Analysis of High performance work systems

High-Performance Work Systems ‘ have been presented as ‘best pattern ‘ for employers, employees and brotherhoods. Critically discuss this construct and why this promise might be false.

Since the early 1990 ‘s there has been a monolithic growing in academic involvement in a scope of labour direction patterns like ‘high public presentation ‘ , high engagement ‘ , or ‘high committedness ‘ attacks. High Performance Work Systems, sometimes known as high engagement or high committedness organisations, are organisations that use a typical managerial attack that enables high public presentation through people. The indispensable features are the seven cardinal dimensions identified by Jeffrey Pfeffer ( 1998 ) . These are: ( 1 ) Employment security. ( 2 ) Selective hiring of new forces. ( 3 ) Self-managed squads and decentalisation of determination devising as the basic rules of organisational design. ( 4 ) Relatively high compensation contingent on organisational public presentation. ( 5 ) Extensive preparation. ( 6 ) Reduced position differentiations and barriers, including frock, linguistic communication, office agreements, and pay differences across degrees. ( 7 ) Extensive sharing of fiscal and public presentation information throughout the organisation. The HPWS represents an forsaking of traditional Taylorist theoretical accounts of work design based on limited worker engagement, de-skilled occupations and tight supervising ( Wood, 1999 ) . High public presentation work systems ( HPWS ) are organisations that utilize a basically different attack to pull offing than the traditional hierarchal attack associated with mass production/scientific direction. At the bosom of this emerging attack is a radically different employer-employee relationship. The nexus between ER systems and organisational public presentation has been a cardinal motive in the HPWS literature. ER policies and patterns coupled with choice direction systems can better public presentation in footings of fiscal success, productiveness and decreased employee turnover ( Farias and Varma, 1998 ; Guthrie, 2001 ) . Advanced ER patterns heightening productiveness comprise elements such as squad working, flexible occupation assignments, employment security, employee engagement and preparation ( Ichniowski et al, 1996 ) .

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The chief thought of HPWS is to make an organisation based on employee engagement, committedness and authorization, non employee control. In HPWS, workers are to a big degree self-controlled and self-managed. With the aid of leaders who develop a clear vision, mission, and ends, HPWS workers are expected to react in non programmed ways to altering fortunes. High public presentation work systems are a signifier of organisation in which workers are non agents of principals, are non controlled by constructions of inducements, but have become proprietors or principals in their mentality. Workers in this type of organisational relationship may be able to fulfill their demand for self-actualization and experience deep proprietor motive. Because these workers are identified with, committed to, and to the full take parting in the organisation, their attempts are expected to be much higher and more effectual than those of workers in control-oriented organisations who experience agent motive. The best illustration of employee experience as a mediating factor in the HPWS-firm public presentation equation is the Appelbaum et Al. ( 2000 ) survey of HPWS in the US steel, dress and medical electronic instruments sectors. This shows the positive links between a little figure of HPWS patterns, employee satisfaction, employee public assistance and organisational public presentation. There is a turning literature certifying to the positive effectual of HPWS on organisations, well less literature explores its effects on employees from a critical position ( Wood, 1999 ) . Research by Ramsay, Scholarios and Harley ( 2000 ) indicates that while HPWS patterns are associated with some steps of workplace public presentation, the grounds about the function of advanced ER patterns, peculiarly employee engagement, remains really weak. They note that though there are restrictions to the informations on the subject, it should non be assumed that both employees and employers are equal donees of HPWS. Some critics have argued that much of the HPWS advocators ‘ sentiments are written from a managerial position and merely analyze merely the direct relationship between a set of direction patterns and organisational results ( Butler et al. , 2004 ) .

