1) was higher than the square
of the correlations between factors.

Next, we tested the proposed hypotheses on our two
sub-samples: hotels and financial firms.

Study 1: hotels

To identify different types of ER, cluster analysis was
employed as a classic technique of explorative research. In
this study, we followed a two-step cluster analysis. Two-
step cluster analysis is an adequate way to determine the
number of clusters (Chiu et al., 2001). Using this tech-
nique, methodical concerns regarding the determination of
the adequate number of clusters are addressed and over-
come (Ketchen & Shook, 1996): two-step cluster analysis
identifies groupings by running pre-clustering first and

then applying hierarchical methods. Since it uses a quick
cluster algorithm upfront, it can handle large data sets that
would take a long time to compute using hierarchical clus-
ter methods. Furthermore, two-step cluster analysis also
automatically selects the number of clusters, a task nor-
mally assigned to the researcher in other cluster methods.

To identify and classify groups of homogeneous
responses, we conducted a cluster analysis for the total
number of cases in our hotel population (160 question-
naires, 130 from HR manager and 30 from workers’ repre-
sentatives). We found three different clusters: two of them
included 80 and 50 firms that grouped answers only from
HR managers and a third cluster was composed of 30
employees’ representatives, exclusively. We also con-
ducted ANOVA to assess differences between clusters in
terms of the type of ER (measured by the Strength of the
HRM system and POS), assessment of the AMO system,
and employees’ behaviors.

The strength of the HRM system and POS were consid-
ered as variables to classify firms into clusters, as men-
tioned above. Our results show three different clusters.
Specifically, Clusters 1 and 2 contained answers from HR
managers and Cluster 3 from workers’ representatives.
Figure 2 shows the different clusters and how they are
placed within our proposed theoretical architecture.

Table 1. Results from discriminant validity.

Abilities-
enhancing
HRM practices

Motivation-
enhancing
HRM practices

Opportunity-
enhancing
HRM practices

Strength
of HRM
system

POS OCB IR

Abilities-enhancing HRM practices 0.6262
Motivation-enhancing HRM practices 0.3003 0.6172
Opportunity-enhancing HRM practices 0.3163 0.3452 0.6841
Strength of HRM system 0.2404 0.2349 0.1282 0.7928
POS 0.2907 0.3143 0.1807 0.1905 0.6976
OCB 0.2853 0.4573 0.1917 0.1547 0.3498 0.7364
IR 0.1929 0.1940 0.2502 0.2407 0.2923 0.2907 0.6061

HRM: human resource management; POS: perceived organizational support; OCB: organizational citizenship behavior; IR: intentions to remain.
Average variance extracted (AVE) is in the main diagonal. The rest of the numbers correspond to the existing squared correlations between factors.
AVE is higher than the square of the correlations existing between the factors. Discriminant validity is guarantee.

Table 2. Correlations and descriptive statistics.

Abilities Motivation Opportunity

Strength of
HRM system

POS OCB IR M* SD

Abilities 1 1.68 0.42
Motivation 0.428** 1 1.61 0.75
Opportunity 0.583* 0.373** 1 1.67 0.82
Strength of HRM system 0.308* 0.440** 0.447** 1 2.22 0.73
POS 0.480** 0.310** 0.480** 0.436* 1 1.97 0.99
OCB 0.380** 0.669** 0.331** 0.437* 0.344** 1 2.34 0.99
IR 0.285* 0.348** 0.400* 0.365** 0.293** 0.358** 1 2.50 0.87

HRM: human resource management; POS: perceived organizational support; OCB: organizational citizenship behavior; IR: intentions to remain.
*p < .05; **p < .01.

10 Business Research Quarterly

The means of the clustering variables for each of the
three clusters obtained are shown in Table 3. An ANOVA
was performed to evaluate the quality of variable means
across the clusters and thus assess the distinctiveness of
each cluster. An F-test confirms that these means differ
significantly across the three clusters for all clustering
variables.

Specifically, in our first cluster, C1 (80 firms), the val-
ues for both strength of HRM system and POS are the
highest. This cluster is also characterized by being the one
with the highest means for each one of the AMO practices

for the HRM system. Means obtained by our outcomes
(OCB and IR) are also the highest in our population. These
results support hypotheses 1.1 and 1.2.

In the second cluster, C2, composed of 50 firms, assess-
ments made by HR managers demonstrate a moderate
degree of Strength of the HRM system (2.35), a value that
is below the mean in the Likert-type scale. The same
respondents, HR managers, also consider that support
given by the organization to its employees (POS) has even
a lower score (2.2). According to these values, the ER
model contained in this cluster can be placed above the
upper limit of the ER3 model that we have called
“Inefficient and Unproductive,” and it is closer to the most
efficient ER1 model. The assessment made by these man-
agers of the content of the HRM system (AMO practices)
is closer to the average in our scale for opportunity- and
motivation-enhancing practices (2.9) but higher for skill-
enhancing practices (3.41). Therefore, it could be said that
in this cluster, the weaknesses of ERs are not found on the
side of the AMO practices (HRM content), which are close
to or above the average. The problems are due to the appli-
cation of the HRM system, as the value of the HRM
System Strength found was below average. The perception
of HR managers regarding the emergence of extra role
behaviors (OCB) is moderate (2.93) but slightly higher
with respect to employees’ intention to remain (2.86).
These results are more optimistic in relation to our hypoth-
esis 2.2, since this cluster is closer to the most efficient ER
defined here. In terms of the assessment of the AMO sys-
tem, this second cluster does not support hypothesis 2.1,
although this requires specific comment, which we will set
out in detail in the “Discussion” section.

Finally, for our third cluster, in which we collected
answers from workers’ representatives, values for both
strength of the HRM system (1.35) and POS (1.2) are the

Figure 2. Clusters location in theoretical framework.
Clusters 1 and 2 refer to HR Managers and Cluster 3 refers to
workers’ representatives from hotels sector (blue colored). Clusters
4 and 5 refer to HR Managers and Cluster 6 refers to workers’
representatives from financial sector (red colored). Variables range
from 1 to 5.

Table 3. Cluster analysis and ANOVA: ER configurations.

Study 1: Hotels

Study 2: financial firms

Cluster 1
(n = 80) mean

Cluster 2
(n = 50) mean

Cluster 3
(n = 30) mean

ANOVA F Cluster 4
(n = 34) mean

Cluster 5
(n = 53) mean

Cluster 6
(n = 30) mean

ANOVA F

Strength of
HRM system

3.73 2.35 1.35 87.501** 3.37 1.98 1.43 13.438**

POS 3.8 2.2 1.2 114.066** 3.52 2.13 1.27 4.814*
OCB 3.65 2.93 1.96 25.379** 4 1.55 0.95 20.464**
IR 3.51 2.86 2.06 26.988** 4.25 1.51 0.11 4.011*
Ability 3.56 3.41 2.2 29.379** 4.05 2.7 0.13 6.427*
Motivation 3.56 2.9 2.03 15.649** 4.10 2.75 0.18 7.367*
Opportunity 3.4 2.9 2.15 8.376** 4.11 2.81 0.06 8.689**

ANOVA: analysis of variance; HRM: human resource management; POS: perceived organizational support; OCB: organizational citizenship behavior;
IR: intentions to remain; HR: human resource; ER: employment relationship.
Clusters 1 and 2 refer to HR Managers. Cluster 3 refers to workers’ representatives.
Clusters 4 and 5 refer to HR Managers. Cluster 6 refers to workers’ representatives.
Variables range from 1 to 5.
*p < .05; **p < .01.

Díaz-Fernández et al. 11

lowest. In this case, values obtained by HRM practices are
also the lowest, clearly below the average in our scale. In
terms of behaviors, workers’ representatives state that their
unwillingness to display OCB (1.96) and their desire to
remain in the organization is also at the lowest level (2.06).
These results support hypotheses 2.1 and 2.2.

We were unable to test hypotheses 3 and 4, as we did
not find cases fulfilling the conditions laid down for type 2
and 4 ERs in the hotel sector.

Study 2: financial firms

We replicated the statistical analysis performed in the pre-
vious study in the financial sector. We performed a cluster
analysis to identify similar groups in our sample from the
financial services sector. We considered the 117 responses
from financial organizations (87 HR managers and 30
workers’ representatives) and we obtained three different
clusters (Table 3).

As in Study 1, we performed a two-step cluster analysis.
We found three different clusters using strength of the
HRM system and POS as classifying variables. Specifically,
clusters 4 and 5 included answers from HR managers, and
cluster 6 from workers’ representatives (Figure 2). Cluster
4 and cluster 5 included 34 and 53 financial firms, respec-
tively. In both cases, the answers came from HR managers.
The last cluster, cluster 6, includes 30 responses from
employees’ representatives only. We carried out an ANOVA
to identify differences in the strength of the HRM system
and POS, that is, differences in terms of ERs.

The results of the ANOVA are shown in Table 3.
Statistical differences of the three clusters obtained are
guaranteed by the F-test values.

In the financial sector sample, cluster 4 (C4, 34 firms)
is characterized by the highest values for both strength of
the HRM system (3.37) and POS (3.52). This cluster could
be labeled ER 1. Also, in C4 we found the highest values
for each of the AMO practices, above 4 points in all the
cases and individual behaviors (OCB, 4 and IR, 4.25).
Hypotheses H.1.1 and H.1.2 are therefore supported.

Cluster 5, C5, includes 53 financial firms. In this case,
the values obtained for strength of HRM (1.98) and POS
(2.13) are below the average, so it is an ER3, although they
are higher than C6. In C5, OCB (1.55) and IR (1.51) values
are below the mean in the Likert-type scale, although the
AMO values are closer to the mean in the Likert-type scale
(3 points), but lower than those obtained in cluster 2
(hotels). Therefore, we can say that hypothesis 2.1 is not
supported but—as in the case of study 1—hypothesis 2.2
is supported. This result deserves further explanation,
which can be found in the “Discussion” section.

Finally, cluster 6, C6, is made up of the 30 employees’
representatives from financial firms. In cluster 6, both
strength of the HRM system and POS are the lowest in
Study 2, again named ER3. Furthermore, the values of all

the variables considered in this study, that is, AMO, OCB,
and POS, are the lowest. Hypotheses H.2.1 and H.2.2 are
therefore supported.

Discussion

This article explores how the different stakeholders in the
ER, employees’/workers’ representatives and employers,
perceive the content and process of HRM and the conse-
quences of such ERs in terms of individual behaviors.
Several issues can be highlighted from the theoretical and
empirical analysis.

The first aspect that can be deemed a novel contribution
of this article is that, in contrast to proposals based on the
Psychological Contract that take as a reference time and
performance requirements (transactional, relational, tran-
sitional and balanced, see Rousseau, 1989) or even the
proposals made by Tsui et al. (1997), based on induce-
ments and expected contributions, we argue that there is a
possibility of defining and identifying different ER models
taking into account perceptions from employers and
employees about the two variables proposed in this study:
the Strength of the HRM system and POS. We believe that
studying both aspects (“How” HRM is implemented—
strength—and POS) as explanatory factors of ERs will
help to improve understanding of these relationships. This
article has identified four different models of ERs, taking
into consideration the perceptions of HR managers and
workers’ representatives, obtaining a valid methodology to
study ERs within organizations.

A second contribution is related to the way in which the
diverse models of ERs that we identify are different in
terms of perceptions surrounding the content of the HRM
system itself. It seems that to the extent that the ER is bet-
ter defined in terms of the content (the “What”), that is,
regarding skills, motivations, and opportunities that could
be enhanced (AMO Practices), the perception of the
Strength of the HRM system (the “How”) is also higher.
We might consider the possibility of a certain relationship
between these variables (“content” and “process”), thereby
opening up the “black box” (Guest, 2004) that conceals the
way in which HRM is applied in firms.

This pattern relating content and strength of the HRM
system was obtained in both studies—hotels and financial
services firms—although they yielded a few differences
that are worthy of specific comment. It was found that the
financial sector is always higher in its assessment of AMO
practices than the hospitality sector, from a managerial
perspective. This difference may be understood from a
contextual approach as consequence of the specific char-
acteristics of these sectors, such as the educational back-
ground of employees or the characteristics of the specific
work they perform (contingent approach). If we observe
the assessments made by workers’ representatives, they
consistently score lower and have a more critical attitude

12 Business Research Quarterly

in the financial sector than in the hospitality sector. This
could be explained by the higher educational profile and
qualifications in financial service firms, having a more
questioning attitude toward management. In all cases,
unions in both sectors have a very pessimistic perception
of both content (AMO practices) and process (strength).
These results highlight the need to consider both
approaches in the study of ERs, including new contextual
variables (Martín-Alcázar et al., 2005).

It is also interesting to note that, in both studies, it was
possible to identify a cluster of firms whose HR managers
do not rate their HRM systems very highly, that is, below
or close to the mean in the assessment scale for AMO-
Enhancing practices, with some specific exceptions.
Overall, the conclusion we can draw from these results is
that it is possible to find different ER models within a sec-
tor, each one of which is characterized by different HRM
systems.

As a third contribution, we would like to highlight the
association established between the ER model and employ-
ees’ behaviors, both in terms of the propensity to develop
extra role behaviors (OCB) and the intention to remain in
the organization (IR) (Wright & Nishii, 2013). This result
offers a better explanation and understanding of how
employees react to different organizational decisions.
From the point of view of HR managers, in cases where
ERs are based on strong HRM systems and high levels of
POS, managers expect high extra role behaviors and inten-
tion to remain and, more importantly, when the ER
changes, managerial perceptions of employees’ behaviors
also change. This relationship between the model of ER
and employees’ behaviors is observed in both sectors ana-
lyzed in this article.

From the perspective of the union or workers’ repre-
sentatives, the low scores they predict for OCB and IR are
coherent with the type of ER they perceive. These results
are clearly supported and congruent with theoretical
frameworks such as Attribution Theory and Social
Exchange Theory, from both sides, HR Managers and
unions. The interpretation and assessment made by each
one of the stakeholders in the ER also explain the behav-
iors that they perceive. Depending on the way they under-
stand the signals being sent out, by the way in which HRM
is implemented (Attribution Theory) and how the organi-
zation supports employees’ needs (Social Exchange
Theory), employees’ responses in terms of behaviors also
vary.

Finally, as mentioned above, it is interesting to note the
different perceptions that give rise to the identification of
the diverse models of ERs between companies within the
same sector. Such differences not only exist between the
perceptions of managers and workers’ representatives, as
the literature highlights, but also between managers them-
selves. The results obtained in both studies confirm our
theoretical argument regarding the need for knowledge

about the perceptions of both sides of the ER to provide a
better understanding and explanation for the reasons
behind their behaviors (Liao et al., 2009; Nishii & Lepak,
2008; Wright & Nishii, 2013). This gap or disagreement is
coherent with Ostroff and Bowen (2016), who stated that
relationships between line managers’ reports of the prac-
tices in place in their unit and employees’ reports of their
experiences with the practices are relatively weak, typi-
cally within a .20 correlation range.

From a practical point of view, we think that this article
makes a relevant contribution as it allows us to identify
both stakeholders in ERs, their main differences in percep-
tion, and which practical actions can be taken to reduce
their disagreements. Organizations themselves would also
benefit from information about the content of their HRM
system, the process followed to implement such practices,
and the effects or outcomes being generated. Undoubtedly,
an interesting question for both managers and employees
would be to study the effects of both crises—the 2008
financial crisis and the Covid pandemic—on ERs and spe-
cially regarding the loss of employee benefits and advan-
tages in working conditions.

We cannot bring this article to a close without first
reflecting on its limitations. The first limitation is the fact
that we were unable to identify firms that apply two of the
four models of ERs defined in our theoretical framework.
The reason for this might be related to our second limita-
tion: the sample. It would be desirable to have not only a
higher response rate from firms but also a direct answer
from employees. It might be possible to undertake case
studies, interviewing employees, who could be members
of unions or not, to identify differences in perceptions
among employees themselves, between employees and
workers’ representatives, and between the union repre-
sentatives and management. The low level of union mem-
bership among Spanish workers could cast doubt on the
degree of concordance between the perceptions of work-
ers’ representatives and those of employees. The compari-
son between such perceptions would be interesting to
analyze. We see in this a potential future strand of research,
which would allow us to ascertain whether employees and
managers from different departments in the organization
perceive the ER differently, and the extent to which their
perceptions and level of disagreement might affect and
explain different outcomes such as OCB and IR.
Furthermore, in a similar way to Audenaert et al. (2018),
another potential area of research would be to measure the
level of agreement between managers and unions, and to
consider it as a moderator between ERs and POS/IR
would also be interesting.

In summary, we believe that the research questions
posed at the beginning of the article have been answered,
contributing to new proposals to be considered in the anal-
ysis of ERs: the identification of new models of ERs
through the consideration of new variables, the effects of

Díaz-Fernández et al. 13

such models on employees’ behaviors, the study of the per-
spectives held by the two main stakeholders in ERs,
namely, employers (HR managers) and employees (work-
ers’ representatives), so we could contrast perceptions
from both of them, and also the existence of different ER
models within the same sector.

Declaration of conflicting interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with
respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
article.

Funding

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support
for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article:
Financial support for this article was provided by the Spanish
Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, R&D Plan
(ECO2013-44274-P).

ORCID iDs

Mirta Díaz-Fernández https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4792-6500

Alvaro López-Cabrales https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6735-0425

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On being warm and friendly: the
effect of socially responsible human
resourcemanagement on employee
fears of the threats of COVID-19

Jie He
School of Business, Hunan Institute for Innovation and Development,

Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, China

Yan Mao
School of Tourism and Hospitality Management,
Hubei University of Economics, Wuhan, China

Alastair M. Morrison
International College, National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism,

Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, and

J. Andres Coca-Stefaniak
Department of Marketing, Events and Tourism, Business School,

University of Greenwich, London, UK

Abstract
Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the influence of socially- responsible human resource
management (SRHRM) on employee fears of external threats during the COVID-19 outbreak, based on social
support and event system theories. COVID-19 caused sharp profit declines and bankruptcies of hotels,
restaurants and travel agencies. In addition, employees faced threats to their health and job security. How to
overcome employee anxieties and fears about the negative impacts of this crisis and promote psychological
recovery is worthy of attention from researchers and practitioners. This research investigated the impacts of
SRHRM on employee fears through organizational trust, with the COVID-19 pandemic playing a moderating
role between SRHRM and employee fears.
Design/methodology/approach – The hypotheses were tested through multiple linear regression
analysis based on a survey of 408 employees in hospitality and tourism firms in China. Qualitative data were
also gathered through interviews with selected managers.
Findings – The results showed that SRHRM had a negative influence on employee fears of external threa

ts

by enhancing trust in their organizations. In addition, the strength of the COVID-19 pandemic positively
moderated the effect of SRHRM on employee fears. When the pandemic strength was more robust, the
negative effects of SRHRM on employee fears were more significant.
Research limitations/implications – This research illustrated the contribution of SRHRM in
overcoming employee fears of external threats in the context of COVID-19. It shed light on the organizational
contribution of SRHRM to hospitality and tourism employee psychological recovery during the crisis.
Originality/value – This research explored strategic HRM by examining the effects of SRHRM on
employee fears in the midst of a severe crisis, specifically COVID-19. The moderation effect of event

strength

This research is supported by China Scholarship Council, Hunan Educational Department Fund
(18B227), Scientific Research Cultivation Project of HBUE (No. PYYB201907).

IJCHM
33,1

346

Received 14April 2020
Revised 27 June 2020
28 August 2020
4 November 2020
Accepted 5 November 2020

International Journal of
Contemporary Hospitality
Management
Vol. 33 No. 1, 2021
pp. 346-

366

© EmeraldPublishingLimited
0959-6119
DOI 10.1108/IJCHM-04-2020-0300

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/0959-6119.htm

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2020-0300

andmediation effect of organizational trust were tested. It is of great value for hospitality and tourism firms to
foster employee psychological recovery during a crisis such as COVID-19.

Keywords Organizational trust, Socially responsible HRM (SRHRM), Event system theory,
COVID-19 event strength, Fear of external threats, Social support theory

Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction
Employee fears of external threats represent negative psychological emotions involving
uncertainty or danger resulting from undesirable events or harm from outside of the
organization (Lebel, 2016). It is acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in
China and spread worldwide, leading to profit declines and bankruptcies among hotels,
restaurants and travel agencies. Compared to other industries, lockdown and social
distancing policies directly caused steep declines in hospitality and tourism, because the
sector relies on population mobility and personal service provided by employees (Yang et al.,
2020). Hundreds of thousands of employees in hospitality and tourism companies faced
threats to their health and job security because of the uncertainty and threat of loss brought
by COVID-19, includingmajor hotel chains such asMarriott and Hyatt.

Evidence shows that fear of external threats leads to employee silence in organizations
(Kish-Gephart et al., 2009), reduces creativity (Deng et al., 2019) and damages employee well-
being, performance and organizational citizenship behavior (Raja et al., 2020). Therefore,
overcoming employee anxiety and fear in the wake of the disastrous outcomes of COVID-19
and promoting employee psychological recovery drew significant attention from hospitality
and tourism scholars and practitioners (Zenker and Kock, 2020).

To date, most research concerns the outcomes of employee fear (Kish-Gephart et al., 2009;
Raja et al., 2020). However, the antecedents of employee fear seemingly have been neglected.
It is acknowledged that human resource management (HRM) practices have a direct impact
on employee psychological states, emotions, attitudes and behaviors in the hospitality and
tourism industry (Kloutsiniotis and Mihail, 2020; Madera et al., 2017; Sun et al., 2007).
Specifically, the role of socially responsible HRM (SRHRM) is highlighted during crisis
situations.

SRHRM emphasizes a bundle of practices aimed at improving employee socially
responsible capabilities, motivations and opportunities, often with humanitarian objectives
and benefits (Shen and Benson, 2016; Shen and Zhang, 2019). SRHRM involves recruiting
and retaining employees with a sense of social responsibility, providing CSR training and
assessing employee social responsibility in performance appraisals, compensation and
promotions (Zhao et al., 2019). For example, hotels and travel agencies trained and rewarded
employees involved in socially responsible work during COVID-19 for receiving hospital
medical staff, assisting community residents, providing transfer services and voluntarily
working in cabin hospitals. These practices could significantly impact employee perceptions
(Shen and Zhang, 2019).

However, most previous research focuses on the relationship between SRHRM and
employee attitudes and behaviors under normal operational conditions (Jia et al., 2019; Shen
and Benson, 2016; Shen and Zhang, 2019; Zhao et al., 2019). With the outbreak and spread of
COVID-19, the pandemic caused hospitality and tourism companies to assume greater social
responsibility and deal with relieving employee fears.

The impacts of SRHRM on employee fears of external threats need greater and more in-
depth exploration. Generally, SRHRM affects employee attitudes and behaviors through
organizational identity or social exchange (Newman et al., 2016; Jia et al., 2019). The effects

Employee
fears of the
threats of
COVID-19

347

of SRHRM practices during COVID-19 may differ from HRM under normal circumstances. It
is possible that SRHRM influences employee emotions and fears in other ways during a
major crisis.

This research set out to investigate the social and psychological processes of how
SRHRM influenced employee fears of threats through social support theory (Cohen and
Wills, 1985; Hobfoll et al., 1990). This theory refers to the supporting and helping actions
from government, society, organizations, family and friends, and it is essential in promoting
well-being and reducing stress (Hobfoll, 2001). COVID-19 necessitated HRM intervention
through demonstrating social responsibility because government agencies were not always
reliable and available while individual power was weak (Watkins et al., 2015). Therefore,
HRM had to assume greater social responsibility, and this is especially required during a
major crisis (Voegtlin and Greenwood, 2016).

According to social support theory, SRHRM is an important source impacting employees
and organizational resources that may transform into individual resources through
employee perceptions (Hobfoll et al., 2018). In this process, staff perceptions of
organizational trust might mediate the effects of SRHRM in assisting employees to
overcome fears of external threats when experiencing economic and social dissonance.

Organizational trust is defined as the willingness to believe in an organization and have
confidence of its benevolence and capabilities (Gould-Williams, 2003; Jia et al., 2019).
Organizational trust usually links HRM and employee attitudes as a mediating mechanism
in the hospitality and tourism industry (Kloutsiniotis and Mihail, 2020). SRHRM represents
organizational benevolence with respect to employees that improves their feelings,
perceptions and attitudes (Alfes et al., 2013; Jia et al., 2019). SRHRM can promote
organizational trust as a result of providing care and support to employees, protecting
individual resources and reducing negative emotions such as fear (Halbesleben et al., 2014).
It is proposed in applying social support theory that SRHRM is negatively related to
employee fears of external threats.

Furthermore, the environment plays a role that influences the effectiveness of SRHRM,
as it did with COVID-19. Based on an open systems view, organizations are not isolated
islands; they are in systems impacted by external and internal environments. The
environment and social resources interactively affect individual resources (Hobfoll et al.,
1990; Hobfoll et al., 2018). Event system theory (EST) suggests their occurrence impacts
feelings, thoughts and behaviors of actors (Morgeson et al., 2015). Events such as the
COVID-19 crisis present complex environments involving novelty (event is varied and is an
unexpected or new phenomenon), disruption (event changes normal, day-to-day activities)
and criticality (event is important, essential and a priority) (Morgeson et al., 2015).

COVID-19 has been disruptive and critical to the hospitality and tourism industry, and
its unexpectedness caused widespread, sharp performance decreases in the industry in
which employees faced layoffs or job losses. It brought unprecedented challenges for
hospitality and tourism HRM practices to embrace social responsibility and demonstrate
compassion andwarmth for employees.

Unfortunately, the impacts of SRHRM on employee fears when faced with extreme
dangers and uncertainty, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, remain conceptually and
empirically unexplored. Employee fears of external threats are psychological states or
feelings of uncertainty and danger as a result of undesirable events (Lebel, 2016). Therefore,
this research analyzed the moderating effect of the event strength of COVID-19 on the
relationship between SRHRM and employee fears.

This research was aimed at making three contributions to the literature. First, it
determined the effects of SRHRM on employee fears of external threats during COVID-19,

IJCHM
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348

thereby enriching the strategic HRM research in crisis situations. Second, it shed light on
how SRHRM helped to overcome employee fears of external threats through enhanced
organizational trust based on social support theory. In doing so, it explored the underlying
mechanisms of impacts of SRHRM on employee fears. Third, it examined the moderating
effects of the event strength of COVID-19 on the relationship between SRHRM and employee
fears, and expanded the boundary conditions of SRHRM. The research conceptual model is
shown in Figure 1.

2. Literature review and hypotheses
2.1 Socially responsible human resource management and organizational trust
Trust is mutual confidence in another party’s capabilities and actions, including the
perception of the benevolence and dependability of the other party (Mayer et al., 1995).
Based on the perspective proposed by Gould-Williams (2003), organizational trust refers to
employee beliefs about the capabilities, benevolence and predictability of the organization.
Employees are willing to trust an organization when they have faith or confidence in its
capabilities and benevolence, and the belief that the organization will not damage their
interests or withhold benefits (Jia et al., 2019; Schuh et al., 2018).

It is reasonable to suggest that SRHRM may help in augmenting organizational trust.
First, SRHRM practices promote employee trust motivation (Collins and Smith, 2006; Jiang
et al., 2012). SRHRM may enhance organizational trust through incentives, compensation
and promotions for social contributions (Shen and Zhu, 2011; Waring and Lewer, 2004).
Specifically, companies can consider employee social performance in rewards and
compensation, promotion and performance appraisals; this tends to increase employee
willingness to believe that the company supports socially responsible behaviors and cares
about employee benefits (Jia et al., 2019; Salas-Vallina et al., 2020).

Second, SRHRM practices improve employee trust through enhanced capabilities
(Bombiak and Marciniuk-Kluska, 2019; Jiang et al., 2012). For example, training to position
CSR as a core organizational value and matching personal identity with CSR identity in
recruitment and selection encourage employees to have confidence in the benevolence and
CSR abilities of organizations (Archimi et al., 2018). Therefore, the first hypothesis was
proposed as follows:

H1. There is a positive relationship between SRHRM and organizational trust.

2.2 Organizational trust and employee fears of external threats
Employee fears of external threats represent negative psychological assessments of dangers
at work resulting from uncertainty and hazards (De Clercq, et al., 2017; Lebel, 2016).
Uncertain and changeable environments produce challenges for organizations, leading to

Figure 1.
Conceptual model

Socially-responsible
HRM (SRHRM)

Fears of external
threats

Organizational
trust

Event strength
of COVID-19

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349

employee fears of financial risks and job security threats. COVID-19 introduced high levels
of unpredictability and peril for hospitality and tourism companies and their staff, including
canceled bookings and the closure of tourist attractions. As a result, employees faced losing
jobs, deep pay cuts and the ever-present danger of viral infection. Under these unusual
circumstances, it was paramount to build greater levels of trust between organizations and
employees to overcome the fears and anxiety.

Organizational trust plays a crucial role in overcoming employee fears of external
threats. First, enhanced organizational trust encourages employees to have greater belief
that companies can and will provide support and help to them to overcome their struggles
emanating from COVID-19 and reduce fears of threats. Second, greater recognition of
organizational benevolence makes staff feel that companies are prioritizing benefits to
employees, and having such positive feelings about companies, can decrease fears of job
losses (Xu et al., 2016). Third, trust in organizational capabilities and benevolence increases
confidence that companies and staff share common visions and targets in uncertain
situations.

Employees with high levels of organizational trust have greater career satisfaction
(Ilkhanizadeh and Karatepe, 2018) and lesser negative attitudes (Ozturk and Karatepe, 2019).
Evidence shows that organizational trust promotes employee commitment (Aryee et al.,
2002), feelings of psychological safety (Jia et al., 2019) and greater ability to overcome fears
(Lebel, 2016). Therefore, it was proposed that organizational trust has a negative association
with fears of threats:

H2. Organizational trust is negatively related to employee fears of threats.

2.3 Mediation effects of organizational trust
It is acknowledged that SRHRM can affect employee attitudes and behaviors in an indirect
way (Jia et al., 2019; Newman et al., 2016; Shen and Benson, 2016). SRHRM practices are
likely to impact employee social and psychological processes through social support
(Hobfoll, 2001). Social support theory highlights the social relationships providing support
and assistance to individuals and groups, making individuals sense attachment care in
times of frustration and difficulty (Hobfoll et al., 1990).

According to social support theory, SRHRM gives employees material and emotional
resources, care, friendship and a heightened sense of self-accomplishment in crisis
situations. This organizational support and resources may be transformed into individual-
level employee resources that assist in alleviating fears. Specifically, SRHRM can promote
individual perceptions of trust in organizations that helps employees (Jia et al., 2019).

In addition, organizational trust makes employees recognize organizational support for
retaining positive and reducing negative resources (Halbesleben et al., 2014; Hobfoll et al.,
2018). Organizational trust emphasizing mutual confidence, loyalty and commitment about
capabilities and actions transfers positive resources between organizations and employees
(Ilkhanizadeh and Karatepe, 2018; Schnackenberg and Tomlinson, 2016). As a result,
negative feelings are lessened through the elevated trust relationships between individuals
and organizations (Jia et al., 2019; Peccei and Van De Voorde, 2019).

Therefore, organizational trust plays an important role in the social and psychological
processes when SRHRM is impacting employee fears of external threats. SRHRM sends
signals about organizational responsibility, benevolence and capabilities that enhance
organizational trust and reduce fears of external threats (Newman et al., 2016). For example,
SRHRM provided employees who were involved in volunteering work in cabin hospitals
and transfer services with masks and protective suits, training to develop employee

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protection capabilities and rewards and promotions to those employees participating during
COVID-19. The employees felt the support and benevolence of their employers and had
greater confidence about their companies’ competitive standing and employee care. These
SRHRM practices built employee trust in organizations and contributed to reducing
employee fears of external threats. It is proposed, therefore, that SRHRM practices help in
overcoming employee fears of external threats through organizational trust:

H3. Organizational trust mediates the relationship between SRHRM and employee fears
of external threats.

2.4 Moderation effects of COVID-19 event strength
The environment plays a crucial role in the process of social support transforming into
personal resources (Hobfoll et al., 1990). Generally, the environment and social support have
interactive effects on individuals. In addition, prior research recommends that it is important
to explore the interactive effects of HR practices and contexts on employees (Becker and
Huselid, 2010; Guest, 2017). As a severe crisis, COVID-19 crippled the hospitality and
tourism industry and put employees at extreme health and economic risk. Thus, the
pandemic constituted a highly significant external environmental situation, which
influenced the effects of SRHRM practices on employees.

COVID-19 created high levels of uncertainty threatening or perceived to threaten security
of life and property, and individual well-being. Event strength is an effective measure of the
relevance and potential impacts of a crisis (Morgeson, 2005). It is the extent of novelty,
disruption and criticality associated with a crisis (Morgeson et al., 2015). The disruption and
criticality of the COVID-19 pandemic are highlighted in this research. Event strength
introduces discontinuity into environments and reflects the degree to which an event is
important, essential or a priority for organizations. According to EST, events influence
individual thoughts, feelings and actions (Bundy et al., 2017; Morgeson et al., 2015).

As the COVID-19 event strength was very strong, the negative impacts of SRHRM on
employee fears of threat were likely to be more significant. First, COVID-19 was hugely
disruptive bringing great changes in HRM practices in hospitality and tourism companies.
The more disruptive an event, the more likely it will change feelings and attitudes of the
actors (Morgeson et al., 2015). COVID-19 was extremely unsettling, making employees
afraid about health threats, economic losses and leading to mental anguish and confusion
about the future. As such, it may be expected that HRM will fulfill its social responsibilities
in this catastrophe (Hobfoll, 2001).

Evidence shows that crises motivate organizations to engage in helping others to reduce
physical and psychological devastation (Muller et al., 2014) . SRHRM offering resources and
support for socially responsible behaviors is more recognized by staff, and the positive
resources passing from organizations to employees are greater (Watkins et al., 2015).
COVID-19 would not have influenced the effects of SRHRMwere it not so disruptive.

Second, COVID-19 was of critical importance and a priority for hospitality and tourism
companies and staff, and to deal with COVID-19 became essential and a priority issue for the
industry. When a crisis is more critical, it is likelier to change feelings and attitudes
(Morgeson and DeRue, 2006; Morgeson et al., 2015). Companies were requested to suspend
providing services immediately on January 24th, 2020 in China, hotels and tourism
attractions closed and numerous bookings were canceled. Because of the seriousness of
COVID-19, employees were more afraid of external threats, and needed care and help from
their employers. Dealing with COVID-19 became the most important issue for all
organizations.

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In this respect, SRHRM had to support and encourage employee socially responsible
behavior and demonstrate care for staff members in greater need of support and feelings of
attachment. The positive resources delivered through SRHRM help employees overcome
fear, especially during crises. It is reasonable to posit that the stronger the COVID-19 event
strength, the more significant was the negative effect of SRHRM on employee fears of
external threats. Therefore, assuming greater social responsibility is more conducive to
reducing employee fears of threats, the fourth hypothesis was proposed as follows:

H4. COVID-19 event strength positively moderates the relationship between SRHRM
and employee fear of external threats. As the COVID-19 event strength gets
stronger, the negative impact of SRHRM on employee fears of threats is more
significant.

3. Methodology
3.1 Measures
Five-point Likert scales were used to measure SRHRM, COVID-19 event strength and
organizational trust ranging from “strongly disagree” (1) to “strongly agree” (5), and fear of
external threat ranging from “not at all” (1) to “very often” (5). The scales used for these four
variables are now described. The questionnaires were originally constructed in English, and
conventional and back translation was independently done by two Chinese bilingual
academics (Sun et al., 2007). The scales for event strength and organizational trust in their
English and Chinese versions were tested and showed good reliability and validity.

3.1.1 Socially responsible human resource management. The scale for SRHRM from
Shen and Zhu (2011) was applied. The items were as follows: My company considers
personal identity – CSR identity fit in recruitment and selection; My company provides
adequate CSR training to promote CSR as a core organizational value;My company provides
CSR training to develop employees’ skills in stakeholder engagement and communication;My
company considers employee social performance in promotions; My company considers
employee social performance in performance appraisals; My company relates employee social
performance to rewards and compensation. The scale showed good reliability with
Cronbach’s a of 0.912.

