An examination of the moderating effect of electronic-HRM on high-performance work practices and organisational performance link

Date07 August 2017
Publication Date07 August 2017
AuthorShatha M. Obeidat
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
An examination of the moderating
effect of electronic-HRM on
high-performance work
practices and organisational
performance link
Shatha M. Obeidat
Department of Management and Marketing, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine electronic-HRM (e-HRM) as a contingency factor
moderating the relationship between high-performance work practices (HPWP) and organisational
performance. It also explores the hypothesised relationship within the Middle Eastern context.
Design/methodology/approach An empirical study was conducted on Jordanian firms operating in both
financial and manufacturing sectors. The final research sample consisted of 118 questionnaires. The data
were analysed using partial least squares through Smart PLS.
Findings The findings show support for the hypothesised relationship. In particular, this study shows that
both HPWP and e-HRM have a significant positive influence on organisational performance. The results also
revealed that e-HRM moderates the HPWP-performance link.
Practical implications Overall, these findings support previous claims that the adoption of HPWP
contributes to organisational success. In particular, firms operating in the Middle Eastern region could
improve their performance by implementing HPWP. It also confirms the vital role of e-HRM on improving the
positive influence of HPWP on organisational performance. Thus, managers may consider investing in
e-HRM system in order to enforce the contribution of HPWP to the effectiveness of their firms.
Originality/value This study represents a first attempt to measure e-HRM as a possible moderating
variable in the HPWP and organisational performance link. Such moderation would be a contribution to the
strategic HRM field as very recent research calls for studies that examine new intermediary variables in an
attempt to unlock the black boxin the HPWP and performance link.
Keywords Organizational performance, Middle East, Strategic HRM, High-performance work practices,
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Research on strategic HRM issues has grown exponentially over the past years. A best practice
approach to strategic HRM is referred to high-performance work practices (HPWP) system
(Huselid, 1995). HPWP consist of HR practices that improve employeescapabilities, motivate
employees to use their capabilities for achieving organisational goals, and provide them with
opportunities to utilise their capabilities to full potential (Yanadori and Jaarsveld, 2014). More
specifically, authorshave argued that HPWP enhance organisational effectivenessby creating
conditionswhere employeesbecome highly involved in the organisation andthey work hard to
accomplish its goals (Eisenberger et al., 1997; Luna Arocas and Camps, 2008). The strategic
relevance of HPWP can be understood through the AMO model. The initials AMO refer to
ability-motivation-opportunity(Bailey, 1993; Appelbaum et al., 2000; Boselie et al., 2005).
In theory,the AMO components stimulate employees performance, at the organisational level,
and reflecting on the AMO model; high-performance HR practices can be classified as practices
that aim to enhance employeesability (e.g. using selective hiring, training), motivation
(e.g. using pay for performance), and opportunity to contribute to the company (e.g. using
teams and suggestion systems) (Gerhart, 2005). Thus, the HPWP relate to various types of
organisational performance measures.
Evidence-based HRM: a Global
Forum for Empirical Scholarship
Vol. 5 No. 2, 2017
pp. 222-241
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/EBHRM-11-2015-0046
Received 28 November 2015
Revised 30 June 2016
6 February 2017
7 March 2017
Accepted 12 March 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The link between HPWP and organisational performance has occurred worldwide
since pioneering work took place (Huselid, 1995; Arthur, 1994; Becker and Gerhart, 1996;
Delery, 1998). Authors have proposed many benefits that can be gained from applying
HPWP (Tsai, 2006; Delaney and Huselid, 1996; Arthur, 1994), compared with the more
control-based personnel approach. For example, HPWP allegedly enhances employees
ability through providing formal staffing process and extensive training. Moreover,
employeesmotivation can be increased through the provision of formal performance
appraisal and equitable pay (Huselid, 1995). HPWP can also improve employees
involvement in the company through such practices that could give them the opportunity
to participate like self-directed work teams. As a result, organisations should
be more willing to adopt HPWP since they have proven to influence financial
performance (Huselid, 1995), employee productivity (Datta et al., 2005), turnover and absence
rate (Arthur, 1994), organisational commitment (Macky and Boxall, 2007),
and several other organisational performance measures.
This body of research, however, has some limitations. One of the most noticeable
limitations relates to the concern about the applicability of the contingent view on HPWP-
organisational performance link. In general, the contingent view of strategic HRM
challenges a direct link between HPWP and performance and contends that a particular set
of HR practices may not always have the same impact on organisational performance,
because its effect can vary according to circumstances (Chenevert and Tremblay, 2009).
In particular, a range of contingency factors has been identified as influencing the
effectiveness of HR practi ces (Kintana et al., 2006), including the organisations
business strategy, technology, and external environment (Schuler and Jackson, 1987;
Datta et al., 2005).
An increasing number of studies have examined moderating variables that may play a
role in the HPWP and performance link (e.g. Richard and Johnson, 2001; Harris and
Ogbonna, 2001). This stream of research provides a valuable insight into aspects of
moderating factors, as contingency factors, and establishes the basis for advancing
contingency perspective in the strategic HRM research in the future.
One organisational characteristic, which can serve as a contingency factor in the
HPWP-performance link but has been neglected in the past, is the use of electronic-HRM
(e-HRM). The rapid development of the internet during the last decade has greatly
advanced e-HRM and the increasing use of e-HRM within organisations has contributed to
greater sophistication in managing human resources (Strohmeier and Kabst, 2009).
Moreover, the effective implementation of e-HRM has its influence on efficiency and
effectiveness of HPWP. In particular, the e-HRM literature has shown that the use of
e-HRM can increase HR-related services (Bissola and Imperatori, 2014) and improve HRM
strategic orien tation (Ruel et al., 2007). Recently, some empirical research have shown that
the effective use of e-HRM can lead to improved HRM outcomes (Ruel et al., 2007;
Parry, 2011; Obeidat, 2016).
Although much is claimed about the usefulness of e-HRM in improving HRM
effectiveness (Ruel et al., 2007), the extant research does not provide any empirical evidence
of the possible moderating influence of e-HRM on HPWP-performance link. Guided by the
contingency theory, this study examines whether the effects of HPWP are influenced
by the extent of e-HRM use. In other words, this study seeks to answer the question:
RQ1. Does the inclusion of e-HRM enhance the influence of HPWP on organisational
Another limitation relates to the implicit assumption that HPWP are universally applicable.
In spite of thevariety of research found,which examined the applicabilityof HPWP to achieve
organisational outcome, most of the studies found were conducted in the western context.
effect of

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