Journal of Management Studies vol:43 issue:2 pages:319-342
The majority of empirical studies on the HRM-performance link report a positive story. The costs associated with the productivity rise due to high performance work practices (HPWP) have been largely neglected. The purpose of this study is to develop a conceptual framework that maps both the value-enhancing and cost-raising impact of HPWP. In addition, we want to pronounce upon their overall effect on financial performance. To test our model, we rely on a sample of small businesses. Understanding both performance and cost-related effects of the implementation of HPWP is particularly valuable for small businesses since they often lack financial resources to implement HPWP and benefit less from economies of scale compared to their larger counterparts. Study results indicate that although greater use of HPWP is associated with increased productivity, this effect is offset by increased labour costs. However, we find an overall positive effect of HPWP on firm profitability.