3.1.2 COVID-19 event strength. The measures of COVID-19 event strength focused on
event disruption and criticality and followed the Liu and Liu (2017) scale. Cronbach’s a was
0.782. The important items included: This event is critical for the long-term success of our
company; This event is a priority to our company; This is an important event for our
company; This event disrupts our company’s ability to get its work done; This event causes
our company to stop and think about how to respond; The event required our company to
change the way we work.

3.1.3 Organizational trust. The scale of organizational trust was adapted from Gould-
Williams (2003). The important items included: I am treated fairly by this organization;
In general, I trust this organization to keep its promises or commitment to me and other
employees; This organization has always kept its promises about the demands of my job
and the amount of work required of me; I trust management to look after my best
interests; This organization has always kept its promises about my career development.
Cronbach’s awas 0.919.

3.1.4 Fears of external threats. The measures for fears of external threats were adapted
from Lebel (2016) and asked how frequently people felt fearful during COVID-19. The items
were: The economic downturn will negatively impact this organization; This organization will

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lose sales or revenue; There will be layoffs at this organization; Our organization will lose
business to competitors; An industry downturn will negatively impact this organization.
Cronbach’s awas 0.830.

3.1.5 Control variables. The researchers controlled for demographic factors (age, gender,
educational level, position and tenure and company ownership) related to individuals (Liu
et al., 2010). In addition, the location of respondents was controlled. Since Wuhan was the
center of COVID-19 in China followed by other areas of Hubei Province, two dummy
variables (D1 and D2) were created – D1 was denoted by (0,1) where 1 = “areas of Hubei
Province except Wuhan,” 0 = “other”; D2 was (0,1), where 1 = “areas of China except Hubei
Province,” 0 = “other.”

3.2 Sample and procedures
A questionnaire survey was conducted of employees in hospitality and tourism companies
(including hotels, travel agencies, scenic spots, tourism planning companies and others)
during the outbreak of COVID-19 in February in China. The respondents were from hotels
including the Banyan Tree and InterContinental hotels in Hangzhou, Hyatt hotels in Ningbo,
Marriott hotels inWuhan, Ctrip travel inWuhan, and the BES Cultural TourismGroup.

There were two reasons for choosing hospitality and tourism companies. First,
COVID-19 directly impacted the industry especially as the disease spread in China in
January, and since China was the first country to experience COVID-19. The hospitality
and tourism companies were almost stagnant and faced significant challenges across
several months. Second, in a labor-intensive service industry, the development of a
hospitality and tourism company relies on human resources, and employee
psychological states directly affect the quality of service, customer satisfaction and
loyalty. Therefore, employee psychological state recovery is a key to the healthy and
sustainable development of the hospitality and tourism industry.

Questionnaires were sent to employees throughWeChat, a viable method to survey more
respondents without face-to-face contact. The snowballing technique was followed as by
Sun et al. (2007). A total of 436 responses were received. Of these, 408 valid questionnaires
were retained after excluding 28 invalid forms because of inattentiveness (completion in less
than 3 min) and having obvious tendencies in answers (the same answers for more than
eight consecutive questions).

It is noteworthy that 175 respondents were from Wuhan (42.9%), the epicenter of the
COVID-19 outbreak; 158 respondents were from other areas of Hubei Province outside of
Wuhan (38.7%); and 75 respondents were from other areas in China outside of Hubei
(18.4%). Males represented 55.1% and females were 44.9% of the respondents. Most of the
employees were aged 20–39 (72.8%), and 64.2% had college degrees or higher. Frontline
employees were 38.5%; supervisors accounted for 19.4%; and middle-senior managers were
at 42.2%.

In addition, semistructured interviews with managers from hotels and tourism
companies in Wuhan were conducted to provide deeper qualitative evidence to confirm
and explain the relationships presented in the theoretical model (Zhuang et al., 2018).
Hotels and tourism companies in Wuhan were used for this research because they were
obviously and directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The interviews provided evidence to
better understand relationships in organizational SRHRM, organizational trust, COVID-19
event strength and employee fears of external threats. The respondents were five managers
from brand hotels, travel agencies and tourism planning companies in Wuhan, and each
interview lasted for around 50–90min.

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4. Results
4.1 Confirmatory factor analysis
LISREL 8.80 was applied to test the validity of key variables. COVID-19 event strength was
treated as a second-order variable, involving event disruption and criticality. The validity of
event disruption and criticality was tested in the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) process.
The CFA results showed that the five-factor model (SRHRM; event disruption; event
criticality; organizational trust; fears of external threats) fit the data better than alternative
models. The five-factor model (x 2/df = 3.94 < 5; NFI = 0.94; NNFI = 0.94; CFI = 0.95;
IFI = 0.95; RMSEA = 0.085 < 0.01) showed more acceptable fit than alternative models
(Table 1). The variables all possessed acceptable degrees of internal consistency and
reliability.

4.2 Descriptive statistics
The means, standard deviations, correlations and reliability statistics for the key variables
are presented in Table 2. The correlation analysis indicated that SRHRM was positively
related to organizational trust (r= 0.729, p< 0.01), and negatively related to fears of external
threats (r = �0.260, p < 0.01). Organizational trust was negatively related to fears of
external threats (r=�0.246, p< 0.01).

4.3 Hypothesis testing
SPSS 22 process 3.3 was used to test the mediating effect of organizational trust and
moderating effect of event strength. The mediating effects testing process was as follows:
During step 1, examining the relationship between SRHRM and organizational trust,
SRHRM was positively related to organizational trust (M1: b = 0.738, p < 0.001) (Table 3).
SRHRM had a positive effect on organizational trust. This result supportedH1.

Table 1.
Results of
confirmatory factor
analysis (CFA)

Models Factors x 2/df RMSEA NFI NNFI CFI IFI

One-factor HRMþEDþECþTOþFT 13.30 0.174 0.77 0.77 0.79 0.79
Two-factor SRHRMþEDþEC; TOþFT 10.99 0.157 0.81 0.81 0.83 0.8

3

Three-factor SRHRM; EDþEC; TOþFT 8.67 0.137 0.86 0.85 0.87 0.87
Four-factor SRHRM; EDþEC; TO; FT 4.67 0.095 0.92 0.93 0.94 0.9

4

Five-factor SRHRM; ED; EC; TOþFT 3.94 0.085 0.94 0.94 0.95 0.9

5

Note: N = 408. RMESE = root-mean-square error of approximation; NFI = normed fit index; NNFI = non-
normed fit index; CFI = comparative fit index; IFI = incremental fit index; SRHRM: socially responsible
HRM; ED: event disruption; EC: event criticality; TO: trust in organizations; FT: fear of external threats

Table 2.
Descriptive statistics
and correlations for
key variables

Mean SD 1 2 3 4

1 SRHRM 3.97 0.68 1.00
2 COVID-19 event strength 4.20 0.53 0.453** 1.00
3 Organizational trust 4.01 0.68 0.729** 0.437** 1.00
4 Fear of external threats 2.88 0.98 �0.260** 0.035 �0.246** 1.00

Notes: *p< 0.05; **p< 0.01; ***p< 0.001

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H2 proposed that organizational trust had a negative effect on fears of external
threats. The result indicated that organizational trust was negatively associated with
fears of external threats (M2: b =�0.288, p < 0.01) (Table 3), supporting H2.

Third, the mediation effect of organizational trust between SRHRM and fears of external
threats was regressed after demographic variables were controlled, and there was a
significant mediating effect of organizational trust between SRHRM on employee fears of
external threats. In addition, the bootstrapping procedure was applied based on 5,000
samples with a 95% confidence interval (CI) to test the mediation effect of organizational
trust. The results showed an indirect effect = �0.213, SE = 0.064, 95% CI = (�0.331,
�0.075), not including 0. The 95% CI bootstrap test confirmed that the mediation effect of
organizational trust between SRHRM and fears of external threats was significant,
supportingH3.

The moderating effect of COVID-19 event strength was tested by regression analysis.
The results showed that SRHRMwas negatively related to fears of external threats (M2: b =
�0.273, p < 0.01), whereas COVID-19 event strength positively impacted fears of external
threats (M2: b = 0.309, p < 0.01). The results indicated that the interactive effect of SRHRM
and COVID-19 event strength was negatively related to fears of external threats (M2: b =
�0.215, p < 0.01) (Table 3), suggesting that COVID-19 event strength had a negative
moderating effect on fears of external threats.

In addition, the 95% CI bootstrap test showed the slope computation at high (1 SD
above the mean: b = �0.387, 95% CI = [�0.603, �0.170]), mean (b = �0.273, 95% CI =
[�0.475, �0.072]) and low (1 SD below the mean: b = �0.160, 95% CI = [�0.379, 0.061])

Table 3.
Mediating effect of
organizational trust

and moderating
effect of event

strength

Variables Organizational trust Fear of external threats

M1 M

2

Constant 3.814 3.851

Control variables
Gender 0.075 �0.046
Age �0.011 0.195*
Education 0.060 0.179*
Ownership 0.021 �0.038
Position �0.052 �0.088
Tenure 0.024 �0.062
D1 �0.058 �0.274*
D2 0.018 �0.087

Independent variables
SRHRM 0.738*** �0.273**

Mediator
Trust in organizations �0.288**

Moderator
ES 0.309**
SRHRM*ES �0.215**
R 0.741 0.434
R2 0.549 0.188
F 53.952 7.637
P 0.000 0.000

Notes: *p< 0.05; **p< 0.01; ***p< 0.001; SRHRM: socially responsible HRM; ES: event strength

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(Table 4). The index demonstrated that the negative relationship between SRHRM
and fears was significant when the event strength was at the mean and high levels,
whereas it was not significant when event strength was at a low level. Event strength
played a significant moderating role between SRHRM and fears of external threats.
The stronger the event strength, the more significant was the negative effect of
SRHRM on fears of external threats. H4 was thus supported.

The moderating effect of COVID-19 event strength between SRHRM and fears of
external threats was as shown in Figure 2. This indicates that the higher the COVID-19
event strength, the more significant was the negative effect of SRHRM on fears of external
threats.

4.4 Alternative model analysis
Organizational support and resources impact individual resources through perceived trust
(Halbesleben et al., 2014; Hobfoll et al., 2018). Therefore, this research proposed that SRHRM
reduced fears through enhanced perceived organizational trust. To compare with the
original model, the mediating and outcome variables were reversed, and then the new
alternative model was examined. In the alternative model, fear of external threats was the
mediating effect, and organizational trust was the outcome variable. The results showed
that the relationship between fears and organizational trust was much weaker (M4: b =
�0.073, p < 0.05) (Table 5), and the moderating effects of event strength on organizational
trust were not significant (M4: b=�0.013, ns).

The bootstrapping procedure was applied based on 5,000 samples with a 95% CI to test
the mediation effect of fears of external threats. The results showed an indirect effect =
0.026, SE = 0.010, 95% CI = (0.008, 0.047). The effect of organizational trust on fears of
external threats was stronger andmore significant than the effect of fears of external threats
on organizational trust. Therefore, the results supported the model that SRHRM impacts

Table 4.
Index of moderation
results

Moderator (COVID-19 event strength) Effect Boot SE P
Bootstrap 95% CI
LLCI ULCI

Low (�SD) �0.160 0.111 0.151 �0.379 0.061
Mean �0.273 0.102 0.008 �0.475 �0.072
High (þSD) �0.387 0.110 0.001 �0.603 �0.170

Figure 2.
Moderating effect of
COVID-19 event
strength 1

1.5

2

2.5

3

3.5

4

4.5

5

Low SRHRM High SRHRM

Fe
ar

o
f e

xt
er

na
l t

hr
ea

ts

Low Event
strength
High Event
strength

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fears through organizational trust, and the original model was more robust and acceptable
than the alternative one.
4.4.1 Qualitative research. Qualitative evidence was gathered to supplement the
quantitative findings. Semistructured interviews were conducted with managers from
hotels and tourism companies in Wuhan to provide deeper qualitative evidence to explain
the relationships presented in the conceptual model (Zhuang et al., 2018). Hotels and tourism
companies in Wuhan were used, and the five interviews were with experienced managers in
hotels and tourism companies, including CITIC Travel (Hubei) Company, New Beacon
Hotels Group (Wuhan) and BES Cultural Tourism Group. The data from the interviews are
shown in Table 6.

The interviews provided further evidence to confirm and more deeply understand the
relationships among SRHRM, organizational trust, COVID-19 event strength and fears of

Table 5.
Mediating effect of

fear of external
threats and

moderating effect of
event strength

Variables Fear of external threats Organizational trust

M3 M4
Constant 2.685 4.040

Control variables
Gender �0.029 �0.046
Age 0.194 0.002
Education 0.160 0.074
Ownership �0.052 0.020
Position �0.078 �0.053
Tenure �0.061 0.015
D1 �0.238 �0.076
D2 �0.097 0.019

Independent variables
SRHRM �0.354*** 0.645**

Mediator
Fear of external threats �0.073*

Moderator
ES 0.181**
SRHRM*ES �0.013
R 0.

363

0.756
R2 0.132 0.571
F 6.714 43.769
P 0.000 0.000

Notes: *p< 0.05; **p< 0.01; ***p< 0.001; SRHRM: socially responsible HRM; ES: event strength

Table 6.
An overview of

interview

Interviewees Gender Company type Position Duration

Wang Female Travel agency Senior manager 74 min
Zheng Male Travel agency Junior manager 54 min
Tang Male Five-star hotel Senior manager 57 min
Yin Male Tourism planning company Senior manager 89 min
Liu Male Travel agency Senior manager 83 min

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external threats. First, the feedback suggested that SRHRM enhanced organizational trust.
This trust is influenced by HRM practices, and SRHRM delivers support and care to staff
and gives employees greater confidence in organizational capabilities and benevolence.
Generally, SRHRM impacts the trust relationships in organizations (Jia et al., 2019). The
following statement confirmed this relationship:

There are regular training sessions on socially responsible work. For example, the travel
agency goes to communities to organize film-watching and delivers goods to communities
and nursing homes. The purpose is certainly to expand the brand influence of the travel
agency in the local area. At the same time, these activities promote social and community
well-being. We are trained to implement these plans and learn how to communicate with
communities. Besides, our company supports socially responsible behavior and activity.
During COVID-19, our company purchased masks and protective suits from overseas, and
donated money to hospitals and the Red Cross.

It is quite fair in our company, and the company respects your contribution and performance. I
trust our company to keep its promises. For example, I was a sales champion, and was promoted
from a salesman to a middle-level manager. Employees get along well and show high loyalty to
the company (Liu, senior manager in travel agency).

Second, organizational trust helped to overcome fears of external threats. Greater
organizational trust tended to heighten people’s beliefs about organizational capabilities and
benevolence. If employees have organizational trust, they feel safer and show less fear
(Lebel, 2016; Xu et al., 2016), as echoed in the following:

This organization treats its employees fairly and has kept its promises about my development
and individual interests. For example, our company is a leading organization and highlights
improving employee leadership capabilities. In addition, our leader has great capacity in
achieving organizational goals, and to cultivate new employees. Occasionally, I thought about the
negative effects of COVID-19 on investment confidence and business, profits and even layoffs.
However, I am still optimistic about our company although times are still hard for us now. I
believe this company cares about employee interests, and I identify with our brand and
management. I have faith that our company is better than most others in the industry. We keep
positive and communicate positive feelings to our customers (Yin, senior manager in a tourism
planning company).

Third, organizational trust played a mediating role between SRHRM and fears of external
threats. According to social support theory, SRHRM representing organizational support
and care is a critical resource helping individuals overcome fears of external threats
(Hobfoll, 2001). When provided with social support, people have lesser resource loss through
enhanced trust, because trust helps individuals realize resource gains (Halbesleben et al.,
2014), as evidenced in this statement:

In recruitment and selection, it is necessary to check the CSR identity fit between
individuals and organizations, and consistency with company philosophy about love
and social responsibility. Our company highlights social responsibility and dedication
values, and there are socially responsible practices to support blind children and deaf
schools. We have to learn some sign language to communicate with these children, and
the company has trained us to do so. In addition, the company promotion, appraisal
and incentive management consider socially responsible behaviors, and employees are
motivated to engage in these activities. During COVID19, I was a volunteer worker at
the Second Yangtze River Bridge to maintain traffic order and measure body
temperatures. Our company praised me as “the most beautiful volunteer” and wrote an
article published by headquarters.

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Generally speaking, our company is fair. It keeps its promises to employees and has
helped in my career development, and I have learned much in this company. In addition,
I trust our leader; she is great. I admire her capabilities and strategic perspectives.

Because of COVID-19, there is a decrease in performance and profits. However, our
company promised employees a basic income. In addition, our company did not lay off any
employees, and even tried to recruit new employees. We are not fearful, and we are confident
about our company in all aspects, such as competitive products, and close customer
relationships. We will be stronger after COVID-19 (Zheng, junior manager in a travel
agency).

Fourth, the COVID-19 event strength augmented the negative effects of SRHRM on
fears. It has been suggested that environmental contexts impact the effects of HRM on
employees (Guest, 2017). Indeed, the COVID-19 event strength augmented the
negative relationship between SRHRM and fears. When a crisis is stronger,
employees are more eager for support and care from their organizations (Watkins
et al., 2015). The more disruptive and critical was the pandemic, the more negative
were the effects of SRHRM on fears of external threats. External events can instigate
differences in organizational management and outcomes, and it is of value to explore
event system theory in organizational behavior research (Liu and Liu, 2017), as stated
by this interviewee:

Our hotel supported and affirmed employee social responsibility behavior, returning lost
money and firefighting, for example. Our hotel praised socially responsible behavior and wrote
articles to advocate those behaviors in our official account (on WeChat) and OA system, and
incentives were provided as well. Our hotel supported employees to engage in fighting the
pandemic and provided volunteering services in COVID-19.

Well, there is a great impact of the pandemic on the service industries. The
customers of the hotel used to be dominated by business guests; they have disappeared
during COVID-19. There were no travelers in this area. All conferences and banquets
in the hotel were stopped; this was really a shock. The hotel group pursued rapid
development and brand extension, but now transformation became the first priority
with the changing consumption habits of guests. The hotel conference room bookings
were cancelled. Receiving business guests changed to local community service, and
housekeeping, cleaning and elderly care. In addition, fighting with COVID-19 became
the most important work in our hotel.

We stopped operations and made great contributions in isolation during the pandemic.
The hotel supported and encouraged employees to take social responsibility in COVID-19.
They had to take risks, and deserve praise, extra allowances and incentives. In the process of
serving medical teams, we encourage employees to improve service quality and to work
creatively, for instance, organizing birthday parties for medical staff and improving the safety
protection of the hotel.

Although performance and profits decreased during COVID-19, the hotel did not lay off
employees. We applied job rotation and worked online to resolve difficulties brought by the
pandemic. Sometimes, we felt anxious but not fearful. This depended on the successful
business transformation (Tang, senior manager in five-star hotel).

5. Conclusions and implications
5.1 Conclusions
The purpose of this research was to explore how SRHRM influenced fears of external threats
in hospitality and tourism companies during COVID-19. The results suggested that SRHRM
helped to overcome fears in the COVID-19 pandemic through greater organizational trust. In

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addition, COVID-19 event strength accentuated the negative effects of SRHRM on fears of
external threats.

The main conclusions from the qualitative evidence were as follows. First, SRHRM is an
important organizational resource supporting employees to deal with a crisis. Second,
resources from organizations are transformed into individual resources through greater
organizational trust. Third, the external COVID-19 crisis strengthened the negative effects
of SRHRM on fears. The stronger the COVID-19 crisis, the greater was the negative impact
of SRHRM on fears. Most of the existing literature focuses on the effects of SHRM in normal
conditions. However, more research to explore HRM with social responsibility in crises
should be conducted in the future.

This research investigated the effects of SRHRM in overcoming fears of external threats
in hospitality and tourism companies in China following the COVID-19 outbreak. The
results showed that organizations played an important role in improving employee negative
psychological states in the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic. HRM should be warm-hearted
and take greater responsibility in a major crisis such as COVID-19. Unlike HRM under
normal conditions, the expanded conceptual model illustrated the value of SRHRM in
reducing fears during COVID-19 through elevated organizational trust. More creativity and
research are needed during crises in the future to improve organizational HRM in times of
uncertainty and threatening environments.

5.2 Theoretical implications
First, this research explored the effects of SRHRM on employee fears during a crisis, thus
contributing to strategic HRM research in hospitality and tourism. Most of the existing
literature focuses on the impacts of SRHRM on individual attitudes under normal conditions
(Jia et al., 2019; Newman et al., 2016; Pham et al., 2019; Shen and Zhang, 2019; Zhao et al.,
2019). However, HRM must assume more social responsibility, especially in major crises,
and help employees to deal with negative emotions (Parkes and Davis, 2013; Voegtlin and
Greenwood, 2016; Watkins et al., 2015).

The findings demonstrated that SRHRM sends positive messages to employees
and builds a stronger trust relationship that helps them overcome fears of threats.
This research fills a literature gap by explaining the effects of SRHRM on overcoming
fears of external threats in the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the study is in
response to the call for more responsible HRM research, and it enriches strategic HRM
research (Shen and Benson, 2016; Morgeson et al., 2013; Voegtlin and Greenwood,
2016).

Second, this investigation improves the understanding of the underlying mechanisms
about the effects of SRHRM on employee fears of external threats. On the foundation of
social support theory, this empirical work provided evidence that SRHRM enhances
organizational trust and contributes to reducing fears of external threats. According to
social support theory, organizations can be an important resource and offer a sense of
attachment to people (Hobfoll, 2001; Hobfoll et al., 2018), and organizational trust may
mediate the effect of SRHRM and make individuals value resource protection and reduce
resource loss (Halbesleben et al., 2014).

This paper supports the view that SRHRM helped to overcome negative psychological
states during the COVID-19 pandemic through enhanced organizational trust. Therefore, it
confirmed the process of organizational resources contributing to individual resources
(Halbesleben et al., 2014; Hobfoll et al., 2018).

Third, this research extends the strategic HRM literature by applying event
strength as a boundary condition to explain the impacts of SRHRM on employee fears

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of external threats. According to event system theory, events occur and play critical
roles in shaping individual thoughts, feelings and actions (Morgeson et al., 2015; Liu
and Liu, 2017). The COVID-19 pandemic worldwide shocked hospitality and travel
companies and their employees. This research tested the moderating effect of COVID-
19 event strength between SRHRM and fears of external threats and provided an
integrative view about the effects of SRHRM.

The COVID-19 event strength made the effects of SRHRM greater in reducing fear of
external threats. The more disruptive and critical are crises like COVID-19, the more
SRHRM is needed in hospitality and tourism companies. Therefore, this research provides a
comprehensive understanding about the effects of SRHRM in the COVID-19 pandemic and
potentially the results can help to improve crisis management in organizations (Bundy et al.,
2017; Williams et al., 2017).

5.3 Managerial implications
Hospitality and tourism companies should help employees to overcome fears of
external threats during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing prosperity of
the hospitality and tourism industry depends on population mobility and
uninterrupted, quality service; therefore, the lockdown and social distancing policies
during COVID-19 had a direct and negative impact. The crisis relief efforts
of government agencies were not always timely, available, reliable or effective.
In addition, personal resources and power were insufficient and too weak to deal with
the pressures of COVID-19. Therefore, organizations should provide support and help
to employees during and in the aftermath of a crisis.

SRHRM can be a critical organizational resource for overcoming employee fears.
SRHRM provided masks and protective suits to employees involved in volunteering
work in cabin hospitals and transfer services, trained employees in protection skills
and resilience capabilities and rewarded employees engaging in socially responsible
work during COVID-19. Therefore, employees sensed the support and benevolence of
their employers and had greater confidence about their companies’ competitive
standing and employee care. This augmented organizational trust leading to
reductions in fears of threats. It is valuable for hospitality and tourism companies to
adopt SRHRM to build trust and to address severe challenges such as COVID-19,
thereby helping employees to overcome fears of economic and psychological threats.

Managers must highlight organizational trust, especially during crisis situations.
Greater organizational trust makes employees more appreciate the resource support
from their organizations and transform these into individual resources in difficult
times. In addition, enhanced trust can transform organizational resources to
individual employee resources, and this helped employees overcome fears during
COVID-19. Building organizational trust is essential in promoting the relationships
between organizations and employees and in hospitality and tourism industry
recovery.

SRHRM should be applied in hospitality and tourism companies, especially in tragic
events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak in China and worldwide
from January 2020 inflicted severe negative impacts on hospitality and tourism companies
and employees. SRHRM helps hotels and travel agencies to improve employee trust during
crises. Specifically, responsible recruitment and selection, CSR training and education and
the related performance appraisal, compensation and promotion involve social

Employee
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361

responsibility. These SRHRM practices strengthen employee organizational support
perceptions and contribute to organizational trust and reduce employee fears in facing the
great challenges during a major crisis.

SRHRM was effective in the COVID-19 crisis in China. The more severe the COVID-19
event strength, the more significant were the negative effects of SRHRM on fears of threats.
This is because COVID-19 made organizations and employees become a community of
common destiny. Employees are not a burden for companies in a crisis but represent a
sustainable resource to be relied upon in recovery. Being warm and friendly when there is a
huge need is not only a humanitarian gesture but also should become a requirement for
hospitality and tourism companies and their HRM departments.

5.4 Limitations and future research directions
It is acknowledged that there are several shortcomings in this analysis. First, the
research focus was on employee perceptions of SRHRM, organizational trust and fears
of external threats. The cross-sectional design is limited in explaining the causality
relationship between SRHRM and fears of external threats. In the future, longitudinal
research is needed to explore the causality relationship between SRHRM and fears of
external threats.

The data were collected from employees in hospitality and tourism companies, and
having a single source inevitably leads to common variance. An attempt was made to
control for common variance bias by examining whether the common variance bias
was acceptable in this research. Future researchers should gather data from multiple
sources including managers and employees and develop multilevel research studies
on SRHRM and individual outcomes. In addition, this research focused only on
hospitality and tourism and may not be generalizable to other economic sectors; thus,
the conceptual model should be tested in different industries in the future.

Third, this analysis emphasized the effects of SRHRM on fears of threats. Although it is
valuable to reduce fears of threats during a crisis, examining the effects of SRHRM on
positive psychological outcomes and mediating effects are also important directions for the
future.

Finally, this research did not consider the impacts of organizational context. For
example, leadership and HRM are important antecedents of staff attitudes and behaviors. In
the future, an expanded conceptual model should be designed to test the interaction effects
of leadership and SRHRMpractices.

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https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.22021

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2020.104164

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2020.104164

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04285-7

About the authors
Jie He PhD, is Assistant Professor in Hunan Institute for Innovation and Development, School of
Business, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, P. R. China.

Yan Mao, PhD, is Professor in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Hubei
University of Economics, Wuhan, P. R. China. Yan Mao is the corresponding author and can be
contacted at: 965170158@qq.com

Alastair M. Morrison, PhD, is Chair Professor in International College, National Kaohsiung
University of Hospitality and Tourism, Taiwan.

J. Andres Coca-Stefaniak, PhD, is Associate Professor in Business School, Department of
Marketing, Events and Tourism, University of Greenwich, London.

For instructions on how to order reprints of this article, please visit our website:
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mailto:965170158@qq.com

  • On being warm and friendly: the effect of socially responsible human resource management on employee fears of the threats of COVID-19
  • 1. Introduction

    2. Literature review and hypotheses

    2.1 Socially responsible human resource management and organizational trust

    2.2 Organizational trust and employee fears of external threats

    2.3 Mediation effects of organizational trust

    2.4 Moderation effects of COVID-19 event strength

    3. Methodology

    3.1 Measures

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    3.2 Sample and procedures

    4. Results

    4.1 Confirmatory factor analysis

    4.2 Descriptive statistics

    4.3 Hypothesis testing

    4.4 Alternative model analysis

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    5. Conclusions and implications

    5.1 Conclusions

    5.2 Theoretical implications

    5.3 Managerial implications

    5.4 Limitations and future research directions

    References

Contents lists available at ScienceDirec

t

T

ourism Management

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tourma

n

A cross-level investigation of the role of human resources practices: Does
brand equity matter?

IpKin Anthony Wonga,b, Shi Xuc, Suk Ha Grace Chand, Mang Hea,∗

a School of Tourism Management Sun Yat-Sen University, Tangzhou Rd. 1, Zhuhai, China
b Institute for Research on Portuguese-Speaking Country, City University of Macau, China
c School of Hospitality & Tourism Management University of Surrey, UK
d Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau, Avenida Padre Tomás Pereira (N402), Taipa, China

A R T I C L E I N F O

Keywords:
High−performance human resource practices
Emotional exhaustion
Intention to quit
Brand equity
Hotel
Multilevel modeling

A B S T R A C T

The extant literature has suggested that high-performance human resources practices (HRPs), such as employee
training, employment security, and a results-oriented appraisal system, promote favourable employee behaviors.
This research predicts that such practices render a mechanism that reduces hotel employees’ propensity to quit
through lowering their emotional exhaustion. However, does this mechanism work more effectively in hotels
with a strong brand? To address this question, we propose a multilevel research model to assess the effectiveness
of HRPs under different conditions of brand equity. Drawing on both social exchange theory and social iden-
tification theory, the current study works to advance the literature by investigating the cross-level brand equity
boundary condition on the HRPs−intention-to-quit moderated mediation process from two independent sets of
data. It advances the literature by bridging the research gap between human resource management and brand
management.

1. Introduction

Successful hospitality companies (e.g. Starbucks, Four Seasons
Hotels and Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants) take advantage of high-
performance human resource practices (HRPs) (e.g., scheduling flex-
ibility, extensive training and development, selective hiring, trans-
parent performance management policies, etc.) that lead to profitability
and staff satisfaction (Hinkin & Tracey, 2010). The body of literature
also points to the roles of HRPs in engendering favourable employee
behaviors and mitigating negative outcomes (Sun, Aryee, & Law, 2007).
Though HRPs are critical conduits for fostering employee motivation
and performance, there is still a paucity of empirical research on HRPs
in the tourism and hospitality industry (Karatepe & Vatankhah, 2014),
especially in the hotel sector, where HRPs are institutionalized based on
specific brand standards and value propositions that differentiate one
hotel from another (Ivanova & Ivanov, 2015; Sun et al., 2007).

The importance of a brand is often manifested through its brand
equity, which renders how people perceive its quality and associate
with a given product or organization (Keller, 2003; Nam, Ekinci, &
Whyatt, 2011; Prentice & Wong, 2016). However, a hotel’s brand equity
also encompasses an organizational strategy not only regarding how the
hotel is positioned from the consumer perspective, but also how it treats

its employees in reaching its strategic goals. Unfortunately, existing
research on brand management with respect to its impact on internal
organizational members faces two limitations. First, branding studies
are primarily germane to academic inquiry on consumers and hence,
their core focus rests merely on how brand affects consumer behaviors
(Aaker, 1996; Japutra, Ekinci, & Simkin, 2018; Ou, Verhoef, & Wiesel,
2017). Second, research pertaining to employee brand management
largely focuses on how brands influence job applicant organizational
images and employment choices (Jian & Collins, 2002; J.; Kim, York, &
Lim, 2011; Wehner, Giardini, & Kabst, 2015), without looking into how
an organizational brand could alleviate negative employee outcomes
such as burnout and propensity to quit.

The objective of this study is to fill the aforementioned research
gaps, to answer the question of how HRPs reduce employee turnover
intention through the mediating process of emotional exhaustion, and
to find out when this process works more effectively. From a broader
theoretical perspective, we argue that HRPs render as a mechanism that
alleviates employees’ negative responses. Such a mechanism is condi-
tioned on the research context (i.e., hotel), in that a hotel’s brand equity
works as a buffer that further helps to strengthen the impact of HRPs
and hence, to better remedy negative employee behaviors. To support
our contention, we draw upon social exchange theory, social

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2019.04.013
Received 25 October 2018; Received in revised form 12 March 2019; Accepted 23 April 2019

∗ Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: wongipk@mail.sysu.edu.cn (I.A. Wong), s.xu@surrey.ac.uk (S. Xu), gracechan@cityu.mo (S.H.G. Chan), Hmang@mail.sysu.edu.cn (M. He).

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identification theory, and the interplay between these two theoretical
foundations, to propose a cross-level model for investigating the
aforementioned mechanism (see Fig. 1). The key contribution of this
article lies in its synthesis between human resource practices and brand
equity in understanding employee behaviors. It thus bridges the dis-
ciplinary gap between marketing and management research domains by
integrating brand management and human resource management
(HRM) studies into a symbiotic research inquiry, in order to assess how
hotel brand efforts could ultimately benefit internal organizational
practices.

2. Theoretical background and hypotheses

2.1. High-performance human resource practices and outcomes

HRPs are holistic practices which can enhance the skills of the staff,
encourage employee participation and voice in decision making, and
improve motivation to put forth discretionary effort, and which col-
lectively affect organizational performance and sustainable competitive
advantage (Sun et al., 2007). As highlighted by the internal marketing
perspective, employees should be seen as the most trusted resources
that are available (Baker & Magnini, 2016). Internal marketing em-
phasizes the importance of marketing concepts within the company by
focusing on satisfying their employees with HRPs, which brings in sa-
tisfied external customers (Joung, Goh, Huffman, Yuan, & Surles,
2015). The ability to identify and measure the results of internal mar-
keting management not only indicates the level of success of such ef-
forts (e.g., employee job satisfaction), but also informs the company as
to whether the first link in the service profit chain (i.e., employees) is
strong enough to sustain subsequent links (e.g., customer loyalty and
profitability).

Recent literature has demonstrated the positive impact of HRPs
across countries and industries in terms of individual- and organiza-
tional-level outcomes (e.g., higher job satisfaction and firm perfor-
mance). The empirical research on HRPs has bolstered the contention
that investment in human resources can benefit long-term sustainable
competitive advantage of the firm. For example, Delery and Doty
(1996) identified seven key HRPs that positively impact return on
average assets and return on equity; such practices include internal
recruiting, tightly-defined job descriptions, profit sharing, formal
training, job security, results-oriented appraisals, and voice mechan-
isms. In an investigation of hospitality companies in the USA, Cho,
Woods, Jang, and Erdem (2006) demonstrated that implementing 12
HRPs (e.g., information sharing and internal recruiting) was likely to
lead to a lower turnover rate for non-managerial employees. Taking a
relational perspective on employment relationship, Sun et al. (2007)
found that the relation between HRPs and two key organizational
outcomes (i.e., productivity and turnover) was mediated by

organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in the hotel industry in
China. Two key components of HRPs—namely, selection and trai-
ning—were found to have a positive effect on employee innovation in
Chinese hotels (Chang, Gong, & Shum, 2011). A study of Iranian hotel
frontline employees demonstrated that the relation between HRPs and
intention to leave was mediated by job embeddedness (Karatepe,
2013b). In a study of human service non-profit organizations, Selden
and Sowa (2015) showed that implementing certain HRPs, such as
leadership development and compensation, reduced voluntary em-
ployee turnover.

We expected that HRPs would negatively impact turnover from the
perspective of social exchange theory, especially considering the norm
of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960). According to this theory, when em-
ployees’ efforts are acknowledged by their employer offering benefits
and progression opportunities, they will feel obligated to contribute to
the success of their organization (Guchait & Cho, 2010). Therefore, it is
important to realize that investments inherent in HRPs are an important
mechanism to overcome employee turnover issues. Researchers (e.g.,
Newman, Thanacoody, & Hui, 2011) have argued that organizational
policies on caring and supporting and investing in employees’ future
career development would positively intervene in the turnover process
and enhance affective organizational commitment of the employees.
For example, Kehoe and Wright (2013) found that an aggregated per-
ception of HRPs contributed to employee engagement and satisfaction
and positively influenced their intent to remain in the organization.