Not every organisation has the luxury of suspending operations while alterations are put in topographic point. Because alteration is hard, and when the ‘old ways ‘ of making things are abandoned, many experienced employees might get down to experience like ‘beginners ‘ on the occupation. This can be nerve-racking and it can polarise the employees. Employees in restructured workplaces might have higher degrees of intrinsic wagess from work and, at the same clip, higher degree of emphasis and anxiousness than do those in traditionally organized occupations. Workers in a HPWS have increased liberty and control over the work procedure, and work squads have greater duty for job resolution than do traditional groups of workers. As a consequence, workers in these work system might frequently happen their work is more ambitious, requires them to be more originative, and makes greater usage of their accomplishments. They often have more preparation every bit good. Thus they tend to describe far higher degrees of intrinsic wagess from their occupations than other workers. How of all time, there is some grounds that these workers besides experience higher degrees of occupation related emphasis ( Turnbull, 1988 ; Dawson and Webb, 1989 ; Appelbaum et Al, 1994 ) . To the extent that work tonss have increased as a effect of work restructuring, and where the riddance of buffers agencies that workers are required to keep an overly past gait of work, the addition in the strength of work consequences in higher degree of emphasis ( Parker and Slaughter, 1988, Elger, 1990 ; Berggren,1993 ) . Godard ‘s survey ( 2004 ) suggests that the impact of HPWS patterns, such as independent squads, on worker occupation satisfaction may, in existent fact, produce negative results. Other surveies argue that considerable degrees of employee dissatisfaction can be linked with HPWS, peculiarly when directors use worker engagement and engagement as a control mechanism to get greater attempt from employees. Hence, instead than skill heightening, this perspective views the techniques used with HPWS more as a mechanism of increased control. However, as mentioned above, merely a few surveies have provided utile, systematic informations informing this argument ( McKinlay and Taylor, 1996 ; Ramsay et al. , 2000 ; Harley,2002 ; Danford et al. , 2004 ) .

Using study informations from 968 houses in many industries, Huselid ( 1995 ) has found grounds consistent with the hypothesis that companies ‘ usage of systems of high public presentation work patterns 1 ) diminishes their employee turnover and 2 ) increases their productiveness ( gross revenues per employee ) and corporate fiscal public presentation ( stock market value to book value ) . He concludes that “ The magnitude of the returns for investing in High Performance Work Practices is significant. Among the of import penetrations developed by organisational behaviour specializers is that “ Advanced human resource patterns are likely to lend to improved economic public presentation merely when three conditions are met: when employees possess cognition and accomplishments that directors lack ; when employees are motivated to use this accomplishment and cognition through discretional attempt ; and when the house ‘s concern or production scheme can merely be achieved when employees contribute such discretional attempt. ” ( MacDuffie,1995 ) .With respect to HPWS, many organisational experts have found that employees do in fact work harder, smarter, more creatively, and more hand in glove than employees in traditional organisations. Because of these workers ‘ higher engagement and committedness and their greater control over and state in their work, they work harder ( Pfeffer,1998 ) . They besides work harder because of contingent compensation that rewards these attempts and because of “ peer force per unit area activated in self-managing squads ” . Because of HPWS ‘ accent on developing workers ‘ accomplishments and competency, these workers ‘ attempts are besides better directed, i.e. , smarter. They besides work smarter “ because of the preparation and occupation rotary motion patterns that enhance the chance to larn ” . Because of HPWS ‘ accent on teamwork, swearing relationships, and invention, workers ‘ attempts are more concerted and originative. Because HPWS topographic point greater duty on workers at the operational degree, it “ saves on administrative overhead [ beds of direction are eliminated every bit good as other costs associated with holding an anomic work force in an adversarial relationship with direction ” ( Pfeffer,1988 ) . In peculiar, HPWS reduces employment differences, and therefore, saves on the direct and indirect costs of employment judicial proceeding. Harmonizing to Huselid ( 1995 ) , because of HPWS organisational constructions such as cross-functional squads, occupation rotary motion, and quality circles, workers ‘ concerted attempts are increased. For these and other grounds, HPWS workers ‘ attempts are expected to be higher and more effectual than for those working in a control-oriented organisation. It should besides be noted that, harmonizing to Lawler ( Lawler, 1992 ) , there is likely to be less labour turnover in HPWS merely because of the attraction of this type of work environment. Harmonizing to Argyris ( 1960 ) , workers in traditional control-oriented organisations will see defeat, psychological failure, short clip position, internal struggle, an orientation to a portion of the organisation instead than to the whole, and counterproductive informal activities because they have small chance to be in control of work state of affairss and to exert their abilities.

