Environmental dynamism, human resource flexibility and firm performance: analysis of a multi-level causal model

Ketkar, Sumita and Sett, P.K. (2010) Environmental dynamism, human resource flexibility and firm performance: analysis of a multi-level causal model. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21 (8). pp. 1173-1206. ISSN 0958-5192

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2010.483841


While strategic HRM scholars have conceptualized HR flexibility as an important source of sustainable superior firm performance in dynamic environments, the process through which HR flexibility creates value for the firm has not been empirically investigated. Based on a study of 98 manufacturing and 103 service firms from a wide array of industries in India, this paper attempts to illuminate the black box of causal linkages between environmental dynamism, flexibility of human assets, and firm level human-, operational-, and financial-outcomes by developing and testing a multi-level causal model. Evidence indicates that HR flexibility mediates the influence of environmental dynamism on firm performance and that irrespective of the nature of the industry and the degree of environmental turbulence, superior firm performance ensues when HR flexibility as actually possessed by the firm matches the environmental demands for such flexibility as perceived by the firm managers. The results also support the notion of HR value chain that postulates that HR system has 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. The findings of the study suggest that HR practices as a system have both direct and indirect (mediated by behavioral flexibility) effects on firm-level HR outcomes. Existence of significant direct effects signifies that HR practices play an important role as a structural mechanism in achieving superior firm performance.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Westminster Business School
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2010 10:03
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2010 15:10
URI: http://westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk/id/eprint/8108

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