Human Resource Management and Performance: A Comparative Study of Ireland and the Netherlands**

By Horgan, Justine; Mühlau, Peter | Management Revue, April 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Human Resource Management and Performance: A Comparative Study of Ireland and the Netherlands**


Horgan, Justine, Mühlau, Peter, Management Revue


In this article, we compare the effects of 'high performance human resource management' (HPHR) on employee and company performance between Ireland and the Netherlands. Key hypotheses are, first, that companies using the HPHR system exhibit higher levels of employee and company performance than companies that do not. Second, we expect that these relationships are stronger for Ireland than for the Netherlands as the societal context (skill formation, industrial relations and value systems) consistently support the working of HPHR in Ireland but in the Netherlands these institutions restrict the potential contribution of HPHR to performance improvements . These hypotheses are tested on company-level data from Ireland and the Netherlands. The main finding is that HPHR is associated with higher performance levels in Ireland but not in the Netherlands. Comparing the effects of single HR domains between the two countries further supports the institutional context hypothesis.

Key words: Human Resource Management, Performance, Societal Effect, Ireland, the Netherlands

Introduction

A substantial and growing body of research claims that substantial economic returns can be obtained through the implementation of what are variously called flexible production systems (MacDuffie 1995; Pil/MacDuffie 1996), high involvement (Lawler et al. 1998), high commitment (Walton 1985), high performance work systems (Appelbaum et al. 2000) and high performance human resource management (Becker and Huselid 1998; Pfeffer 1994). All of these share the idea that the practices are valued for their strategic quality. That is to say, when compared to traditional forms of personnel management, they are unsurpassable in their ability to forge for the firm a skilled and flexible workforce and to create more co-operative labour-management relations that encourage employees to work harder (Appelbaum et al. 2000). Many argue that while high performance HR management increases a company's productivity and profits (e.g., Ichniowski/Shaw/Prennushi 1997; Huselid 1995), the effect is even more pronounced when complementary bundles are used together (e.g., Ichniowski et al. 1997, Hoque 1999).

The important question whether the working of high performance human resource management (HPHR) depends on certain cultural and institutional conditions has been largely neglected in the literature. However, for many, 'human resource management' evokes a strong association of being 'an American invention' and being from a culture dominated by 'the right to manage'. Consequently, there is widespread belief that 'human resource management' is de facto neither practical nor espoused in Europe (Brewster 1992). Within Europe, the effects of HPHR have been most intensively studied in the United Kingdom. Although mixed in their degree of support, these studies generally uphold the view that HPHR is associated with improved company performance (e.g., Hoque 1999; Michie/Sheehan 2001; cp. Wood/De Menzes 1998; Guest et al. 2003). This paper contributes to this question by examining whether similar support can be found for other European countries, in particular those less similar to the US in their cultural heritage and institutional set-up than the UK. We examine the effectiveness of HPHR in Ireland and the Netherlands. Both of these European countries have small, open economies, and the companies operating within them are strongly exposed to the globalization of the economy. Consequently, they are bombarded with pressure to re-structure and find new, challenging techniques for managing their human resources (e.g., Looise/Paauwe 2001; Gunnigle et al. 1994; 1997). Ireland and the Netherlands, however, demonstrate distinct differences in cultural orientation and reflect very different approaches to the employment of people and the provision of education and training. Ireland is a country that has had strong historical and cultural links with the US and the UK. The Netherlands in contrast, with its elaborate welfare state, corporatist industrial relations and egalitarian values, has developed more in line with Scandinavia and Germany. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Human Resource Management and Performance: A Comparative Study of Ireland and the Netherlands**
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.