HRPs, such as providing professional training, job security, pro-
motion-from-within and investing in broad career paths, show that the
organization intends to build a long-term exchange relationship with its
staff. Taking training as an example, Becker (1962) points out that
organizations invest in training programs to improve employees’ job
performance. Existing literature has used the social exchange theory to
explore the relationship among training, employee attitudes and be-
haviors. For example, employers providing extensive training to em-
ployees will result in employees reciprocating with motivation to learn
new knowledge, and with loyalty via reduced turnover (Kesen, 2016).
In addition, a negative relation between on-the-job training satisfaction
and intention to quit was found in a recent study (Memon, Salleh, &
Baharom, 2016). Based on the above argument, we proposed that:

Hypothesis 1. HRP is negatively associated with intention to quit.

HRPs have been argued to be related to employee turnover and
retention. However, the underlying mechanisms are still speculative
(Karatepe, 2013a; Sun et al., 2007). Very little research has explored
the important role of employees’ attitudes and perceptions of HRP im-
plementation, or has investigated more proximal outcomes of HRPs that
would play mediating roles in the HRPs–turnover relationship (Kehoe &
Wright, 2013). Given the highly stressful work conditions for tourism
and hospitality employees, involving unusual working hours and work
overload with a high degree of human interaction, employees’ emo-
tional exhaustion is a serious concern of management staff within this
context. Therefore, it is vital for managers in the tourism and hospi-
tality sector to adopt HRPs in order to accomplish favourable outcomes
for their staff. In this study, we argue that employee perceptions of
HRPs reduce their emotional exhaustion, which in turn influences their
turnover intentions.

A few studies on HRPs have explored their influences on employees’
psychological outcomes, including employee subjective well-being and
emotional exhaustion (Fan et al., 2014; Kroon, van de Voorde, & van
Veldhoven, 2009). Emotional exhaustion is referred to as “the extent to
which employees feel emotionally overwhelmed and drained by their
work” (Janssen, Lam, & Huang, 2009, p. 788). High emotional ex-
haustion has been demonstrated to lead to various negative job-related
outcomes in the tourism and hospitality industry, including decreased
job performance (Choi, Kim, Lee, & Lee, 2014), low extra-role perfor-
mance (Yavas, Karatepe, & Babakus, 2018), high counterproductive
workplace behaviors such as rude behaviors toward coworkers and

H2

Emotional
Exhaustion

Human Resource
Practice

Intention to
Quit

Brand
Equity

H5 H6

H3

H4

Organizational Level

Individual Level

H1

Fig. 1. Hypothesized multilevel model.

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

419

customers (Hur, Moon, & Jun 2016), and high work–family conflict
(Krannitz, Grandey, Liu, & Almeida, 2015). Those consequences even-
tually lead to high turnover in organizations (Deery & Jago, 2015).

HRPs, on the other hand, could yield win-win outcomes leading to
mutual benefits for both employers and employees (Fan et al., 2014;
Harley, Allen, & Sargent, 2007). As discussed above, HRPs generate
reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960); and reciprocity, as a key mechanism,
influences employees’ positive psychological feelings in the workplace.
For example, employees could gain task discretion when performing
their work, and they would feel control of the pace of work. Employees
could also benefit from HRPs in terms of more meaningful work, more
secure jobs, improved communication channels, and more family-
friendly measures; thus employees may experience less stressful work
and lower emotional exhaustion. Several empirical studies (Harley
et al., 2007; Kalmi & Kauhanen, 2008; Macky & Boxall, 2008) have
concluded that individual stress levels and psychological strain would
be reduced after companies implemented HRPs. For example, Fan et al.
(2014) found that HRPs improved subjective well-being and decreased
stress and burnout among Chinese healthcare employees. Conway,
Monks, Alfes, and Bailey (2016) found that employee voice mechan-
isms, as an HRP, act as a resource by giving employees a sense of
control, which can reduce the deleterious effect of emotional exhaus-
tion. Accordingly, we predicted the following:

Hypothesis 2. HRP is negatively associated with emotional exhaustion.

Emotional exhaustion could serve as a key mechanism relating
HRPs with individual work-related attitudes. Emotional exhaustion acts
as an antecedent to employee turnover (Lloyd, Boer, Keller, & Voelpel,
2015; Yavas et al., 2018). When employees feel emotionally exhausted,
they experience depletion of their emotional resources. Employees tend
to quit because of the discomfort resulting from high levels of emotional
exhaustion in the workplace. Emotional exhaustion was also reported to
result in employees’ intention to quit in the hotel industry, according to
Jung, Yoon, and Kim (2012). Although existing empirical literature has
not yet examined the mediating role of emotional exhaustion linking
HRPs with intention to quit, the mediation relationship should be
consistent with social exchange theory, which implies that reciprocity
influences a series of employees’ positive psychological feelings in the
workplace (Fan et al., 2014). Based on the previous discussion, it is
suggested that HRPs would decrease emotional exhaustion, which in
turn would decrease employees’ intention to quit. This conceptual
scheme is in line with a mediation model. Taken together, we suggest
that HRPs reduce intention to quit indirectly by reducing emotional
exhaustion. In other words, the relation between HRPs and intention to
quit is mediated by emotional exhaustion:

Hypothesis 3. Emotional exhaustion mediates the relation between
HRPs and intention to quit.

2.2. Brand equity as a moderator

To develop further understandings of how organizational strategies
affect employees’ long-term decisions and attitudes, we now turn to
theory and studies in the marketing literature. More specifically, lit-
erature on branding suggests that by creating a unique and favourable
brand image in the mind of customers, it is more likely that an orga-
nization’s products would be selected over similar offerings from other
organizations (Yoo, Donthu, & Lee, 2000). Papasolomou and Vrontis
(2006) advocate that high brand equity allows companies to exhibit
influences that facilitate customer brand loyalty through strong name
awareness, perceived quality, brand associations and credibility. In fact,
brand equity has been well acknowledged as an organization’s strategic
asset; hence, this study defines brand equity as an organization’s stra-
tegic initiatives with an intended image that occupies “a distinct and
valued place” in the mind of its targeted stakeholders (Keller, 2003, p.
44), including customers and employees. Importantly, our conceptual

definition of brand equity takes a resource-based view (Arend &
Lévesque, 2010) to denote brand equity as an organizational resource
(i.e., strategic asset), while such a resource also casts influences onto
internal customers (e.g., employees). A positive brand can be con-
sistently embraced by employees in championing the brand (Xiong &
King, 2015), which positively affect customers’ brand commitment
(Erkmen & Hancer, 2015). In fact, studies in the marketing literature on
brand equity have been applied to the management discipline in un-
derstanding employee behaviors, as detailed below.

Our contention regarding the interaction between HRPs and brand
equity stems from two theoretical streams of work: social exchange
theory (Cropanzano, Anthony, Daniels, & Hall, 2017) and social iden-
tity theory (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). The social identity theory posits
that “individuals strive to achieve or to maintain positive social iden-
tity,” which “is based on a large extent of favourable comparisons …
the in-group must be perceived as positively differentiated or distinct
from the relevant out-groups” (Tajfel, 1974, p. 16). Accordingly,
working in an organization with a high brand equity helps an employee
to maintain a sense of pride and prestige and hence, to become better
identified with the organization (Löhndorf & Diamantopoulos, 2014).
This process ultimately leads to favourable employee behaviors and
brand-congruent practices. For example, Cable and Turban (2001)
contended that brand equity could influence job seekers’ decision
making during the recruitment process, in such a way that companies
with a strong brand would be favored by the job seeker. Kim, Jeon,
Jung, Lu, and Jones (2012) also reported that employer brand equity
positively impacts the intention of the job seeker to pursue a job op-
portunity. In addition, Collins and Stevens (2002) noted that positive
recruitment-related activities in the early stage, including media pub-
licity, corporate sponsorships, personal or word-of-mouth endorse-
ments and recruitment advertising, will positively influence graduating
students’ application decisions.

Although there is existing research on brand equity from the job
seeker perspective, little research is reported on how brand equity can
play a role in influencing employee psychological outcomes (Erkmen &
Hancer, 2015; Kimpakorn & Tocquer, 2010). In a study of luxury hotels
in Thailand, Kimpakorn and Tocquer (2010) found that high hotel
brand equity is characterized by a high commitment of the employee to
support the brand. A strong brand name could stimulate employee
identification with the organization, develop their supportive attitudes,
and give them incentives to deploy their human capital to accomplish
company goals (Vomberg, Homburg, & Bornemann, 2015). Jiang and
Iles (2011) assert that if brand equity is high, it can help a company to
build employee belongingness, emotional bonds and pride, and thus to
reduce employee turnover. The opportunity for employees to ap-
preciate the organization’s brand values can engender employee com-
mitment to the organization, resulting in the employees holding sy-
nergetic values worthy of maintaining (King & Grace, 2009).

In a similar vein, brand equity may also impact employee emotional
exhaustion. For example, Grandey (2003) found that surface acting, in
comparison to deep acting, can significantly contribute to employee
emotional exhaustion. However, when employees believe and act ac-
cording to a brand standard and market position, it is easier for them to
develop the authentic brand attitude from within, resulting in elevated
positive emotions and hence, reducing emotional exhaustion and in-
tention to quit (Xiong & King, 2015). When employees perceive the
relevance between their brand delivery behaviors and their personal
gains (e.g., positive feedback, or better compensation as a result of the
improved organization performance), they are more likely to exert ef-
fort in developing positive brand attitude, to carry out extra-role brand
behaviors, and to experience less potential burnout; hence, they are
more likely to remain in the organization (Xiong, King, & Piehler,
2013). Brand equity can also increase employees’ perceived brand
meaningfulness, which can further enhance their feelings of accom-
plishment and fulfilment of personal worth and higher order needs.
With a strong perceived brand meaningfulness, employees could be less

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

420

prone to experience emotional exhaustion, more motivated to reinforce
their job performance, and hence, more committed to their jobs and the
employer (Xiong & King, 2015).

Drawing on social exchange theory which is grounded in role of
HRPs, in lieu of social identity theory which is grounded in the role of
brand equity on employees, we propose a moderating influence of
brand equity on the impact of HRPs. According to social exchange
theory, support from an organization through HRPs signifies favourable
exchange of resources (Grant, Dutton, & Rosso, 2008) and hence,
lowers employee emotional exhaustion and intention to quit. We pre-
dicted that this mechanism would be more effective when employees
strongly identify with the organization (i.e., a strong brand), as they
feel a sense of belongingness, prestige, joy, and positive self-image
working in such a setting (Löhndorf & Diamantopoulos, 2014). That is,
we argue that favourable social exchange renders a mitigation process
that reduces employees’ negative outcomes. Such a process is condi-
tioned upon the social context where they are embedded. When the
social context makes available more resources (i.e., high brand equity)
that help employees to attain greater gains, the exchange would possess
greater benefits. This contention can be demonstrated by the resource-
based view (Arend & Lévesque, 2010), which asserts that com-
plementarity is present when the contributions of one resource to em-
ployee outcomes grow in the presence of another resource, such that
the joint impacts would exceed the sum of the separate impacts. In this
article, we argue that brand equity moderates the relation between
HRPs and its outcomes, such that combining both brand equity and
HRPs yields the most positive results. The resource-based view further
asserts that an organization is a system that involves interdependent
resources; and heterogeneity in the distribution of resources would
result in a sustainable competitive advantage (Carmeli & Tishler, 2004).
Brand equity and HRPs individually give rise to positive employee
outcomes. However, the resource-based view contends that the stra-
tegic resources would achieve their full potential through acting in a
complementary manner (Barney, 1991). Thus, with a strong brand,
employees could be more stimulated to engage in HR practices to
benefit themselves. Hence they would be less likely to experience
emotional exhaustion; and as a consequence, their desire to leave an
organization would be lower. Therefore, we hypothesized that HRP has
a more acute impact on mitigating employee emotional exhaustion (and
eventually turnover intentions) when brand equity is high than when
brand equity is low.

Hypothesis 4. The relation between HRPs and emotional exhaustion is
moderated by brand equity in that the relationship is stronger in hotels
with a higher level of brand equity.

Hypothesis 5. The relation between HRPs and intention to quit is
moderated by brand equity in that the relationship is stronger in hotels
with a higher level of brand equity.

Hypothesis 6. The relation between emotional exhaustion and
intention to quit is moderated by brand equity in that the
relationship is weaker in hotels with a higher level of brand equity.

3. Methods

3.1. Research setting, participants, and procedure

Data were collected by two sources—from two independent sur-
veys—in the context of hotels in Macau, China. The enclave is re-
nowned as the “Asian Las Vegas” and is currently the world gambling
capital, with a mix of international hotel chains such as Sheraton, JW
Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Conrad, Best Westin, and Holiday
Inn; as well as local and regional operators. We first identified a list of
37 hotel properties that had an adequate size of clientele and staff body,
from information provided by the local tourism authorities. These es-
tablishments were primarily casino hotels. The first survey targeted

hotel guests with an objective to assess customer dispositions and be-
haviors such as brand equity perceptions. For each selected property, a
quota sampling method was adopted: a quota between 20 and 50 re-
spondents was set depending on the size of the property. Next, a group
of trained field investigators were instructed to intercept respondents at
the exit of each selected property. We used a systematic sampling
method with a skip interval of three to reduce sampling bias. A person-
administered survey approach was employed to assist respondents in
filling out the questionnaire. A total of 1393 subjects were recruited in
the first survey. They included 52.1% males; 36.5% between the age of
20 and 29, 28.9% between the age of 30 and 39, and 21.2% between
the age of 40 and 49; 65.0% from mainland China, 23.0% from Hong
Kong, and the rest mostly from other Asian regions.

The second survey targeted hotel employees with an objective to
assess employee perceptions and behaviors such as perceived human
resource practices, emotional exhaustion, intention to quit, and orga-
nizational tenure. Following the data collection procedure and sam-
pling method of the first survey, a quota between 10 and 20 employees
was identified. Systematic sampling was employed with a skip interval
of three. Respondents were then intercepted at the employee exits, and
a small gift was presented to each respondent upon completion of the
survey. It is important to note that only frontline employees (i.e., line
staff and managers) working in the hotel area were recruited in the
survey, with filter questions ensuring their positions and work condi-
tions. Both survey questionnaires were translated by two of the authors
and two independent researchers, who were bilingual, using the back
translation method. The sample of the second survey had 501 complete
responses. Of the respondents, 54.9% were females; 40.9% were be-
tween the age of 25 and 34, 33.3% were between the age of 35 and 44,
and 19.6% were between the age of 45 and 54; 57.1% had a tenure of
one to three years, while 20.8% had a tenure of three to five years; and
the majority (i.e., 78.4%) were line employees, while the rest were line
supervisors.

3.2. Measures

Scales used in the present study were all adopted from the existing
literature, as we further discuss below. These multi-item scales were
developed based on reflective measures, in that each observed variable
(i.e., item) renders a manifestation of the latent construct
(Diamantopoulos, Riefler, & Roth, 2008). Hence, the construct implied
common causality in its corresponding items.

Human resource practice. We used Sun et al. (2007) 10-item four-
factor high-performance human resource practice scale to assess the
construct as “training,” “employment security,” “result-oriented ap-
praisal,” and “participation.” The rating scale for each item ranged from
1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). An example of the training
scale item was “The organization provides formal training programs to
teach new staff the skills they need to perform their job.” An example of
an employment security scale item was “The organization provides job
guarantees to employees.” An example of a result-oriented appraisal
scale item was “Employee performance is more often measured with
objective quantifiable results.” An example of a participation scale item
was “Employees are allowed to make decisions in their jobs.” The scale
is adequately reliable with a Cronbach’s alpha (α) of 0.90.

Emotional exhaustion. We adopted a four-item scale from Karatepe
and Uludag (2008) to assess emotional exhaustion. Each item was as-
sessed using a 9-point anchor ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 9
(strongly agree). Example items were “I feel burned out from my work”
and “Working with people all day is really a strain for me.” The scale is
highly reliable with an α of 0.95.

Intention to quit. We used a four-item scale adopted from Suazo
(2009). Each item was evaluated using a 7-point anchor ranging from 1
(strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Example items were “At work,
I will probably look for a job outside my current organization in the
next year” and “I often think about quitting my job.” The scale is fairly

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

421

consistent with an α of 0.91.
Brand equity. We used a four-item measure adopted from Yoo et al.

(2000) to assess overall brand equity. Each item was evaluated using a
5-point anchor ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
An example item was “If there is another brand as good as this hotel, I
still prefer this hotel.” The scale is adequately reliable with α = .87.
Next we aggregated the scale at the organizational level and validated
its appropriateness. First, brand equity was significantly different
among hotels (F(34, 1358) = 7.85, p < .001). Second, inter-member re-
liability indexes (ICC[1] = .15, ICC[2] = .87) and median inter-rater
agreement (rwg[j] = .85) were warranted. These evidences support
aggregation of the scale at the macro (i.e., hotel) level.

Control variables. We controlled for gender (1= “male” and
2= “female”), age (1= “24 or less” and 6= “65 or above”), and or-
ganization tenure (1= “less than one year” and 4= “five years or
more) at the individual level. They were included in the analysis as
control variables, as commonly reported in the literature (e.g., Hirst,
van Knippenberg, Chen, & Sacramento, 2011). We further controlled
for hotel star rating (0= “four star or below” and 1= “five star or
above”) at the organizational level. Our rationale is supported by the
fact that a hotel’s brand equity and its impact could be affected by the
hotel strategy, which could be assessed by the property’s star rating, as
Sun et al. (2007) acknowledged.

Data diagnostics. Drawing on recommendations from Podsakoff,
MacKenzie, Lee, and Podsakoff (2003), we addressed common method
bias (CMB) based on two approaches. First, data were collected from
two independent sources: employee and customer surveys. Second,
different scale anchors were used to mitigate CMB. We further diag-
nosed CMB using Harman’s single-factor test. Results indicate that CMB
was not a limitation, as χ2/df= 11.14, greater than the 2.0 threshold.
The marker variable technique was also used to further assess CMB. We
used a 4-item scale of motivational climate adopted from Moore,
Brown, and Fry (2015) to partial out the effects of the predictors on the
criterion variable. The procedure suggests that controlling the marker
variable does not affect the proposed relationships. We diagnosed
multicollinearity using the variance inflation factor (VIF), and results
demonstrate that it was not an issue in the study, as no VIF is greater
than 2.0.

4. Results

Table 1 presents descriptive statistics and correlations among the
variables of interest. Because data were obtained from two sources
while analyses included both individual- and organizational-level con-
structs, we diagnosed whether multilevel analysis was appropriate.
Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), we first tested a null model
into which no predictors were entered. Results provide support for the
use of HLM with χ2

(33) = 177.76 (p < .001) and ICC1 = .23 for emo-
tional exhaustion, and χ2

(33) = 151.79 (p < .001) and ICC1 = .20 for
intention to quit. These statistics indicate that 20%–23% of the variance
resided between organizations, to be explained by level 2 variables.

Hypotheses 1, 2, and 3 propose a relationship leading from HRP to
intention to quit through emotional exhaustion. Results from Table 2

reveal significant relationships between HRP and emotional exhaustion
(b=−0.22, p < .001), between HRP and intention to quit
(b=−0.76, p < .001), and between emotional exhaustion and in-
tention to quit (b = .52, p < .001). Using Baron and Kenny (1986)
mediation procedure, we find a partial mediation relationship of the
three variables. We then used the Sobel test to show that the mediation
is significant (Z=−4.83, p < .001). Together, those results provide
support for Hypotheses 1, 2, and 3.

We examined the cross-level interaction effects of brand equity in
Model 3. Results reveal that the HRP×brand equity cross-level inter-
action term is significant (γ=−1.71, p < .001), in support of
Hypothesis 4. To illustrate the interaction graphically, we followed
Aiken and West (1991) simple slope procedure to redefine the in-
dependent and moderator variables into plus and minus one standard
deviation from the mean and plotted the interaction in Fig. 2. Results
show that the HRP effect on emotional exhaustion is only significant for
hotels that enjoy a high level of brand equity (b=−1.57, t=4.43,
p < .001). In other words, HRP has no impact on emotional exhaustion
for employees embedded within low brand equity hotels (b=−.27, t
= .92, p=n.s). On the contrary, HRP has an acute impact on miti-
gating employee emotional exhaustion in high brand equity properties;
hence, brand equity serves as a buffer of employee burnout and fatigue
only in these establishments.

Results from Table 2 further reveal that while the HRP×brand
equity cross-level interaction on intention to quit is not significant, the
emotional exhaustion×brand equity interaction is significant (γ= .11,
p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 6 but not Hypothesis 5. Using the
simple slope procedure described above, we depict the interaction in
Fig. 3. In particular, the slope of emotional exhaustion is slightly more
salient for high brand equity hotels (blow brand equity = .47, t=4.65,
p < .001 vs. bhigh brand equity = .59, t=5.94, p < .001). Yet, employee
propensity to quit is significantly lower in these settings only when
employee emotional exhaustion is low (Mlow brand equity= 2.10 vs. Mhigh

brand equity= 1.67); while such propensity is fairly similar when em-
ployee emotional exhaustion is high (Mlow brand equity= 3.54 vs. Mhigh

brand equity= 3.50). In other words, brand equity is an effective buffer in
reducing employees’ desire to quit only when their level of mental fa-
tigue is relatively low, and it is ineffective in mitigating quitting pro-
pensity when employees have already reached a high level of exhaus-
tion.

Results further reveal that neither the direct effect of brand equity
nor hotel star rating is significantly related to the two endogenous
variables. Organization tenure has a moderate negative relationship
with emotional exhaustion (b=−0.21, p < .10) and intention to quit
(b=−0.08, p < .10). In summary, the moderated mediation re-
lationship presented in Model 3 explains 37% of emotional exhaustion
and 66% of intention to quit.

4.1. Auxiliary test

We tested two alternative models as follows. First, we examined the
direct effects of brand equity and hotel rating to HRP. However, none of
the effects were significant. We also tested the moderating effect of star
rating on the relationship leading from HRP to intention to quit through
emotional exhaustion, but found the moderating effect not to be sig-
nificant.

5. Discussion

The present study investigates HRPs in the hotel setting and ex-
plores how they could reduce employee emotional exhaustion and vo-
luntary turnover intention. Based on the social exchange theory with
respect to reciprocity between actors, we examined a mechanism in
which HRPs act as favourable exchanges between employers and em-
ployees. Through this mechanism, we contend that they could mitigate
employee desire to quit through lowering their emotional exhaustion.

Table 1
Means, standard deviations, and correlations.

Variable Mean s.d. AVE 1 2 3 4

1. Human resource practice 3.76 .68 .50 (.90)
2. Emotional exhaustion 3.25 1.54 .82 -.59*** (.95)
3. Intention to quit 2.65 1.13 .72 -.61*** .83*** (.91)
4. Brand equitya 3.84 .38 .57 .07 -.18 -.15 (.87)

Note: ***p < .001.
AVE=average variance extracted.
Internal consistency reliabilities are in (parentheses).
a. Values are operated at the organizational-level.

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

422

Although HRPs act as a conduit to support employees at work, they
might be more effective in some organizations and less in others.
Drawing on the social identification theory, we predicted that brand
equity of an organization works as a boundary condition that
strengthens the role of HRPs. In turn, the proposed multilevel moder-
ated mediation model presented in Fig. 1 works to contribute to the
literature and the tourism and hospitality industry, as discussed in the
following section.

5.1. Theoretical implications

From a broad theoretical perspective, this study makes an early
attempt to bridge the gap between two disciplinary research areas:
brand management and human resource management (HRM). As
Colquitt and George (2011) in an editor’s note at the Academy of
Management Journal acknowledge, “Novel topics can often result from
knowledge recombination, with something ‘new’ being created by
building a bridge between two literature or disciplines” (p. 433).
Carney, Gedajlovic, Heugens, Van Essen, and Van Oosterhout (2011)
further contend that every theory (e.g., social exchange theory and the
resource-based view), offers a useful perspective. However, none of the
theories in isolation could explain the compound and multicolored or-
ganizational form. Therefore, they suggest there is a need for future
research to concurrently test multiple theories.

This study thus heeds the call from these scholars and contributes to
the literature from two primary aspects. First, it integrates social ex-
change theory and social identification theory to offer a synthesis of the
two theoretical underpinnings in understanding how HRPs reduce
employee turnover intentions. This study offers several substantive
merits to the human resource literature, each of which adds nuances to
the predominantly linear investigation of HR management on employee
behaviors and firm performance, which have been the primary research
interest in the tourism and hospitality industry for years (Cho et al.,
2006; Karatepe & Uludag, 2008).

Although these prior studies have built the necessary foundation of
the field, it is prudent to unpack the notion of institutional logic (Fong,
Wong, & Hong, 2018) with respect to organizational identity and
strategy by exploring the strategic imperative of the organizational-
level brand on the role of HRPs. Drawing on an interplay between social
exchange theory and social identity theory, results of this study warrant
that the previously acknowledged linear relationship leading from
HRPs to quitting intention is not only subject to the meditation of
emotional exhaustion, but more importantly it is contingent upon the
moderating role of organizational-level brand equity.

A brand not only acts as a strategic positioning metaphor that

Table 2
Results of hierarchical linear modeling.

Model 1a
Emotional Exhaustion

Model 1b
Intention to Quit

Model 2
Intention to Quit

Model 3a
Emotional Exhaustion

Model 3b
Intention to Quit

Individual-Level Control
Gender .18 .01 -.09 .14 -.09
Age -.08 -.07 -.03 -.10 -.03
Tenure -.18† -.19* -.09† -.21† -.08†

Individual-Level Main Effects
Human resource practice (HRP) −1.03*** (.167) -.76*** (.099) -.22*** (.044) -.92*** -.18***
Emotional exhaustion .52*** (.028) .53***
Cross-level effects
Hotel star .07 .09
Brand equity (BE) -.39 -.23
HRP×BE −1.71** -.01
Emotional exhaustion×BE .11*
R2 .28 .30 .41 .37 .66
ΔR2 .11 .09 .25

Noted: †p < .10, *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
Parameter estimates are unstandardized.

Note: HRP = high-performance human resource practice

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

4.0

Low HRP High HRP

E
m

ot
io

na
l E

xh
au

st
io

n

Low Brand Equity

High Brand Equity

Fig. 2. Human resource practice× brand equity interaction on emotional ex-
haustion.

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

4.0

Low Emotional Exhaustion High Emotional Exhaustion

In
te

nt
io

n
to

Q
ui

t

Low Brand Equity

High Brand Equity

Fig. 3. Emotional exhaustion×brand equity interaction on intention to quit.

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

423

renders an intended business image, product quality, and service
standard of an organization in the eye of the consumers, it also lays the
necessary internal organizational protocol as a means of organizational
identification that guides employee behaviors. As Figs. 2 and 3 illus-
trate, such an organizational identification driven from a strong brand
has served as a buffer that on one hand reduces the negative effect of
emotional exhaustion on intention to quit, and on the other hand fa-
cilitates the positive influence of HRPs on lowering employees’ mental
fatigue. Thus, we add new insights to the human resource literature by
showcasing the heterogeneous nature of the HRPs–intention-to-quit
mediated relationship by accounting for organizational contingencies
through the cross-level role of a brand.

Second, this study seeks to build a bridge between two disciplinary
areas: brand management and HRM. Despite these two research streams
being closely related (as manifested in the current study), they have
been isolated within their own disciplinary research domains. Whereas
HRM literature has put a strong emphasis on reducing employees’
emotional exhaustion and quitting intentions as well as improving their
job performance, the branding literature focuses on customer decision
making and loyalty behaviors. The central tenet of brand management
rests on how a brand could help in enticing consumers, how a brand
and its affiliated products can be more attractive, hence yielding a
competitive advantage over industry rivals.

Although a strong brand is imperative in maintaining long-term
relationships with customers by building strong customer equity
through strategic brand initiatives (Rust, Lemon, & Zeithaml, 2004;
Wong, 2013), the current investigation looks beyond the lens of the
traditional marketing domain. Importantly, a brand also renders a
buffer that further mitigates the negative consequence of emotional
exhaustion and strengthens the HRP initiatives. Our findings further
reveal that such a buffering mechanism only works in organizations
that enjoy a strong brand. That said, we believe this study helps ad-
vance the extant literature by integrating brand management theore-
tical accounts into the HRM research domain. The interplay between
these two areas unveils a deeper understanding of why some of the best
HRPs fail to achieve their intended objectives (Becker & Gerhart, 1996),
perhaps due to an organization’s branding strategy. By disentangling
such strategic efforts through the proxy of brand equity, our study al-
lows new insights on the nascent role of brand equity on HRM.

5.2. Managerial implications

The findings reported provide practicable implications to organi-
zation leaders and HR professionals alike. The results demonstrate that
the adoption of a configurational view of human resources can pay off;
the building of HRPs powerfully influences the attitudes, perceptions
and behaviors of the individual employees. Not only can these practices
foster a positive workplace environment such as reducing employee
emotional exhaustion, but HRPs also positively influence employee
retention. Given the highly stressful working conditions of tourism and
hospitality employees, emotional exhaustion and turnover issues could
be serious concerns for managing employees in this industry (Zopiatis,
Constanti, & Theocharous, 2014). Therefore, managers in this sector
should adopt more HRPs so as to obtain positive outcomes for their
employees. Investing in practices such as extensive training, employ-
ment security, performance management processes, and employee
participation would positively impact employee attitudes and beha-
viors. Managers not only should be mindful of goals and objectives,
they also should pay special attention to the entire system of HRPs to
insure that the company encourages and incentivizes the appropriate
and positive attitudes and behaviors of the staff.

The results of testing the moderated hypotheses suggest that the
effect of HRPs is contingent upon brand equity. This finding clearly
reveals the key role of the HR department in strengthening the brand
internally. Therefore, tourism and hospitality organizations need to
enhance their brand management to maximize the payoff from

adopting HRPs as a strategy to manage the employee–organization re-
lationship. Firms that convey the value of the hotel via a strong and
consistent brand will show a competitive advantage in the war for ta-
lent. Encouraging conversations, seeking feedback from employees,
explaining the job relevance to the customer, as well as including them
in the brand development discussions, are critical ingredients to insure
employees will internalize the brand’s values (Xiong & King, 2015). If
organizations make a concerted effort to encourage their employees to
identify with the brand and internalize the brand into their self-concept,
employees should be able to rationalize their attitudes and behaviors
despite the challenges of the work environment in this sector. The
significance of creating a brand interconnection with the employees at a
deep level could go a long way toward reducing employee burnout and
turnover. Advantages in retaining employees could translate into
competitive advantages including generating and maintaining business.
Additionally, because the results mirror studies in the marketing lit-
erature, HR managers are advised to familiarize themselves with mar-
keting concepts and to work jointly with marketing experts to ensure
the organization is building a positive and coherent brand image in
their employees’ minds. Through this process, appropriate brand
knowledge structures would be formed for employees that enable
greater attraction and retention of employees, and increased motivation
for them to deliver the brand promise.

5.3. Limitations and directions of future research

The substantive findings of this study should be interpreted in light
of their limitations. First, we tested the impact of HRPs on intention to
quit through emotional exhaustion. It is possible that other mediators,
such as job embeddedness and career satisfaction, play a role in this
process. Likewise, we used brand equity as a proxy for organizational
strategic resources that lay a cross-level boundary condition of the
proposed relationships at the individual level. Although we controlled
for hotel star rating and other individual-level covariates, it is possible
other organizational factors and situations, such as organizational cul-
ture and service environment, could serve as strategic initiatives that
exercise influence on individual behaviors. Future research could ex-
tend the current study by assessing how other organizational settings
and propositions, as well as individual-level mediators, could lead to a
more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of interest.

Second, data of the study were drawn from 37 hotel operators in a
popular travel destination in China. It is possible that people’s cultural
beliefs could play a role in the HRPs–intention-to-quit relationship, as
Chinese are rooted with Confucian beliefs that highly value reciprocity.
We encourage future research that investigates the role of cultural va-
lues on HRP inquiries. Furthermore, we did not account for the impact
of the nature of HRPs in this study. It is likely that different practices
(e.g., training versus employment security) play different roles in af-
fecting hotel employees’ attitudes and behaviors. Thus, future studies
could further investigate the role of each type of HRP in the tourism and
hospitality industry.

Author contributions

IpKin Anthony Wong is the project leader of the study. He con-
tributes to all aspects of the study including research design, data col-
lection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation (i.e., introduction,
literature review, methodology, results, and conclusions).

Shi Xu contributes primary on manuscript preparation of the study
with a focus on literature review and implications.

Suk Ha Grace Chan contributes primary on research design and data
collection.

Mang He contributes primary on data collection.

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

424

Acknowledgment

This research was partially funded by the Fundamental Research
Funds for the Central Universities at Sun Yat-Sen University (No.
18wkzd08) and by the Macau Foundation Grant (No. MF1705).

Appendix A. Supplementary data

Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https://
doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2019.04.013.

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https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2019.04.013

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Dr. IpKin Anthony Wong (PhD in University of Hawaii) is
a professor of School of Tourism Management at the Sun
Yat-Sen University, China. His current research interests
include tourism and hospitality marketing, service quality
management, international marketing, green marketing
and tourism, casino management and gambling behaviors,
branding and destination image, human resource manage-
ment, among others. His publications appear in scholarly
journals such as Tourism Management, Journal of Travel
Research, International Journal of Hospitality Management,
and more. He serves as a coordinating editor for
International Journal of Hospitality Management and a board
member for Journal of Travel Research, Cornell Hospitality

Quarterly, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, and Journal of
Business Research.

Dr. Shi (Tracy) Xu is a Lecturer at University of Surrey
School of Hospitality &Tourism Management. She holds a
Ph.D. degree from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Xu
has authored over thirty refereed journal articles and con-
ference proceedings publications in hospitality & tourism.
Dr. Xu received the Best Paper Award at the 20th Annual
Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research
Conference in Hospitality and Tourism, in Tampa, FL, 2015,
and the Best Paper Award at the Southern Management
Association Annual Conference, in Charlotte, NC, 2016.

Dr. Suk Ha Grace Chan is an assistant professor in City
University of Macau. She received her Doctoral Degree in
Hotel and Tourism Management from the Hong Kong
Polytechnic University. Her research interests include ser-
vice quality, organizational climate as well as tourism
marketing and consumer behavior.

Dr. Mang He is an associate professor and deputy dean of
School of Tourism Management at Sun Yat-sen University.
His research interests are tourism policy, pro-poor tourism,
sports tourism, health and wellness tourism, soundscape
and tourism attraction.

I.A. Wong, et al. Tourism Management 75 (2019) 418–426

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  • A cross-level investigation of the role of human resources practices: Does brand equity matter?
  • Introduction

    Theoretical background and hypotheses

    High-performance human resource practices and outcomes

    Brand equity as a moderator

    Methods

    Research setting, participants, and procedure

    Measures

    Results

    Auxiliary test

    Discussion

    Theoretical implications

    Managerial implications

    Limitations and directions of future research

    Author contributions

    Acknowledgment

    Supplementary data

    References

Tourism Management 87 (2021) 10438

5

Available online 23 June 2021
0261-5177/© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Pushing forward high-performance work systems in the hotel industry: A
procedural-justice climate to promote higher unit-level outcomes

Jaewan Yang a, Youngsang Kim b, Peter B. Kim c,*

a College of Business, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, 107 Imun-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, 02450, South Korea
b SKK Business School, Sungkyunkwan University, 25-2 Seonggyungwan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 03063, South Korea
c School of Hospitality and Tourism, Auckland University of Technology, 423 WH Building, 49 Wellesley St East, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

A R T I C L E I N F O

Keywords:
High-performance work system (HPWS)
Collective organizational citizenship behavior
(OCB)
Organizational service performance
Procedural-justice climate
Hotels

A B S T R A C T

In this study, we examine how the high-performance work system (HPWS) can be used to promote positive
employee behavior leading to higher organizational service performance in the hotel industry. Specifically, we
suggest that the collective organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) of employees links the HPWS to organi-
zational service performance, and a stronger procedural-justice climate of a hotel strengthens the relationship
between the HPWS and the collective OCB. Using multi-source data drawn from 5290 employees across 180
independent franchise hotels in North America and customer feedback on each surveyed hotel, we found that the
collective OCB mediates the relationship between the HPWS and organizational service performance, and when
hotels have a stronger procedural-justice climate, the mediating effect is more salient. The implications of these
findings for tourism researchers and practitioners are discussed.

