Employee Relations

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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  • The experiences of work-life balance, stress, and coping lifestyles of female professionals: insights from a developing country

    Purpose: Given the limiting conditions of the gender roles confronting professional working women and drawing on spillover theory, the purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of work-life balance with an emphasis on the causes of the imbalances, perceived stress, and coping techniques experienced by female medical doctors in an African context – Nigeria, a geographical location that is considered under-researched. Design/methodology/approach: The qualitative data is based on one-to-one in-depth interviews with 52 Nigerian female medical doctors. Findings: Based on the findings of the thematic analysis, it is clear that time squeeze, as a well-known factor in the medical profession, exacerbates negative work-home interference. However, other themes, such as patriarchal proclivities and task-pay disparity, that affect female doctors but are rarely considered in studies on work-life balance also emerged as sources of stress and work-family conflicts, leaving these doctors to devise individual coping methods as mitigating strategies. Research limitations/implications: The study relies on a limited qualitative sample size, which makes the generalisation of findings difficult. However, the study contributes to the limited literature on the implications of stress and work-family incompatibilities facing women in a society that is not particularly egalitarian, with an extremely pronounced culture of masculine hegemony that is contrary to western cultures. The article unveils the socio-cultural difficulties of the work-life demands facing women specific to the Nigerian society and experienced with a different level of intensity. Originality/value: The majority of the research on work-life balance has been undertaken in western countries and has focused on various professional groups and organisations, including the health sector. Nevertheless, work-life balance is a novel concept within the Nigerian work environment, where female medical doctors, as a professional group, are rarely studied. The article also provides valuable insights into the macro-contextual features influencing the work-life balance of Nigerian professional women.

  • High involvement work systems, happiness at work (HAW) and absorptive capacity: a bathtub study

    Purpose: The purpose of this research is to examine the impact of high-involvement work systems (HIWS) on absorptive capacity. In addition, the mediating effect of happiness at work in the relationship between high-involvement work practices and absorptive capacity is analyzed. Design/methodology/approach: A 2-1-2 bathtub multilevel mediation model was used to analyze a sample of 783 employees from 111 bank branches, gathering data at three different times. Findings: The results reveal that HIWS positively affect absorptive capacity. In addition, they show that happiness at work partially mediates the relationship between HIWS and absorptive capacity. Originality/value: Happiness at work is a fundamental element for knowledge absorption. The findings support the basic assumptions of the job demands-resources model, and demonstrate how HIWS, acting as a job resource, lead to positive attitudes (happiness at work) and, in turn, to positive outcomes (absorptive capacity). The proposed HIWS, based on the assumptions of the mutual gains model, reveal a positive employment relationship with effects on both HAW and organizational outcomes. If organizations expose their employees to management practices that have specific benefits for their HAW, employees are more likely to perform their jobs in ways that will promote their absorptive capacity.

  • The effects of market economy type on the training practice differences in the Central Eastern European region

    Purpose: The aim of this research is to investigate and detect determinants of the training practice and conspicuous differences in the sample of nine Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries (Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania). The study was conducted with three distinct objectives: the investigation of the training and development (T&D) practices in the CEE region, the investigation of the determinants of T&D practices in the CEE region and the measurement of the differences between the economies in the sample of CEE countries regarding their T&D practices. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on the Cranet research network results from 2015 to 2016. The data for the CEE countries were selected in order to investigate the determinants of T&D practice, and the differences between these economies. The nine CEE countries were divided into two groups, on the basis on the variety of capitalism (VoC approach), in order to investigate its effects on the T&D practices. T-test, chi-square test, Spearman correlation tests and hierarchical moderated regression model were used to test the proposed hypotheses. Findings: There are statistically significant differences between the organizations from coordinated market economy (CME) countries and liberal market economy (LME) countries in the case of the percentage of GDP of the country spent on education, the percentage of annual payroll costs of the organizations spent on training, the percentage of annual staff turnover, the implementation of the systematic evaluation of training needs, the training effectiveness, the existence of T&D strategy and the primary responsibility for major policy decisions on T&D. The results of the regression model showed that the majority of national and organizational level factors have a statistically significant relationship with the percentage of the annual payroll costs of the organization spent on training. Variety of capitalism moderates the relationship between independent variables and the dependent variable, too. Research limitations/implications: In the presented model, the authors excluded from their investigation the effects of MNCs. It must further be stated that only the data from the latest Cranet research round were used, thus it was not possible to investigate the development of the training practice in CEE over a longer time period. These limitations could be used as possible directions for further research in the relevant area of HRM in the CEE region. Originality/value: Since there is relatively little empirical research in the relation between capitalism type and T&D practice, especially in the region of CEE, the present paper lends new insight into this issue as well as into comparative HRM. It is hoped that this work can be taken as a starting point for further research.

