Functional Job Analysis: A Foundation for Human Resources Management (Applied Psychology Series)
Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? This book was written to address the need for timely, thorough, practical, and defensible job analysis for HR managers. It is unique among job analysis methods in having its own in-depth theoretical grounding within a systems framework.
In addition to providing a methodology for analyzing jobs, it offers a rich model and vocabulary for communicating about the competencies skills contributing to work success and about the design of the work organization through which those competencies are expressed. FJA is the right theory and methodology for future work in an increasingly competitive global economy. This book is the authoritative source describing how FJA can encourage and support an ongoing dialogue between workers and management as they jointly pursue total quality, worker growth, and organization performance.
It is a flexible tool, fully recognizing the rapid changes impacting today's organizations. It is a comprehensive tool, leading to an in-depth understanding of work, its results, and its improvement in a unique organization context. It is a humane tool, viewing workers in light of their full potential and capacity for positive growth. With FJA, workers and managers can work more constructively together in a wholesome and productive work relationship. Read more Read less.
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HR practices required to achieve these goals can then be clustered together in three broad bundles. For example, ability or competence may be generated through appropriate selection, training, and development practices. However, this approach is not without its challenges. For example, there are potential substitution effects—should the focus be on selection of competence or the training of competence? Furthermore, some practices, including those linked to job design, can have an impact on both motivation and opportunity to contribute, thereby blurring the bundles.
The concept of bundles can also present a challenge for psychologists who have typically developed expertise in specific practices, since the argument concerning internal fit suggests that it is not enough to focus on practices that develop one of these outcomes because they are all important. For example, it is not helpful to have highly motivated but incompetent employees or to have highly competent employees who have no opportunity to use their knowledge and skills.
So the notion of internal fit within an HR system implies that there need to be HR practices present that can contribute to each element of the AMO model. They found a better fit with the three bundles. Furthermore, each was associated with somewhat different outcomes. This is further support for the view that all three bundles need to be present to have a full impact.
Subramony found that opportunity to contribute and motivation had a stronger impact than human capital, which on its own was non-significant. On the other hand, Jiang et al. But the impact is not as great as the application of the three bundles. This is somewhat akin to research on the impact of selection and training effects that has consistently shown that high-quality application of both practices can enhance and benefit individual performance. When this is aggregated to the unit or organizational level, we might expect an impact on organizational performance see, e.
Nevertheless, Subramony also showed that each bundle made a stronger contribution than any individual practice. Given these competing results, further research needs to establish the relative importance of individual HR practices, bundles of practices, and an aggregated measure. Recent theorizing and research have given considerable prominence to the concept of human capital and the specific bundle of HR practices associated with it.
As originally conceived by Becker , the concept was quite wide-ranging and covered the knowledge and skills of individuals and also their information, ideas, and health. Ployhart and Moliterno have distinguished between cognitive abilities and other individual characteristics like personality, interests, and values, all of which, as they acknowledge, are typically considered at the individual level. However, they outline enabling factors such as task complexity and interdependencies that create conditions where these types of capital can be aggregated to the unit level and analyzed with respect to their impact on unit performance.
Researchers have begun to consider human capital at the unit level as a collective set of capacities for management to utilize see, e. Although interest in human capital is generating a large body of research, it is potentially limited by its focus on one element, the A within the AMO model. After a decision about which HR practices to include in any study, there remains the issue of how much detail to seek.
For example, it is possible with respect to training to ask about the presence of a training policy, hours of training provided, off-the-job versus on-the-job training, and so on. Indeed, the amount of formal training provision is one of the most frequently included items in studies of HRM. However, this is not without problems since it might refer to a goal to provide specified hours, it might refer to off-the-job formal training but ignore informal and incidental learning, and it may apply to only some of the employees.
In short, even if the relevant HR practices can be identified, there are unresolved research questions about the level of detail and how far this should be standardized across practices. A further and increasingly widely researched question is who should provide information about HR practices.
Senior managers in HR departments may report that a practice such as universal annual appraisal is a firm company policy. However, employees will be in a better position to report whether they have actually received an appraisal in the past year or whether they have perceived and are actually aware of specific policies and practices even if they have not directly experienced them.
An example might be policies and practices related to bullying and harassment. Therefore, while much of the research on HR practices has obtained information from senior managers, there is a strong case for collecting information from employees. This may not only increase accuracy, but also enhance reliability.
However, the attractions of collecting data from senior managers include the ability to compare across many organizations and to collect data swiftly at an organizational level to permit assessment against organizational-level outcomes. While it is possible to aggregate employee data, collecting such data across many organizations is a complex and time-consuming activity.