1. Introduction

The literature of strategic human-resource management (SHRM)
indicates that the organizational use of progressive human-resource
management practices is linked to various unit-level performance out-
comes, such as manufacturing performance, customer-service satisfac-
tion, and profits (Subramony, 2009). Within these findings,
high-performance work systems (HPWS) and bundles of inter-
connected human-resource (HR) practices are theorized to provide ev-
idence of the strategic value of employees and to communicate
enhanced expectations for employee performance and contribution
(Liao & Chung, 2004).

However, research on the performance implications of HPWS is still
unclear, and the research findings are limited in generalizability,
because most studies examining the HPWS–firm performance relation-
ship have been conducted in the manufacturing sector (e.g., Arthur,
1994). The service industry differs from other industries because prod-
ucts (intangibles) are developed and consumed simultaneously, and
customers are part of the service production in the industry (Kandam-
pully, Keating, Kim, Mattila, & Solnet, 2014; Liao, Toya, Lepak, & Hong,
2009). Moreover, HR practices are mainly institutionalized to differen-
tiate one hotel from others within the tourism and hospitality sectors

(Ivanova & Ivanov, 2015). Hence, in the tourism and hospitality context
where employees play a critical role in satisfying customers for orga-
nizational success and sustainability (Kim, Gazzoli, Qu, & Kim, 2016),
the HPWS–organizational performance relationship is particularly
relevant.

Extant research suggests that human-capital resources, social ex-
change, HR climate, or collective attitudes and behavior (e.g., Jiang,
Lepak, Hu, & Baer, 2012; Messersmith, Patel, Lepak, & Gould-Williams,
2011; Takeuchi, Lepak, Wang, & Takeuchi, 2007) may function as a
mediating process in the HPWS–performance relationship; nevertheless,
we are unsure how these factors work and what other processes should
be studied in the service context. Furthermore, extant research in the
tourism and hospitality literature has mainly focused on how HR prac-
tices affect individual employee outcomes, such as emotional exhaustion
and intention to quit (Wong, Xu, Chan, & He, 2019), individual orga-
nizational citizenship behavior (OCB; Pham, Tučková, & Jabbour,
2019), service-oriented OCB (Kloutsiniotis & Mihail, 2020b), and work
engagement and individual performance (e.g., Karatepe & Olugbade,
2016), relying on the data collected from employees and managers using
surveys, rather than organizational outcomes measured by customers.
Thus, studies that examine the relationship between the HPWS and
organizational service performance are rare.

* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: jwyang@hufs.ac.kr (J. Yang), ykim03@skku.edu (Y. Kim), pkim@aut.ac.nz (P.B. Kim).

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Tourism Management

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tourman

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2021.104385
Received 31 March 2020; Received in revised form 16 June 2021; Accepted 17 June 2021

mailto:jwyang@hufs.ac.kr

mailto:ykim03@skku.edu

mailto:pkim@aut.ac.nz

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Tourism Management 87 (2021) 104385

2

Given the importance of maintaining good service performance in
the tourism and hospitality industry, more studies that examine how the
HPWS influences service performance are imperative. In a similar vein,
Kloutsiniotis and Mihail (2020a), in their recent review of the HPWS
research in the tourism and hospitality context, called for empirical
research that scrutinizes the mechanism of the HPWS-organizational
performance link. However, the majority of HPWS empirical studies in
the tourism and hospitality context utilized a cross-sectional research
design that is exposed to the issues of common-method variance (Pod-
sakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003) and reverse causality (Guest,
2011), making it difficult to develop better understandings of the
HPWS-organizational service performance linkage.

In developing better knowledge of the effect induced by using HPWS
in organizations, it is critical to identify the role and function of em-
ployees’ judgment for the exchange relationships between employees
and the organization they work for, namely, justice perception (Wu &
Chaturvedi, 2009). In fact, previous studies showed that the
procedural-justice climate, shared perceptions of the procedural justice
in decision-making experienced by employees, substantially influences
employee behaviors (e.g., Colquitt, NOE, & Jackson, 2002; Naumann &
Bennett, 2000). Bowen and Ostroff (2004) suggested that organizational
climate plays a critical role in how HR practices are implemented, and
the procedural-justice climate can constitute a critical organizational
context in the HPWS–performance relationship. However, to the best of
our knowledge, no empirical attempts have been made to examine the
moderating role of the procedural-justice climate to investigate the ef-
fect of HPWS in any organizational context.

In this study, we address the aforementioned gaps in the literature. In
doing so, first, using social-exchange theory (Blau, 1964; Cropanzano,
Rupp, Mohler, & Schminke, 2001), we contend that organizations with
more investment in HPWS improve the collective organizational citi-
zenship behavior (OCB), because employees are expected to reciprocate
by collectively increasing their helping behavior, which in turn leads to
organizational service performance. In a service context, service per-
formance can be categorized into (1) employee service-related behavior
of serving and helping their customers or (2) service effectiveness, such
as the consequences of employee service behavior (Liao & Chung, 2004).
Following this categorization, we define organizational service perfor-
mance as organizational consequences (e.g., customer satisfaction,
intention to return) from employees’ service performance behavior,
which is frequently used in SHRM research that integrates a service
context (e.g., Chen, Zhu, & Zhu, 2015). This study differs from previous
studies of the HPWS in the tourism and hospitality industry that focus on
individual employees OCB (e.g., Kloutsiniotis & Mihail, 2020b; Safavi &
Karatepe, 2018) given that we examine collective OCB and its mediating
role between the HPWS and organizational service performance in the
hotel industry.

Second, using theory on the strength of the HR system (Bowen &
Ostroff, 2004), we also argue that the positive effect of HPWS on OCB
largely depends on how strong the organization’s procedural-justice
climate is, which helps shape a situation in which behavior is
accepted and rewarded by developing the consensus of the HPWS per-
ceptions among employees (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). We believe that it
is of particular importance to identify how the procedural-justice
climate affects the HPWS-organizational performance linkage, because
it could provide important insights into the mixed findings on the effect
of HPWS (e.g., Liao et al., 2009), the inter-organizational differences of
HR systems (Nishii & Wright, 2008) and the quality of practice imple-
mentation (Khilji & Wang, 2006).

Last, we endeavor to provide additional theoretical and methodo-
logical clarity about the HPWS–service performance linkage by using
multi-sourced unit-level data, drawn from hotel employees and their
customers, to test a research model with a lagged study design to address
the issues of common-method variance (Podsakoff et al., 2003) and
reverse causality (Guest, 2011).

2. Theory and hypotheses

Fig. 1 presents our conceptual model for testing the moderating ef-
fect of the procedural-justice climate on the linkages among HPWS,
collective OCB, and organizational service performance. Given that the
mechanism of how the HPWS affects organizational performance in the
service context is not well known, we aim to provide new insights into
the linkage from the HPWS to the organizational service performance,
along with the organizational context that would make this linkage
stronger.

2.1. HPWS and collective OCB

SHRM research suggests that the HPWS plays an important role in
influencing organizational resources, employees’ performance, and
competitive advantage (Jackson, Schuler, & Jiang, 2014). According to
ability–motivation–opportunity (AMO) theory and SHRM-related per-
spectives, the effect of the HPWS on organizational outcomes is gener-
ally believed to operate through the improved ability (human-capital
resources), motivation, and opportunity for employees to engage in
behavior that is important to the organization (e.g., Arthur, Herdman, &
Yang, 2021; Jiang et al., 2012; Li, Wang, van Jaarsveld, Lee, & Ma,
2018). Other scholars also suggest that the HPWS improves the devel-
opment of the organizational climate (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004), internal
social structure (Evans & Davis, 2005), or social exchange (Takeuchi
et al., 2007). We focus here on the role of the HPWS, which includes
selective staffing, extensive training and development, promotional
opportunities, contingent compensation, information sharing, rigorous
performance appraisal, employee participation and autonomy, and
employment security, in shaping employee motivation and behavior in
the form of collective OCB that is important for improved customer
satisfaction.

In particular, the HPWS is an important organizational driver to
facilitate social exchange between the organization and its employees
(Takeuchi et al., 2007). The use of the HPWS is theorized to provide
evidence of the organization’s expanded investment in, and valuing of,
employees (Collins & Kehoe, 2017). To the degree that employees
experiencing the practices perceive that the value received within the
exchange relationship is increased, they are expected to reciprocate by
collectively improving their own contribution to the exchange via
behavior that helps the organization’s functioning and performance
(Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005; Walton, 1985). In doing so, patterns of
mutual reciprocal obligation activated between the organization and
employees give rise to a deeper and more protracted relationship be-
tween the organization and its employees over time (Mossholder,
Richardson, & Settoon, 2011; Sun, Aryee, & Law, 2007).

OCB represents discretionary behavior that operates outside task
performance but is important to organizational functioning and per-
formance (Organ, 1988; Podsakoff, Ahearne, & MacKenzie, 1997).
Whereas the study of OCB has largely focused on antecedents to indi-
vidual acts of OCB, the study of collective levels is critical, because the
effect on organizational performance depends not on single instances of
the behavior, but on the collective effects of many behavioral instances
among groups of employees (Ehrhart, 2004; Organ, 1988). The

Fig. 1. Theoretical model (HPWS = high-performance work system; OCB =
organizational citizenship behavior).

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3

organization’s ability to tap and leverage discretionary behavior across
populations of employees has long been argued to be an important
consequence of the HPWS (Walton, 1985), as demonstrated in past
research (Messersmith et al., 2011; Sun et al., 2007). Thus, we expect
that levels of the HPWS will be positively associated with levels of OCB.

Hypothesis 1. Unit-level HPWS perceptions will be positively associ-
ated with collective OCB.

2.2. The mediating role of collective OCB on the relationship between
unit-level HPWS perceptions and organizational service performance

Collective OCB is an important contributor to shaping the service
experience for customers (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993; Organ, 1988)
and has served as the central behavioral construct in several studies that
model the determinants of customer satisfaction (Schneider, Ehrhart,
Mayer, Saltz, & Niles-Jolly, 2005; Schneider & Bowen, 1985). Although
in-role performance behaviors may be strongly linked to organizational
service performance, we suggest that collective OCB also plays an
important role in contributing to organizational service performance for
the following reasons. First, organizations with high levels of collective
OCB are more likely to maintain a relation-based social and supportive
climate for helping others, which leads to more cooperation and
collaboration (Collins & Smith, 2006). In addition, the helping behavior
of employees can facilitate the sharing of information, knowledge, and
experience among coworkers, which may increase collective employee
productivity and effectiveness (Sun et al., 2007). Accordingly, em-
ployees’ willingness to identify and act on opportunities to contribute
beyond task-related expectation, when considered at the organizational
level, might improve the customer-service experience by forming a
supportive climate, which increases coworker cooperation and coordi-
nation and the efficient and effective deployment of resources and in-
formation (Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997).

Of equal importance, in a dynamic service environment in which the
customers and employees directly interact in the creation of the service,
employees might be expected to make additional efforts to report and
react to changing customer needs (Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997). Prior
studies have shown positive associations between aggregate OCB levels
and customer-service experience (Walz & Niehoff, 2000), product
quality (Podsakoff et al., 1997), and operating efficiency and effective-
ness (Sun et al., 2007; Walz & Niehoff, 2000). These findings are further
supported by a meta-analytic review reporting a positive relationship of
OCB with unit-level performance and customer satisfaction (Podsakoff,
Blume, Whiting, & Podsakoff, 2009). Since unit-level HPWS perceptions
influence the development of collective OCB, which then affects orga-
nizational service performance, we hypothesize:

Hypothesis 2. The relationship between unit-level HPWS perceptions
and organizational service performance will be mediated by collective
OCB.

2.3. The moderating effect of procedural-justice climate

Research suggests that organizational justice is a multi-dimensional
construct consisting of perceptions of fairness related to various facets
of the employee’s experience with the organization (Colquitt, 2001;
Cropanzano, Prehar, & Chen, 2002). Several sub-dimensions of justice
perceptions have been empirically derived, including procedural,
interpersonal, and interactional justice (Colquitt, 2001). Procedural
justice describes generalized individual perceptions of the fairness of
processes used in decisions affecting employees (Lind & Earley, 1992).
In examining the effects of HPWS on critical organizational outcomes,
the study of procedural-justice perceptions is appropriate, because it
captures perceptions of the justice of the processes used in the exchange
process between the individual and the organization (Cropanzano et al.,
2002).

Whereas less attention has been given to understanding the dynamics

and consequences of justice perceptions at the group and organizational
level, commonly referred to as the procedural-justice climate (Colquitt
et al., 2002; Naumann & Bennett, 2000), a growing number of studies
demonstrate the pivotal role that aggregated justice perceptions play in
the development of improved unit-level attitudes, behavior, and per-
formance outcomes (e.g., Colquitt et al., 2002; Naumann & Bennett,
2000; Whitman, Caleo, Carpenter, Horner, & Bernerth, 2012). The
procedural-justice climate describes a distinct group-level cognition
about the relative fairness experienced by a group and involves a
referent shift from perceptions regarding their individual experiences to
perceptions of the collective experience at the group or unit level
(Naumann & Bennett, 2000; Colquitt et al., 2002). When collectively
exposed to decision-making practices, employees develop shared per-
ceptions of the fairness of various processes used within the organiza-
tion. A meta-analytic review of the justice-climate literature showed
positive associations between the procedural-justice climate and
group-level attitudinal and performance outcomes (Whitman et al.,
2012).

As some scholars have pointed out, mere exposure to various prac-
tices is not enough to elicit organizationally desirable behavioral re-
sponses (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Nishii, Lepak, & Schneider, 2008).
Maintaining a good procedural-justice climate is necessary to make the
HPWS effective. Colquitt et al. (2002) provide evidence of robust re-
lationships between the procedural-justice climate and employee as-
sessments of the quality of the exchange relationship (e.g., perceptions
of leader–member exchange quality, trust, and perceived organizational
support). This suggests that increases in procedural-justice perceptions
affect the quality of the employee–organization exchange. In terms of
HR practice deployment, procedural-justice perceptions provide
important information about the quality of the exchange, whereas
perceived HR practices provide information about the content, or cur-
rency, of the organization’s offerings in the exchange relationship.
Therefore, two organizations with employees reporting equivalent
levels of perceived HPWS may experience different behavioral re-
sponses, depending on the relative effectiveness of implementation in
practice.

The quality of exchange relationship can be judged by the attributes
of the organizational decision-making processes that are important to
procedural-justice perceptions, including consistency, accuracy, sup-
pression, representativeness, correctability, and ethicality – i.e., if em-
ployees perceive that their interests are represented and that their
perspectives are heard and valued (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005). Thus,
organizational tendencies against each of these criteria are expected to
reflect the quality of the exchange relationship guiding the execution of
HR practices (Colquitt, LePine, Piccolo, Zapata, & Rich, 2012). For
example, research suggests that the benefits of performance appraisals, a
program common to most definitions of HPWS, depend not just on their
establishment, but also on their fair and effective administration
(Erdogan, 2002). Thus, although employees may report participation in
a regular performance-appraisal process, employee responses to this
practice depend on the quality of the exchange – i.e., the degree to which
it is characterized by consistency, accuracy, and suppression of bias in its
implementation, and this same logic could be applied to all facets of the
HR system.

In fact, these attributes are consistent with the principles suggested
by Bowen and Ostroff (2004), who argue that organizationally intended
HR systems can signal to employees which behaviors are valued and
rewarded and can be effectively implemented under a strong climate for
HR systems that include consistency, consensus, and distinctiveness. For
implementing HR practices, employees’ attributions of ‘Why does our
organization use the set of specific HR practices it adopted?’ shape their
attitudes and behaviors at work. For this reason, an organization’s use of
HPWS can be effective if employees conclude that their employer uses
the current HR practices to produce high-quality service and products,
and foster employee well-being. Thus, we contend that the degree to
which the HPWS elicits the desired behavioral responses will depend on

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4

embedding these practices in the context of high-quality exchange
relationships.

Beyond its effect on the exchange relationships between employees
and employer, the procedural-justice climate will operate as a heuristic
that will shape employee interpretations of the intents of the HPWS
(Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Nishii et al., 2008; Nishii & Wright, 2008).
When employees are exposed to HPWS in a weak procedural-justice
climate, they are unlikely to conclude that these practices are evi-
dence of their value and importance to the organization. Moreover,
because procedural justice affects employee trust in the organization
(Colquitt et al., 2012), a weak procedural-justice climate will affect the
perceived trustworthiness of the organization as an exchange partner,
further eroding the strength of the linkage between HPWS and the
desired behavioral outcome. However, when a strong procedural-justice
climate is maintained within the organization, employees exposed to
HPWS may regard their organization as a trustworthy exchange partner.

Taken together, we contend that the procedural-justice climate is a
necessary condition for the realization of the theorized behavioral out-
comes of the HPWS. As such, it serves as a potentially important source
of inter-organization differences in understanding the linkage between
the HPWS and employees’ collective behavioral responses (i.e., OCB).
That is, we contend that the procedural-justice climate provides an
important indicator of the prevailing fairness in managerial decision-
making and thus an important insight into the effect of the HPWS on
the collective OCB. When the procedural-justice climate is strong, we
expect that this climate helps ensure the effectiveness of managerial
implementation of the HPWS and the desired employee interpretation of
their value to the organization. Conversely, a weaker procedural-justice
climate would make it less likely that these practices will be imple-
mented in a fair and effective way – thereby reducing the likelihood that
the HPWS will be interpreted as an expression of the employee’s value to
the organization.

Hypothesis 3. The procedural-justice climate will moderate the rela-
tionship between the unit-level HPWS and the collective OCB, such that
the relationship will become stronger when the unit has a stronger
procedural-justice climate.

Although Sun et al. (2007) demonstrated the mediating role of OCB
in the relationship between HR practices, turnover, and productivity,
the mediating role of the aggregate OCB in the relationship between
perceived HPWS and service outcomes has not been tested directly.
Although we anticipate that OCBs would operate as a mediating
mechanism through which HPWS affects organizational service perfor-
mance at the unit level, we expect that this relationship will depend on
the strength of the procedural-justice climate within the organization.
Specifically, we expect to find evidence of the mediating role of OCB in
the relationship between HPWS and organizational service performance
only within a strong procedural-justice climate.

Hypotheses 4. The mediated relationship between the unit-level
HPWS and organizational service performance through the collective
OCB will be moderated by the procedural-justice climate.

3. Methods

3.1. Data collection and sample

Data for this study were obtained through the cooperation of a hotel
franchise and management company with brands representing low-cost,
business-traveler, extended stay, and luxury market segments. Inde-
pendent North American franchise locations were selected by corporate
operational personnel in an effort to represent a diversity of locations,
market orientations, and performance. Although the franchise agree-
ments stipulate specific standardized physical plant, technological, and
marketing requirements, franchise operators may adopt HR practices of
their own choosing. Thus, the sample provides excellent natural controls

on extraneous sources of variance and can better isolate the focal effects
of HR practices, the procedural-justice climate, and OCB on hotel service
outcomes. Additionally, the service-intensive context of the hotel in-
dustry, and the fact that employees and customers interact directly in
the creation of the service experience, make the meditational role of
organizational citizenship especially appropriate (Bowen, Gilliand, &
Folger, 1999).

In total, 204 hotels participated in the study. A team composed of
doctoral-level researchers specialized in management administered the
data collection, with the exception of the customer satisfaction survey.
Hotel managers at the designated locations participated in a conference
call in which the study methodology and requirements were explained.
They were then sent instructions, survey packets, and a sealed collection
box for the confidential return of completed surveys. The employee
survey was administered for three months preceding the collection of
customer-satisfaction data. In order to reduce common-source differ-
ences resulting from obtaining the perceptions of HR practices,
procedural-justice climate, and OCB from the same employees, half of
the employees were asked to answer a survey that included items
measuring perceived HPWS, whereas the other half answered a survey
that included items measuring procedural-justice perceptions and OCB.
All employees were assured of the confidentiality of their responses and
were provided with envelopes in which to seal their completed surveys
before placing them in the sealed collection box.

Service performance data for the months following our employee
data collection were provided by the corporate offices based on estab-
lished and ongoing customer-satisfaction surveys conducted at each
location. The headquarters surveyed approximately 50 customers who
had stayed at each hotel that month. Customers visiting each hotel
location had a chance to fill out a customer-satisfaction survey before
they left the hotel. Following the collection of employee survey data,
three monthly observations for each location were retained for analysis.

Out of 10,276 surveys sent out to the employees working for the 204
hotels, 5577 complete and useable responses were returned for an
overall response rate of 54.2%. Specifically, the response rates were
53.9% (fairness and OCB survey) and 54.4% (HPWS survey). To
generate meaningful unit-level averages for our variables, we limited
our sample to hotels with at least three employee survey responses for all
employee response variables. The final sample included 5290 employees
across 180 hotels, for an average of 29.39 employees per hotel (divided
equally between the two different employee surveys). The sample size
was reduced to approximately 50% of the initial sample. Of the re-
spondents, 64% were female; the average length of service in the in-
dustry was 6.28 years; and the average organizational tenure was 3.52
years. The mean values of number of rooms and hotel age were 167.29
rooms and 15.23 years, respectively.

Although the sample mostly consisted of employees who frequently
interacted with hotel guests (approximate 94%), there were some em-
ployees, such as engineering and maintenance employees, who rarely
interacted with hotel guests. Thus, we created a restricted sample that
excluded the latter kind of employees. To find out how much the full
sample differed statistically from the restricted sample, we compared
the restricted sample with the full sample for HPWS, procedural justice,
and OCB, and found that the two samples did not significantly differ
from one another.

3.2. Measures

3.2.1. Perceived HPWS (unit level)
This measure was designed to capture employees’ shared awareness

of the organizational HR practices used in the hotel. Following the
suggestions of Chan (1998) and Klein, Conn, Smith, and Sorra (2001), in
order to capture meaningful unit-level differences, respondents were
asked to report their awareness of the HR practices experienced by the
group (hotel). In doing so, we intended to use employees as informants
about HR practices used in the hotel, rather than capture their individual

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5

experiences. We regarded the use of multiple employee informants as an
appropriate way to capture employees’ shared awareness without
committing a level-based misspecification error arising from the use of a
single or a few key informants (Arthur & Boyles, 2007). This approach
also increased inter-rater reliability by reducing measurement errors
(Gerhart, Wright, McMahan, & Snell, 2000).

We followed relevant review articles (e.g., Lawler, 1992) and
empirical studies (e.g., Zacharatos, Barling, & Iverson, 2005) to
construct a measure of perceived HR practices. The final measure
included 15 items to measure job autonomy, participation in decision
making, employee involvement, training, performance appraisal and
feedback, pay for performance, and information sharing. These items are
listed in Table 1. These HR practices were consistent with the HPWS
outlined by Lepak, Takeuchi, and Snell (2003) and measures appearing
in other studies of SHRM literature (e.g., Den Hartog, Boon, Verburg, &
Croon, 2013; Liao et al., 2009).

We created a composite variable of perceived HR practices by
averaging all 15 items, following empirical procedures of previous
SHRM studies. The reliability of the scale was α = 0.89. Because we
conducted the analysis at the organizational level as the average rating
for perceived HR practices across each location, we examined within-
hotel agreement (and between-hotel differences) in perceived HR
practices prior to aggregation. We calculated intra-class correlations
(ICC), based on one-way ANOVA results (Gerhart et al., 2000); ICC(1)
for this measure was 0.08 (p < .001), indicating significant
between-hotel differences, and ICC(2) was 0.58, suggesting a moderate
level of within-hotel agreement. Although the value of ICC(2) is slightly
below the recommended level, this value is consistent with past pub-
lished research on the organizational-level measures of HPWS provided
by multiple employee respondents (e.g., Liao et al., 2009; Takeuchi
et al., 2007). Also, the median within-group agreement0 (rwg) for this
measure was 0.70, which exceeds the suggested criterion of 0.60 (James,
1982).

3.2.2. Procedural-justice climate
We adapted five items from past research (e.g., Niehoff & Moorman,

1993) to measure employee perceptions of justice. This measure cap-
tures the extent to which employees agree that the decision-making
process is fair and transparent as well as the extent to which the work-
place shares job- or organization-relevant information with employees.
The literature on organizational justice has suggested the existence of a
unit-level climate of procedural justice (Whitman et al., 2012). The
climate of justice is the “favorability of the team’s ratings of procedural
justice” (Colquitt et al., 2002, p. 87). Based on Chan’s (1998) compo-
sition approach, we used a group (hotel) referent in the survey to capture
the collective experience of employees. These items are also listed in
Table 1. The reliability of this measure was 0.88. We created a composite
variable of the procedural-justice climate by averaging the five items.
ICC(1) was 0.08 (p < .001), and ICC(2) was 0.55, again suggesting a
moderate level of within-hotel agreement, which we deemed sufficient
to justify aggregation. The median rwg for this measure was 0.55, which
is around the recommended rule of thumb.

3.2.3. Collective OCB
We adopted four items from the work of Podsakoff, MacKenzie,

Moorman, and Fetter (1990) to measure unit-level OCB. This measure
indicates the extent to which employees are willing to engage in tasks or
roles that are not required as part of their job responsibility. Although
many early studies operationalized OCB at the individual level (e.g.,
Bateman & Organ, 1983; Williams & Anderson, 1991), many group-level
studies have also used an OCB (e.g., Nishii et al., 2008; Walz & Niehoff,
2000). Organ’s (1988) measure included five different dimensions:
altruism, courtesy, civic virtue, conscientiousness, and sportsmanship.
Because hotel employees were used for sampling, we used civic-virtue
items, which are intended to capture helping behavior among em-
ployees to improve the service experience of customers.

Table 1
The result of confirmatory factor analysis.

Factor Scale items Second-/
first-order
factor
loading

T-
value

AVEa CRb

HPWS Employees have lots of
freedom to decide how
to do their work.

0.90 0.50 fixed 0.44 0.92

If a problem occurs,
employees can fix it
without involving
management.

0.42 16.95

It is easy for employees
to share their ideas with
management.

0.76 24.06

Employees are
encouraged to
participate in decisions
that affect their work.

0.73 23.65

Employees are not
afraid to speak up if
there is a problem.

0.67 22.72

If a decision is being
made in my
department, everyone
is involved.

0.63 22.12

This hotel values
performance more than
how long you have
worked here.

0.88 0.55 fixed

Managers let people
know when they are
doing a good job.

0.69 25.47

The pay system
encourages employees
to work hard.

0.59 23.14

Employees at this hotel
will earn more money if
they do a good job.

0.54 21.68

The hotel values
employee training and
growth.

0.81 27.78

Lots of training is
provided to employees.

0.74 26.65

Employees have
enough information to
do their jobs well.

0.84 0.79 fixed

Employees are given
information about hotel
goals and performance.

0.68 31.64

Employees know what
they need to do to
perform their job well.

0.65 30.37

Procedural
justice

All job decisions in this
department are made in
a fair way.

0.68 fixed 0.59 0.88

When making decisions
about my job, our
department offers
reasons that make
sense.

0.71 39.40

Information on
decisions is provided
when employees ask for
it.

0.80 27.20

When decisions are
made about our jobs,
this hotel considers
employee needs.

0.84 34.70

When decisions are
being made, this hotel
attempts to make sure
everyone is heard.

0.82 34.43

OCB I make suggestions to
improve this hotel.

0.53 fixed 0.52 0.81

0.69 18.38

(continued on next page)

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6

The Cronbach’s alpha for this measure was 0.81. We created a
composite variable of OCB by averaging the four items. Again, we
calculated the aggregation1 statistics for this measure. ICC(1) was 0.03
and statistically significant (p < .001). ICC(2) was 0.32. ICC(2) values
are sensitive to the size of the group (Bliese, 2002), and the level of ICC
(2) in the current study was similar to those found in previous SHRM
studies (e.g., Liao et al., 2009; Nishii et al., 2008; Takeuchi et al., 2007).
The median rwg for this measure was 0.69.

3.2.4. Organizational service performance
Customer-service performance data were offered by the corporate

head office. We used two service performance variables from this survey
to test the hypothesized model: overall customer satisfaction, in which
customers were asked to assess their total service experience at the
hotel, and intention to return, which captures their willingness to use the
hotel again. We used service performance data averaged over the three
months following the completion of the employee data collection (e.g.,
Wright, Gardner, & Moynihan, 2003; Wright, Gardner, Moynihan, &
Allen, 2005). The scale used to measure organizational service perfor-
mance was 1–100. This was a bipolar scale, with 1 as the minimum
possible (worst) score and 100 as the maximum possible (best) score.

3.2.5. Control variables
To further control for extraneous variance that might systematically

affect our study variables, several control variables were included in the
analysis. These controls included unit size, measured by the number of
rooms, unit age (years since established), and hotel brand. Because four
brand types were represented in the sample, dummy variables were
created and included in the analysis.

4. Results

Before analysis, we checked the factor structure of the variables
included in the study. Table 1 presents the results of confirmatory factor
analysis (CFA) for the HPWS, procedural justice, and OCB. The service
performance variables were not included, because they were qualita-
tively different (index scores averaging multiple responses over a
period) from other variables. We needed two CFA models, because the
three variables were collected from two different sources. For the HPWS,

we tested two alternative models to check the factor structure. First, we
tested a single-factor model with all 15 items loaded to one factor. The
fit statistics for this model were acceptable, but not strong enough (Chi-
square = 19.43, p <. 01, CFI = 0.89, NNFI = 0.88, RMSEA = 0.08, SRMR
= 0.05). We then tested a second-order model that included three first-
order factors loaded to a second-order factor. The second model showed
good fit statistics (Chi-square = 8.25, p < .01, CFI = 0.96, NNFI = 0.95,
RMSEA = 0.05, SRMR = 0.03); the change in Chi-square was 1019.90
and was statistically significant (p < .01). Thus, we retained the second-
order factor structure. For the CFA testing of procedural justice and OCB,
the fit statistics for the two-factor model were strong enough (Chi-
square = 5.41, CFI = 0.99, NNFI = 0.99, RMSEA = 0.04, SRMR = 0.03),
so we retained the factor structure. We also estimated the average
variance extracted (AVE) and composite reliability (CR) for the three
variables. The AVE and CR values were all acceptable and above the
recommended cut-off (0.50 and 0.70 for AVE and CR, respectively),
except for the AVE value of HPWS, which was slightly lower than 0.50;
however, this was not a problem, because the CR was higher than 0.60
(Fornell & Larcker, 1981). Thus, we retained the current HPWS factor
structure, given that the CR value of HPWS was sufficiently high at 0.92.

Table 2 presents the means, standard deviations, and inter-
correlations between variables. The patterns of the correlations are
consistent with the hypothesized relationships between variables. For
example, the correlation between perceived HPWS and collective OCB
was positive and statistically significant (r = 0.42, p < .01). The corre-
lations between collective OCB and two service-performance variables,
overall customer satisfaction (r = 0.26, p < .01) and intention to return
(r = 0.26, p < .01), were also positive and statistically significant.

In testing hypotheses, we conducted a series of ordinary least-squares
(OLS) regressions. Although we collected some data from individual
responses, our conceptual and empirical interests in this study reside at
the unit level. Because lower-level variables cannot be used to estimate
the variance of higher-level variables, past studies aggregated
individual-level responses to create unit-level variables and then con-
ducted a single-level analysis (e.g., Lepak et al., 2003; Messersmith et al.,
2011; Wright et al., 2003, 2005). Following Chan’s (1998) approach, we
aggregated individual-level (Level 1) data to create unit-level (Level 2)
variables and then tested unit-level relationships.

Hypothesis 1 predicted that HPWS would be positively associated
with collective OCB. Table 3 (Model 2) shows that the perceived HPWS
was positively and significantly related to the collective OCB (b = 0.33,
p < .001) and, after accounting for the control, produced a change in R2

of 0.14 (p < .001). Thus, the results supported Hypothesis 1.
Table 4 shows the results of testing Hypothesis 2, which predicted

that collective OCB would mediate the relationship between the
perceived HR practices and service performance. The result shows that
collective OCB was a statistically significant predictor of customer
satisfaction (Model 2: b = 2.47, p < .05) and intention to return (Model
6: b = 2.95, p < .05), when controlling for the perceived HPWS. To
bolster our findings of significant mediation, we adopted the bootstrap
approach suggested by Preacher and Hayes (2004). Compared to a more
traditional test of mediation (e.g., Sobel test), bootstrap analysis adjusts
for the non-normal distribution of mediated effects (MacKinnon, Lock-
wood, Hoffman, West, & Sheets, 2002) and provides the most powerful
and reasonable way to obtain confidence limits for indirect effects under
different conditions (Preacher & Hayes, 2008). We estimated the 95%
confidence intervals (CIs) using a bootstrap test based on 5000 samples
with replacement (Preacher & Hayes, 2008). The result showed that the
indirect effect of the perceived HPWS on overall customer satisfaction
and intention to return was 0.79 (95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.05,
1.75]) and 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.15, 2.00]) for each.
These results confirmed that the indirect effects via collective OCB were
significant, which supports Hypothesis 2.

Hypothesis 3 predicted that the association between the perceived
HPWS and the collective OCB is dependent on the level of the
procedural-justice climate. To test the interaction, we followed the

Table 1 (continued )

Factor Scale items Second-/
first-order
factor
loading

T-
value

AVEa CRb

I volunteer for tasks
that are not required.
I am willing to do things
that help this hotel
outside of my normal
duties.

0.82 24.88

I am willing to work
harder than I have to in
order for this hotel to
do well.

0.82 24.89

Note. HPWS = high-performance work system; OCB = organizational citizenship
behavior; a. AVE = Average variance extracted; b. CR = Construct reliability.

1 We were not necessarily interested in justifying the existence of a group-
level construct of OCB. We used the average score of the within-unit re-
sponses of OCB, because we believed that more OCB at each hotel enabled
customers to experience better service, and benefitted the hotel, as the service
literature suggests (Bowen, Gilliland, & Folger, 1999; Schneider et al., 2005). In
other words, the levels of within- and between-unit variance are less critical in
testing our hypotheses. The effect of the overall level of OCB was what we were
interested in. Thus, we used the average score of OCB to test our hypotheses.

J. Yang et al.

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7

procedure suggested by Aiken and West (1991). Before analysis, we
centered both variables on the mean of each variable, and created the
interaction term, Perceived HPWS * Procedural-justice Climate. Table 3
(Model 4) shows that the interaction term was statistically significant (b
= 0.25, p < .05) and produced a significant change in R2 of 0.02 (p <

.05). To gain a better understanding of the nature of this interaction,
Fig. 2 shows the interaction between the perceived HPWS and
procedural-justice climate on collective OCB. The figure shows that in a
weak procedural-justice climate (b = 0.03, n.s.; one standard deviation
(SD) below the mean), the relationship between the perceived HPWS
and collective OCB was not significant. However, consistent with Hy-
pothesis 1, when there was a strong procedural-justice climate (b = 0.23,
p < .01; one SD above the mean), this relationship was positive and
significant, suggesting that the procedural-justice climate significantly
strengthens the relationship between the perceived HPWS and the col-
lective OCB. Therefore, Hypothesis 3 was also supported.

Finally, Hypothesis 4 suggested that the indirect effect of the
perceived HPWS on customer-service performance through collective
OCB is dependent on the strength of the procedural-justice climate. To
test this hypothesis, we conducted moderated-mediation analysis
(Edwards & Lambert, 2007). An important advantage of this type of
analysis is that the moderation and mediation can be tested simulta-
neously. Table 5 shows the conditional indirect effects for weak or
strong procedural-justice climates. For three different conditions (low,
one SD below the mean; medium, mean; high, one SD above the mean)
of procedural-justice climate, we calculated the indirect effects of
perceived HPWS on both customer-service performance variables. We
estimated the 95% CIs following the procedures we used for testing
Hypothesis 2. Table 5 shows that the indirect effects on overall customer
satisfaction under the medium condition were 0.32, and under the high
condition, 0.58. The bootstrap CIs for these indirect effects did not
include a zero, showing statistically significant indirect effects. How-
ever, in a weak procedural-justice climate, the indirect effect was not
significant. In the model with customer intention to return as an

Table 2
Means, standard deviations, and inter-correlations between study variables.