  • Simulated home: an effective cross-cultural adjustment model for Chinese expatriates

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the adjustment model of expatriates in overseas projects by studying two overseas projects of a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Design/methodology/approach: Based on the grounded theory, qualitative analysis was performed based on data compiled from 116 pieces of project briefings, 105 questionnaires answered by expatriate workers and 21 interviews conducted to those workers based on briefings and questionnaires. Findings: The study found that the simulated home is a standard cross-cultural adjustment model for expatriates in Chinese engineering projects, which are project-oriented and often inattentive to employees' individual rights. The simulated home creates a unique work-place and social environment similar to that of expatriates' home country in the cultural setting of the host country, but it also establishes a cultural barrier, limiting the communication between expatriates and the local people, which is not conducive to the cultural exchange between the two sides, causing cultural clashes and consequently hindering the progress of projects. Originality/value: This research puts forward the model of “simulated home.” And this study bears significance to the cross-cultural adjustment of expatriate workers in Chinese overseas projects.

  • Workplace fiddles in the shipping industry

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways in which workers employ rule breaking, rule bending and deviations from management defined norms in the workplace and the impact this has on their occupational health and safety (OHS) experiences. Design/methodology/approach: The paper uses qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with 37 seafarers working on board four vessels engaged in international trade. The data were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed using NVivo software. Findings: The findings indicate that seafarers utilised workplace fiddles – which included rule breaking, rule bending and deviating from management defined norms – in order to engender a workable system in which they could remain safe but also profitable to those who controlled their labour. Moreover, the findings suggest that shore-side management deflected the responsibility for rule violations by deferring many of the decisions regarding features of life on board – such as the scheduling of work hours – to the senior officers on board. Originality/value: The paper sheds light on where, in practice, responsibility for OHS lies in the international shipping industry, an industry in which workers experience relatively high rates of work-related fatalities, injuries and mental health conditions.

  • Decent work: what matters most and who can make a difference?

    Purpose: What matters most for improving work quality and who can make a difference are perennial topics in employee relations research. The literature on work quality provides answers to these with regard to various constructs on a continuum from “soft” to “hard” variables and stakeholders seeking to influence employers who fall short of reasonable expectations with regard to these. A construct of “decent work” with both soft and hard variables was adopted for research and methods which were collaborative and participative with stakeholders in one national context. Design/methodology/approach: The “decent work” construct was operationalised from the literature and refined by collaborative and participative research. Exploring the relative importance of the constituent parts of decent work involved research with a range of stakeholders; employees, employers and advocates. The study involved most prominently low-paid workers, with employers and advocates also engaged through interviews. Findings: Primarily hard “decent work” variables were identified among employees, primarily soft variables among employers and a mix of hard and soft among advocates. There are some common priorities across these stakeholders. Research limitations/implications: The main implication is that to engage a range of stakeholders requires a combination of soft and hard variables to be included in research and policy development. However, generalisation about what matters most and who makes a difference to work quality is intrinsically limited in context and time. In this research, the extent of employer engagement in the collaboration initiated by advocates and concerned most with the experiences of low-paid workers is a limitation. Practical implications: What matters most are a set of soft and hard priorities to engage across stakeholders. Pay is an abiding priority among these and the priority most prominent for many advocates seeking to make a difference through influencing low-paying employers to provide a living wage. While the living wage is a significant focus for work quality, it is not in itself sufficient, as other soft and hard variables in the workplace matter as well. Those who can make a difference are the employers falling short of benchmark standards. Influence on these may emerge through decent work knowledge and skills in management and professional development programmes as well as in initiatives advocating wider adoption of the living wage. Social implications: Problem areas of work quality, and problem employers, can be influenced by strategies shaping “hard” factors, including legislation. This needs to be complemented and integrated with strategies on “soft” factors, including identifying positive role models on themes of well-being, work–life balance and precarious forms of employment, as well as pay. Originality/value: The identification of what matters and who can make a difference is based on an original, collaborative, research project, in one national context, offering analytical generalisability about “decent work” and an experience of collaborative research.

