High-performance Work Practices in Europe: Challenges of Diffusion
AbstractAlthough the evidence supports the role of high-performance work practices (HPWPs) in underpinning improvements in organisational performance, it is striking that so few companies in Europe seem willing to introduce them. The purpose of this article is to examine the barriers to the dissemination of HPWPs, and especially the challenges and dilemmas it presents to policy makers at the design stage. The article is based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with the principal officials responsible for seven HPWP programmes across six European countries, as well as on extensive secondary material. The interviews were analysed to identify key issues of concern, and then grouped to provide general insights into the operation of HPWP programmes. The article identifies a number of challenges common to all the programmes that need resolution, including tensions between research and dissemination, whether programmes should aim at breadth or depth, and the role of the social partners. It accordingly advocates a new research agenda that focuses on policies to achieve their wider diffusion, which will be of particular value to policy-makers. It also proposes that research should be directed away from replicating studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of HPWPs and towards analyses of constraints on dissemination and the means to overcome them.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).