Edwards and Wright ( 2001 ) argue that the insouciant way assumed by most advocates of HPWS is that the systemsaˆ¦.are established ; they influence workplace pattern, employee attitudes change, with increased satisfaction or committedness ; there is a attendant consequence on behaviour ; and this in bend fees through to the public presentation of the work unit finally the company. Most of the surveies have merely measured the association between HPWS and organisational public presentation instead than trying all the links in the concatenation ( Legge, 2001 ; Edwards & A ; Wring, 2001 ) . In peculiar, there are virtually no surveies which have explored employee responses to HPWS.

Frequently HPWPs are viewed as an option to traditional productions systems that are steadfastly rooted in Fredrick Taylor ‘s scientific direction and subsequent Fordist rules. High Performance Work System ( HPWS ) design has gained enormous popularity in recent old ages. Highly disruptive and invariably altering environments have challenged organisations to react with organisation designs that enable sustained degrees of high public presentation. A figure of articles and books have been published in recent old ages on high public presentation work systems ( Arthur, 1994 ; Pfeffer, 1994 ; Huselid, 1995 ; MacDuffie, 1995 ; Appelbaum et al. , 2000 ; Guthrie, 2001 ) . Harmonizing to Guthrie ( 2001 ) HPWS have two wide deductions. First, HPWS will heighten employee keeping. Second, the usage of HPWS and attendant investings in employees will probably amplify this consequence. The cardinal hypothesis in the HPWS literature is that these work systems create sustained competitory advantage of the organisation through people and the procedures in which and on which people have to work. Leading organisational behaviour specializers believe that HPWS has the greatest possible to supply sustained competitory advantage to companies following it.

However, for all their possible benefits, implementing HPWS is non an easy undertaking. The systems are complex and necessitate a good trade of close partnering among executives, line directors, HR professionals, brotherhood representatives and employees. Because HPWS are hard to implement, successful organisations are hard to copy.

HPWS are supposed to supply more favourable conditions for employee liberty, employee engagement, accomplishment development and trade brotherhood rights at the workplace. In the employee dealingss literature there are many who argue that the execution of high public presentation work system besides create chances for brotherhood reclamation, enabling brotherhoods to fling their traditional adversarial function in favour of new partnership one. Godard ( 2004 ) references that the high public presentation paradigm is best pattern non merely for employers, but besides for workers, and potentially, for their brotherhoods.

Unions may besides profit from take parting in the debut of HPWS. Directors in both brotherhood and non-union scenes have discovered the trouble of reassigning duty, authorization and answerability to look line workers. This can be accomplished more easy when directors are able to negociate with worker representatives over the debut of new workplace practices- an advantage which brotherhoods can supply ( Collinson et al. , 1996 ) . Directors at the works may miss the cognition to present participatory patterns. On the other manus, brotherhoods have the resources and expertness to play an active function in the procedure of organisational alteration. How of all time brotherhoods can both heighten and take away from the productiveness public presentation of the workplace or house. Union presence may take down productiveness via: restrictive work patterns ; industrial action ; doing the house to put less ; and if adversarial industrial dealingss lower trust and carbon monoxide operation. In UK, where work organisations has traditionally been capable to corporate bargaining, understandings over the execution of employee engagement and other work public presentation patterns have sometimes reduced the brotherhood ‘s traditional corporate bargaining function to one of audience ( Geary, 1994 ) , and may hold reduced the influence of brotherhoods on direction in the eyes of their members. The mainstream HRM literature, with its more ‘industrial dealingss friendly approach ‘ , suggests that patterns such as HPWS displacement dealingss from struggle to cooperation and can be advantageous to both brotherhoods and workers. Indeed, Harley et Al. ‘s ( 2007 ) survey concludes that workers and brotherhoods can profit from HPWS in the service sector, although it besides notes that workers and brotherhoods should non needfully hotfoot Forth and embracing HPWS.

Ironically, the literatures on HPWS seem to show an overpoweringly positive image, I believe it is of import to show some words of cautiousness. Although high public presentation work patterns have frequently seen as good for both employers and employees, these patterns require important investings.And, it should be noted that there is a possible positive coverage prejudice in the published work on HPWS enterprises. Therefore, HPWS attempts that have resulted in modest success, or even negative consequences or failure, are likely to travel unreported. This could make a colored position of the HPWS phenomenon.

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