  • The importance of digital literacy on the labour market

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between digital skills and employment and in this way accentuate importance of policy interventions for improving digital literacy. Design/methodology/approach: Using Eurostat data, this paper demonstrates statistically significant correlation between digital skills and employment rates in EU. Findings: This implies why it is so important for governments and employers to seek, propose and implement new strategies to promote digital inclusion, literacy and the training not only for new ICT professionals but also for the whole workforce. Social implications: Digital skills, particularly digital literacy, are an important factor for socio-economic development of the society and employability of the labour force. Without adequate digital literacy, it is not possible to participate in the economy and the digital society, particularly having in mind the digital transformation that the world of work is experiencing in the content and the organisation. Beyond the work environment, it also affects the way people live and communicate. Originality/value: In this paper, the importance and definition of digital literacy are elaborated, explaining the measurement of digital literacy and skills, as well as the relation between digital literacy and employability.

  • Talent management and organizational commitment: the partial mediating role of pay satisfaction

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to better understand the role of pay satisfaction and employee perception of talent management in business loyalty strategies, which implies considering both economic and non-economic variables in order to achieve organizational success. Design/methodology/approach: Results from a survey of 198 workers were analysed using structural equation modelling (SEM) based on three constructs (confirmatory factor analysis, CFA). The scales used were: employee perception of talent management, pay satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Pay satisfaction acts as a mediating variable in the significant relationship between the perception of talent management and organizational commitment. Findings: The partial mediating model hypothesised was supported by the SEM model, indicating that loyalty strategies require both good talent management and a good compensation system. Research limitations/implications: The article promotes the use of mediating variables as an explanation to better understand the strategies of loyalty in the management of talent, framed within the model of the resource-based view (RBV) theory. Practical implications: The implications are important for practitioners, who normally put every effort into strategies related to economic reinforcement, since the model suggests that they should also strive to correctly apply talent management. Social implications: The study suggests the need to understand better retributive systems with an application of talent management based on improvement and professional development. Originality/value: The originality lies in the article stating that the application of good talent management must be complemented with adequate compensation systems in order to achieve efficient retention strategies for talented employees.

  • How do human resource management practices affect employee well-being? A mediated moderation model

    Purpose: The study examines how human resource management practices (HRMPs) – including ability practice, motivation practice and opportunity practice – affect employee well-being (EWB) – including life well-being, job well-being and psychological well-being – in the Chinese cultural context. Design/methodology/approach: A sample of 529 employees from various industries in China participated in the survey for this study. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Findings: The findings indicate that HRMPs have a significant positive effect on EWB. Specifically, practices based on ability, motivation and opportunity have a significant positive effect on job well-being, life well-being and psychological well-being, respectively. Integrity leadership moderates the impact of HRMPs on EWB. Organizational justice has a partial mediating effect on the relationship between HRMPs and EWB. Integrity leadership moderates the mediation effect of organizational justice in the relationship between HRMPs and EWB. Practical implications: Human resource policies and practices need to create a fair organizational atmosphere, and managers implementing them must have integrity leadership. When selecting and promoting managers, organizations should pay attention to not only a candidate's ability but also his or her integrity. Originality/value: This study uncovers how the important roles of organizational justice and integrity leadership act on the relationship between HRMPs and EWB, thus advancing our understanding of how HRMPs can effectively increase EWB.

  • High-involvement HRM practices and innovative work behavior among production-line workers: mediating role of employee's functional flexibility

    Purpose: Following “AMO” framework and resource-based theory (RBT), the current study empirically examines the relationships between high-involvement human resource management (HI HRM) practices, employee functional flexibility (FF) and innovative work behavior (IWB). Furthermore, the mediating effect of FF has also been tested. Design/methodology/approach: Descriptive statistics, correlation, hierarchical regression analysis, baron and Kenny, PROCESS Macro and Sobel Test approach were used on a sample of 894 employees of manufacturing concerns. Findings: Findings revealed a direct effect of HI HRM practices on FF and IWB. In addition, the results confirm that FF positively mediates between HI HRM practices and IWB. Furthermore, three dimensions of HI HRM practices, i.e. ability-enhancing (AE), motivation-enhancing (ME) and opportunity-enhancing (OE) HRM practices also predicted FF and IWB. Practical implications: This study not only offers the empirical evidence to validate the findings of past researchers, but also provide insight how HI HRM practices flourish the mechanism of FF in manufacturing concerns. Furthermore, this study highlighted some interesting facts that should be meaningful options for HR managers to enhance the level of employees' FF and IWB. Originality/value: Although the empirical evidence is well established that HI HRM practices have a substantial contribution for organizational performance, however, there is lack of studies that empirically examine the associations among HI HRM practices, employee's competencies and behaviors, as well as the mechanism through which HI HRM practices affect work related innovative behavior. Finally, in distinguishing from the past studies, this study explores HI HRM practices as an important predictor of FF in addressing the IWB.

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