An alternative is to focus on an important category of employees and ask about the HR practices that apply to this group. This can offer some advantages in accuracy over asking about the workforce as a whole, but it risks ignoring the HR practices applied to the remainder of the workforce. Researchers need to give consideration to the choice of response categories when collecting information about HR practices. Once again, the published research displays a wide range of approaches. When the questions are directed to managers, an alternative to asking for categorical answers is to ask about the percentage of workers who are likely to have experienced a particular practice.
This permits a more flexible response, although the accuracy of such responses is open to question and they present potential problems of aggregation, particularly if different practices apply to different categories of employees. There are therefore choices concerning the approach to adopt for response categories, with no consensus in sight. A final issue concerns how to aggregate practices. This issue was first addressed some years ago by Delery and Doty who tested competing theories and different ways of combining data to address both external fit, through a contingency approach linking practices to strategy, and internal fit, based on a simple count of practices in place and a configurational model that examined interactions between bundles of practices.
It was found that there was no clear advantage to a configurational model. Subramony and Jiang et al. The most widely used approach over the years has been to provide a count of the practices that are reported to be present on the grounds that a greater number of practices indicates the strength of the HR system and therefore increases the likelihood that they will have an impact.
Although this is a plausible argument, it ignores the likelihood that certain practices will be more important than others. It also supports a universalist model that holds that the same broad set of practices applies, irrespective of the context and strategy, a view that is not well supported by the research and that supporters of contingency theory find inherently implausible. This brief overview has shown that there are major problems in conceptualizing and operationalizing the presence and application of the HR practices that constitute the HRM system.
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Much of the difficulty can be attributed to the complexities that arise from the lack of clear definitions of the content and boundaries of any HRM system, from the variety of perceived goals of the system and therefore the practices that deserve priority, and from the various levels of analysis at which the research is undertaken. Researchers need to be clear about the underlying rationale for the kind of HRM they are exploring and be explicit about the reasons certain HR practices are included and what assumptions are being made about aggregation.
Too many studies have lacked a theory or even an explanation for their choices of practices.
Despite all the problems of identifying and measuring HR practices, and the unreliability that the diversity of practice indicates, the large body of research, reflected in the various meta-analyses see, e. Most of the early research was concerned with the relationship between HRM and organizational performance and was conducted at the level of the organization.
For example, in the early seminal study by Huselid who surveyed leading U.
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In Jiang et al. The problem with the use of financial indicators is that they are subject to a wide variety of influences, including the vagaries of the economic system. Therefore, as a distal outcome, the size of the association with HRM is always likely to be quite weak.
An alternative is to utilize more proximal measures that are organizationally relevant in the sense that they could have a financial impact but are more likely to be influenced by HRM. In other words, they can provide a test of mediation. This has led to the use of outcomes like labor turnover, productivity, and service quality.
However, productivity has proved particularly challenging to measure, especially in the service sector, and in their meta-analysis, Combs et al. What this perhaps illustrates is that there are questions concerning both the reliability and validity of these outcome measures. Identifying outcome measures can become greater at the unit level rather than the organizational level. One way of addressing this has been to obtain subjective assessments of outcomes from managers.
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This is the approach that has been adopted over the years by the British Workplace Employment Relations surveys that collect data from about workplaces see van Wanrooy et al. They ask managers to rate their performance on a variety of criteria against competitors they know about in the same sector. Analyses of the results where it is possible to compare against independent financial reports e.
However, in their meta-analysis, Combs et al. There are some sectors where unit-level comparisons are feasible, including retail and banking, because organizations have a large number of more-or-less identical branches. Similar arguments are increasingly made about public-sector organizations such as hospitals and local authorities, and benchmarking has become popular based on assumptions about the validity of such comparisons. Psychologists have been more interested in employee outcomes, and a growing number of studies explore the relationship between HRM and employee attitudes, behavior, and wellbeing.
The choice of measure depends on whether the primary interest lies in organizational performance or employee wellbeing. In the case of the former, it can include individual-level performance, organizational citizenship behavior, absence, and labor turnover. However, a small minority of studies have revealed increases in levels of stress see, e. This has led critics such as Godard to argue that HRM is bad for workers because it is likely to result in work intensification and the consequent stress.
Although the evidence of negative consequences for employees is weak, the topic has generated interest in the extent to which HRM is associated with both higher organizational performance and improved employee wellbeing. The relatively few reported studies in which both have been measured have been reviewed by van de Voorde, Paauwe, and van Veldhoven and Peccei, van de Voorde, and van Veldhoven They find that the presence of more HR practices is associated with both higher performance and higher job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
However, the evidence from the very few studies that have included health-related wellbeing measures, mainly indications of stress, is somewhat more equivocal, revealing a mix of positive, neutral, and negative outcomes for employees. Future research exploring this issue will need to be clearer about the HRM strategy that underpins the type of practices adopted. In summary, the research on HRM has predominantly explored outcomes that reflect organizational and managerial interests associated with performance. These have often been quite distal measures, such as financial performance, and have usually been collected at the organizational level.
