Elgar Introduction to Theories of Human Resources and Employment Relations
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Elgar Introduction to Theories of Human Resources and Employment Relations

Edited by Keith Townsend, Kenneth Cafferkey, Aoife M. McDermott and Tony Dundon

This Elgar Introduction provides an overview of some of the key theories that inform human resource management and employment relations as a field of study.
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Chapter 7: The theory of high-performance work systems

Peter Boxall and Meng-Long Huo


What is a ‘high-performance work system’ (HPWS) and how has the notion evolved in the literature? How does theory and research on HPWSs add value to our understanding of employment relations? This chapter reviews the history and discusses the meaning of this ambiguous concept. It then reviews two lines of analysis that are significant for HR strategists and researchers. One concerns which work systems prevail in which contexts and why. The other deals with how the performance of any work system can be improved and for whom. The chapter then discusses ways to improve our research methods in this area

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