Variable Mean Standard deviation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1. Unit age 15.23 12.65
2. Unit size 167.29 92.95 .34**
3. Brand dummy 1 .36 .48 -.45** -.58**
4. Brand dummy 2 .08 .27 .01 .35** -.22**
5. Brand dummy 3 .03 .16 -.17* -.13 -.13 -.05
6. Perceived HPWS 3.56 .37 -.15* -.26** .23** -.24** .07
7. Procedural-justice climate 3.73 .42 -.26** -.34** .29** -.19* .11 .56**
8. Collective OCB 4.09 .31 -.08 -.17* .17* -.14 .02 .42** .56**
9. Overall customer satisfaction 86.47 5.88 -.43** -.49** .57** -.15* .02 .28** .40** .26**
10. Intention to return 83.70 6.98 -.41** -.49** .53** -.12 .13 .28** .38** .26** .93**

Note. N = 180; HPWS = high-performance work system; for dummy coded variables, business class hotel is the omitted brand; *p < .05; **p < .01.

Table 3
Moderating effect of procedural-justice climate on the relationship between
perceived high-performance work system and collective organizational citi-
zenship behavior (OCB).

Variable Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4

Step 1
Constant 4.11*** 4.10*** 4.04*** 4.03***
Brand dummy 1 .07 .04 .02 .01
Brand dummy 2 -.11 -.03 -.02 -.05
Brand dummy 3 .05 .01 -.04 -.03
Unit age .00 .00 .00 .00
Unit size .00 .00 .00 .00
Step 2
Perceived HPWS .33*** .12 .13*
Step 3
PJC .37*** .35***
Step 4
Perceived HPWS × PJC .25*
R-squared .05 .18*** .34*** .36***
Change in R-squared .14*** .16*** .02*

Note. N = 180; unstandardized regression coefficients; for dummy coded vari-
ables, business class hotel is the omitted brand; HPWS = high-performance work
system; PJC = procedural-justice climate; *p < .05; **p < .01, ***p < .001.

Table 4
Mediating effect of collective organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) on the
relationship between perceived high-performance work system and organiza-
tional service performance.

Variable Collective
OCB

DV = overall customer
satisfaction

DV = intention to
return

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 5 Model 6

Constant 4.10*** 81.34*** 74.13*** 74.63*** 68.40***
Brand dummy

1
.04 4.25*** 4.15*** 6.83*** 4.67***

Brand dummy
2

-.03 .58 .65 5.98** 1.83

Brand dummy
3

.01 .15 .13 6.02* 4.53

Unit age .00 -.09** -.09** -.07 -.08*
Unit size .00 -.01* -.01* -.02** -.02**
Perceived

HPWS
.33*** 1.96* 1.15 2.63* 1.50

Collective
OCB

2.47* 2.95*

R-squared .18*** .41*** .42*** .44*** .41***

Note. N = 180; unstandardized regression coefficients; for dummy coded vari-
ables, business class hotel is the omitted brand; DV = dependent variable; *p <
.05; **p < .01, ***p < .001.

Fig. 2. Plot of interaction of perceived high-performance work system (HPWS)
with procedural-justice climate on collective organizational citizenship
behavior (OCB). Note. High procedural-justice climate = one standard deviation
above the mean; low procedural-justice climate = one standard deviation below
the mean.

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Tourism Management 87 (2021) 104385

8

outcome variable, the results from the bootstrap analysis were consis-
tent with those of customer satisfaction. The indirect effects on intention
to return for the medium and high conditions were .38 and .69,
respectively, and the bootstrap CIs did not include a zero. However,
under the low condition, the indirect effect was not statistically signif-
icant. Thus, the results supported Hypothesis 4.

5. Implications of the findings

5.1. Theoretical implications

We believe that our findings have several significant theoretical
implications. First, the study provides significant insights into under-
standing the HPWS–performance linkage in the service and hotel sector.
Although previous studies (e.g., Arthur, 1994; Jiang et al., 2012; Mes-
sersmith et al., 2011; Takeuchi et al., 2007) suggested several theoretical
mechanisms and examined the empirical relationships of the linkage,
our understanding of the linkage is not yet clear in that research findings
are mixed (Kroon, Voorde, & Veldhoven, 2009), the causal relationship
is unclear (Wright et al., 2003), and the connection between stated HR
practices and actual HR is weak (Liao et al., 2009). Kloutsiniotis and
Mihail (2020a) reported in their recent review of HPWS research in the
tourism and hospitality sectors that only one of the 28 empirical studies
investigated the causal process (i.e., the HR black box) of the
HPWS-organizational service performance. Although there might be
multiple approaches, one way to understand this HR black box is to
focus on the issue of HR practice implementation. Recent studies of
SHRM specifically focused on providing insights into ‘why effective
implementation of HR practices is important’, and ‘how we can effec-
tively implement HR practices’ (e.g., Sikora, Ferris, & Van Iddekinge,
2015; Yang & Arthur, 2019). We have added to this line of research to
understand the HR black box from the viewpoint of HR practice
implementation. Specifically, we have shown the robustness of the links
between the HPWS and service performance at the unit levels, with
collective, rather than individual OCB as a mediating mechanism.

Second, our research also underscores the pivotal role of fairness
perceptions by demonstrating the effect on the expected return on
organizational investments in HR practices, and thus contributes to
exploring the contextual effect of the HPWS (e.g., Ployhart & Moliterno,
2011). Although a long line of research has demonstrated the impor-
tance of justice in shaping employee behavioral and performance out-
comes (Colquitt, Conlon, Wesson, Porter, & Ng, 2001; Colquitt et al.,
2013), organizations would be well served by paying attention to
procedural-justice perceptions as a necessary context for HR practice
implementation. In addition, as we have demonstrated, the effect of
procedural-justice perceptions is also present at the unit level. Specif-
ically, our study indicates that the robustness of the links between the

HPWS, OCBs, and service performance depends on the coupling of HR
practices with a strong procedural-justice climate. Our findings show
that the link between the HPWS and service performance is strengthened
when a strong climate for procedural justice develops within an orga-
nization. This suggests that the procedural-justice climate may
strengthen the signal to employees that the current HPWS is appro-
priate, acceptable, and fair, and thus boost the social-exchange re-
lationships from the effect of the HPWS on organizational service
performance via collective OCB. Hence, assessments of practice content
and assessment of exchange quality jointly influence the prediction of
unit-level behavioral responses, which allows us to test and examine the
theory on the strength of the HR system (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). Future
research needs to further explore how different types of climate per-
ceptions influence how content of the HPWS affect employee attitudes
and behavioral outcomes.

Third, this study provides additional theoretical and methodological
clarity to the HPWS research in the service and hospitality industry.
Although some studies showed the positive effect of the HPWS on
organizational performance in service settings (e.g., Liao & Chung,
2004), the findings are still unclear and need more empirical examina-
tion. For this reason, several calls for more rigorous research design and
data usage in the service setting have been made (e.g., Kloutsiniotis &
Mihail, 2020a). However, we have yet to observe many meaningful at-
tempts or much progress. In this study, we tested the hypothesized
moderated mediation model by using the data drawn from employees
working in several different brands of a large hotel franchise and their
customers. Moreover, we also used data drawn from hotel customers
who visited each hotel location to measure the effectiveness of the ser-
vices delivered to the customers. Along with this use of multi-sourced
data, we used a lagged study design to address the issues of
common-method variance (Podsakoff et al., 2003) and reverse causality
(Guest, 2011; Wright et al., 2005). Based on these points, we believe that
this study is meaningful, in that we explicitly incorporated several issues
raised in past HPWS research in a service setting and found meaningful
relationships between focal constructs.

Finally, we also tap into the issue of the within-organizational vari-
ance of HR systems. As previous studies (e.g., Nishii & Wright, 2008)
have pointed out, employee perceptions of the HPWS that their orga-
nization uses differ significantly across employees. This finding may not
be surprising. However, what is surprising is that most SHRM studies
assumed that the effect of HPWS was uniform across employees within a
single organization. This assumption is problematic, not only for indi-
vidual employees, but also at the work group and organization (unit)
levels, because the assumption (1) masks different effects of HPWS
across individuals and work units and (2) weakens the overall effects of
HPWS on multiple organizational outcomes. In this study, the levels of
justice climate become the source weakening the effect of the HPWS on
the organization’s service performance. Organizations cannot develop a
strong justice climate when they are not effective in implementing
HPWS and when employees do not agree on their experiences of the
HPWS (Nishii & Wright, 2008). Consequently, as demonstrated here, it
is likely that considerable differences remain in the quality of the
unit-level exchange relationships in which HPWS are embedded.

5.2. Managerial implications

Our study provides several important managerial implications for
the tourism and hotel industry. First, the findings reveal the importance
of the HPWS in terms of its desirable effects on employees and organi-
zational performance in the hotel industry. In tourism organizations,
such as hotels, human-capital resources are often considered to be a cost
center rather than an investment center. Our study clearly shows that
implementing a set of HPWSs improved the service performance of
hotels through the collective OCB of employees. Given the competitive
market situation, high-quality human-capital resources can be a good
source of sustainable competitive advantages to differentiate a hotel

Table 5
Bootstrap test of conditional indirect effect of perceived high-performance work
system on customer-service performance at different levels of procedural-justice
climate.

a. Overall customer satisfaction
Perceived

HPWS
Boot indirect
effect

Boot SE

Boot lower
CI

Boot upper
CI

− 1 SD (− 0.42) .06 .21 -.24 .69
Mean (0) .32 .22 .03 .92
+1 SD (0.42) .58 .32 .08 1.43

b. Intention to return
Perceived

HPWS
Boot indirect
effect

Boot
SE

Boot lower
CI

Boot upper
CI

− 1 SD (− 0.42) .08 .23 -.29 .71
Mean (0) .38 .25 .03 1.08
+1 SD (0.42) .69 .38 .12 1.69

Note: N = 180; HPWS = high-performance work system; Confidence interval
(CI) = 95%; SE = standard error; Bootstrap sample size = 5000.

J. Yang et al.

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9

from others, in providing customized services for demanding consumers.
Our results provide a clue as to how the HPWS affects a hotel’s orga-
nizational service performance; that is, employees under HPWS are
likely to make an extra effort in serving customers. This empirical evi-
dence can be recommended to senior managers who make a strategic
decision to properly allocate organizational resources that in the hotel
industry are often limited (Ivanova, Ivanov, & Magnini, 2016). For
example, our findings suggest that to better understand how HPWS in-
fluences organizational service performance, hotel companies (franchi-
sors) need to monitor the performance of each property (franchisee) in
terms of the extra-role behavior of employees within each hotel (col-
lective OCB).

Second, our findings about the moderating function of a procedural-
justice climate also present an interesting implication for tourism and
hospitality professionals to successfully facilitate the HPWS. Given that
with technological advances, employees can now easily access internal
and external information about organizational processes (Wenzel,
Krause, & Vogel, 2019), how fairly managers conduct organizational
processes should be brought to the attention of tourism and hospitality
managers. The salient effects of the HPWS can be expected, particularly
when hotel employees collectively perceive their organization as fair in
the organizational process. In other words, even if hotels invest in their
human-capital resources, they are unlikely to obtain desirable organi-
zational outcomes in an unfair organizational climate. Accordingly, we
suggest that a hotel corporation should help each hotel establish a fair
organizational climate to maximize the contribution of HPWS and
monitor the level of the justice climate across hotels on a regular basis.

Last, the finding that both the content and the process of HR systems
jointly affect important outcomes of hotel operations also provides
managerial implications. Recent studies of SHRM clearly showed the
critical role of frontline managers in implementing HR practices (e.g.,
Sikora et al., 2015; Yang & Arthur, 2019). Although HR practices are
designed by HR people (HR directors, managers, practitioners), it is the
frontline manager who actually uses them. For this reason, frontline
managers need to know their HR systems in depth and to properly use
such systems. To make this happen, each hotel needs to find ways to
increase managers’ awareness of the HR practices that the hotel adopts.
One way of doing this is to provide hotel managers with training pro-
grams. Given that in our sample, each hotel had much discretion in
designing its own HR system, each unit itself should design and provide
training programs to its managers. However, frontline managers also
need to properly use the HR practices adopted by their hotel, because the
way HR practices are applied to each employee affects the employee
perception of HR practices. Managerial training and development in the
effective use of HR practices can also be useful (Bos-Nehles, Van
Riemsdijk, & Kees ).

6. Conclusions, limitations, and future research

As the SHRM literature suggests, the clear divide between ‘content’
and ‘process’ is artificial (e.g., Helfat, 2009, pp. 30–34). The same logic
would apply to the case of observing the effect of HPWS on employee
behavior and organizational performance (Arthur, Herdman, & Yang,
2016). In this study, we examined the effect of the HPWS (content) on
the collective OCB and organizational service performance under the
influence of the procedural-justice climate (process). We found that
employee responses to the HPWS and consequently the effect of the
HPWS on organizational service performance (i.e., overall customer
satisfaction and intention to return) are contingent on the strength of the
procedural-justice climate. This finding suggests that the content and
implementation of HPWS might indicate independent constructs but
should work simultaneously with the process to present the intended
effect of HPWS adopted by the organization. For the organization hop-
ing to promote organizational performance through people, more efforts
to effectively implement the HPWS appear indispensable.

There are several features of the study that limit our capacity to

generalize these findings. First, the hotel industry represents an espe-
cially intensive service context, so it is appropriate to examine the causal
linkages that are important for improving customer-service outcomes.
However, we limited our sample to a single hotel franchise group in a
single industry. Although this limitation is offset in part by the natural
controls of extraneous variance imposed by the sample, to ensure
generalizability, future research should focus on other industries and
more diverse samples. Indeed, research conducted in other service-
delivery contexts also represent an important research direction.

Also, we used lagged service performance data to provide more
confidence in the hypothesized causal direction of the proposed re-
lationships. However, given the cross-sectional nature of the employee-
provided measures, definitive conclusions about the causal direction of
these relationships are not possible. Additional longitudinal research is
necessary to further confirm the temporal ordering of these effects
(Schneider et al., 2005; Wright et al., 2003, 2005).

Last, a cursory review of items employed in past research to assess
perceived HR practices reveals that measures often include both items
requesting objective assessments of the adopted HR practices and items
targeting subjective judgments of the quality of implementation (e.g.,
Patel & Conklin, 2012). For this reason, research should pay attention to
the measurement of HR practices perceived by employees to ensure
clarity about whether these assessments target the content of practices
or evaluative judgments of the exchange quality between an employer
and employees through HR practices. Therefore, empirical attention to
the measurement of perceived HR practices is warranted.

Credit author contribution statement

Jaewan Yang: Conceptualization, Data curation, Investigation,
Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft. Youngsang Kim:
Formal analysis, Methodology, Writing – original draft. Peter B. Kim:
Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – original draft.

Funding

In conducting this work, Jaewan Yang was supported by the Hankuk
University of Foreign Studies Research Fund.

Impact statement

This study examines how human resource systems can be useful for
generating positive employee behaviors and higher organizational per-
formance in hotels. Our findings benefit not only the hotel industry, but
also the overall society in three ways. First, the study demonstrates the
idea “investment in people pays off”. Although employees are often
considered as costs in tough competitions, this study provides a strong
justification for the pursuit of a more employee-centered organization.
Second, the study suggests a powerful way that would benefit the service
economy. When high investment and fair treatment are experienced,
service employees would display more positive behaviors fulfilling
customer expectations. Finally, our findings can be applied to many
different organizations and institutions. That is, it is not just about
‘what’ but also ‘how’ when it comes to the implementation of practices
and policies that are adopted to benefit our society.

Declaration of competing interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Jaewan Yang is an assistant professor of organization and
human resource management at the college of business, Han-
kuk University of Foreign Studies. His research interests include
strategic human resource management, HR digital trans-
formation, group process and leadership, and workplace
climate. He has served on numerous committees and advisory
boards for the Korean government.

Youngsang Kim is an assistant professor of organization and
human resources at SKK Business School, Sungkyunkwan Uni-
versity. He received his PhD from the University of South Car-
olina. His primary research focuses on strategic human capital,
strategic human resource management, contingent workers,
turnover, workplace diversity, and environmental
sustainability.

Peter B. Kim is a professor in the School of Hospitality and
Tourism and an associate director of New Zealand Tourism
Research Institute at the Auckland University of Technology.
He received his PhD from the Pamplin College of Business at the
Virginia Tech University. His primary research focuses on ser-
vice management and marketing in the contexts of hospitality
and tourism.

J. Yang et al.

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  • Pushing forward high-performance work systems in the hotel industry: A procedural-justice climate to promote higher unit-le …
  • 1 Introduction

    2 Theory and hypotheses

    2.1 HPWS and collective OCB

    2.2 The mediating role of collective OCB on the relationship between unit-level HPWS perceptions and organizational service …

    2.3 The moderating effect of procedural-justice climate

    3 Methods

    3.1 Data collection and sample

    3.2 Measures

    3.2.1 Perceived HPWS (unit level)

    3.2.2 Procedural-justice climate

    3.2.3 Collective OCB

    3.2.4 Organizational service performance

    3.2.5 Control variables

    4 Results

    5 Implications of the findings

    5.1 Theoretical implications

    5.2 Managerial implications

    6 Conclusions, limitations, and future research

    Credit author contribution statement

    Funding

    Impact statement

    Declaration of competing interest

    References

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Attribution theories in Human Resource
Management research: a review and research
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The InTernaTIonal Journal of human resource managemenT, 2018
Vol. 29, no. 1, 87–126
https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2017.1380062

Attribution theories in Human Resource Management
research: a review and research agenda

Rebecca Hewetta  , Amanda Shantzb, Julia Mundyc and Kerstin Alfesd

arotterdam school of management, erasmus university, rotterdam, The netherlands; bTrinity Business
school, Trinity college Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; cBusiness school, university of greenwich, london, uK;
descP europe Wirtschaftshochschule Berlin, Berlin, germany

ABSTRACT
There is no doubt that attribution theories have made their
mark in social psychology and other related disciplines,
but their application and extension to the field of HRs is in
its infancy. Indeed, HR scholars have recently realized that
understanding the process by which individuals explain
the causes of behaviors and events provides insight into
a host of HR-related issues. In our review of 65 papers, we
identified three research streams with different foci – those
that focused on HR system strength, on attributions that
influence judgements and behaviors within functional HRM
domains, and on the attributions employees make of the
intent of HR practices. Notably, despite shared foundations,
these three streams of literature rarely overlap. We summarize
and provide theoretical and empirical directions for future
research within each research area to help steer courses in
these areas. Importantly, we also draw connections among
the three streams to inspire future research to stretch the
bounds of current theorizing on attributions in the field of HR.

  • Introduction
  • At the heart of attribution theory is the assertion that people are on a continuous
    quest to explain events that they encounter. Why did they reject my research
    proposal? Why did I receive a poor performance rating? Why is the train late?
    Attribution theory, originally developed by Fritz Heider in the early part of the
    twentieth century, ignited scholarly interest in such causal inferences. His work
    was subsequently developed by others in the field of social psychology; most
    notably Harold Kelley and Bernard Weiner, resulting in several complementary,
    and at times overlapping, theories of attributions (Fiske & Taylor, 1991). Despite
    their differences, each of these theories attempts to explain how people arrive at

    © 2017 Informa uK limited, trading as Taylor & francis group

    KEYWORDS
    attribution theory; hr
    attribution theory; hr system
    strength; hr process; review;
    hr theory

    CONTACT rebecca hewett hewett@rsm.nl @DrBexh https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccahewett/

    http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4340-3817

    mailto:hewett@rsm.nl

    http://twitter.com/share?text=@DrBexH&url=https://www.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2017.1380062

    http://www.tandfonline.com

    http://crossmark.crossref.org/dialog/?doi=10.1080/09585192.2017.1380062&domain=pdf

    88 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    causal inferences, what inferences they make, and the behavioral and attitudinal
    consequences of those inferences.

    Although attribution theories generated great enthusiasm from social psycholo-
    gists prior to the 1980s, attention has since then been on the decline (Weiner,
    2008). At the same time, the use of attribution theories in the field of HR has
    accelerated (see Figure 1). We do not foresee the pace slowing down anytime
    soon; as we write this review, two high impact journals within our field – Journal
    of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management Journal – have
    recently released calls for papers for special issues on this topic. In part, this
    is because two key theories with attribution tenets at their heart – HR system
    strength (HRSS) (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004) and HR attributions theory (HRA)
    (Nishii, Lepak, & Schneider, 2008) – have invigorated attention in this area, and
    there has been a resurgence in the interest of the role of attribution theories in
    explaining the so called ‘black box’ between HR and performance (e.g. Ehrnrooth
    & Björkman, 2012; Ostroff & Bowen, 2016; Sanders, Shipton, & Gomes, 2014).

    In addition to the two HR theories heavily influenced by attributions theories,
    the concept of attributions bubbles under the work of others in the HR domain.
    However, these theoretical and empirical developments have been largely oper-
    ating in silos, in part because they stem from different theoretical strands of attri-
    bution theories, they operate at different levels of analysis, and the object of the
    attribution differs. Consequently, we know very little about how these inter-related
    research streams are complementary and we have yet to address the possibility
    that they can be united under a general framework (Malik & Singh, 2014; Ostroff

    Figure 1. summary of papers applying attributions theories to hr domain.
    notes: fhra = functional hr attributions; hrss = hr system strength; hra = hr attributions theory. graph based
    on count of papers from Table 1.

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 89

    & Bowen, 2016). The purpose of this review is therefore to take stock of the appli-
    cation of attribution theories in the field of HR to help clear some paths among
    these burgeoning areas of research. In doing so, we also hope to inspire future
    research to investigate the application of attribution theories because they have a
    rich and well developed approach that has a great deal to say about a wide range
    of HR-related issues.

    In the remainder of this paper, we firstly summarize three key strands of attri-
    bution theory that have been particularly influential in HR research. Doing so is
    important because we see connections between these different strands and their
    development, and theoretical and empirical advancements in how HR scholars
    have approached attribution theories. Next, we describe and draw insights from
    our review of the extant literature on attribution in HR, grouping studies into
    three themes: HRSS, attributions that feature within functional HR domains, and
    attributions of the intent of HR practices. Within each, we review papers and pro-
    vide suggestions for future research. This is followed by a discussion of how future
    studies might theoretically and empirically connect the three theoretical camps.

  • Attribution theories: a historical review
  • In this section, we summarize three theories of attribution. Heider’s ‘com-
    mon-sense’ psychology is reviewed first because its tenets sowed the seeds for the
    second and third variations of attribution theory: Kelley’s work on covariation and
    Weiner’s attributional theory. Although there are multiple strands of attribution
    theory, we focus on these three theories because they have been influential for
    organizational scholarship (Martinko, Harvey, & Dasborough, 2011) and have
    already been incorporated into the HR literature to some extent.1

    Heider’s attribution theory

    The conception of attribution approaches is found in the work of Fritz Heider
    (1958), who famously stated that individuals concoct common sense explanations
    of the world in order to make sense of, predict, and control events. Heider sug-
    gested that a layperson’s explanations are naïve, in that they are not scientifically
    conceptualized, analyzed, or tested. However, the process by which individuals
    arrive at explanations for events is akin to the way in which scientists arrive
    at explanations; that is, in a fairly logical and analytical manner. Heider’s most
    important thesis is that perceived causality influences the perceiver’s responses
    and actions. He elaborated this theory via several propositions, of which we sum-
    marize the most influential here.

    The first key tenet of Heider’s work is the distinction between actions due to per-
    sonal causes versus those that are related to the environment. In other words, the
    attributions people make are dependent on whether the locus of causality for the
    behavior or event is the person (internal), or the environment (external), or both.

    90 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    Internal locus consists of both motivation and ability. For instance, an employee
    might be late for work because he or she is unmotivated or lacks the ability to
    arrive on time. However, motivation and ability are often insufficient; situational
    (external) factors also influence attributions. For example, if the employee is late
    on a morning with a blustery snowstorm, then arriving to work on time is a joint
    feature of the weather, motivation and ability. The manager uses information
    about motivation, ability, and situational factors to infer the cause of the event.

    A second key proposition of Heider’s theory is the identification of certain
    ‘errors of attribution’ in how people make causal inferences. For instance, the
    fundamental attribution error occurs when individuals focus on internal, rather
    than external factors to explain another person’s behavior (Ross, 1977). Another
    error, called the actor-observer effect, describes the propensity for actors to attrib-
    ute their own actions to external causes (‘I received a poor performance appraisal
    rating because my manager is unfair’), while observers attribute the same actions
    to internal features (‘She received a poor performance appraisal rating because
    she is a poor performer’; Jones & Nisbett, 1972). Finally, Heider described the
    self-serving bias, which states that people attribute their own success to disposi-
    tional and internal factors, while external and uncontrollable factors are used to
    explain the reasons for their failure (Miller & Ross, 1975). For instance, employees
    who receive a promotion attribute this success to their talent, but if they fail to
    receive the promotion, they attribute it to management unfairness.

    Kelley’s attribution theory

    Heider’s theory was further expanded by Kelley (1967, 1973) who wrote several
    theoretical papers that drew attention to how individuals infer causes about a
    person’s behavior or events. When a person has access to multiple instances of
    the same behavior or situation, Kelley proposed that people employ a covariation
    principle to infer the causes.2 To illustrate this theory, imagine that a manager is
    irritable. In trying to understand why the manager is irritable, employees identify
    any potential causes for the irritability, and attribute the effect to the most likely
    cause based on the information available to them. Kelley (1967) outlined three
    types of covariation information that influence whether an observer attributes a
    person’s behavior to internal or external causes. The first is distinctiveness, which
    refers to the extent to which a person behaves in the same way across similar sit-
    uations. If the manager is irritable at home and at work (low distinctiveness), then
    an observer makes an internal attribution (e.g. the manager is generally an irritable
    person). Observations of different people allow for judgements to be made about
    the second type of covariation information, that is, consensus. If coworkers agree
    that the manager is irritable (high consensus), they make an internal attribution.
    The third is consistency, which refers to the extent to which a person behaves
    consistently over time. If the manager has been frequently irritated in the past,
    observers make an internal attribution because, regardless of the environment, the

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 91

    manager becomes irritable on a frequent basis. Different combinations of infor-
    mation yield meaningful causal inferences about why an event occurred (see Fiske
    & Taylor, 1991 for a review of these combinations).3 Whereas the above example
    illustrates how the covariation principle explains attributions of an individual’s
    behavior, Kelley (1967) stated that observers attribute an event or behavior to a
    stimulus or entity (such as HR practices) when distinctiveness, consistency, and
    consensus are all high.

    Weiner’s attributional theory

    The third, and final model of attribution that we review here is the work of Weiner
    (1979), who explored attributions within domain-specific contexts, such as help-
    ing and achievement, and is oftentimes termed an attributional theory (Fiske &
    Taylor, 1991). Unlike Heider and Kelley, who presented somewhat static attribu-
    tion models, Weiner explained how causal attributions influence future expecta-
    tions, emotions, and performance. In his application to an achievement context,
    Weiner maintained that people respond emotionally (negatively or positively) to
    task success or failure based on the attributions that they make about the reasons
    for behavior after an event occurs (Weiner, 2008). Weiner therefore extended
    Heider and Kelley’s attribution theories by suggesting a temporal order for attri-
    butions, in that individuals consider the reasons for behavior or actions after the
    event which brings dynamism to the theory, in that these attributions can change
    over time according to the situation.

    According to Weiner and colleagues, any task success or failure is followed by a
    search for the cause of the outcome along three dimensions: locus of causality (as
    in Heider’s work), stability, and controllability (Weiner, 1979; Weiner, Heckhausen,
    & Meyer, 1972). The stability of the behavior echoes Kelley’s work yet it is more
    clearly articulated by Weiner to explain how causal analysis is most informative
    when stable causes are identified (e.g. dispositions). Controllability is also impor-
    tant because people do not make causal attributions solely to understand why
    something happened, but also to control future events. Different combinations
    of locus of causality, stability and controllability in an achievement context are
    associated with attributions of ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck. For example,
    an employee is likely to make an ability attribution (‘My pitch wasn’t good enough
    to make the sale’) when the cause of the failure is seen as due to stable (‘I am not
    a good salesperson’) and controllable (‘I had the resources necessary to make the
    sale’) factors (Fiske & Taylor, 1991).

    Together, Heider, Kelley and Weiner set down the theoretical foundations of
    attribution theories. In the remainder of this paper we draw on the key proposi-
    tions as a basis to examine the way the field of HR has leveraged attribution the-
    ories. We deliberately eschewed a graphical illustration of how the different social
    psychological attribution theories fit together because we concluded that doing
    so would blur the nuances of each strand of attribution theory. In his description

    92 R. HEWETT ET AL.

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    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 93

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    on

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    .

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 95

    Q
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    96 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    St
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    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 97

    of the field, Weiner (2008, p. 154) stated that attribution theory is not a ‘central
    forest fire on which many heap woods and brush’ but rather that

    the wind scattered the fire to various locations, giving rise to numerous smaller pockets
    of flame. There were indeed paths between these various bonfires, but nonetheless the
    fires remained separate, extinguished at different rates, and left separate legacies …
    there are many attribution-based theories and attribution is better characterized as a
    field of study rather than a theory.

    We see the same dynamics occurring within the field of HR. HR scholars have
    drawn from different elements of attribution theories and yet we see little inte-
    gration of the different perspectives. However, the time is ripe to create ‘paths
    between these various bonfires’ because of the ways in which adaptations of attri-
    bution theories have evolved in the HR literature. In what follows, we review the
    literature in this area, followed by a discussion of how to clear the weeds to create
    paths among them.

  • Review of attribution theories applied to HRM
  • For this review, we searched for published articles which use attribution theo-
    ries to explain HR processes. We used major databases such as Business Source
    Premier and Science Direct, and examined papers that have been published in
    major HR and management journals, including: International Journal of Human
    Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, Human Resource
    Management, Personnel Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Academy
    of Management Review, Academy of Management Annals, Journal of Applied
    Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Management, and
    Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. We also examined all
    papers that cited either of the two most influential papers that have leveraged
    attribution theories to understand HR processes (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Nishii
    et al., 2008) to ensure that we identified all relevant papers. We included only
    empirical papers published in peer reviewed journals. We read each article care-
    fully to ensure we included only those studies that operationalized one of the
    established attribution theories. We excluded articles in which one of our selected
    attribution theories was used only in general terms. Although there is some over-
    lap between papers that consider HR-related topics with those in management
    and organizational behavior, we included only papers from these domains that
    applied attribution theories specifically to HR practices, rather than considering
    attributional processes in the management domain more broadly. We excluded
    research on leadership because other scholars have already considered the role of
    attributions theories in this domain (Martinko, Harvey, & Douglas, 2007). Our
    search incorporated all articles published or forthcoming as of May 2017.

    Our search resulted in 65 papers which are summarized, along with their key
    features, in Table 1.4 We categorized them into three, broad theoretical perspec-
    tives. The first group of papers examines individuals’ perceptions of characteristics

    98 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    of the HR system to explain consistency in how individuals respond to HR prac-
    tices. This area of research is primarily inspired by the work of Kelley (1973),
    and later developments by Bowen and Ostroff (2004), who created HRSS theory.
    We identified 17 papers which examined this theoretical perspective. Of these,
    15 specifically tested Bowen and Ostroff ’s model, and the remainder were more
    broadly inspired by the work of Kelley. The second area represents research pri-
    marily inspired by the early work of Heider (1958) on internal and external causal
    attributions and related work by Weiner (1985) on achievement attributions. These
    theoretical perspectives have been applied to understand individuals’ responses
    within specific, functional HR practices (FHRA). A total of 36 papers fit into
    this category, of which the majority examine achievement attributions related to
    performance management, or occupational health and safety concerns. The final
    research area is concerned with attributions of intent with respect to HR practices.
    This research is rooted primarily in Weiner’s (1985) attributional theory, and was
    most influentially developed in the HR domain by Nishii et al. (2008) who referred
    to it as HRA. We identified a total of 12 papers in this area, with seven specifically
    focusing on Nishii and colleagues’ more recent conceptualization.

    HR system strength

    Bowen and Ostroff ’s (2004) HRSS theory starts with the premise that the rela-
    tionship between HR and organizational performance is dependent on employees’
    shared perceptions about the types of behaviors that the organization expects,
    values, and rewards. HRSS is a property of the organization, wherein HR practices
    send clear signals to employees that form the basis of psychological climate per-
    ceptions. Without a strong HR system, individual-level idiosyncratic perceptions
    of HR practices drive behavior.

    At the center of HRSS theory is Mischel’s (1973) definition of strong situa-
    tions, which suggests that the influence of individual differences on behavior is
    thwarted under situations which provide structure and clarity regarding the types
    of behaviors that a person is expected to perform. Applying this theory to HR
    implies that the goal for organizations is to create strong HR systems that drive
    employees’ behavior in intended (i.e. strategic) ways. Bowen and Ostroff drew
    from Kelley’s work to propose nine meta-features of the HR system, grouped
    into distinctiveness, consistency, and consensus, that together signify a strong
    HR system. Specifically, they theorized that higher levels of visibility, understand-
    ability of the practices, strategic relevance, and legitimacy of authority indicate
    distinctiveness. Instrumentality, validity of practices, and consistency in messages
    provide consistency. Finally, consensus emerges when there is agreement among
    message senders and when practices are fair. These nine features together provide
    the conditions for a strong HR system.

    We begin our review of studies with a discussion of measurement of HRSS,
    as this provides context in which to interpret research from this area. Next, we

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 99

    discuss its correlates. Then, we review evidence on the relative importance of each
    meta-feature, and conclude with the inter-relatedness of consistency, consensus
    and distinctiveness.

    Measurement
    Bowen and Ostroff originally suggested that system strength is an organization-
    al-level variable, which has implications for both shared and individual-level
    outcomes, including climate (Ostroff & Bowen, 2016). Yet, we find very few stud-
    ies which have tested HRSS at the organizational- or unit-level. An ideal study
    design would mirror the work of climate researchers (e.g. Schneider, Salvaggio, &
    Subirats, 2002) and collect data from numerous groups or organizations to enable
    multi-level modeling to compare HRSS between groups. Although some research-
    ers have implied that their multi-level research examines the strength of the HR
    system (e.g. Stumpf, Doh, & Tymon, 2010; White & Bryson, 2013), multi-level
    research on the meta-features of distinctiveness, consistency and consensus is
    largely missing. We found one exception to this; Katou, Budhwar, and Patel (2014)
    aggregated individual perceptions of system strength to the organizational level
    across 133 organizations.

    The general tendency towards relying on individual perceptions represents a
    significant limitation of this body of research, in that HRSS has not been compre-
    hensively tested as it was intended. Treating HRSS as an individual level perception
    implies that, rather than explaining how HR systems avoid idiosyncratic responses
    between individuals (Mischel, 1973), it explains variability in how individuals
    respond. The rest of our review focuses largely on this individual-level research,
    but conclusions about the value of system strength are limited because these stud-
    ies do not capture agreement among employees, a defining feature of HRSS theory.

    Two self-report scales have been developed to capture employee-level percep-
    tions of HRSS. First, Delmotte, De Winne, and Sels (2012), rather than confirm-
    ing Bowen and Ostroff ’s (2004) original nine features, found support for seven.
    Delmotte and colleagues split justice into procedural and distributive, and failed
    to find support for the features of legitimacy, understandability, and instrumen-
    tality. A second scale, developed by Coelho, Cunha, Gomes, and Correia (2015),
    also failed to support Bowen and Ostroff ’s nine dimensions, instead finding eight.
    Agreement among decision makers was independent of the other features so
    it was excluded; therefore, consensus was equated only with fairness, thereby
    throwing into question whether consensus is different from the well-trodden area
    of justice. These two papers highlight issues with the psychometric properties
    of the HRSS construct measured at the individual-level, and might explain why
    empirical research in this domain has been relatively limited.