A smaller stream of research has explored employee outcomes like job satisfaction and wellbeing. As more proximal measures, these might be expected to reveal a stronger association with HRM. Relatively few studies have explored both organizational and employee outcomes. Those that have done so tend to show mutual benefits, but the results are somewhat inconsistent and seem to depend in part on the type of employee outcome under investigation.
This is an area that would benefit from further research. The early research was primarily concerned with establishing a relationship between HRM and organizational performance, but much of the focus shifted to seek explanations for how or why there appears to be an association. Instead, most subsequent research has been based on internal fit and development and testing of linkage models.
These typically propose that HR practices influence employee perceptions that in turn affect employee attitudes and behavior and subsequently employee performance. This can then be aggregated to proximal e. Elements and sometimes a complete linkage model have been tested, and research has typically reported support for the expected associations indicating full or partial mediation. The AMO model has been the most extensively tested, and the meta-analysis by Jiang et al. They linked measures of the HR bundles to indicators of human capital and motivation, and linked those in turn to labor turnover and internal measures of performance, and finally linked both of those to financial performance.
They reported good evidence for these linkages and for partial mediation. The core argument is that if HR practices are used to enhance the commitment and involvement of employees and to ensure a positive employment relationship, this will in turn be positively perceived by employees at both an individual and collective level. Based on the norm of reciprocity Gouldner, , employees can be expected to respond with positive attitudes and behavior.
Research supports these linkages and shows an association with organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, higher individual performance, and a lower propensity to quit the organization or be voluntarily absent e. Overall, therefore, there is consistent support for a linkage model. More research is needed to test competing explanations for these linkages and to understand why the strength of the association varies. Some issues, to which we now turn, offer possible explanations. As the role of employees takes center stage in the analysis of the impact of HRM, it is recognized that to understand the effect of HRM on attitudes and behavior, it is first necessary to consider how employees perceive HR practices.
Researchers have begun to use a form of attribution theory to explore how employees interpret management motives for adopting certain HR practices and to examine how their interpretation affects their attitudes and behavior. Nishii, Lepak, and Schneider researched attributions among employees in a large Japanese retail chain.
Their findings supported these hypotheses. Both studies confirm the importance of understanding employee attributions in any model seeking to explain the links between HRM and outcomes. To put it at its simplest, what do HR practices, singly or in combination, signal to employees? Rousseau and Greller used signaling theory to explain how HR practices communicated to workers the content of the psychological contract.
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Signaling theory formed the basis for an influential conceptual article by Bowen and Ostroff concerning the implementation of HRM. They support the view that it is not sufficient to have good HR practices in place; implementation is only likely to be effective if management can clearly signal the intentions behind the HR practices. They hypothesize that this will entail three features that need to be clearly signaled: A first step has been to develop measures of the three core components and the sub-elements that Bowen and Ostroff outline see, e.
A second step has been to test the validity of the model by studying the association of the dimensions with performance outcomes see, e. The results of these studies highlight the complexity of the model, suggesting that it would benefit from some simplification. Secondly, they indicate that the distinctiveness dimension appears to be more important than the other dimensions, and that the relative importance of the three dimensions of HRM system strength seems to vary across studies and perhaps across national cultures.
Despite the enthusiasm with which some researchers have been exploring the Bowen and Ostroff model, there may be a case for revisiting some of the underlying dimensions. Research on attribution theory, signaling theory, and the strength of the HR system is concerned with HR implementation. It is based on recognition that the presence of HR practices is not enough to ensure that they have an impact.
A related stream of research has explored the process of HR implementation by focusing more directly on the roles of the main actors. Guest and Bos-Nehles have outlined a descriptive framework that implicated several parties in the implementation process. Top management and senior HR managers have responsibility for deciding whether certain practices should be present.
Line managers, with support from local HR managers, have to implement practices on a day-to-day basis, and in addition they need to be motivated to ensure that they are implemented in a high-quality rather than a ritualistic way. There has been some concern that line managers may be a weak link in this process. In contrast, Bos-Nehles found that Dutch managers were motivated to ensure effective implementation of HR but often lacked the time to do so Bos-Nehles, There has been a longstanding stream of research on the role of HR managers reflecting concerns about their lack of power and influence see, e.
However, they have also been the subject of extensive conceptual critiques see, e.
SAGE Reference - Job Analysis—The Basis for Developing Criteria for all Human Resources Programs
As psychologists have become more interested in HRM, attention has begun to focus on individual differences. One illustration of this has been a broadening of the conceptualization of the characteristics that constitute human capital, reflected in the work of Ployhart and Moliterno , including the role of personality and values as human capital. Another stream of research has been considering age and the question of whether specific HR practices or bundles of practices have a greater impact at different ages. There would appear to be room to extend this approach to consider other individual differences such as gender and education, but also variations in employment circumstances like temporary employment and other forms of employment flexibility.
