Mediating effect of team trust on the influence of top management team (TMT) processes against HRM decision quality and satisfaction performance

Publication Date22 November 2019
Pages1053-1068
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/PR-09-2018-0336
Date22 November 2019
AuthorMeng Chenli,Ge Yuhui,Liu Xihuai,Eugene Abrokwah
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
Mediating effect of team trust on
the influence of top management
team (TMT) processes against
HRM decision quality and
satisfaction performance
Meng Chenli and Ge Yuhui
School of Business, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology,
Shanghai, China
Liu Xihuai
School of Economics and Management, Zhoukou Normal College,
Zhoukou, China, and
Eugene Abrokwah
School of Business, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology,
Shanghai, China
Abstract
Purpose The purposeof this paper is to test the mediatingrole of top managementteam (TMT) team trust in
examining the relationship between teamprocesses (internal and external) and human resource management
(HRM) decision performance (quality andsatisfaction) in the context of the PeoplesRepublicofChina.
Design/methodology/approach The sample data of this study include 524 team members from 76 TMTs
in east Chinas Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui provinces. IBM SPSS AMOS 22.0 software was employed
for the data analysis.
Findings The studyfinds that TMT internaland external processes have significant positiveeffects on HRM
decisionquality andsatisfaction.The study further findsthat TMT team trustpartially mediatesthe relationship
between TMTprocesses (internal andexternal processes) and HRMdecision quality and satisfaction.
Practical implications This research provides useful insights into the role of TMT team trust in
enhancing managerial decision performance.
Originality/value This study is among the limited studies that explore the influence of team trust in the
relationship between TMT processes (internal and external processes) and HRM decision quality and
satisfaction among TMTs in China. This study has extended TMT knowledge in mainstream management
with guidelines on how to enhance organizational decision performance.
Keywords Quantitative, Mixed methodologies, Qualitative, Top management team (TMT), Team trust,
External team process, HRM decision satisfaction, Internal team process
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
With the recent upsurge of the transitional economy of the Peoples Republic of China from
central planning to market competition which has brought competing challenges among the
Chinese enterprises (see Li and Li, 2009), increasing attention is being paid to the role of top
management team (TMT) processes in human resource management (HRM) decision
performance (e.g. Nielsen and Nielsen, 2011; Yang and Ge, 2012; Liu, 2017). TMT processes
Personnel Review
Vol. 49 No. 4, 2020
pp. 1053-1068
© Emerald PublishingLimited
0048-3486
DOI 10.1108/PR-09-2018-0336
Received 13 September 2018
Revised 14 January 2019
21 April 2019
17 May 2019
5 July 2019
Accepted 4 August 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/0048-3486.htm
This paper was funded by the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, the National Soft
Science Research Plan (Grant No. 2013GXQ4D165), Shanghai Education Commission Scientific
Research and Innovation (Grant No. 14ZS117), Shanghai First-class Academic Discipline Project (Grant
No. S1201YLXK) and Hujiang Foundation of China (Grant No. A14006).
1053
Mediating
effect of
team trust
serve as a management strategic framework which constitutes the entire organizational
processes, systems and procedures that an enterprise employs to develop and implement their
HR strategic decisions (Boies et al., 2015). Research suggests that TMT processes contribute to
enterprise growth and sustainability because it has a positive influence on the HR decision
processes (Yang and Ge, 2012), offer the enterprises with competitive advantage (Boies et al.,
2015; Lee and Moon, 2018) and improve the decision performance (Liu et al., 2014; Wang et al.,
2015), particularly in a stable institutional environment (Li and Li, 2009). However, due to the
rapid advancement in todays management science and the increasingly acute market
competition, especially within the developing economies, most enterprises find themselves in a
complex and volatile environment. In such a business environment full of uncertainties, all eyes
are on the TMTs who have absolute power and are mainly responsible for making enterprise
key HR strategic decisions (Lee and Moon, 2018; Van Knippenberg et al., 2013) in allocating
constraint resources. These dynamisms have attracted a substantive scholarly interest over the
years in exploring the various significant HR management theories such as the bounded
rationality theory, information processing theory and the upper echelon theory, through which
TMTs influence the general HR decision performance of organizations (Hambrick and Mason,
1984; Lin and Rababah, 2014; Lee and Moon, 2018). However, a substantive number of these
scholarlyworksonTMTshaveexclusively focused on the impact of TMT members
demographic characteristics and individual heterogeneity on the strategic decisions. For
example, Chen et al. (2010) limited their study on the power perspective of the TMT; Lin and
Rababahs (2014) research was directed on CEO-TMT exchange and TMT personality
composition; Carpenter et al. (2004) narrowed their study on the antecedents, elements and
consequences of TMT; and Colbert et al. (2014) uniquely addressed Personality and leadership
composition in top management teams: Implications for organizational effectiveness.Despite
the relevance of TMT process on enterprisessuccess, most available scholarships on TMT
processes and HR decision performance are substantively theoretical studies from the
perspective of organizational behavior, sociology, psychology, with little empirical studies,
especially, empirical findings with the mediating effects on TMT processes and HR decision
performance are mostly in favor of the western developed markets (Li and Li, 2009), with little
known about the developing economies.
Additionally, research suggests that trust plays an important role in enhancing the
confidence level of inter-member relationships, especially within teams with different
backgrounds in that trust influences the decision ability of members. Hence, it is reasonable
to suggest that trust within TMTs could enhance the quality and satisfaction of the HRM
strategic decisions (Boies et al., 2015). Notwithstanding these influences of team trust, the
question of whether TMT team trust can influence TMT team processes on HR decision
performance within the transitional economies remains unanswered since the black box
between TMT processes and HR strategic decisions is not fully explored and there still exist
gaps in the literature (Vicente et al., 2015).
In view of the above discussion, focusing on the interaction between TMT processes and
enterprise stakeholders in HR strategy formulation, this study introduces and examines the
mediating effects of TMT trust on the relationships between TMT processes (internal and
external) and HR decision performance (quality and satisfaction) among TMTs in China.
This paper aims to contribute to several streams of the literature. First, this paper
contributes to the field of strategic management research by studying the mediating effects
of TMT team trust on the relationships between TMT team processes and HR decision
performance. Second, in this paper, TMT team processes are divided into two dimensions:
TMT internal processes and TMT external processes. HR decision performance is divided
into two dimensions: HR decision quality and HR decision satisfaction, which extend
the concept of team processes and HR decision performance. Third, by focusing on the
interaction of TMT and enterprise stakeholders in HR strategy formulation, this study
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