High performance working: what are the perceptions as a new form of employer-worker relationship?

Armitage, Andrew M. D. and Keeble-Ramsay, Diane (2009) High performance working: what are the perceptions as a new form of employer-worker relationship? International Journal of Employment Studies, 17 (1). pp. 57-89. ISSN 1039-6993

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Being in a high performance work organisation is associated with higher job satisfaction. Historically, team work and job rotation, as well as supporting human resource practices, appear to have had little impact on increased job satisfaction. As a set of conceptual approaches High Performance Working (HPW) stems from strands of post-Fordist practices. Further, it is a theme that both the UK government and UK professional bodies, for example the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development are investing time in promoting as providing competitive advantage and facilitating the potential to increase productivity both for the nation, and organisations, within the UK. Yet despite these aspirations, and a number of organisations committing to the ideology of the High Performance Working Organisation (HPWO), there remains little consideration of the complexity of employer-worker relationships underpinning the potential or failure of adopting HPW. Whilst the HPW considers 'bundles of practices', which might include strategies for employee relations and HR practices bundles, it lacks details in terms of the underpinning features of employee relations within the wider economy. Moreover, it is the context of performance which remains critical since the value to organisations lies with looking at the chain of links that runs from management intentions through management practices and employee responses to organisational outcomes. This paper explores, through narratives from managers and HR practitioners, the employee relations within the organisation, which impact upon the likelihood of successful introduction of HPW. The experience of change within the employer-worker relationships within the United Kingdom (UK), post 2000 remains a focus. The research data was collected from a wider project, which has incorporated 300 managers and HR practitioner respondents from the UK, who have participated in surveys, focus groups and provided narratives. For the purpose of this paper, the narratives were taken as a follow up from respondents from wider research to provide interpretations. By the consideration of social psychological models, these are contrasted with thinking about the perceptions around the employer-employee participation required for HPW. As such, it argues that the narrative data insights into the interpretation of issues surrounding the organisation aspiring towards HPW, which might not be gained by quantitative methods or large scale survey. Given the complexity of the organisation, in viewing narratives by way of considering the assumptions and problems individual workers construct, it is possible to facilitate views and explanations of the potential impact for and upon the interpretation of HPW. The paper argues that any weaknesses within the portrayal of the experiences of implementing HPW have lain, historically, where research has been undertaken by largely quantitative survey. Further failure to address the opportunities for methodological triangulation to gain deeper insights from the utilisation of research tools has been a feature of HPW research to date. Yet the utilisation of narratives potentially incorporates deeper insights from the worker's perspective than might be gained otherwise.

Item Type: Journal Article
Faculty: ARCHIVED Lord Ashcroft International Business School (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2011 10:47
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:18
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/142735

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