For example, what sort of HR practices are most suitable for long-distance workers including those working from home? Ployhart and Moliterno make a similar point with respect to the aggregation of human capital. There is a strong case for multilevel analysis when employee attitudes and behavior form part of the study but the primary concern is with organizational performance, something that has become relatively common in recent research see, e.
Another context is when moderating variables are hypothesized to affect outcomes, requiring the use of moderated mediation. The kinds of moderating variables that have attracted most research attention are organizational climate and leadership, but there is room to extend this type of research to consider a potentially wide range of moderating variables, including exogenous factors like business sector and market conditions.
HRM is potentially a very broad field, and its extensive scope can be illustrated through the large body of research and writing on comparative HR systems. While most multilevel analysis uses the organization as the highest level of analysis, a distinct body of research has explored HRM at the country level. This research studies comparative HR systems and the impact of national institutions and cultural factors in shaping the kind of HR practices that are likely to be acceptable and have impact.
European countries typically have a stronger institutional framework, including legislation that requires certain practices to be in place. In a country such as the U. Along with the major comparative studies of national cultures and leadership, the Cranet project see, e. Rabl, Jayasinghe, Gerhart, and Kuhlmann have analyzed country differences in the strength of the HRM-performance relationship across studies reported in 29 countries.
Although in all cases, the associations were positive, there were wide country differences in the average strength of the association, and their hypotheses about the influence of two dimensions of national culture, namely tight-loose properties and degree of flexibility, were not supported. In policy terms, research on comparative HRM is particularly relevant for international organizations sending managers on overseas assignments.
Schuler, Dowling, and De Cieri have provided an integrative framework within which to consider international HRM, including overseas assignments. Black and Mendenhall have explored issues in selection and more particularly cross-cultural training methods, while Black, Mendenhall, and Oddou have outlined the steps necessary for effective adjustment to an overseas assignment. Doherty, Dickmann, and Mills have explored motives among company-initiated and self-initiated overseas assignments, while Bolino has analyzed the implications of such assignments for career success.
Comparative HRM therefore provides a good example of how HRM research can be considered at different levels of analysis, from different disciplinary perspectives, and from both conceptual and applied perspectives. Much of the reported research linking HRM and outcomes has been cross-sectional, raising questions about causality and leading to calls for longitudinal studies. Researchers have begun to answer this call. They found a positive impact of HR practices but not operational practices, and they also found no interaction between them.
They reported a lengthy time lag of several years before any impact was significant. In contrast, Piening, Baluch, and Salge , in a longitudinal study in healthcare, found support for a causal chain from employee perceptions to changes in job satisfaction to changes in patient satisfaction. However, they found that the impact was greatest in the first year and diminished thereafter. The longitudinal study in healthcare by West et al. Longitudinal studies have generally supported a causal ordering whereby HR practices affect outcomes. However, they have rarely considered the possibility of reverse causality.
The potential for reverse causality is based on the assumption that high performance and, in particular, high financial performance create room for investment, including investment in human resources. There is also the possibility that working for a successful organization is a source of satisfaction that in turn further enhances performance, a conclusion that might be drawn from the longitudinal study of company-level performance and job satisfaction over a number of years reported by Schneider, Hanges, Smith, and Salvaggio However, when they controlled for prior performance, this association disappeared, raising questions about the causal ordering.
It also raises wider questions about the size of impact of HRM, since few studies have taken into account prior financial performance. This point is strongly reinforced in a study by Shin and Konrad that used a longitudinal Canadian company-level dataset to explore the relation over time between HRM and productivity. After controlling for past performance and past HRM, they found a modest positive two-way causal link between the variables, with each having an influence on the other over three two-year time lags.
The study by Piening, Baluch, and Salge found support for a cyclical process whereby HRM affected outcomes and these in turn affected HR practices. These studies help to highlight the challenges of establishing the causal direction in the HRM-outcomes relationship and challenge the size of the associations reported in cross-sectional studies. When the outcome is financial performance, one of the problems is that it tends to be very stable from year to year, leaving only a small amount of variance to explain.
The same may be the case for HR practices. There are also major challenges in controlling for other endogenous and exogenous variables. What may be needed are naturally occurring quasi-experimental studies, possibly at branch levels. Since the distinctive feature of HRM is that it needs to be considered as a system of practices and is more typically explored at the unit or organizational level, this presents distinctive challenges of access over time and interpretation of results when other factors are hard to control for. Understanding the dynamics of changes in the use of HR practices may require in-depth longitudinal, qualitative studies along with the dominant quantitative research.
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