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256718

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The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Perceptions of OrganizationalPerformanceAuthor(s): John T. Delaney and Mark A. HuselidSource:
The Academy of Management Journal,
Vol. 39, No. 4, (Aug., 1996), pp. 949-969Published by: Academy of ManagementStable URL:
Accessed: 31/05/2008 02:26
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=aom.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We enable thescholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform thatpromotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
 
RESEARCH NOTES
?Academy of ManagementJournal1996,Vol.39,No.4,949-969.
THE IMPACT OF HUMANRESOURCEMANAGEMENTPRACTICES ON PERCEPTIONSOFORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE
JOHNT. DELANEYUniversityof IowaMARK A.HUSELIDRutgersUniversity
In 590for-profitandnonprofitfirms from the NationalOrganizationsSurvey,we foundpositiveassociationsbetween human resource man-agement(HRM)practices,such astrainingandstaffing selectivity,andperceptualfirmperformancemeasures. Results alsosuggestmethod-ologicalissues for considerationinexaminationsof therelationshipbetweenHRMsystemsand firmperformance.
In recentyears,U.S.companieshave beenurgedtoadoptavarietyofperformance-enhancingorprogressivehuman resourcemanagement(HRM)practicestoimprovetheircompetitivenessin theglobal marketplace(U.S.DepartmentofLabor,1993).Such recommendations areunsurprisinggiventhatprofessionalsandacademics havelongasserted that thewayin whichanorganization manages peoplecan influence itsperformance. SpurredbyPeters and Waterman's(1982)descriptionandassessment of"excellent"organizations,thepastdecadehasproducedmanytestimonialstothevalueofprogressiveHRMpracticesandsystemsof suchpractices.Inparticular,employee participationandempowermentandjobredesign, includingteam-basedproductionsystems,extensiveemployeetraining,andperformance-contingentincentivecompensation,arewidelybelieved toimprovetheper-formance oforganizations(Pfeffer, 1994).Moreover,adevelopingbodyofresearch hasreportedpositiveassociations betweenfirm-level measures ofHRMsystemsandorganizationalperformance(Arthur, 1994;Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 1991;Delaney, forthcoming;Huselid, 1995;Huselid &Becker,1994; Ichniowski, Shaw,&Prennushi,1994; MacDuffie,1995).Substantialuncertaintyremains, however,as to how HRMpracticesaffectorganizational
Thedata used in thisstudywereprovided bytheInter-universityConsortium for Politicaland Social Research(ICPSR),which isnotresponsibleforanyofour conclusions.We aregratefultoBarryGerhart,SusanSchwochau,and twoanonymousrefereesforhelpfulcommentsandsuggestions.
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AcademyofManagementJournal
outcomes,whethersomepracticeshavestrongereffects thanothers,andwhethercomplementaritiesorsynergies amongsuchpracticescanfurtherenhanceorganizational performance(Baird&Meshoulam,1988;Jackson&Schuler,1995;Lado &Wilson, 1994;Milgrom&Roberts,1995;Wright&McMahan,1992).Thisstudyextendsempiricalresearch onthe firm-levelimpactofpro-gressiveHRMpracticesinthreeways.First,we draw on auniquenationalprobability sampleoffor-profitandnonprofit organizationsto evaluate theassociation between avarietyofprogressiveHRMpracticesandperceptualmeasures oforganizationalperformance.Second,weconduct somerudimen-tary empiricaltestsof the effect ofcomplementaritiesamongHRMpracticeson firm-leveloutcomes.Finally,weidentifysomeimportantmethodologicalissues thatmerit considerationasscholars andpractitionersseek tobetterunderstand therelationshipbetween HRMpracticesand firmperformance.BACKGROUND ANDHYPOTHESESResearchfocusingon the firm-levelimpactof HRMpracticeshasbecomepopularinrecentyears(forreviews,seeAppelbaumand Batt[1994];Berg,Appelbaum, Bailey,andKalleberg[1994];Huselid[1995];Ichniowskiet al.[1994];andWagner[1994]).Theliteratureincludesstudies thatfocus on theperformanceeffects ofspecificHRMpractices,such astraining(Bartel,1994;Knoke &Kalleberg,1994)and informationsharing(Kleiner&Bouillon, 1988;Morishima,1991),and research that examines theinfluence ofsystemsofsuchpracticesonorganizationaloutcomes(Huselid,1995;Huselid &Becker,1994;Ichniowski etal., 1994; MacDuffie,1995).Although manystudies havereportedapositiveassociation between various HRMpracticesandobjectiveandperceptualmeasuresof firmperformance,someauthors(Levine&Tyson,1990;Wagner,1994)haveexpressedconcern thatresultsmaybe biasedbecauseofmethodologicalproblems.Inaddition,theabsence ofawidelyacceptedmeasure of the"progressive"or"highperformance"HRMpracticesconstruct makesitdifficult tocomparefindingsacross studies(forexamplesof differentapproaches,seeAppelbaumand Batt[1994];Cutcher-Gershenfeld[1991];Huselid[1995];Ichniowski et al.[1994];and MacDuffie[1995]).None-theless,the literature can begenerally categorizedasoptimistic concerningthepotentialforprogressiveHRMpracticesto enhance theperformanceofemployeesandorganizations.Theoptimismhas stimulatedadditionaltheoretical andempiricalresearch.Scholarsfromdifferentdisciplineshavesuggestedvariousconceptualframeworks asexplanationsfor the linksbetweenprogressiveHRMpracticesand firm-level outcomes.JacksonandSchuler(1995)reviewed thisliteratureandreportedthatapproachesasdivergentasgeneralsystems theory(vonBertalanffy,1950),role behaviortheory(Katz&Kahn,1978),institutionaltheory (Meyer&Rowan,1977),resourcedependence theory(Pfeffer&Cohen,1984),humancapitaltheory(Becker, 1964),transaction costeconomics(Wil-liamson,1979),agency theory(Jensen&Meckling,1976),and theresource-basedtheoryof the firm(Barney,1991)havebeenusedtostudythepotential
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