    Moving beyond capturing only individual level perceptions, scholars have
    attempted to capture the collective nature of consistency, consensus and distinc-
    tiveness as originally set forth in HRSS theory. For example, in aiming to tap
    into consensus, both Sanders, Dorenbosch, and de Reuver (2008) and Guest and

    100 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    Conway (2011) examined the extent to which CEOs and HR managers agreed
    that HR is effective. Similarly, researchers have used indices of within-person
    agreement about the presence of multiple HR practices to indicate consistency.
    Sanders et al. (2008), for example, measured consistency as the within-person
    agreement regarding perceptions of different high commitment HR practices (e.g.
    ‘In my opinion there are enough training possibilities within the organization’).
    Likewise, Li, Frenkel, and Sanders (2011) examined climate strength as within-per-
    son agreement of perceptions of high performance work practices.

    Finally, a few studies have explored one or more meta-features using qualitative
    methods of research. Stanton, Young, Bartram, and Leggat (2010) examined the
    three meta-features in three hospitals to understand how HR practices are inter-
    preted by, and operationalized across, different levels of management hierarchy
    and HR practitioners as an indicator of signal strength. Marchington, Rubery,
    and Grimshaw (2011) conducted 54 interviews across four multi-employer net-
    works to examine external influences on the consistency of HR practices operating
    within a network of firms. In a multiple-case study of health and social service
    organizations, Piening, Baluch, and Ridder (2014) interviewed HR managers and
    employees along all three meta-features with the aim of investigating the relation-
    ship between intended, implemented, and perceived HR practices. Finally, Baluch
    (2017) examined the three meta-features across eight social service organizations
    to shed light on the processes by which variations in employee perceptions of HR
    practices arise. These studies have brought rich insights into how HRSS operates
    within organizations and the broader contextual influences at play, but were not
    designed to determine whether organization-level system strength leads to its
    theorized outcomes, as Bowen and Ostroff ’s theory suggests.

    Correlates of system strength
    Since most research in this area uses both self-report measures and cross-sec-
    tional designs, we report the correlates, rather than antecedents or consequences,
    of system strength. Overall, the results present a compelling picture that HRSS,
    conceptualized as an individual-level perception, is positively associated with
    desirable attitudes and behaviors.

    Studies examining at least one of the meta-features of HRSS have found positive
    associations with the way that employees feel about their jobs, including work
    satisfaction, vigor (Li et al., 2011), motivation, commitment, and work engage-
    ment (Katou et al., 2014). HRSS is also positively related with how employees feel
    about their organization, including affective commitment (Sanders et al., 2008),
    organizational identification (Frenkel & Yu, 2011), and is negatively related to
    intentions to quit (Li et al., 2011). Moreover, HRSS is positively related to desir-
    able employee behaviors, including improvisation behavior (Rodrigues Ribeiro,
    Pinto Coelho, & Gomes, 2011), citizenship behavior (Katou et al., 2014), and
    coworker assistance (Frenkel & Yu, 2011). A positive relationship was also found
    between HRSS and perceptions of the HR function, including satisfaction with

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 101

    HR practices (Delmotte et al., 2012; Gilbert, De Winne, & Sels, 2015), job design
    (Piening et al., 2014), perceptions of justice in relation to HR practices (Frenkel,
    Li, & Restubog, 2012), and achievement of HR targets (Hauff, Alewell, & Hansen,
    2016). Finally, HRSS has been related to senior management support (Stanton et
    al., 2010) as well as goal climate quality and strength in relation to management
    by objectives (Aksoy & Bayazit, 2014).

    The only study to our knowledge that has examined the impact of HRSS over
    time was conducted by Bednall, Sanders, and Runhaar (2014). In a time-lag study,
    they did not find a significant bivariate relationship between HRSS (self-report
    measures combining perceptions of the three meta-features) and knowledge shar-
    ing, innovation, or reflection; however, they did find that HRSS strengthened the
    relationship between performance appraisal quality and these outcomes.

    The relative importance of consensus, consistency and distinctiveness
    Although research has indicated that there is some agreement between key stake-
    holders with respect to HR practices (e.g. Guerci & Pedrini, 2014), studies focus-
    ing on the relationship between consensus and theorized outcomes has failed to
    support the value of this meta-feature.

    Specifically, research has failed to detect significant relationships between
    consensus and employee performance (Guest & Conway, 2011), affective com-
    mitment (Sanders et al., 2008), or work satisfaction, vigor and intentions to quit
    (Li et al., 2011). Although still not universal, the meta-feature of consistency has
    found relatively more support in the literature. For instance, Sanders et al. (2008)
    found that consistency was positively related to affective commitment, and Li et
    al. (2011) found that it was negatively related to intentions to quit, although they
    did not find an association between consistency and either satisfaction or vigor.
    Unlike consensus and consistency, distinctiveness has been consistently related to
    employee outcomes. In research conducted by both Sanders et al. (2008) and Li et
    al. (2011), distinctiveness was the strongest predictor of target outcomes. Likewise,
    Aksoy and Bayazit (2014) found that consensus, as well as consistency, did not
    significantly predict the target outcomes in their study (goal quality and strength)
    but were significant predictors when mediated by distinctiveness, indicating per-
    haps that distinctiveness is a higher order dimension. This is perhaps not sur-
    prising given that classic works on attribution theories state that distinctiveness,
    or salience of a stimulus, drives attributions (Kelley, 1973; Taylor & Fiske, 1978).

    The relationships among consensus, consistency, and distinctiveness
    Although Bowen and Ostroff (2004) stated that the three meta-features work in
    concert, there are differences in the level of dimensionality at which the meta-fea-
    tures have been modelled, which has implications for both theoretical and empir-
    ical development of the concept. Some research is based on average perceptions
    of HRSS as a whole (Frenkel & Yu, 2011; Katou et al., 2014; Rodrigues Ribeiro et
    al., 2011), others distinguish between the three meta-features (Guest & Conway,

    102 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    2011; Li et al., 2011; Sanders et al., 2008), and others go further and examine the
    individual sub-components proposed by Bowen and Ostroff (De Winne, Delmotte,
    Gilbert, & Sels, 2013; Gilbert et al., 2015; Hauff et al., 2016).

    There are several theoretical implications of considering the concept of HRSS at
    lower levels of dimensionality (i.e. as three or nine dimensions). Firstly, it allows
    for the detection of differential effects of meta-features with different outcomes.
    For example, Hauff et al. (2016) found that visibility and intensity predicted deci-
    sion-makers’ assessment of the achievement of HR targets relating to the availa-
    bility and effectiveness of people resources, but not to targets relating to employee
    attitudes. Likewise, De Winne et al. (2013) concluded that different sub-dimen-
    sions had different relationships with key stakeholders’ perceptions of the role
    of HR, as defined by Ulrich (1997). Baluch (2017) found that, across multiple
    case studies, distinctiveness was high, yet consensus and consistency were low,
    suggesting that a broad overarching measure of HRSS may hide these nuances.

    Second, considering the features of HRSS separately allows for the possibility
    of interactions among strength features. This proposition was tested, to some
    extent, by Liden and Mitchell (1985) who, drawing on Kelley’s (1973) original
    theory, examined configurations of the features of consistency, consensus and
    distinctiveness with respect to performance feedback. In support of Kelley’s the-
    ory, they found that individuals were more likely to make internal attributions
    for their performance if there was high consistency, low distinctiveness, and low
    consensus. Likewise, low consistency, high distinctiveness, and high consensus
    predicted external attributions. Also in support of Kelley’s original theory, Sanders
    and Yang (2016) predicted that high ratings on all three characteristics indicated
    that individuals’ causal attributions were focused on HR practice (the ‘entity’ in
    Kelley’s theory), and found that a high-high-high configuration strengthened the
    relationship between high commitment HR practices and affective commitment.
    This raises the possibility, highlighted by several scholars (Ostroff & Bowen, 2016;
    Piening et al., 2014), that the meta-features of HRSS may inter-relate, but we are
    not aware of any research that has empirically tested this proposition.

    Summary and directions for future research using HRSS
    Even though Bowen and Ostroff ’s (2004) model of HRSS has been widely cited
    – over 2,000 times in 13 years – and was awarded the Academy of Management
    Review Decade Award in 2014, there is a relatively small body of research that
    has leveraged it (Ostroff & Bowen, 2016), and it has rarely been tested as it was
    originally conceived. This suggests that, while the propositions set out have intu-
    itive appeal to HR scholars, they are difficult to operationalize. This is reflected
    in the inconsistencies in how the framework is tested and issues relating to the
    psychometric properties of the measures. These inconsistencies may point to issues
    with the original theoretical framework, indicating that refinement is needed. Or,
    they may simply represent a lack of coherent understanding in how the framework
    should be applied.

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    We identified several issues relating to the measurement of the construct. These
    issues go beyond methodology because they highlight inconsistencies in how
    HRSS is conceptualized, which has implications for the application of the theory.
    Although attempts have been made to measure HRSS in different ways, we agree
    with Ostroff and Bowen (2016) that doing so changes the nature of the construct,
    and therefore the expected relationships with other key variables. Like Ostroff and
    Bowen (2016), we notice that given the emphasis on climate in the original theory,
    it is surprising that very few studies have linked system strength to climate. These
    authors provided several avenues for future research in this regard, including
    examining whether HRSS can be ‘too strong’, where high levels of consensus might
    inhibit creativity, or stifle voice. Future research is also encouraged to verify and
    extend one of the key, yet untested tenets of HRSS – that consistency, consensus
    and distinctiveness leads to a shared sense of what the organization values and
    rewards.

    Another important consideration is whether HRSS is a mediator or modera-
    tor of relationships between the content of HR, and individual or organizational
    outcomes. Although Bowen and Ostroff (2004) postulated that HRSS mediates
    HR systems and outcomes, several researchers have explored HRSS instead as
    a moderator of the relationship between individual perceptions and individual
    outcomes (e.g. Bednall et al., 2014; Katou et al., 2014; Sanders et al., 2008; Sanders
    & Yang, 2016). Research that finds a way to theoretically and empirically untangle
    its mediating versus moderating effect would be worthwhile.

    Finally, there are remaining questions about the strategic focus of HRSS. Ostroff
    and Bowen (2016) stated that their theory focuses on the ways that HRSS enables
    ‘the creation of a strong organizational climate for a particular strategic focus –
    for example, service or cost leadership’ (p. 197). However, organizational and HR
    strategies also vary in the strength of their strategic focus, as well as their orien-
    tation toward employees. Future research could therefore borrow from existing
    classification schemes that map high-low strategic focus with high-low employee
    focus (see Piening et al., 2014) to determine the contextual features associated
    with, and outcomes of, various types of HR systems.

    Functional HR attributions

    Attribution theories have been used in the field of HR to explain interpersonal
    dynamics and attributions of behavior and events within several specific HR func-
    tional domains. Most of this research has drawn from Heider’s (1958) original
    conceptions of locus of causality and attributional errors, and Weiner’s (1985)
    attributional theory, yet some also draws from Kelley’s (1967) covariation model.
    In this section, we review research on specific functional HR attributions (FHRA)
    with respect to performance management, grievances and disciplinary action,
    recruitment and selection, training, and occupational health and safety. It is

    104 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    noteworthy that the object of attribution here shifts to the behavior of people,
    rather than to HR systems or practices.

    Performance management
    Numerous studies dating back over 30 years have examined outcomes of achieve-
    ment-related attributions related to performance evaluation, evidencing the core
    tenets of Heider’s attribution theory. For example, Dugan (1989) found that man-
    agers’ evaluations of employee performance were influenced by their attributions
    of the cause of employees’ performance. Managers held employees responsible for
    poor performance when managers made internal attributions. Research has also
    investigated Kelley’s covariation principle in relation to performance attributions,
    largely finding support for it (Johnston & Kim, 1994).

    In distinguishing between internal attributions of effort versus ability, Knowlton
    and Mitchell (1980) found that when supervisors believed that performance was
    due to effort, they made more extreme (positive or negative) performance eval-
    uations. This is important because managers’ attributions about whether poor
    performance is due to internal or external reasons influences the choice of action
    to address it. For example, managers responded negatively and gave more criti-
    cism to employees when they believed performance to be within the employee’s
    control (Zhang, Reyna, & Huang, 2011). In experimental studies, supervisors took
    more severe remedial action, targeted at the individual rather than the situation,
    when they made internal attributions about poor performance (Green & Liden,
    1980) and were more likely to make recommendations for changing the work
    environment to improve performance (rather than focusing on ability or effort)
    when they made external attributions (Mitchell & Kalb, 1982). Supervisors were
    also more likely to follow company policy in how to deal with poor performance
    when they made internal performance attributions (Green & Liden, 1980).

    Although the abovementioned research focused on supervisors’ attributions,
    other research has adopted an employee-centric stance. Here, research has shown
    that employees’ responses to positive and negative feedback on their performance
    is determined by the attributions that employees made for the feedback, and
    whether the source of the feedback is seen as credible (Bannister, 1986). Other
    research has found that recipients of feedback are more satisfied with the content,
    source and process of appraisal feedback when the feedback focused on internal
    attributions, which are therefore within their control (Levy, Cawley, & Foti, 1998),
    highlighting the self-serving bias. Likewise, Tolli and Schmidt (2008) found that
    employees reacted more strongly to performance feedback when they made inter-
    nal attributions about their own performance; when making internal attributions,
    positive feedback enhanced self-efficacy and goal revision, and negative feed-
    back diminished these outcomes. Although, somewhat counter to this, Taylor and
    Pierce (1999) found that individuals’ attributions of blame for lower-than-expected
    performance ratings (towards their supervisor, the organization, the system, or
    themselves) had no significant impact on attitudinal outcomes. The role of the

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    relationship between supervisor and employee was reinforced in a study that
    showed that reactions to feedback was moderated by the recipients’ attributions
    for why the supervisor gave feedback, and the attributions were influenced by the
    quality of prior relationships (Hempel, 2008).

    Grievances and disciplinary decisions
    Internal versus external attributions have also been explored with respect to
    employee grievances. For instance, in two field studies, Gordon and Bowlby
    (1989) found that individuals were more likely to raise a grievance in response
    to negative events if they believed that the grievance was due to their manager’s
    personal disposition. Likewise, individuals who attributed the cause of discrim-
    ination to their manager were more committed to make a legal claim about the
    action (Groth, Goldman, Gilliland, & Bies, 2002). In a related practice, several
    studies have applied attributions theories with respect to disciplinary decisions.
    For example, Trahan and Steiner (1994), in examining disciplinary actions taken
    against poor performance, found that nursing supervisors made more internal
    attributions for poor performance if they believed that incidents were more severe,
    and also if they believed the incident to be consistent with past performance.
    This is important because, as found in experimental studies with undergraduate
    students (Cole, 2008) and with HR practitioners and line managers (Klaas &
    Wheeler, 1990), disciplinary decisions were impacted by whether the perceived
    reasons for disciplinary problems were internal or external. Likewise, employees’
    satisfaction with their supervisor has been found to relate to employee attributions
    of how supervisors made disciplinary decisions (Arvey, Davis, & Nelson, 1984)
    indicating that attributions are an important explanation for how both parties
    make judgements in the disciplinary process.

    Selection and recruitment
    We identified only a handful of studies examining attributions within the context
    of selection. Tay, Ang, and Van Dyne (2006) examined the moderating role of
    locus of causality attributions on the relationship between interview success and
    subsequent self-efficacy for interviewing. They found that successful interview-
    ees had higher levels of interviewing self-efficacy when they believed that their
    success was due to internal, versus external, factors. Also examining locus of
    causality, Thompson, Sikora, Perrewé, and Ferris (2015) studied the attributions
    made by overqualified job candidates. They found that candidates who made
    external-uncontrollable attributions (being unemployed due to downsizing) for
    overqualification were viewed as a poorer fit for the job and less employable by
    recruiters than candidates who made internal-controllable attributions (greater
    work-life balance). In an experimental study, Tomlinson and Carnes (2015) found
    that when job candidates were provided with an external reason for an employer
    missing an interview appointment, they were more attracted to the organization
    compared to those who were not provided with a rationale.

    106 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    In the context of recruitment, Carless and Waterworth’s (2012) quasi-experi-
    mental study revealed that experienced recruiters vary their expectations about
    applicants’ future job performance, responsibility for failure, and hiring recom-
    mendations according to applicant levels of ability and effort. This supports earlier
    findings derived from experimental research carried out with a student sample
    by Tucker and Rowe (1979); they found that hiring decisions were influenced by
    causal attributions of past performance.

    Training
    We found very few studies on attributions in the context of training that met our
    selection criteria for this review. Using an experimental design, Quinones (1995)
    first asked students to perform a relatively complex task. Next, the participants
    were randomly assigned to either a remedial or advanced training group (which
    subjects believed was assigned due to their past performance on the task), and they
    were asked whether their assignment to either the remedial or advanced training
    group was a matter of luck, effort, task difficulty or ability – drawing on Weiner’s
    attributional theory. They found that, for those who were assigned to the advanced
    training program, ability attributions were more strongly related to pre-training
    self-efficacy, whereas the opposite was true for those in the remedial condition.
    They concluded that being assigned to a remedial training group was especially
    detrimental to self-efficacy when people made ability attributions.

    Health and safety
    A small stream of research has examined the role of causal attributions in the field
    of occupational safety management. A comprehensive summary of this literature
    is provided in Gyekye’s (2010) review paper, so in this review, we identified only
    papers published after Gyekye’s review. Gyekye (2010) summarized research that
    shows a predominance of external attributions by subordinate employees (accident
    victims and perpetrators) and internal attributions by supervisors (e.g. DeJoy,
    1990; Gyekye & Salminen, 2004; Kouabenan, Medina, Gilibert, & Bouzon, 2001).
    This echoes research on performance appraisals and grievances, and illustrates the
    actor-observer effect articulated by Heider (1958). Work in this area has since been
    developed by Mbaye and Kouabenan (2013), whose field study of two industrial
    companies found that both managers and employees made more internal than
    external attributions when they had positive perceptions of post-accident analyses.

    Another finding of interest is the relationship between accident experience and
    causal attributions. Research has uncovered a positive correlation between exter-
    nal attributions and unsafe behavior, and a negative correlation between internal
    attributions and unsafe behavior (e.g. Gonçalves, da Silva, Lima, & Meliá, 2008;
    Laughery & Vaubel, 2003; Niza, Silva, & Lima, 2008). This is of relevance within
    other HR domains in that employees who do not take personal accountability for
    their actions (e.g. bankers during the recent economic crisis) may make external
    attributions, and therefore may engage in riskier behavior in future.

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    Summary and directions for future research in FHRA
    Attribution theories have underpinned various studies across FHRA that help
    scholars to understand how managers and employees attribute their own and each
    other’s’ behaviors, as well as work-related events. This area of research is mainly
    found in organizational psychology and management, and tends to use experi-
    mental methods, rather than the field studies that characterize most micro-HR
    research. This is problematic from an HR perspective given its applied nature.
    Future research in FHRA should investigate dynamics in the field with employees
    and managers to verify and extend these findings.

    We also note that most of the research has been carried out in performance
    appraisals and occupational health and safety, whereas other functional areas such
    as selection and training have far fewer studies that contribute to our understand-
    ing of dynamics in these areas. In addition to building upon the functional areas
    identified in this review, future research should examine other HR functions, for
    example how employees and managers make attributions in the context of quality
    circles, work-life balance initiatives, employee monitoring, or assessment centers.
    Although replication of social psychological studies in an applied setting lends
    ecological validity to this area, research should go beyond mere replication of
    social psychological research in an applied context.

    Another feature of this body of research is that it emphasizes the role of man-
    agers in the attribution process. That includes insights about how managers’ own
    attributions inform their decision-making (e.g. Dugan, 1989; Klaas & Wheeler,
    1990; Zhang et al., 2011) and how they spillover to inform employees’ attributions
    (e.g. Arvey et al., 1984; Groth et al., 2002). The field of HR has been self-critical
    for neglecting line managers’ responsibility in implementing HR practices (e.g.
    Becker & Huselid, 2006; Khilji & Wang, 2006; Purcell & Hutchinson, 2007), despite
    their key role in the HR-performance chain. Nevertheless, this body of research
    which we label FHRA provides valuable insights into how managers influence the
    attributional process and outcomes.

    Attributions of intent: HRA

    Studies in the final cluster of research focus on employees’ attributions of why
    HR practices – either individually or in bundles – exist. Much of this research is
    a fusion of Heider’s (1958) attribution theory with Weiner’s (1979) attributional
    theory as applied to the HR context. As such, this research suggests that the intent
    behind HR practices can be classified as either internal or external, but also, in
    alignment with Weiner’s work, advances that there are subdivisions or content
    areas within internal and external attributions of intent.

    The earliest work in this area was conducted by Koys (1988, 1991) who dif-
    ferentiated between employees’ perceptions of internal intent (i.e. to attract and
    retain employees) and external intent (i.e. to comply with legislation) of HR activ-
    ities. Koys (1991) found that managers reported higher levels of organizational

    108 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    commitment when they believed that HR practices were implemented for reasons
    of fairness, whereas legal compliance attributions had no significant relationship
    with commitment. The relevance of HR attributions to a specific HR practice,
    namely teamworking, was captured in a qualitative study by Bacon and Blyton
    (2005). Their analysis revealed that employees attribute teamworking to political,
    economic, institutional, or cultural factors. They found that economic and polit-
    ical rationales were viewed negatively because the former emphasizes manager
    self-interest, and the latter emphasizes shareholders above other stakeholders.
    Despite these earlier attempts to bring attribution of HR intent to the forefront of
    HR research, the stimulus that pushed research forward in this field was a study
    by Nishii et al. (2008), in which they set out HRA.

    Nishii et al. (2008) proposed a model which categorizes HR attributions along
    three dimensions. The first, in line with Heider’s original theory, suggests that
    employees make internal or external attributions about the intent of HR practices.
    Internal attributions are those that lie within an organization’s control (to enhance
    commitment or enforce control) and external attributions are out of the organi-
    zation’s control (e.g. union or legal compliance). The second dimension focuses
    on individuals’ perceptions of whether the intended outcomes of the HR practice
    affects employees positively (encourage wellbeing or performance) or negatively
    (exploit employees or drive down costs). The third dimension identifies the focus
    of the practice; attributions of wellbeing and exploitation focus on the individual,
    whereas attributions of performance or cost saving focus on the organization.
    External attributions are not expected to be significantly related to the latter two
    dimensions, because employees see it as outside the organization’s control.

    Choice of attributions of organizational intentions
    In their initial theoretical development, Nishii et al. (2008) identified five explana-
    tions that employees may make for why HR practices exist: (1) to enhance quality
    (performance); (2) to improve employee wellbeing; (3) to exploit employees; (4)
    to reduce costs; and (5) to comply with the union. The results of a confirmatory
    factor analysis showed that the first two attributions loaded onto one factor, and
    the second two attributions loaded onto another factor. Hence, Nishii et al. (2008)
    examined three attributions in their analyses, one that focused on job perfor-
    mance and wellbeing (labelled ‘commitment’), another on organizational costs
    and exploitation (‘control’), and a third on complying with union requirements.

    Researchers have drawn from these findings in different ways. For instance,
    Tandung (2016) replicated Nishii et al.’s findings by measuring each attribution,
    and then, via a factor analysis, confirmed the same factor structure. A different
    approach was taken by Fontinha, José Chambel, and De Cuyper (2012) and D.
    Chen and Wang (2014); these authors combined items from Nishii et al.’s per-
    formance and wellbeing attributions to form a composite ‘commitment-focused’
    attribution, and did the same with exploitation and cost items to form a composite
    ‘control-focused’ attribution measure. Still other researchers have chosen one scale

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    from Nishii et al., rather than combining two. For instance, Shantz, Arevshatian,
    Alfes, and Bailey (2016) measured job performance and cost attributions, while
    excluding wellbeing, exploitation, and union motives altogether.

    Review of empirical research
    We identified seven empirical studies which have explicitly tested Nishii et al.’s
    (2008) original conceptualization, focusing almost exclusively on testing theoret-
    ical outcomes of HRA. It should be noted that, much like the research on HRSS,
    empirical research in this area is primarily cross-sectional (the exception being
    Shantz et al., 2016) so conclusions about causality can only be tentative. In their
    original study, Nishii et al. found that commitment attributions were positively
    related to commitment and satisfaction, whereas control attributions were neg-
    atively related to these outcomes; union compliance was not significantly related
    to either employee attitude. This pattern of findings has been largely supported
    in later studies, with some nuances.

    Fontinha et al. (2012) found that IT consultants who attributed their outsourc-
    ing organization’s HR practices as commitment-focused were more committed to
    both the outsourcing organization and host organization; the opposite relationship
    was found for control-focused attributions. This was replicated and extended by
    Chen and Wang (2014) who found that perceived organizational support par-
    tially mediated the relationship between commitment and control focused HRA
    with turnover intentions and supervisory-rated task performance. Using data
    collected at two points in time, Shantz et al. (2016) found that when employees
    perceived that their organization’s HR practices were intended to improve their
    job performance, they reported higher levels of job involvement and lower levels
    of emotional exhaustion. Conversely, when they attributed their HR practices
    to a cost-reduction intent, they experienced work overload which was related
    to higher levels of emotional exhaustion. Also examining wellbeing outcomes,
    although through a cross-sectional design, Tandung (2016) found that perfor-
    mance/wellbeing attributions were negatively related to turnover intentions,
    whereas exploitation/cost reduction attributions were positively related to it; job
    satisfaction mediated each relationship.

    Making use of a large secondary dataset from Ireland, Valizade, Ogbonnaya,
    Tregaskis, and Forde (2016) conceptualized commitment-focused attributions
    as individuals’ perceptions of the strength of the relationship between employee
    participation practices and outcomes such as job satisfaction (e.g. ‘to what extent
    do you find committees to be related to your job satisfaction?’). They found that
    employee perceptions that participation practices lead to job satisfaction was pos-
    itively associated with several positive outcomes. Although this measure captures
    individuals’ beliefs about cause-and-effect relationships between participation
    practices and employee job attitudes, it says little about to what employees attribute
    the participation practices in the first place.

    110 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    These prior studies have almost exclusively focused on the higher order ‘com-
    mitment-focused’ and ‘control-focused’ attributions. We were unable to find
    research that distinguished between the focus of the attribution: employee (well-
    being or exploitation) or organization (performance or cost saving). Although Van
    De Voorde and Beijer (2015) theoretically discussed the difference between perfor-
    mance and wellbeing attributions, they operationalized performance attributions
    as employees’ belief that HR practices are intended, ‘… to get the most work out
    of employees’. This is akin to Nishii and colleagues’ exploitation attribution with
    a focus on the employee, and not the organization.

    Summary and directions for future research in HRA
    Although only a relatively recent development, Nishii and colleagues’ study has
    been highly cited – garnering over 650 citations in the 9 years since it was pub-
    lished – but only a small number of studies have empirically tested it. From these,
    there is broad support for the theory in that commitment-focused attributions
    have generally been associated with positive outcomes, and control-focused attri-
    butions with negative ones.

    There are several notable questions that remain unanswered. For instance,
    Nishii et al.’s (2008) original study examined the role of external attributions,
    but this aspect has been overlooked in subsequent studies. Examining external
    attributions is important because research suggests that they are influential in
    predicting outcomes (Mitchell & Kalb, 1982). Future research should consider
    external attributions beyond union or legal compliance, such as an organization’s
    desire to keep up with their competitors. However, the most important recom-
    mendation is for researchers to measure the actual intentions behind the HR
    practices (innovation, team-working, etc.) along with other plausible attributions
    in the context in which the organization operates.

    We also note several questions about the role of mediators between HRA and
    outcomes. For instance, while some studies (e.g. Chen & Wang, 2014) established
    the same mediator for commitment and control attributions, Shantz et al. (2016)
    found different mediation mechanisms. Likewise, prior studies have examined one
    mediator at a time so whether previously identified mediators (e.g. job involve-
    ment, job satisfaction) are redundant or provide unique pathways to outcomes is
    a question for future study.

    There is also a dearth of research on antecedents of HRA. Kelley (1973) sug-
    gested that individuals’ attributions are based on characteristics of the stimulus (i.e.
    the HR practice), the context of the stimulus, and the person (i.e. individual differ-
    ences). In the only study to examine an antecedent of HRA, Van De Voorde and
    Beijer (2015) found that the extent of coverage of high performance work practices
    predicted performance/exploitation and wellbeing attributions. However, there
    are likely many other antecedents, including characteristics of the person, such as
    work experience (Mitchell & Kalb, 1982), or attributional tendencies (e.g. Chao,
    Cheung, & Wu, 2011; Martinko, Moss, Douglas, & Borkowski, 2007) or features

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 111

    of the organization itself, such as its vision, structure or national culture (Chiang
    & Birtch, 2007).

    A final observation refers to the definition and measurement of HRA. For
    instance, performance attributions were described and measured positively by
    Nishii et al. (2008) and Shantz et al. (2016), yet negatively by Van De Voorde and
    Beijer (2015). Future research should make clear how the theory and measurement
    of attributions fits within the constellation of existing theory and measurement,
    as HRA research takes flight.

  • Clearing the paths
  • A central aim of this paper is to ‘clear the paths’ between the three research streams
    – HRSS, FHRA, and HRA – that have applied attribution theories in different
    ways to HR scholarship. These three theories differ in several ways. First, they
    draw from different strands of attribution theories, whereby HRSS has drawn
    primarily from Kelley, FHRA from Heider, and HRA from Weiner. Second, they
    differ in the level of analysis. Whereas HRSS focuses on the organizational level of
    analysis, FHRA tends to focus on between-person variability in perceptions, and
    HRA has the capability to do both. They also differ in object, or the emphasis on
    what causes an effect. HRSS focuses on the meta-features of HR practices, FHRA
    focuses on the attributions made by managers and employees of one another and
    events, and HRA focuses on employees’ attributions of the HR practices. Although
    there have been calls to bring some of these theories together, most notably, HRSS
    and HRA (Ostroff & Bowen, 2016; Nishii et al., 2008; Malik & Singh, 2014), there
    have been few attempts to articulate how the three frameworks may interrelate. In
    this section, we make a preliminary attempt to explore some pathways between
    the perspectives. In doing so, we make suggestions in the hope to inspire future
    research to think creatively about finding synergies between and among them.

    In bringing two or more of these frameworks together in a synergistic model,
    researchers should recognize several theoretical parameters. Firstly, HRSS must
    be conceptualized as it was originally intended – as a shared perception of system
    strength at the unit or organizational level. Should research continue to operation-
    alize system strength at the individual-level of analysis, then it must be based on
    homologous arguments between levels of analysis (Chen, Bliese, & Mathieu, 2005).
    Secondly, a model should recognize that there is variability in how individuals
    perceive and respond to HR practices (Nishii & Wright, 2008), while at the same
    time recognizing the possibility that shared perceptions can arise with sufficient
    within-unit agreement.5 The second parameter implies the third: that a strong
    system can be either positive or negative from the perspective of both employ-
    ees and/or the organization, and that these may be incompatible (Ehrnrooth &
    Björkman, 2012; Nishii et al., 2008). We also suggest that there are two notable
    omissions in HRSS and HRA which are evidenced in FHRA; the content of HR
    practices is relatively neglected, and so is the role of the line manager. It is these

    112 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    insights that we take from FHRA to inform our ideas on clearing pathways among
    the three theories. Below we describe three possible pathways among these frame-
    works, thereby inspiring research to examine FHRA in tandem with HRSS and/
    or HRA theories.

    Pathway 1: synergies between HRSS and HR attributions

    Firstly, the relationship between HRSS and HRA might be interactive. For instance,
    group level perceptions of system strength might interact with individual level HR
    attributions to explain individuals’ perceptions of HR practices. This possibility
    was implied by Nishii et al. (2008) who suggested that although employees may
    agree about the climate (e.g. whether a strong HR system exists) they may disagree
    about why HR practices are in place. Bowen and Ostroff (2004) suggested that
    HRSS provides information to employees about which behaviors are expected,
    accepted and rewarded by HR practices. In this way, a stronger HR system pre-
    dicts positive outcomes on the basis that HR practices are intended to be benefi-
    cial to the individual and/or the organization. However, as Nishii and colleagues
    implied, it is possible for a strong system to have positive or negative consequences,
    depending on the message that is conveyed. An interaction between group-level
    perceptions of HRSS and individual-level HRA could explain why individuals’ per-
    ceptions vary from the intended messages conveyed by the practice. For example,
    a strong HR system might positively predict organizational performance because
    it clearly conveys information about desired behavior. However, some individuals
    within the organization who believe that the HR practices are in place to exploit
    them might respond by withholding performance. In this case, the HR system
    still predicts attitudinal outcomes, because it is strong, but individuals respond
    in different ways based on their evaluation of the system.

    A second possibility is that HRSS moderates the relationship between shared
    HRA and group-level outcomes. Nishii et al. (2008) demonstrated that individu-
    al-level HRA predicted organizational commitment which, when shared, is asso-
    ciated with unit-level helping behavior and customer satisfaction. Although not
    addressed by Nishii and colleagues, it is also theoretically and empirically plausible
    that individuals’ attributions can also be shared, to form collective attributions
    which therefore explain group-level outcomes (Martinko et al., 2011). Drawing on
    HRSS theory, which explains the consistency in how practices are perceived within
    groups, this suggests that system strength moderates the relationship between
    shared HRA and collective attitudinal and behavioral responses, such that this
    relationship is stronger under a strong system. In other words, this model would
    explain consistency in reactions to HR practices.

    These are only two possible theoretical models among many that can be
    explored to bring these two theories together. However, any model that identifies
    this synergy will share common features. For instance, these models recognize
    that HRSS and HRA operate on different levels so any relationship between the

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 113

    two constructs requires cross-level relationships between individual and group.
    Likewise, the two processes proposed above explain, respectively, consistency
    and variability in how individuals respond to HR practices. It may therefore be
    possible that these two cross-level interactions occur simultaneously.

    In bringing HRA and HRSS together, there is also an opportunity for research-
    ers to identify a potential ‘dark’ side of HRSS. Although Ostroff and Bowen (2016)
    stated that their model is intended to be strategy-specific (e.g. practices driving a
    strategy for innovation, or for safety), their work sidelines the reality that in some
    cases, strong systems can be perceived by employees as controlling, thereby pre-
    dicting negative employee outcomes. For instance, Gilbert et al. (2015) suggested
    that in the case of a strong system, individuals might attribute an exploitative
    intent for the practice. They proposed that a strong system could undermine line
    managers’ sense of autonomy (and therefore intrinsic motivation), and be seen
    as a demand, with negative consequences. Likewise, Ehrnrooth and Björkman
    (2012) suggested that when HR systems are working ‘well’ (i.e. strongly) they
    promote work intensification. In their empirical study, they found that HRSS
    indirectly predicted higher workload via empowerment. A strong system overall
    might therefore have beneficial implications for some employees, and not others,
    allowing the possibility to incorporate other HR theories about strategic fit (e.g.
    Lepak & Snell, 1999; Schneider, Goldstein, & Smith, 1995). This is a fruitful line
    of enquiry that requires further investigation.

    Pathway 2: process attributions relating to specific HR functions

    Most research has adopted the frameworks of HRSS and HRA as intended, in
    that they examine attributional processes relating to the HR system as a whole
    (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Nishii et al., 2008). Although this strategic, system-level
    perspective explains how individuals process information about the HR system,
    it fails to offer insight about the design or implementation of individual practices
    (Piening et al., 2014). For example, common measures examining the HR sys-
    tem, or bundles of HR practices, simply take the average of employees’ views of
    whether several HR practices are in place (e.g. ‘training is provided to employees
    regularly’; Den Hartog, Boon, Verburg, & Croon, 2013) or if employees are sat-
    isfied with them (‘Is my performance appraisal fair and accurate?’; Alfes, Shantz,
    & Truss, 2012). This assumes that employees view HR practices in the same way
    when, in fact, not all employees are privy to all HR practices, and/or employees
    may view, for example, selection practices quite differently than appraisal. Indeed,
    there is empirical evidence to suggest that there is within-person variability in
    how employees view individual HR practices (e.g. Kinnie, Hutchinson, Purcell,
    Rayton, & Swart, 2005).

    Here we see the potential for synergy between FHRA – which has provided
    insight about attributions related to specific characteristics of individual HR
    functions – and HRSS and HRA, which explain how and why individuals make

    114 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    Table 2. suggestions for future research.

