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HR flexibility and firm performance: analysis of a multi-level causal model

Ketkar, Sumita and Sett, P.K. (2009) HR flexibility and firm performance: analysis of a multi-level causal model. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 20 (5). pp. 1009-1038. ISSN 0958-5192

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585190902850240

Abstract

Human resource flexibility as a construct, how it develops, and its effect on firm performance have not received adequate attention in strategic HRM literature in spite of their obvious importance in today's dynamic competitive environment. Based on a study of 98 manufacturing and 103 service firms in India, this paper addresses these issues by developing and testing a multi-level model that attempts to explore the 'black box' of the interlinkages between the various components of HR flexibility and firm-level human, operational, and financial outcomes. The results suggest that a certain set of ambidextrous HR practices constitute a distinct dimension of HR flexibility, beyond the dimensions of flexibilities of skill, behaviour and HR practices as already identified in the existing literature. Evidences from both manufacturing and service sectors support the notion of HR value chain that suggests that HR system has a direct impact on firm-level HR outcomes which are most proximal, and its effects on increasingly more distal operational and financial outcomes are mediated by HR outcomes that it produces. Another important finding is that HR practices as a system have both direct and indirect (mediated by behavioural flexibility) effects on firm-level HR outcomes. Existence of significant direct effects highlights the important role that HR practices play as a structural mechanism in achieving superior firm performance.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Westminster Business School
ID Code:8107
Deposited On:23 Jun 2010 11:00
Last Modified:23 Jun 2010 11:00

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