EXPLAINING THE LINK BETWEEN HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AND INNOVATION PERFORMANCE THE ROLE OF ORGANIZA

EXPLAINING THE LINK BETWEEN HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AND INNOVATION PERFORMANCE THE ROLE OF ORGANIZA

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1 EXPLAINING THE LINK BETWEEN HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AND INNOVATION PERFORMANCE: THE ROLE OF ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING PROCESSES* Paper submitted to the OLKC 2011 Conference, 12-14 April, Hull, UK KEY WORDS: Human resource practices, innovation, performance, organizational learning, learning processes. Victor Oltra** [email protected] Department of Management ‘Juan José Renau Piqueras’ University of Valencia, Spain Joaquin Alegre [email protected] Department of Management ‘Juan José Renau Piqueras’ University of Valencia, Spain ABSTRACT This theoretical paper makes a preliminary attempt to integrate the – so far usually disconnected – literatures on: (i) linking human resource (HR) practices and innovation performance, (ii) assessing organizational learning (capability) (OL/C), (iii) linking HR practices and OL(C), or (iv) linking OL(C) and innovation. We clearly distinguish between policy-based variables (a system of innovation-triggering HR practices ) and processual, mediating ones of a behavioural nature (a system of knowledge-optimizing OL processes ), all of them eventually impacting on innovation performance (composed by innovation efficacy and innovation efficiency). The proposed framework is expected to facilitate further (theoretical and empirical) research into the HR-OL-innovation connections. ------------------------------------ * Acknowledgement . The authors would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ECO2008-00729) for their financial support for this research. ** Corresponding author: Victor Oltra Department of Management ‘Juan José Renau Piqueras’ Facultat d’Economia Universitat de València Av. Tarongers, s/n 46022 Valencia, Spain
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V. Oltra and J. Alegre HR practices, innovation and learning – OLKC 2011 2 1. INTRODUCTION Abundant research shows substantial evidence on the positive link between human resource (HR) practices and organizational performance (e.g. Datta et al., 2005; Delery and Doty 1996; Huselid 1995). Hence, it seems natural to assume that the impact of (high-commitment, contingent, strategic…) HR practices on innovation performance ought to be also positive. Such a specific link has also been explored (e.g. Beugelsdijk, 2008; Jiménez-Jiménez and Sanz-Valle, 2008; Shipton et al., 2006a; Walsworth and Verma, 2007): innovation-triggering HR practices would include employee empowerment, task rotation, employment security or the use of participative decision making systems, among others. However, satisfactory consensus and insight have not been reached on: (i) the choice of innovation-triggering HR practices, (ii) their ultimate impact on innovation outcomes, and (iii) the underlying processes and mediating variables that would help explain how such a link is developed – similar to what happens with the broader HR-performance literature (cf. Boselie et al., 2005; Wall and Wood, 2005; Wood, 1999).
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