Disentangling the strength of the HRM system: effects on employees reactions

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Purpose A strong HRM system (encompassing the dimensions of distinctiveness, consistency and consensus) facilitates a collective interpretation of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices in a common direction, and consequently, a conjoint response by employees. The purpose of this paper is two fold: first to argue that those dimensions have a direct impact on the reaction of employees (organisational citizenship behaviour, OCB and intention to remain, IR); and second, the authors propose that these dimensions are not independent, but rather can interact in such a way that consensus impacts on the consistency of an HRM system, and consistency mediates the relationship between consensus and OCB and IR. Design/methodology/approach The authors surveyed HR managers and employees from a sample of 102 Spanish hotels. Specifically, HR managers were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing the dimensions of HRM strength, and employees completed a different questionnaire reporting their levels of OCB and IR. The authors examined the reliability and validity of measures by means of Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Finally, structural equations models were applied to test direct effects and mediating hypotheses. Findings As an initial finding, the authors obtained two dimensions of HRM strength: consistency and a new factor, which is a combination of distinctiveness and consensus, labelled the “Reputation” of the HRM system. A second result is that such the reputation of the HRM system positively affects OCB and IR. Third, consistency mediates in the relationships between the reputation of the HRM system and OCB and IR. Research limitations/implications Although the authors are aware of the limitations of our paper, regarding the cross-sectional data design and the assessment of HR strength by managers, the authors believe that the results highlight the importance of HRM system strength, since it affects individual outcomes. Originality/value One of the valuable contributions made by this paper is that the authors obtained two dimensions for HRM strength instead of the three proposed by Bowen and Ostroff (2004): consistency and reputation (as a combination of distinctiveness and consensus). The authors explain that the new dimension is related to the concept of employer branding, emphasising HRM system’s internal image, facilitating common expectations that guide employees towards the desired responses. Second, Reputation impacts Consistency, improving employees’ OCB and IR; hence, the dimensions of HRM system strength are not independent, but they are better able to interact in order to affect employee outcomes.
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Identificador de proyecto: FEDER/Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades-Agencia Estatal de Investigación (ECO2017-82208-P) and Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Plan Nacional de IþDþI (ECO2013-44274-P).
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Employee Relations, Vol. 42 No. 2, 2020 pp. 281-299
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