    Research focus Suggested research questions
    Selected methodological and other

    choices

    Within stream

    hr system
    strength
    (hrss)

    • (how) does organizational culture mediate
    the relationship between hrss and desirable
    outcomes?

    • can hrss be ‘too strong’? Is there a ‘dark’ side to
    hrss?

    • under what conditions do consistency, consen-
    sus and distinctiveness lead to a shared sense of
    what the organization values and rewards?

    • multi-level and mixed methods to
    study culture

    • experimental studies to examine the
    conditions of shared perceptions

    • see ostroff and Bowen (2016) for
    more suggestions for future research

    functional hr
    attributions
    (fhra)

    • how might attribution theories help us to
    explain dynamics in other specific hr functional
    areas (e.g. work-life balance initiatives, quality
    circles, and employee monitoring)?

    • how do attributions of hr practices change over
    time?

    • are there certain sequential activities of specific
    hr practices which might predict attributions
    (e.g. annual performance appraisal)?

    • field studies, including survey meth-
    odology, to strengthen ecological
    validity

    • capitalize on natural events by
    conducting field experiments

    • extend attribution theories, rather
    than merely apply them

    hr attributions
    (hra)

    • What mediates the relationship between hr
    attributions and employee outcomes?

    • What leads to hr attributions?
    • Do some external attributions matter more than

    internal ones?

    • When designing scales for survey
    research, include the attribution
    of what the sample organization
    intends (what is their actual strategic
    focus)?

    • ensure consistency in measurement
    of attributions

    • Qualitative research to explore attri-
    butions specific to different contexts
    and organizations

    Pathways

    Pathway 1 – Syn-
    ergies between
    HR System
    Strength and
    HR Attributions

    • (how) do group level hrss interact with individ-
    ual hra to explain individuals’ perceptions of hr
    practices?

    • Do shared hra predict group-level outcomes,
    and is this moderated by hrss?

    • are these processes simultaneous, explaining
    both group and individual outcomes?

    • multi-level and mixed methods to
    capture within and between group
    effects

    • longitudinal survey methods to test
    causality

    • Qualitative research to explore how
    processes unfold

    Pathway 2 –
    Process attribu-
    tions relating
    to specific HR
    functions

    • how do individuals’ hra across different hr
    practices interact? (e.g. can positive attributions
    about talent management policies mitigate
    against negative attributions of performance
    appraisal?)

    • how do attributions of specific hr practices
    influence individuals’ attributions of the practice
    in general?

    • Does the strength of specific hr practices have
    a greater influence on overall impressions of hr
    system strength?

    • multi-level methods to capture per-
    ceptions nested within practices

    • measurement scales to allow for
    more detailed examination of attri-
    butions related to specific practices,
    or different aspects of practices

    Pathway 3 – The
    role of manag-
    ers in forming
    HR attributions

    • Do managers’ attributions spillover to employees’
    attributions? What moderates this process?

    • Is consensus of hr attributions amongst deci-
    sion-makers (e.g. line managers, hr profession-
    als, senior managers) necessary for a system to
    be strong?

    • To what extent do individuals’ attributions about
    hr practices shape manager behaviors?

    • multi-level methods to capture
    simultaneous employee–manager
    and manager–employee spillover of
    attributions

    • Qualitative research to explore the
    role of different decision-makers in
    shaping perceptions of consensus

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 115

    attributions about HR practices. Whereas past HRA research has averaged employ-
    ees’ attributions of several HR practices (performance appraisal, development
    opportunities etc.), future research could untangle the HR practices to allow for
    variability in the attributions that individuals make about specific practices (e.g. ‘I
    believe that the reward policy is to cut costs, but that training practices are to help
    me to perform to my best’). Doing so enables a more detailed examination of how
    attributions interact between practices. For example, if competitive rewards pre-
    dict negative behavioral attributions towards teammates (Ferrin & Dirks, 2003),
    might this be mitigated by training and development believed to foster team
    cohesion? Although it was possible to examine interactions between attributions
    in most of the studies we reviewed given their approaches to measurement, it has
    yet to be explored in research.

    Likewise, by focusing on the content of HR practices, as in FHRA research, it is
    possible to provide more nuance about how individuals make specific HR attribu-
    tions about individual practices. In the context of recruitment, for instance, future
    research might examine the attributions job seekers make of corporate social
    responsibility initiatives that feature in many job advertisements. Organizations
    that promote their socially responsible practices may be perceived positively or
    cynically by job seekers. These perceptions may be influenced by job seekers’
    perceptions of its distinctiveness (whether it features heavily in the job descrip-
    tion), consensus (whether the company is known for being socially responsible),
    and consistency (whether the organization has a history of being involved in the
    community). This is aligned with research that shows that attributions matter in
    this context; Gatignon-Turnau and Mignonac (2015) found that public relations
    attributions undermine the positive relationship between employee perceptions
    of the corporate volunteering program and their perceptions of the organization’s
    prosocial identity.

    Future research should also investigate other specific HR practices. Malik and
    Singh (2014) made a start in their development of a theoretical model of attribu-
    tions in the context of talent management. In line with the self-serving bias, they
    theorized that individuals selected into talent management programs attribute
    the organization’s motives for the program differently from unselected employees.
    Future research is needed to test and extend their model. Other HR practices that
    have yet to be investigated include elements of job design, including job rotation
    and international assignments. Family-friendly workplace practices may also exert
    different effects depending on whether employees attribute them to internal (the
    company cares about its employees) versus external (the company is audited for
    gender balance) reasons. This potential synergy between attributions relating to
    process (HRA and HRSS) and those focused on content (FHRA) could therefore
    explain more about the relationship between the implementation of HR practices
    and employees’ perceptions, which is sorely needed (Piening et al., 2014).

    To facilitate this future research, scholars need to move away from the gen-
    eral measures used in prior studies. We suggest that future research considers in

    116 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    more detail the characteristics of the implemented HR practices in the sample
    organization, which would allow a more fine-grained look at specific HR prac-
    tices. For instance, rather than asking about training in general, questions could
    be asked about specific type and content of training programs that are offered in
    the organization.

    Pathway 3: the role of managers in forming HR attributions

    Managers play an important part in implementing HR practices (Purcell &
    Hutchinson, 2007), and there is evidence that manager perceptions of practices
    influence those of their employees (Den Hartog et al., 2013). The role of line man-
    agers in HRSS has been positioned differently by scholars. In its original concep-
    tion, HRSS recognizes managers in part through the concept of consensus among
    key decision-makers. Alternatively, Gilbert et al. (2015) suggested that a strong
    HR system precedes line manager behavior, rather than being partly indicative of
    it. In HRA there is no explicit recognition of the role of managers, although it is
    likely that managers play an important role in shaping the messages provided by
    the HR practices to inform attributions of intent (Piening et al., 2014). However,
    neither theory explicitly discusses the role of manager behaviors or attitudes in
    the HR attributional process. We therefore suggest that there are several ways in
    which future research, drawing on the FHRA perspective, could integrate line
    managers more comprehensively into the attributional process.

    First, we know from FHRA research that the framing of HR practices – for
    example in Quinones’s (1995) research presenting a training intervention as devel-
    opment or remedial – influences individuals’ attributions and responses to HR
    practices (see also Cole, 2008). Line managers play an important part in whether
    HR practices are in fact implemented, and the quality of their implementation
    (Guest & Bos-Nehles, 2013; Woodrow & Guest, 2014). As part of this, the way
    that they communicate HR practices to employees informs the signals provided
    by the practices (Alvesson & Kärreman, 2007; Den Hartog et al., 2013). Therefore,
    it stands to reason that the message of intent communicated by managers influ-
    ences employees’ perceptions of the reason for said practice (HRA), and that
    this would be particularly the case when communication was consistent (HRSS).
    Line managers also make idiosyncratic attributions of HR practices which likely
    differ from, and precede, their employees’ attributions of the same HR practice,
    thus implying that managers’ attributions of HR practices spill over and influence
    employees’ attributions. This step in the process between line manager imple-
    mentation and employee reactions to HR practices has yet to be recognized, but
    is supported by evidence that managers’ attributions influence the attitudes and
    behaviors of their employees (e.g. Knowlton & Mitchell, 1980). Future research
    should therefore examine the relationship and potential spillover of line manager
    to employee attributions of individual and bundled HR practices.

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 117

    Likewise, there is some evidence that individuals’ attributions of intent are
    influenced by their evaluations (i.e. fairness, positive appraisals) of both their
    manager and HR practices. For example, Greenberg (2003) found that when per-
    formance-pay practices were particularly salient (i.e. strong), individuals were
    more likely to attribute fairness to the practice, rather than their manager. This was
    supported by Korsgaard, Brodt, and Whitener (2002), who found that employees
    were less likely to attribute negative encounters to their manager when HR prac-
    tices themselves were perceived to be unfair. This suggests that manager behav-
    iors and HR practices go hand in hand in influencing individuals’ attributions of
    said practices. A synergistic model of HR attributions could therefore recognize
    both the strength of the system, and the attributions of intent that the manager
    communicates in shaping individuals’ own attributions, attitudes and behaviors
    in response to the practice.

    Methodological issues

    There are some significant limitations regarding the methods employed in prior
    studies across the three domains of research we identified. One obvious finding
    is the dominance of survey and experimental methods of design over qualitative
    ones. Qualitative research can be employed to produce rich insights into the nature
    of relationships between the various constructs of interest, as well as to investigate
    the influences of wider social, political, and economic factors. Questions requiring
    a qualitative methodology that will develop research in this area include: What is
    the nature of the interplay between perceptions of HR practices and attributions?
    How does the relationship between individual HR attributions and shared percep-
    tions of HR systems lead to desired outcomes? What configurations of attributions
    are associated with strong or weak HR practices? What is the role of different levels
    of managers (senior versus line) in influencing employee attributions and how do
    these interact with managers’ role in promoting strong HR practices?

    Turning to quantitative research, consistent with common criticisms of research
    on the HR–performance link (Paauwe, 2009; Wright & Ulrich, 2017), most of the
    studies highlighted in our review are cross-sectional. This is particularly the case
    for research under the auspices of HRSS and HRA. While this research is largely
    field-based and is therefore ecologically valid, its cross-sectional nature raises con-
    cerns about causal ordering between antecedents and outcomes. FHRA research,
    on the other hand, shows significant strengths in testing causal models in that it is
    based largely on experimental data. However, much of this research was conducted
    in a laboratory, so the extent to which the findings generalize to ‘the real world’
    remains unclear. Likewise, the reliance on self-reported data also raises concerns
    related to response biases such as social desirability and common-method bias
    (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Podsakoff, 2012). Although a sub-section of this body
    of research has sought self-reported data from multiple sources (e.g. manager

    118 R. HEWETT ET AL.

    and employees), there is arguably a wealth of objective data available which could
    verify and extend research in this area.

    We therefore suggest that future research would benefit from more methodo-
    logical rigor. In particular, longitudinal field-research and field experiments would
    provide a more robust test of causal chains, and fit more closely with Weiner’s
    (1979, 1985) conceptualization that attributions are time dependent in that they
    are predicted to occur after the event of observation. Likewise, the two distinct
    quantitative approaches – field-based surveys and lab-based experiments – could
    learn from each other. Field-based experiments would enable scholars to test causal
    links and therefore help develop these theoretical domains. Qualitative research
    would likewise enable further development of attribution theory as applied to
    HR scholarship, which despite high numbers of citations of some seminal studies
    (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Nishii et al., 2008), still requires empirical refinement.

  • Concluding remarks
  • This paper synthesizes and draws insights from HR research that has been
    informed by attribution theories developed in social psychology. An analysis of
    65 papers revealed that attribution theories have much to say about HR-related
    issues. Through our review, we make several important contributions to HR schol-
    arly work. First, we highlight three streams of research that are rooted in different
    strands of attribution theories – HRSS, FHRA and HRA. Although attributions
    theories are a mainstay of social psychology, with a deep and rich history, they
    have only recently been fully leveraged by HR scholars. Even those well versed
    in HR theory are likely confused by different uses of attribution theories in HR
    research, and so this paper clarifies the history and explains the variety in the
    approaches used in HR scholarship. Second, like other review papers, it is only
    through bringing together extant literature that we can see patterns of findings
    and omissions of work that can direct future research. For each stream of research,
    we identified several future directions for research, and provided suggestions
    regarding methodology and other research choices. Some of our ideas for ‘what’s
    next?’ within each stream are summarized in the top half of Table 2. Third, our
    synthesis revealed that, despite their shared theoretical foundations, the three
    research streams rarely inform or inspire one another. We highlight several theo-
    retical propositions and future research questions that may help to ‘clear the paths’
    among these currently disparate bodies of research. We have discussed potential
    avenues for future research throughout our review, and inspired by this we also
    provide some potential research questions and methodological considerations in
    the bottom half of Table 2. These all arise directly from our review and, although
    Table 2 does not provide an exhaustive list, we hope these questions stimulate
    future research to explore and expand on our proposed pathways.

    Finally, this review has several implications for practice, both with respect
    to how attributions are formed and the outcomes of these attributions. Firstly,

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 119

    attributions-based perspectives suggest that strategic HR leaders must ensure that
    they have a clear picture of what the constellation of HR practices are intended to
    achieve, and whether the message that they convey is ‘strong’ and therefore clearly
    understood. This means that HR leaders need to understand how the system of
    HR practices is interpreted by both line managers who implement them, and
    employees as end-users, because intentions do not necessarily translate as antic-
    ipated. In practice, this requires a clear communication plan to ensure that con-
    sistent messages about the purpose of policies and procedures are received by line
    managers, and therefore relayed to employees through implementation. If there is
    misalignment between strategic intentions and how practices are interpreted, then
    HR leaders would be wise to investigate line manager and employee attributions
    for HR practices – asking ‘why do you think these HR practices exist in the first
    place?’ Furthermore, we know that how HR practices are perceived is likely to
    predict different responses from employees. This further contributes to the need
    to train managers in how to frame conversations about HR practices, to ensure
    that messages are consistent both with the intention of the practice, and framed
    in ways to engender positive attitudes. Likewise, the evidence that attributions can
    cause biases in decision-making from the manager’s perspective implies the need
    to train line managers in the impact of these biases. This is to ensure that managers
    get a ‘complete’ picture on which to base people-related decisions. Together, our
    conclusions and suggestions for future research therefore have implications both
    for scholarship and for practice. We hope that this review inspires new avenues
    of research on HR-related attributions, which have far reaching implications for
    the design and implementation of HR practices, and the impact of practices on
    individuals and organizations.

  • Notes
  • 1. For readers interested in other attribution theories, Schachter’s (1964) theory of
    emotional ability, Bem’s (1967, 1972) self-perception theory, and Jones and Davis’
    (1965) correspondence inference theory, may prove fruitful as the application of
    attribution theories to HR theory advances.

    2. When a person lacks clear information about an event or behavior, they fall back on
    causal schemas, defined as ‘a general conception the person has about how certain
    kinds of causes interact to produce a specific kind of effect’ (Kelley, 1973, p. 151).

    3. Despite the seemingly high cognitive effort involved in the covariation process, Kelley
    argued that people do not engage in extensive assembling of information as seemingly
    required by covariation analysis. Instead, people construct cause and effect patterns
    that enable them to make causal inferences relatively quickly.

    4. Not all 65 papers are discussed in the body of the paper. Our review aimed to draw
    out the key insights so papers offering similar perspectives or conclusions are not
    always discussed.

    5. Although Malik and Singh (2014) brought together HRSS and HRA in a theoretical
    framework to explain how employees respond to talent management programs, their
    theoretical model failed to account for variation in individual perceptions.

    120 R. HEWETT ET AL.

  • Disclosure statement
  • No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

    ORCID

    Rebecca Hewett   http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4340-3817

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    • Abstract
    • Introduction

      Attribution theories: a historical review

      Heider’s attribution theory

      Kelley’s attribution theory

      Weiner’s attributional theory

      Review of attribution theories applied to HRM

      HR system strength

      Measurement

      Correlates of system strength

      The relative importance of consensus, consistency and distinctiveness

      The relationships among consensus, consistency, and distinctiveness

      Summary and directions for future research using HRSS

      Functional HR attributions

      Performance management

      Grievances and disciplinary decisions

      Selection and recruitment

      Training

      Health and safety

      Summary and directions for future research in FHRA

      Attributions of intent: HRA

      Choice of attributions of organizational intentions

      Review of empirical research

      Summary and directions for future research in HRA

      Clearing the paths

      Pathway 1: synergies between HRSS and HR attributions

      Pathway 2: process attributions relating to specific HR functions

      Pathway 3: the role of managers in forming HR attributions

      Methodological issues

      Concluding remarks

      Notes

      Disclosure statement

      References

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    ISSN: 0958-5192 (Print) 1466-4399 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rijh20

    Employee perceptions of HR practices: A critical
    review and future directions

    Ying Wang, Sunghoon Kim, Alannah Rafferty & Karin Sanders

    To cite this article: Ying Wang, Sunghoon Kim, Alannah Rafferty & Karin Sanders (2020)
    Employee perceptions of HR practices: A critical review and future directions, The International
    Journal of Human Resource Management, 31:1, 128-173, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360

    To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360

    Published online: 26 Nov 2019.

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    Employee perceptions of HR practices: A critical
    review and future directions

    Ying Wanga , Sunghoon Kimb� , Alannah Raffertyc� and
    Karin Sandersd�†
    aSchool of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China; bThe University of
    Sydney Business School, Sydney, Australia; cDepartment of Employment Relations and Human
    Resources, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; dSchool
    of Management, UNSW Business School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

    ABSTRACT
    Scholars are directing more attention to employee percep-
    tions of human resources (HR) practices and have explored
    issues such as whether and how employees’ idiosyncratic or
    collective perceptions of HR practices shape employee out-
    comes. To further this area of research, we seek to deter-
    mine what authors mean when they refer to “employee
    perceptions of HR practices”. We review 105 articles from
    leading human resource management journals and find
    that employee perceptions of HR practices is not a mono-
    lithic concept. Rather, following previous scholars, we iden-
    tify three distinct components of employee perceptions of
    HR practices: the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’. We critically sum-
    marize extant literature on these three components of
    employee HR perception and propose future research direc-
    tions, including enriching the theoretical foundations of HR
    communication, embracing cross-national contexts, and
    enhancing practical relevance.

    KEYWORDS
    Employee human resource
    perceptions; perceived
    human resource strength;
    human resource attributions

    Over the last decade, the strategic human resource management field has
    paid increasing attention to employee perceptions of human resource (HR)
    practices (Beijer, Peccie, Van Veldhoven, & Paauwe, in press; Hewett,
    Shantz, Mundy, & Alfes, 2018; Ostroff & Bowen, 2016; Sanders, Shipton, &
    Gomes, 2014). Human resource management (HRM) scholars largely agree
    that employee perceptions of HR practices play a key role in influencing the
    effectiveness of these practices (e.g. Den Hartog, Boon, Verburg, & Croon,
    2013; Jensen, Patel, & Messersmith, 2013; Jiang, Hu, Liu, & Lepak, 2017). At
    the individual level, employee perceptions of HR practices have been shown

    CONTACT Sunghoon Kim sunghoon.kim@sydney.edu.au Work and Organisational Studies, The
    University of Sydney Business School, Abercrombie Building, Darlington, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia�Sunghoon Kim, Alannah Rafferty and Karin Sanders contributed equally to this paper.
    †Karin Sanders was working on this paper during an appointment as a Visiting Professor at the Aston
    Business School (Work & Organisational Psychology), Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
    � 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
    2020, VOL. 31, NO. 1, 128–173
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360

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    http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1850-9393

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    https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360

    http://www.tandfonline.com

    to mediate and moderate relationships between an organization’s HR practi-
    ces and employees’ attitudes and behaviors (e.g. Aryee, Walumbwa, Seidu,
    & Otaye, 2012; Liao, Toya, Lepak, & Hong, 2009). At the organizational
    level, employee perceptions of HR practices have been identified as antece-
    dents of unit-level performance (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004).
    The rapidly expanding literature in this field has led to growing diversity

    in the way scholars conceptualize and operationalize employee HR percep-
    tions. For example, the phrase “employee HR perceptions” has been used
    when discussing the perceived existence of certain HR practices within an
    organization as well as when discussing employees’ understanding of
    employers’ intentions behind HR practices. In this review, we aim to
    enhance clarity regarding the different approaches taken when researchers
    use the phrase “employee HR perceptions”. We build on Ostroff and Bowen’s
    (2016) work and identify three approaches that have been adopted when
    considering employee HR perceptions: the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ of HR
    practices. The ‘what’ of an HR practices approach considers the content of
    HR practices through which an employer delivers messages to employees.
    The ‘how’ of an HR practices approach recognizes the possibility that the
    same HR content may lead to divergent outcomes depending on how such
    practices are framed and received by employees. The ‘why’ of an HR practi-
    ces approach looks at the potential discrepancies in the way employees judge
    the motivations that lie behind their organization’s introduction of HR prac-
    tices. We critically summarize existing research in the HR perception litera-
    ture and adopt this three-fold lens to organize research in the area and to
    offer directions for future research.
    Our study contributes to the HR perceptions field in two ways. First, we

    clarify the “employee perceptions of HR practices” construct and review
    research progress on the three different components (the ‘what’, ‘why’ and
    ‘how’) that have been subsumed under this umbrella construct. We critic-
    ally summarize extant literature on the three components of employee HR
    perceptions and propose future research directions. Our review indicates
    that different components of employee HR perceptions address different
    aspects of the HR process, and rely on different theoretical assumptions
    and methodological approaches. Our review reveals that we lack knowledge
    about how the three different components of HR perceptions complement
    each other. In this review, we take stock on the different research streams
    in the field of employee perceptions of HR practices. Our review identifies
    the merits, limitations, and hidden assumptions of each research stream.
    We seek to help scholars develop integrative research across different com-
    ponents of employee HR perceptions.
    Second, we extend prior reviews in this domain, presenting new

    insights. In relation to the ‘what’ component of employee perceptions of

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 129

    HR practices, we build on work by Beijer et al. (in press), who provide
    an insightful review on perceptual measures of HR practices. We extend
    Beijer et al.’s work by offering additional perspectives on how employee
    perceptions of HR are conceptualized and operationalized in the litera-
    ture. Hewett et al. (2018) offered a summary of HR perception research
    through the lens of attribution theory. We build on this research by
    expanding the theoretical domain related to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ compo-
    nent of HR perception research. Specifically, we identify several theoret-
    ical approaches that we suggest would enrich this area. Our review also
    builds on, but goes beyond, Ostroff and Bowen’s (2016) work in the HR
    strength research stream (the ‘how’ of employee perceptions). Finally,
    Farndale and Sanders (2017) discuss the connection between national
    cultures and HR strength. We build on their insights and consider the
    implication of cultural influences on the dynamics of employees’ HR per-
    ceptions. Below, we explain the methodology adopted in this review. We
    then investigate the difference between the assumptions, concepts, and
    measures of the three components of employee HR perceptions. Next,
    we critically review the empirical findings on the perceived ‘what’, ‘how’,
    and ‘why’ of HR practices, and offer insights into how research in these
    areas of inquiry should advance.

    Methods

    In identifying relevant articles, we used various keywords on employee
    perceptions of HR practices, including “HR(M) process,” “HR(M)
    strength,” “HR(M) attribution,” “HR(M) perception,” “HR(M) rating,”
    “HR(M) experience,” and “employee perceived HR(M)”. We focus on
    research published after 2004, when Bowen and Ostroff’s (2004) land-
    mark paper on employee HR perception appeared. However, we also
    considered earlier seminal books and articles that underpin this litera-
    ture. As our attention is on employee perceptions of HR practices, we
    exclude studies on managers’ perceptions of HR (Leung, Foo, &
    Chaturvedi, 2013; Wright, McMahan, Snell, & Gerhart, 2001). We focus
    on HR systems and practices as the target of employee’s perceptions.
    Therefore, we exclude studies with a perceptual target other than HR
    practices such as the HR department (e.g. Buyens & De Vos, 2001;
    Stirpe, Trullen, & Bonache, 2013). Our review focuses on articles
    appeared in high quality journals, indicated by A� and A rankings in the
    Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) journal list. We identified
    105 articles to be reviewed (see Table 1) and we grouped them into three
    categories: the what (HR content), the how (HR strength), and the why
    (HR attribution) of employee perceptions of HR. The majority (75 out of

    130 Y. WANG ET AL.

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    iz
    at
    io
    ns

    in
    Ca
    na
    da

    M
    ul
    tin

    om
    ia
    l

    lo
    gi
    t
    an
    al
    ys
    is

    H
    er
    rb
    ac
    h
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    09
    )

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    th
    at

    ar
    e
    re
    le
    va
    nt

    to
    re
    ta
    in
    in
    g
    ol
    de
    r

    w
    or
    ke
    rs

    in
    em

    pl
    oy
    m
    en
    t
    (1
    4-
    ite
    m
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    op
    po

    rt
    un

    iti
    es
    ,

    av
    ai
    la
    bi
    lit
    y
    of

    ne
    w

    ro
    le
    s,

    fle
    xi
    bl
    e
    w
    or
    ki
    ng

    co
    nd

    iti
    on

    s,
    an
    d

    Ea
    rly

    re
    tir
    em

    en
    t

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t,

    hi
    gh

    -s
    ac
    rif
    ic
    e

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t,
    an
    d
    la
    ck

    of
    al
    te
    rn
    at
    iv
    es

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    Fr
    en
    ch

    pr
    iv
    at
    e
    fir
    m
    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    (c
    on
    tin
    ue
    d)

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 131

    Ta
    bl
    e
    1.

    Co
    nt
    in
    ue
    d.

    St
    ud

    y
    Co

    nc
    ep
    tu
    al
    iz
    at
    io
    n
    of

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    Pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    Pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    In
    de
    pe
    nd

    en
    t
    Va
    ria
    bl
    es

    D
    ep
    en
    de
    nt

    Va
    ria
    bl
    es

    M
    od

    er
    at
    or
    s

    M
    ed
    ia
    to
    rs

    Co
    nt
    ex
    t

    D
    at
    a
    An

    al
    ys
    is

    en
    co
    ur
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    to

    re
    tir
    e
    ea
    rly

    Ka
    s�e
    ,P

    aa
    uw

    e,
    an
    d

    Zu
    pa
    n
    (2
    00
    9)

    H
    RM

    Ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (4
    7-
    ite
    m
    )

    M
    ut
    ua
    le

    xp
    er
    ie
    nc
    ed

    H
    R

    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (w
    or
    k
    de
    si
    gn

    ,
    in
    ce
    nt
    iv
    es
    ,a
    nd

    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    )

    Kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    so
    ur
    ci
    ng

    an
    d
    sh
    ar
    in
    g

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al
    ,a
    ffe

    ct
    iv
    e,
    an
    d

    co
    gn

    iti
    ve

    re
    la
    tio

    ns
    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    ns
    in

    Sl
    ov
    en
    ia

    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    (M
    ul
    tip

    le
    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    Q
    ua
    dr
    at
    ic

    As
    si
    gn

    m
    en
    t

    Pr
    oc
    ed
    ur
    e)

    Li
    ao

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    09
    )

    JA
    P

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rs
    pe
    ct
    iv
    es

    of
    H
    PW

    S
    (4
    4-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    D
    el
    er
    y
    &
    D
    ot
    y,
    19
    96
    ;

    Sc
    hn

    ei
    de
    r,
    W
    hi
    te
    ,&

    Pa
    ul
    ,1

    99
    8;

    Za
    ch
    ar
    at
    os
    ,B

    ar
    lin
    g,

    &
    Iv
    er
    so
    n,

    20
    05
    )

    M
    an
    ag
    er

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    H
    PW

    S
    Em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    in
    di
    vi
    du

    al
    se
    rv
    ic
    e

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    an
    d

    cu
    st
    om

    er
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S,
    em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    hu
    m
    an

    ca
    pi
    ta
    l,
    em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    ps
    yc
    ho

    lo
    gi
    ca
    l

    em
    po

    w
    er
    m
    en
    t,
    an
    d

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    na
    ls
    up

    po
    rt

    Ja
    pa
    ne
    se

    na
    tio

    na
    lb

    an
    k

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ko
    oi
    j,
    Ja
    ns
    en
    ,D

    ik
    ke
    rs
    ,

    an
    d
    D
    e
    La
    ng

    e
    (2
    01
    0)

    JO
    B

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t
    an
    d

    m
    ai
    nt
    en
    an
    ce

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t
    an
    d

    jo
    b
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n

    Ag
    e

    Ar
    tic
    le
    s
    fr
    om

    da
    ta
    ba
    se
    s

    of
    Ps
    yc
    hi
    nf
    o

    an
    d
    Ab

    iIn
    fo
    rm

    M
    et
    a-
    an
    al
    ys
    is

    Sh
    ih
    ,C

    hi
    an
    g,

    an
    d
    H
    su

    (2
    01
    0)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    hi
    gh

    in
    vo
    lv
    em

    en
    t

    w
    or
    k
    sy
    st
    em

    (H
    IW

    S
    26
    -it
    em

    fr
    om

    Ba
    e,

    Ch
    en
    ,W

    an
    ,L
    aw

    le
    r,
    &
    W
    al
    um

    bw
    a,

    20
    03
    ;C

    he
    n,

    La
    w
    le
    r,
    &
    Ba
    e,
    20
    05
    )

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    IW

    S
    Jo
    b
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n,

    jo
    b

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    w
    or
    k-

    fa
    m
    ily

    co
    nf
    lic
    t

    M
    ul
    tin

    at
    io
    na
    lc
    om

    pa
    ni
    es

    in
    Ta
    iw
    an

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ve
    ld
    ,P

    aa
    uw

    e,
    an
    d

    Bo
    se
    lie

    (2
    01
    0)

    H
    RM

    J

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    H
    RM

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    n
    (1
    4-
    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    Bo
    on

    ,D
    en

    H
    ar
    to
    g,

    Bo
    se
    lie
    ,a
    nd

    Pa
    au
    w
    e
    (2
    01
    1)

    fo
    r
    au
    to
    no

    m
    y
    an
    d

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t,
    2-
    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    va
    n
    Ve
    ld
    ho

    ve
    n
    an
    d
    M
    ei
    jm
    an

    (1
    99
    4)
    ,2

    -it
    em

    fr
    om

    Ri
    or
    da
    n,

    Va
    nd

    en
    be
    rg
    ,a
    nd

    Ri
    ch
    ar
    ds
    on

    (2
    00
    5)

    fo
    r
    co
    m
    m
    un

    ic
    at
    io
    n,

    an
    d
    5-
    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    Co
    lq
    ui
    tt
    (2
    00
    1)

    fo
    r

    in
    fo
    rm

    in
    g
    be
    ha
    vi
    or
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    H
    RM

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    n
    W
    ar
    d
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    Cl
    im
    at
    e
    fo
    r
    qu

    al
    ity

    an
    d

    cl
    im
    at
    e
    fo
    r
    sa
    fe
    ty

    W
    ar
    ds

    an
    d

    ou
    tp
    at
    ie
    nt

    cl
    in
    ic
    s

    M
    ul
    tip

    le
    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    Bo
    on

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    11
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    H
    PW

    S
    (3
    8-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    st
    ud

    ie
    s
    in
    cl
    ud

    in
    g

    Ca
    bl
    e
    &
    Ed
    w
    ar
    ds
    ,2

    00
    4;

    G
    ue
    st

    &
    Co

    nw
    ay
    ,2

    00
    2;

    Ry
    an

    &
    Sc
    hm

    it,
    19
    96
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    H
    PW

    S
    O
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    na
    l

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t,
    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n

    to
    sh
    ow

    O
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    na
    l

    ci
    tiz
    en
    sh
    ip

    be
    ha
    vi
    or

    (O
    CB

    ),
    jo
    b
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n,

    an
    d
    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n
    to

    le
    av
    e

    Pe
    rs
    on

    -o
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    n
    (P
    -O
    )

    fit
    an
    d
    pe
    rs
    on

    -jo
    b

    (P
    -J
    )
    fit

    Re
    ta
    il
    an
    d
    he
    al
    th

    ca
    re

    co
    m
    pa
    ni
    es

    in
    th
    e

    N
    et
    he
    rla
    nd

    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ch
    en
    ,Z

    ha
    ng

    ,a
    nd

    Fe
    y

    (2
    01
    1)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Ag
    en
    t-
    fo
    cu
    se
    d
    co
    lla
    bo

    ra
    tiv
    e

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (9
    -it
    em

    )
    Ag

    en
    t-
    fo
    cu
    se
    d
    co
    lla
    bo

    ra
    tiv
    e

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    an
    d

    st
    re
    ng

    th
    of

    tie
    s

    Sa
    le
    s
    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    Ex
    te
    rn
    al

    ne
    tw
    or
    k
    si
    ze

    an
    d
    ra
    ng

    e
    In
    su
    ra
    nc
    e
    ag
    en
    ts

    in
    a
    lif
    e

    in
    su
    ra
    nc
    e
    co
    m
    pa
    ny

    in
    Ch

    in
    a

    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    El
    or
    za

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    11
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    ra
    te
    d
    th
    e
    pr
    es
    en
    ce

    of
    AM

    O
    en
    ha
    nc
    in
    g
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (2
    2-
    ite
    m

    M
    an
    ag
    er

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    AM

    O
    en
    ha
    nc
    in
    g
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    AM

    O
    en
    ha
    nc
    in
    g
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Sp
    an
    is
    h

    m
    an
    uf
    ac
    tu
    rin

    g
    pl
    an
    ts

    M
    ul
    til
    ev
    el

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    132 Y. WANG ET AL.

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t,

    pr
    od

    uc
    tiv
    ity
    ,a
    nd

    ab
    se
    nt
    ee
    is
    m

    Fa
    rn
    da
    le
    ,H

    op
    e-
    H
    ai
    le
    y,

    an
    d
    Ke
    lli
    he
    r
    (2
    01
    1)

    PR

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    hi
    gh

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t
    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (6
    -it
    em

    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    hi
    gh

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    Tr
    us
    t
    in

    em
    pl
    oy
    er

    D
    is
    tr
    ib
    ut
    iv
    e,
    pr
    oc
    ed
    ur
    al
    ,

    an
    d
    in
    te
    ra
    ct
    io
    na
    lj
    us
    tic
    e

    Fo
    ur

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    ns
    in

    th
    e

    U
    ni
    te
    d
    Ki
    ng

    do
    m

    (U
    K)

    M
    ul
    tip

    le
    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    Ar
    ye
    e
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    12
    )

    JA
    P

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    H
    PW

    S
    (4
    4-
    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    Li
    ao

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    09
    )

    U
    se

    of
    H
    PW

    S
    Se
    rv
    ic
    e
    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    an
    d

    br
    an
    ch

    m
    ar
    ke
    t

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    Se
    rv
    ic
    e
    or
    ie
    nt
    at
    io
    n

    Ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    H
    PW

    S,
    em

    po
    w
    er
    m
    en
    t
    cl
    im
    at
    e,

    an
    d
    ps
    yc
    ho

    lo
    gi
    ca
    l

    em
    po

    w
    er
    m
    en
    t

    Ba
    nk
    s
    in

    G
    ha
    na

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Al
    fe
    s,
    Sh
    an
    tz
    ,e
    t
    al
    .

    (2
    01
    3)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S
    (9
    -it
    em

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    G
    ou

    ld
    -W

    ill
    ia
    m
    s
    &

    D
    av
    ie
    s,
    20
    05
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S
    O
    CB

    an
    d
    tu
    rn
    ov
    er

    in
    te
    nt
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    (c
    on
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    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 133

    Ta
    bl
    e
    1.

