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An Empirical Quest for Linkages between HPWS and Employee Behaviors – a Perspective from the Non Managerial Employees in Japanese Organizations

Authors: Kaushik Chaudhuri


High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) generally give rise to positive impacts on employees by increasing their commitments in workplaces. While some argued this actually have considerable negative impacts on employees with increasing possibilities of imposing strains caused by stress and intensity of such work places. Do stressful workplaces hamper employee commitment? The author has tried to find the answer by exploring linkages between HPWS practices and its impact on employees in Japanese organizations. How negative outcomes like job intensity and workplaces and job stressors can influence different forms of employees- commitments which can be a hindrance to their performance. Design: A close ended questionnaire survey was conducted amongst 16 large, medium and small sized Japanese companies from diverse industries around Chiba, Saitama, and Ibaraki Prefectures and in Tokyo from the month of October 2008 to February 2009. Questionnaires were aimed to the non managerial employees- perceptions of HPWS practices, their behavior, working life experiences in their work places. A total of 227 samples are used for analysis in the study. Methods: Correlations, MANCOVA, SEM Path analysis using AMOS software are used for data analysis in this study. Findings: Average non-managerial perception of HPWS adoption is significantly but negatively correlated to both work place Stressors and Continuous commitment, but positively correlated to job Intensity, Affective, Occupational and Normative commitments in different workplaces at Japan. The path analysis by SEM shows significant indirect relationship between Stressors and employee Affective organizational commitment and Normative organizational commitments. Intensity also has a significant indirect effect on Occupational commitments. HPWS has an additive effect on all the outcomes variables. Limitations: The sample size in this study cannot be a representative to the entire population of non-managerial employees in Japan. There were no respondents from automobile, pharmaceuticals, finance industries. The duration of the survey coincided in a period when Japan as most of the other countries is under going recession. Biases could not be ruled out completely. We must take cautions in interpreting the results of studies as they cannot be generalized. And the path analysis cannot provide the complete causality of the inter linkages between the variables used in the study. Originality: There have been limited studies on linkages in HPWS adoptions and their impacts on employees- behaviors and commitments in Japanese workplaces. This study may provide some ingredients for further research in the fields of HRM policies and practices and their linkages on different forms of employees- commitments.

Keywords: Japan, affective commitment, HPWS, Job Intensity, Job and workplace Stressors, Continuous commitment, Occupational commitment

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