High performance HR systems as drivers of star performance : exploring the intervening mechanisms of work context and perceptions of justice

Bish, Adelle Jayne (2006) High performance HR systems as drivers of star performance : exploring the intervening mechanisms of work context and perceptions of justice. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Attracting and engaging talented people, the 'star performers', is an on-going

challenge for organisations. Our theoretical understanding of the nature of star

performance and the way in which HR systems facilitate such performance is

limited. Drawing from theories of human resource management, leadership,

performance, job characteristics and organisational justice, this research develops

and tests a model of the role of High Performance HR systems in facilitating task and

contextual performance. This model proposes that the way in which organisational

systems influence individual levels of performance is via two intervening

mechanisms - perceptions of work processes and organisational justice.

The program of research is comprised of two studies. In Study 1, I explored the

utility of the task and contextual performance framework for understanding stars

using supervisor-employee dyads (N = 174) from a large Australian government

agency. The results of this study provide support for the central hypothesis of this

thesis. Task and contextual performance are key components of star ratings, and

other elements such as being self-directed, having a big picture viewpoint, and a

willingness to lead, also contribute.

In Study 2, I employed two well-established frameworks of employee responses

to situational factors and psychological perceptions to examine the role of HR

systems and practices in facilitating star performance. Specifically, the study used

substitutes for leadership theory (Kerr & Jermier, 1978) and the formation of

psychological contracts (Robinson, Kraatz & Rousseau, 1994) to examine the way in

which HR practices are connected with task and contextual performance.

It was proposed that HR practices are positively associated with task and

contextual performance, and that this relationship is moderated by job characteristics

and teamwork. It was also proposed that the relationship between HR practices and

performance is mediated by perceptions of justice. The results of this study indicate

that complex relationships exist. Specifically the findings provide support for one of

the core propositions. Job characteristics and teamwork can moderate the

relationship between HR practices and performance. The patterns of moderation

indicate that HR practices provide marginal gains where jobs are perceived by

employees as being enriched, but are able to make a more substantial contribution

under conditions of less enrichment. Under these conditions HR practices are able to

make a greater contribution to performance by providing performance cues and

establishing expectations and clarifying roles. The relationship between HR

practices and performance was not found to be mediated by perceptions of justice.

In this thesis I provide evidence of the relevance of the task and contextual

performance framework to conceptualising star performance. Furthermore, I

examine the conditions under which High Performance HR systems facilitate star

performance. Both of these aspects are necessary for designing appropriate HR

strategies and interventions for managing talent.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16314
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Kabanoff, Boris & Griffin, Mark
Keywords: human resources, employees, supervisors, teamwork, performance
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Department: Faculty of Business
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Adelle Jayne Bish
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:00
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:46

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