    Co
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    t,
    O
    CB

    )

    G
    re
    ek

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    ns
    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Kn
    ie
    s
    an
    d
    Le
    is
    in
    k

    (2
    01
    4)

    H
    RM

    J

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    op

    le
    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    ac
    tiv
    iti
    es

    (7
    -it
    em

    re
    ga
    rd
    in
    g
    su
    pp

    or
    tiv
    e

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    op

    le
    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    ac
    tiv
    iti
    es

    Ex
    tr
    a-
    ro
    le

    be
    ha
    vi
    ou

    r
    Au

    to
    no

    m
    y,
    ab
    ili
    ty
    ,

    an
    d
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    Co
    op

    er
    at
    iv
    e

    in
    su
    ra
    nc
    e
    co
    m
    pa
    ny

    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    (t
    ak
    e
    in
    to

    ac
    co
    un

    t
    no

    n-
    in
    de
    pe
    nd

    en
    ce

    of
    ob

    se
    rv
    at
    io
    ns
    )

    Pe
    te
    rs
    ,P

    ou
    ts
    m
    a,
    va
    n

    de
    r
    H
    ei
    jd
    en
    ,

    Ba
    kk
    er
    ,a
    nd

    de
    Br
    ui
    jn

    (2
    01
    4)

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    ne
    w

    w
    ay
    s
    to

    w
    or
    k

    (e
    .g
    .,
    te
    le
    w
    or
    k)

    Im
    pl
    em

    en
    te
    d

    em
    po

    w
    er
    m
    en
    t
    an
    d

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    ne
    w

    w
    ay
    s
    to

    w
    or
    k

    W
    or
    k-
    re
    la
    te
    d
    flo
    w

    Pu
    bl
    ic
    an
    d
    pr
    iv
    at
    e

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    ns
    in

    th
    e

    ne
    th
    er
    la
    nd

    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Sh
    en

    an
    d
    Le
    gg

    et
    t

    (2
    01
    4)

    PR

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    RM

    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (1
    5-
    ite
    m

    ad
    ap
    te
    d
    fr
    om

    Su
    n
    et

    al
    .,

    20
    07

    an
    d
    5-
    ite
    m

    re
    ga
    rd
    in
    g

    re
    cr
    ui
    tm

    en
    t
    an
    d
    sl
    ec
    tio

    n)

    Pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    RM

    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    na
    lj
    us
    tic
    e

    H
    uk
    ou

    st
    at
    us

    Co
    m
    pa
    ni
    es

    in
    Ch

    in
    a

    O
    ne
    -w
    ay

    be
    tw
    ee
    n

    gr
    ou

    ps
    M
    AN

    O
    VA

    Ve
    rm

    ee
    re
    n
    (2
    01
    4)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    RM

    (3
    9-
    ite
    m

    ad
    ap
    te
    d
    fr
    om

    Ap
    pe
    lb
    au
    m
    ,B

    ai
    le
    y,

    Be
    rg
    ,&

    Ka
    lle
    be
    rg
    ,2

    00
    0;

    Bo
    on

    ,2
    00
    8;

    Ah
    m
    ad

    &
    Sc
    hr
    oe
    de
    r,
    20
    03
    ;G

    ou
    ld

    Li
    ne

    m
    an
    ag
    er

    tr
    an
    sf
    or
    m
    at
    io
    na
    l

    le
    ad
    er
    sh
    ip

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    un

    it
    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    Li
    ne

    m
    an
    ag
    er

    im
    pl
    em

    en
    te
    d

    an
    d
    em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    RM

    A
    D
    ut
    ch

    m
    un

    ic
    ip
    al
    ity

    H
    ire
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    134 Y. WANG ET AL.

    W
    ill
    ia
    m
    s,
    20
    03
    ;H

    us
    el
    id
    ,1

    99
    5;

    W
    rig

    ht
    ,

    G
    ar
    dn

    er
    ,M

    oy
    ni
    ha
    n,

    &
    Al
    le
    n,

    20
    05
    )

    Ya
    na
    do

    ri
    an
    d
    Va
    n

    Ja
    ar
    sv
    el
    d
    (2
    01
    4)

    IR

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    re
    po

    rt
    s
    of

    H
    PW

    S
    (1
    0-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    M
    oh

    r
    &
    Zo
    gh

    i,
    20
    08
    ;

    Za
    tz
    ic
    k
    &
    Iv
    er
    so
    n,

    20
    06
    )

    Fo
    rm

    al
    H
    PW

    S,
    in
    fo
    rm

    al
    H
    PW

    S,
    an
    d

    un
    us
    ed

    H
    PW

    S

    Jo
    b
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n
    an
    d

    w
    or
    kp
    la
    ce

    pr
    of
    ita
    bi
    lit
    y

    St
    at
    is
    tic
    s
    Ca
    na
    da

    w
    or
    kp
    la
    ce

    an
    d

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    su
    rv
    ey

    O
    rd
    in
    al

    lo
    gi
    st
    ic
    re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    Fo
    ss

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    15
    )

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    re
    w
    ar
    ds

    fo
    r

    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    sh
    ar
    in
    g
    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Ca
    br
    er
    a,
    Co

    lli
    ns
    ,a
    nd

    Sa
    lg
    ad
    o
    (2
    00
    6)
    ;

    M
    au
    re
    r
    an
    d
    Ta
    ru
    lli
    (1
    99
    4)

    (7
    -it
    em

    )

    Re
    w
    ar
    ds

    fo
    r
    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    sh
    ar
    in
    g

    Au
    to
    no

    m
    ou

    s
    m
    ot
    iv
    at
    io
    n

    to
    sh
    ar
    e
    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    Au

    to
    no

    m
    y-
    pr
    om

    ot
    in
    g

    jo
    b
    de
    si
    gn

    an
    d

    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    sh
    ar
    in
    g

    su
    pp

    or
    tiv
    e
    cl
    im
    at
    e

    Kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e-
    in
    te
    ns
    iv
    e

    fir
    m
    s
    in

    D
    en
    m
    ar
    k

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    M
    ad
    en

    (2
    01
    5)

    PR
    Em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    hi
    gh

    -in
    vo
    lv
    em

    en
    t
    H
    R

    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (1
    0-
    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    Ya
    ng

    ,2
    01
    2)

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    hi
    gh


    in
    vo
    lv
    em

    en
    t

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    In
    di
    vi
    du

    al
    in
    no

    va
    tio

    n
    an
    d

    fe
    ed
    ba
    ck

    in
    qu

    iry
    W
    or
    k
    en
    ga
    ge
    m
    en
    t
    an
    d

    le
    ar
    ni
    ng

    -g
    oa
    l

    or
    ie
    nt
    at
    io
    n

    O
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    ns

    in
    Tu
    rk
    ey

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    W
    eh
    ne
    r,
    G
    la
    rd
    in
    i,
    an
    d

    Ka
    bs
    t
    (2
    01
    5)

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    re
    cr
    ui
    tm

    en
    t

    pr
    oc
    es
    s
    ou

    ts
    ou

    rc
    in
    g
    (n
    o
    ou

    ts
    ou

    rc
    in
    g,

    ou
    ts
    ou

    rc
    in
    g
    of

    pr
    es
    el
    ec
    tio

    n,
    ou

    ts
    ou

    rc
    in
    g
    of

    pr
    es
    el
    ec
    tio

    n
    an
    d

    te
    le
    ph

    on
    e
    in
    te
    rv
    ie
    w
    ,a
    nd

    co
    m
    pl
    et
    e

    ou
    ts
    ou

    rc
    in
    g)

    Ex
    te
    nt

    of
    re
    cr
    ui
    tm

    en
    t

    pr
    oc
    es
    s
    ou

    ts
    ou

    rc
    in
    g

    Jo
    b
    ac
    ce
    pt
    an
    ce

    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n

    Se
    rv
    ic
    e
    pr
    ov
    id
    er

    im
    ag
    e

    an
    d
    em

    pl
    oy
    er

    im
    ag
    e

    Em
    pl
    oy
    er

    at
    tr
    ac
    tiv
    en
    es
    s

    an
    d
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n
    w
    ith

    th
    e
    re
    cr
    ui
    tm

    en
    t
    pr
    oc
    es
    s

    G
    ra
    du

    at
    e
    st
    ud

    en
    ts

    in
    Bu

    si
    ne
    ss

    Ad
    m
    in
    is
    tr
    at
    io
    n

    an
    d
    Ec
    on

    om
    ic
    s

    Sc
    en
    ar
    io
    -b
    as
    ed
    ,

    be
    tw
    ee
    n-
    su
    bj
    ec
    t

    ex
    pe
    rim

    en
    t
    st
    ud

    y

    An
    dr
    ee
    va

    an
    d

    Se
    rg
    ee
    va

    (2
    01
    6)

    H
    RM

    J

    Te
    ac
    he
    r
    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    m
    ot
    iv
    at
    io
    n
    (3
    -it
    em

    fr
    om

    Ki
    an
    to
    ,A

    nd
    re
    ev
    a,
    &
    Sh
    i,
    20
    11
    ;

    3-
    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    Fo
    ss
    ,M

    in
    ba
    ev
    a,

    Pe
    de
    rs
    en
    ,&

    Re
    in
    ho

    lt,
    20
    09
    ),
    ab
    ili
    ty

    (3

    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    ba
    se
    d
    on

    st
    ud

    ie
    s

    in
    cl
    ud

    in
    g
    Jia

    ng
    ,L
    ep
    ak
    ,H

    u,
    &
    Ba
    er
    ,

    20
    12
    ),
    an
    d
    op

    po
    rt
    un

    ity
    (7
    -it
    em

    fr
    om

    W
    u,

    H
    su
    ,&

    Ye
    h,

    20
    07
    )-
    en
    ha
    nc
    in
    g

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Ab
    ili
    ty

    an
    d
    m
    ot
    iv
    at
    io
    n-

    en
    ha
    nc
    in
    g
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e-
    sh
    ar
    in
    g

    be
    ha
    vi
    or

    O
    pp

    or
    tu
    ni
    ty
    -e
    nh

    an
    ci
    ng

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Ab
    ili
    ty
    ,i
    nt
    rin

    si
    c
    an
    d

    ex
    tr
    in
    si
    c
    m
    ot
    iv
    at
    io
    n
    to

    sh
    ar
    e
    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e

    Sc
    ho

    ol
    s
    fr
    om

    a
    Ru

    ss
    ia
    n
    un

    iv
    er
    si
    ty

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ca
    st
    an
    he
    ira

    an
    d
    St
    or
    y

    (2
    01
    6)

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    or
    ie
    nt
    ed

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (1
    4-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Le
    pa
    k
    &
    Sn
    el
    l,
    20
    02
    ;

    Ta
    ke
    uc
    hi

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    07
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce
    -o
    rie
    nt
    ed

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    sa
    vo
    rin

    g
    st
    ra
    te
    gi
    es

    W
    or
    k
    en
    ga
    ge
    m
    en
    t

    A
    la
    rg
    e
    re
    ta
    il
    st
    or
    e

    Pa
    th

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    Co
    nw

    ay
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    16
    )

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    (3
    -it
    em

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Ke
    ho

    e
    &
    W
    rig

    ht
    ,2

    01
    3;

    Le
    pa
    k
    &
    Sn
    el
    l,

    20
    02
    );
    em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    vo
    ic
    e
    (4
    -it
    em

    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t
    an
    d

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    vo
    ic
    e

    Em
    ot
    io
    na
    le

    xh
    au
    st
    io
    n

    an
    d
    en
    ga
    ge
    m
    en
    t

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    vo
    ic
    e

    A
    pu

    bl
    ic
    -s
    ec
    to
    r

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    n
    in

    Ire
    la
    nd

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    El
    or
    za

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    16
    )

    PR
    Em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S
    (1
    6-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    D
    el
    er
    y
    &
    D
    ot
    y,
    19
    96
    ;

    Va
    nd

    en
    be
    rg

    et
    al
    .,
    19
    99
    )

    M
    an
    ag
    er

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S
    D
    is
    cr
    et
    io
    na
    ry

    be
    ha
    vi
    ou

    r
    Em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S
    M
    an
    uf
    ac
    tu
    rin

    g
    co
    m
    pa
    ni
    es

    in
    Sp
    ai
    n

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Fr
    en
    ke
    la

    nd
    Be
    dn

    al
    l

    (2
    01
    6)

    H
    P

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    op
    po

    rt
    un

    ity
    (3
    -it
    em

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    W
    ay
    ne
    ,S
    ho

    re
    ,&

    Li
    de
    n,

    19
    97
    )
    an
    d

    pr
    om

    ot
    io
    n
    op

    po
    rt
    un

    ity
    (2
    -it
    em

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Sp
    ec
    to
    r,
    19
    85
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    Tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    an
    d
    pr
    om

    ot
    io
    n

    op
    po

    rt
    un

    iti
    es

    D
    is
    cr
    et
    io
    na
    ry

    w
    or
    k
    ef
    fo
    rt

    In
    te
    ra
    ct
    io
    na
    lj
    us
    tic
    e

    Pr
    oc
    ed
    ur
    al

    ju
    st
    ic
    e,
    ca
    re
    er

    ex
    pe
    ct
    at
    io
    n,

    an
    d
    fe
    lt

    ob
    lig
    at
    io
    n
    to

    w
    or
    k
    un

    it

    Cl
    er
    ic
    al

    an
    d

    ad
    m
    in
    is
    tr
    at
    iv
    e

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee
    s
    at

    br
    an
    ch

    le
    ve
    li
    n
    a
    la
    rg
    e
    ba
    nk

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ki
    lro

    y,
    Fl
    oo
    d,

    Bo
    sa
    k,

    an
    d
    Ch

    ên
    ev
    er
    t

    (2
    01
    6)

    H
    RM

    J

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    hi
    gh

    in
    vo
    lv
    em

    en
    t
    w
    or
    k
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es
    :

    au
    to
    no

    m
    y
    (3
    -it
    em

    ,S
    pr
    ei
    tz
    er
    ,1

    99
    5)
    ,

    in
    fo
    rm

    at
    io
    n
    sh
    ar
    in
    g
    (3
    -it
    em

    ,L
    aw

    le
    r,

    M
    oh

    rm
    an
    ,&

    Le
    df
    or
    d,

    19
    95
    ),
    no

    n-

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    hi
    gh

    in
    vo
    lv
    em

    en
    t

    w
    or
    k
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Em
    ot
    io
    na
    le

    xh
    au
    st
    io
    n

    an
    d
    de
    pe
    rs
    on

    al
    iz
    at
    io
    n

    Ro
    le

    co
    nf
    lic
    t,
    ro
    le

    ov
    er
    lo
    ad
    ,

    an
    d
    ro
    le

    am
    bi
    gu

    ity
    A
    Ca
    na
    di
    an

    ge
    ne
    ra
    lh

    os
    pi
    ta
    l

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    (c
    on
    tin
    ue
    d)

    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 135

    Ta
    bl
    e
    1.

    Co
    nt
    in
    ue
    d.

    St
    ud

    y
    Co

    nc
    ep
    tu
    al
    iz
    at
    io
    n
    of

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    Pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    Pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    In
    de
    pe
    nd

    en
    t
    Va
    ria
    bl
    es

    D
    ep
    en
    de
    nt

    Va
    ria
    bl
    es

    M
    od

    er
    at
    or
    s

    M
    ed
    ia
    to
    rs

    Co
    nt
    ex
    t

    D
    at
    a
    An

    al
    ys
    is

    m
    on

    et
    ar
    y
    re
    co
    gn

    iti
    on

    (3
    -it
    em

    ,
    Tr
    em

    bl
    ay
    ,C

    lo
    ut
    ie
    r,
    Si
    m
    ar
    d,

    Ch
    ên
    ev
    er
    t,

    &
    Va
    nd

    en
    be
    rg
    he
    ,2

    01
    0)
    ,a
    nd

    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    an
    d
    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t
    (6
    -it
    em

    ,T
    re
    m
    bl
    ay

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    10
    )

    M
    a,
    Si
    lv
    a,
    Ca
    lla
    n,

    an
    d

    Tr
    ig
    o
    (2
    01
    6)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (1
    0-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Sc
    hu

    st
    er
    ,1

    98
    2)

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t
    an
    d

    co
    nt
    ro
    lH

    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Tu
    rn
    ov
    er

    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n
    an
    d
    jo
    b

    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n

    M
    ul
    tin

    at
    io
    na
    lf
    irm

    s
    an
    d

    do
    m
    es
    tic

    fir
    m
    s

    in
    Ch

    in
    a

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    M
    on

    ks
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    16
    )

    H
    RM

    J
    Em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    an
    d

    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t,
    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t,
    pa
    rt
    ic
    ip
    at
    io
    n,

    jo
    b

    ro
    ta
    tio

    n
    an
    d
    m
    en
    to
    rin

    g
    (8
    -it
    em

    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    le
    ar
    ni
    ng

    -e
    nh

    an
    ci
    ng

    em
    pl
    oy
    m
    en
    t
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    an
    d
    ta
    sk

    in
    te
    rd
    ep
    en
    de
    nt

    w
    or
    k
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    ex
    ch
    an
    ge

    an
    d

    co
    m
    bi
    na
    tio

    n
    Re
    fle
    xi
    vi
    ty

    Kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    w
    or
    ke
    rs

    in
    Ph

    ar
    m
    ac
    eu
    tic
    al

    an
    d

    In
    fo
    rm

    at
    io
    n
    an
    d

    co
    m
    m
    un

    ic
    at
    io
    ns

    te
    ch
    no

    lo
    gy

    se
    ct
    or
    s
    in

    Ire
    la
    nd

    an
    d
    th
    e
    U
    K

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    So
    lb
    er
    g
    an
    d
    D
    ys
    vi
    k

    (2
    01
    6)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    in
    ve
    st
    m
    en
    t

    (7
    -it
    em

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Ku
    va
    as

    &
    D
    ys
    vi
    k,
    20
    09
    ;L
    ee

    &
    Br
    uv
    ol
    d,

    20
    03
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    in
    ve
    st
    m
    en
    t
    in

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t

    In
    te
    rn
    al
    em

    pl
    oy
    ab
    ili
    ty

    or
    ie
    nt
    at
    io
    n

    an
    d
    ac
    tiv
    iti
    es

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    so
    ci
    al
    an
    d

    ec
    on

    om
    ic
    ex
    ch
    an
    ge

    re
    la
    tio

    ns
    hi
    p

    Th
    e
    N
    or
    w
    eg
    ia
    n
    di
    vi
    si
    on

    of
    a
    m
    ul
    tin

    at
    io
    na
    l

    te
    ch
    no

    lo
    gy

    se
    rv
    ic
    e

    an
    d
    m
    an
    ag
    em

    en
    t

    co
    ns
    ul
    tin

    g
    fir
    m

    Pa
    th

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    Ag
    ar
    w
    al

    an
    d
    Fa
    rn
    da
    le

    (2
    01
    7)

    H
    RM

    J

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    PW

    S
    (2
    1
    ite
    m
    ,

    Ta
    ke
    uc
    hi

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    07
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    H
    PW

    S
    Cr
    ea
    tiv
    ity

    im
    pl
    em

    en
    ta
    tio

    n
    Ps
    yc
    ho

    lo
    gi
    ca
    lc
    ap
    ita
    la
    nd

    ps
    yc
    ho

    lo
    gi
    ca
    ls
    af
    et
    y

    A
    ph

    ar
    m
    ac
    eu
    tic
    al

    fir
    m

    Pa
    th

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    An
    dr
    ee
    va
    ,V

    an
    ha
    la
    ,

    Se
    rg
    ee
    va
    ,R

    ita
    la
    ,

    an
    d
    Ki
    an
    to

    (2
    01
    7)

    H
    RM

    J

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    ap
    pr
    ai
    sa
    lo

    f
    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    be
    ha
    vi
    ou

    rs
    (3
    -it
    em

    )
    an
    d

    re
    w
    ar
    ds

    fo
    r
    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    be
    ha
    vi
    ou

    rs
    (3
    -it
    em

    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    re
    w
    ar
    ds

    an
    d

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    ap
    pr
    ai
    sa
    l

    of
    kn
    ow

    le
    dg

    e
    be
    ha
    vi
    ou

    rs

    Ra
    di
    ca
    la
    nd

    in
    cr
    em

    en
    ta
    l

    in
    no

    va
    tio

    n
    ou

    tc
    om

    es
    Fi
    ni
    sh

    co
    m
    pa
    ni
    es

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    An
    g
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    17
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    re
    cr
    ui
    tm

    en
    t
    (6

    ite
    m
    ,Z

    ac
    ha
    ra
    to
    s
    et

    al
    .,
    20
    05
    ),
    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    an
    d
    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t
    (6
    -it
    em

    ,Z
    ac
    ha
    ra
    to
    s

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    05
    ),
    an
    d
    he
    al
    th

    an
    d
    sa
    fe
    ty

    cl
    im
    at
    e
    (8
    -it
    em

    ,E
    dg

    ar
    &
    G
    ea
    re
    ,2

    00
    5)

    Le
    ad
    er

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    M
    em

    be
    r
    he
    al
    th

    &
    w
    el
    lb
    ei
    ng

    an
    d
    m
    em

    be
    r

    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n
    to

    le
    av
    e

    M
    em

    be
    r
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es
    ,

    M
    em

    be
    r
    so
    ci
    al

    co
    nn

    ec
    te
    dn

    es
    s,
    an
    d

    le
    ad
    er

    m
    em

    be
    r
    ex
    ch
    an
    ge

    Au
    st
    ra
    lia
    n
    M
    en
    s
    Sh
    ed
    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    D
    um

    on
    t,
    Sh
    en
    ,a
    nd

    D
    en
    g
    (2
    01
    7)

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    th
    at

    en
    ha
    nc
    e
    po

    si
    tiv
    e
    en
    vi
    ro
    nm

    en
    t

    ou
    tc
    om

    es
    (6
    -it
    em

    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    gr
    ee
    n
    H
    RM

    Ex
    tr
    a-
    ro
    le

    an
    d
    in
    -r
    ol
    e

    gr
    ee
    n
    be
    ha
    vi
    ou

    r
    In
    di
    vi
    du

    al
    gr
    ee
    n
    va
    lu
    es

    Ps
    yc
    ho

    lo
    gi
    ca
    lg

    re
    en

    cl
    im
    at
    e
    A
    Ch

    in
    es
    e
    su
    bs
    id
    ia
    ry

    of
    an

    Au
    st
    ra
    lia
    n

    m
    ul
    tin

    at
    io
    na
    l

    en
    te
    rp
    ris
    e

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Jia
    ng

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    17
    )

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (1
    3-

    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    pr
    ev
    io
    us

    re
    se
    ar
    ch
    ,e

    .g
    .,
    Ch

    ua
    ng

    &
    Li
    ao
    ,2

    01
    0;

    Le
    pa
    k
    &
    Sn
    el
    l,
    20
    02
    )

    M
    an
    ag
    er

    an
    d
    Co

    -w
    or
    ke
    r

    H
    R
    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    Em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    H
    R
    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    D
    is
    si
    m
    ila
    rit
    y
    to

    m
    an
    ag
    er

    an
    d

    co
    -w
    or
    ke
    rs

    Ch
    in
    es
    e
    in
    su
    ra
    nc
    e

    co
    m
    pa
    ny

    an
    d

    go
    ve
    rn
    m
    en
    ta
    la

    ge
    nc
    y

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ki
    lro

    y
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    17
    )

    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    hi
    gh

    in
    vo
    lv
    em

    en
    t
    w
    or
    k
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es
    :

    Em
    ot
    io
    na
    le

    xh
    au
    st
    io
    n
    an
    d

    de
    pe
    rs
    on

    al
    iz
    at
    io
    n

    P-
    O
    fit

    A
    Ca
    na
    di
    an

    ge
    ne
    ra
    lh

    os
    pi
    ta
    l

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    lin
    g

    136 Y. WANG ET AL.

    au
    to
    no

    m
    y
    (3
    -it
    em

    ,S
    pr
    ei
    tz
    er
    ,1

    99
    5)
    ,

    in
    fo
    rm

    at
    io
    n
    sh
    ar
    in
    g
    (6
    -it
    em

    ,L
    aw

    le
    r

    et
    al
    .,
    19
    95
    ),
    no

    n-
    m
    on

    et
    ar
    y

    re
    co
    gn

    iti
    on

    (3
    -it
    em

    ,T
    re
    m
    bl
    ay

    et
    al
    .,

    20
    10
    ),
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    d
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    THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 137

    Ta
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    is
    h
    tr
    ad
    e

    un
    io
    n
    m
    em

    be
    rs

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    lin
    g

    M
    ak
    he
    ch
    a
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    18
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (c
    on

    te
    nt
    ,

    pr
    oc
    es
    s,
    &
    in
    te
    nt
    )

    In
    te
    nd

    ed
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    ed

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    e.
    g.
    ,l
    ow

    co
    m
    m
    un

    ic
    at
    io
    n
    &

    lo
    w

    co
    m
    pr
    eh
    en
    si
    on

    ab
    ili
    ty

    Ac
    tu
    al
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    Re
    ta
    il
    se
    ct
    or

    in
    In
    di
    a

    Ca
    se

    st
    ud

    y

    Yo
    us
    af

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    18
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    C-
    H
    RM

    (1
    7-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Sa
    nd

    er
    s,

    D
    or
    en
    bo

    sc
    h,

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    08
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    hi
    gh

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t
    H
    RM

    O
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    na
    la

    nd
    oc
    cu
    pa
    tio

    na
    l

    tu
    rn
    ov
    er

    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e

    oc
    cu
    pa
    tio

    n
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e

    or
    ga
    ni
    za
    tio

    na
    l

    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    In
    do

    ne
    si
    a
    re
    st
    au
    ra
    nt
    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ba
    ya
    zi
    t
    an
    d
    Ba
    ya
    zi
    t

    (2
    01
    9)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    av
    ai
    la
    bi
    lit
    y
    of

    fle
    xi
    bl
    e
    w
    or
    k
    ar
    ra
    ng

    em
    en
    ts

    (4
    -it
    em

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Al
    le
    n,

    20
    01
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    av
    ai
    la
    bi
    lit
    y
    of

    fle
    xi
    bl
    e

    w
    or
    k
    ar
    ra
    ng

    em
    en
    t

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    ge
    ne
    ra
    lh

    ea
    lth

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    fa
    m
    ily

    su
    pp

    or
    tiv
    e
    cu
    ltu

    re
    Fl
    ex
    ib
    ili
    ty

    I-d
    ea
    ls
    ,w

    or
    k-
    to

    fa
    m
    ily

    co
    nf
    lic
    t,
    fa
    m
    ily

    to
    -w
    or
    k
    co
    nf
    lic
    t

    Fi
    rm

    s
    in

    Tu
    rk
    ey

    Pa
    th

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    Bo
    s-
    N
    eh
    le
    s
    an
    d

    Ve
    en
    en
    da
    al
    ( 2
    01
    9)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (1
    4-

    ite
    m

    fr
    om

    Bo
    se
    lie
    ,H

    es
    se
    lin
    k,
    Pa
    au
    w
    e,

    &
    va
    n
    de
    r
    W
    ie
    le
    ,2

    00
    1)

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    tr
    ai
    ni
    ng

    &
    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t,

    co
    m
    pe
    ns
    at
    io
    n,

    in
    fo
    rm

    at
    io
    n
    sh
    ar
    in
    g,

    an
    d
    su
    pp

    or
    tiv
    e

    su
    pe
    rv
    is
    io
    n

    In
    no

    va
    tiv
    e
    w
    or
    k
    be
    ha
    vi
    or

    In
    no

    va
    tiv
    e
    cl
    im
    at
    e

    M
    an
    uf
    ac
    tu
    rin

    g
    co
    m
    pa
    ni
    es

    in
    th
    e

    N
    et
    he
    rla
    nd

    s

    Re
    gr
    es
    si
    on

    an
    al
    ys
    is

    Ch
    oi

    (2
    01
    9)

    AP
    JH
    R

    Th
    e
    ex
    te
    nt

    to
    w
    hi
    ch

    em
    pl
    oy
    ee
    s
    ag
    re
    ed

    or
    di
    sa
    gr
    ee
    d
    th
    at

    ea
    ch

    pr
    ac
    tic
    e
    w
    as

    us
    ed

    by
    th
    ei
    r
    pe
    rs
    on

    al
    ex
    pe
    rie
    nc
    e

    an
    d
    un

    de
    rs
    ta
    nd

    in
    g
    of

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (8
    -it
    em

    )

    H
    R
    sy
    st
    em

    s
    Fi
    rm

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    an
    d
    jo
    b

    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d

    H
    R
    sy
    st
    em

    s
    So
    ut
    h
    Ko

    re
    an

    m
    an
    uf
    ac
    tu
    rin

    g
    fir
    m
    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Co
    ok
    e
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    19
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    PW

    S
    (1
    6-
    ite
    m

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    Ba
    e
    &
    La
    w
    le
    r,
    20
    00
    ;

    Pr
    ie
    to

    &
    Sa
    nt
    an
    a,
    20
    12
    ;S
    ea
    rle

    et
    al
    .,

    20
    11
    ;S
    un

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    07
    ;T
    ak
    eu
    ch
    i

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    07
    )

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    PW

    S
    en
    ga
    ge
    m
    en
    t

    re
    si
    lie
    nc
    e

    Ch
    in
    es
    e
    ba
    nk
    in
    g
    in
    du

    st
    ry

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Be
    ije
    r
    et

    al
    .(
    in

    pr
    es
    s)

    H
    RM

    J
    Cr
    iti
    ca
    lr
    ev
    ie
    w

    of
    th
    e
    m
    ea
    su
    re
    m
    en
    t
    of

    H
    R

    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (e
    m
    pl
    oy
    ee

    vs
    m
    an
    ag
    er
    )
    us
    ed

    Li
    te
    ra
    tu
    re

    re
    vi
    ew

    138 Y. WANG ET AL.

    in
    th
    e
    pa
    pe
    rs
    pu

    bl
    is
    he
    d
    be
    tw
    ee
    n

    20
    00

    an
    d
    20
    17

    Pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    R
    St
    re
    ng

    th
    D
    or
    en
    bo

    sc
    h
    et

    al
    .

    (2
    00
    6)

    M
    R

    Co
    ns
    en
    su
    s
    on

    an
    d
    le
    gi
    tim

    ac
    y
    of

    th
    e
    H
    R

    m
    es
    sa
    ge

    (1
    5-
    ite
    m

    on
    co
    ns
    en
    su
    s
    an
    d

    20
    -it
    em

    on
    le
    gi
    tim

    ac
    y
    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d

    fr
    om

    Bo
    se
    lie

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    05
    ;D

    el
    er
    y
    &

    D
    ot
    y,
    19
    96
    ;S
    an
    de
    rs

    &
    Va
    n
    de
    r
    Ve
    n,

    20
    04
    ;T
    su
    i&

    W
    an
    g,

    20
    02
    )

    Co
    ns
    en
    su
    s
    an
    d
    le
    gi
    tim

    ac
    y

    of
    th
    e
    H
    R
    m
    es
    sa
    ge

    Co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t
    st
    re
    ng

    th
    D
    ut
    ch

    ho
    sp
    ita
    ls

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Sa
    nd

    er
    s,
    D
    or
    en
    bo

    sc
    h,

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    08
    )

    PR

    D
    is
    tin

    ct
    iv
    en
    es
    s
    (7
    -it
    em

    ab
    ou

    t
    re
    le
    va
    nc
    e

    an
    d
    10
    -it
    em

    ab
    ou

    t
    au
    th
    or
    ity

    de
    ve
    lo
    pe
    d
    fr
    om

    U
    lri
    ch
    ,1

    99
    7)
    ;

    Co
    ns
    is
    te
    nc
    y
    (w
    ith

    in
    -r
    es
    po

    nd
    en
    t

    ag
    re
    em

    en
    t
    on

    H
    RM

    ite
    m
    s)

    D
    is
    tin

    ct
    iv
    en
    es
    s,
    co
    ns
    is
    te
    nc
    y

    an
    d
    co
    ns
    en
    su
    s

    Af
    fe
    ct
    iv
    e
    co
    m
    m
    itm

    en
    t

    Cl
    im
    at
    e
    st
    re
    ng

    th
    D
    ut
    ch

    ho
    sp
    ita
    l

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    ll
    in
    ea
    r

    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Ko
    st
    er

    (2
    01
    1)

    IJ
    H
    RM

    Th
    e
    in
    te
    ns
    ity

    an
    d
    co
    ns
    is
    te
    nc
    y
    of

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    (It
    em

    s
    ab
    ou

    t
    em

    pl
    oy
    ee

    pe
    rc
    ep
    tio

    ns
    of

    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    fr
    om

    ES
    S
    an
    d
    ca
    lc
    ul
    at
    ed
    )

    Th
    e
    in
    te
    ns
    ity

    an
    d

    co
    ns
    is
    te
    nc
    y
    of

    pe
    rc
    ei
    ve
    d
    H
    R
    pr
    ac
    tic
    es

    O
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    na
    lc
    om

    m
    itm

    en
    t

    an
    d
    w
    or
    k
    ef
    fo
    rt

    O
    rg
    an
    iz
    at
    io
    ns

    in
    26

    Eu
    ro
    pe
    an

    co
    un

    tr
    ie
    s

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    ll
    in
    ea
    r

    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Li
    et

    al
    .(
    20
    11
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    D
    is
    tin

    ct
    iv
    en
    es
    s:
    5-
    ite
    m

    sc
    al
    e
    (F
    re
    nk
    el

    et
    al
    .,
    20
    12
    );
    Co

    ns
    is
    te
    nc
    y:
    w
    ith

    in

    re
    sp
    on

    de
    nt

    ag
    re
    em

    en
    t
    on

    H
    RM

    ite
    m
    s;

    Co
    ns
    en
    su
    s:
    4-
    ite
    m

    sc
    al
    e
    (D
    el
    m
    ot
    te
    ,D

    e
    W
    in
    ne
    ,G

    ilb
    er
    t,
    &
    Se
    ls
    ,2

    00
    7)

    D
    is
    tin

    ct
    iv
    en
    es
    s,
    co
    ns
    is
    te
    nc
    y,

    an
    d
    co
    ns
    en
    su
    s

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    w
    or
    k
    sa
    tis
    fa
    ct
    io
    n,

    vi
    go

    r,
    an
    d
    in
    te
    nt
    io
    n

    to
    qu

    it

    Cl
    im
    at
    e
    st
    re
    ng

    th
    Ch

    in
    es
    e
    ho

    te
    l

    H
    ie
    ra
    rc
    hi
    ca
    l

    lin
    ea
    r
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    D
    el
    m
    ot
    te

    et
    al
    .(
    20
    12
    )

    IJ
    H
    RM

    D
    is
    tin

    ct
    iv
    en
    es
    s:
    10
    -it
    em

    ;C
    on

    si
    st
    en
    cy
    :

    9-
    ite
    m
    ;C

    on
    se
    ns
    us
    :1

    2-
    ite
    m

    Be
    lg
    ia
    n
    pr
    iv
    at
    e

    se
    ct
    or

    co
    m
    pa
    ni
    es

    Sc
    al
    e
    de
    ve
    lo
    pm

    en
    t

    &
    va
    lid
    at
    io
    n

    Eh
    rn
    ro
    ot
    h
    an
    d

    Bj
    or
    km

    an
    (2
    01
    2)

    JM
    S

    Vi
    si
    bi
    lit
    y
    (In

    te
    ns
    ity
    ),
    re
    le
    va
    nc
    e

    (m
    ea
    ni
    ng

    fu
    ln
    es
    s)
    ,&

    va
    lid
    ity

    of
    H
    R

    sy
    st
    em

    (8
    -it
    em

    on
    vi
    si
    bi
    lit
    y,
    8-
    ite
    m

    on
    re
    le
    va
    nc
    e,

    an
    d
    16
    -it
    em

    on
    va
    lid
    ity
    )

    Vi
    si
    bi
    lit
    y,
    re
    le
    va
    nc
    e,

    an
    d
    va
    lid
    ity

    Em
    pl
    oy
    ee

    cr
    ea
    tiv
    ity
    ,w

    or
    k

    lo
    ad
    ,a
    nd

    jo
    b

    pe
    rf
    or
    m
    an
    ce

    Ps
    yc
    ho

    lo
    gi
    ca
    l

    em
    po

    w
    er
    m
    en
    t

    IT
    co
    ns
    ul
    ta
    nt

    co
    m
    pa
    ny

    in
    Sw

    ed
    en

    St
    ru
    ct
    ur
    al

    eq
    ua
    tio

    n
    m
    od

    el
    in
    g

    Fr
    en
    ke
    l,
    Li
    ,e

    t
    al
    .

    (2
    01
    2)

    BJ
    IR

    D
    is
    tin

    ct
    iv
    e