High-Performance Work Practices in Healthcare Sector

High-Performance Work Practices in Healthcare Sector

Panagiotis Gkorezis (Open University of Cyprus, Cyprus) and Mamas Theodorou (Open University of Cyprus, Cyprus)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9961-8.ch002
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High-performance work practices are described as human resource management practices that augment organizational performance through enhancing employees' competencies, motivation, commitment and productivity. Last decades have seen an increase in both research and practice on high-performance work practices. Yet, they have only recently received attention in healthcare settings. Nascent empirical studies have shown that high-performance work practices may play a vital role in fostering positive employee, patient and organizational outcomes. Given the problematic and limited environment of healthcare organizations, high-performance work practices are purported to be an effective “medicine” for organizational functioning. Thus, the purpose of this chapter is to delineate human resource management policies and their core high-performance work practices and also highlight their key role in ameliorating healthcare organizations' performance. By doing so, we provide some useful insights from healthcare literature in relation to the underlying mechanisms that account for this relationship.
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Human Resource Management And High Performance Work Practices

Human resource management constitutes a contemporary approach to managing people. Despite the burgeoning interest in human resource management from both academics and practitioners, the literature lacks a universally agreed definition. Boxall and Purcell defined human resource management as all those activities associated with the management of employment relationships in the firm (2003, p. 1). Human resource management is consisted of a set of core policies namely human resource planning, recruitment and selection, training and development, rewards, performance management, employment relationships, health and safety.

In the extant literature, some scholars have considered human resource management as a contemporary label for describing personnel management policies and activities whereas others as a new, more strategic, approach to manage people in the workplace (Beardwell & Claydon, 2007). As regards the latter, which is the dominant approach, one of its core foundations relate to the fact that human resources constitute one of the major competitive advantages of each organization. Put differently, they comprise the most valuable organizational assets. Human resource management policies and practices should be integrated into the overall business strategy, demonstrating thus a more strategic role of human resource management often called as strategic human resource management. Even more, a key concept of this human resource management approach is the pivotal role of bundles of human resource management practices in facilitating the accomplishment of strategic goals.

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