High Performance Work Systems the Research Paper

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The Shared Information Principle is also the most reliant on technologies, with the Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and communications technologies being the most crucial within this specific principle.

The Principle of Knowledge Development

The most strategically important aspect of any HPWS, this principle is where the greatest value is delivered to an enterprise. Knowledge Development is heavily dependent on the training aspects of an organization, including instruction in broad skills, cross-training, problem solving and team training. This phase is also heavily dependent on gain sharing, profit sharing and skill-based pay. Its most important aspect from a workflow standpoint is the development of empowerment, another aspect of effective transactional leadership (Fitzgerald, Schutte, 2010).

This is where the highest performing HPWS concentrate their efforts, creating a very high level of personal ownership of knowledge capture, classification, taxonomy definition and knowledge sharing (Wood, de Menezes, 2011). This is also the principle that is the most dependent on successful transformational leadership techniques being used including Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the four aspects of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence (Fitzgerald, Schutte, 2010). These four aspects of transformational leadership power Knowledge Development and serve as one of the most critically important aspects of making HRM governance unify an enterprise over the long-term (McCalman, Buchanan, 1990). All of these elements must be tightly synchronized to ensure that Knowledge Development produces value and helps to also move the HPWS forward to strategic goals and objectives.

The Principle of Performance-Reward Linkage

When studies are undertaken of HPWS frameworks and results from a transactional leadership-based mindset, this principle often gets mentioned as one of the most critically important factors in its success (Varma, Beatty, Schneier, Ulrich, 1999). Instead, this attribute of any successful HPWS strategy must include incentives, gain sharing, profit sharing and skill-based pay to be effective (Preuss, 2003). These four aspects of compensation are the most critical components that are included in this principle of performance-reward linkage.

How enterprises are gaining the highest levels of performance with their HPWS strategies using the aspects of this principle include creating highly effective performance-reward linkages that underscore transformational, not transaction-oriented, leadership strategies (Felfe, & Schyns, 2004). These are the baseline levels of compensation that provide employees involved in any HPWS with the ability to focus on their work and pay attention to the governance standards and requirements instead of worrying about their compensation (Varma, Beatty, Schneier, Ulrich, 1999). The Performance-Reward Linkage is also critically important for creating a more unified workforce. The essence of this principle is that it creates an equitable foundation for incentive development and execution, gain sharing, profit sharing and skill base pay. Each of these areas can be managed either from a transactional or transformational standpoint; that decisions is up to the leadership of a given organization (Birasnav, Rangnekar, Dalpati, 2011). Studies of the highest performing HPWS implementations however show that the aspects of this specific principle are used more for setting the foundation of equitable sharing of achievement, not for short-term motivation for results (Preuss, 2003). Looking at this principle from a best practices standpoint, it's best to use these aspects of performance-reward linkage more for rewarding collaboration, communication and underscoring through financial incentives how critical trust across divisions are (Hartog, Verburg, 2004). Any organization can create a highly transactionally-driven leadership style using financial incentives; that is relatively simple to do. It is far more difficult to keep these aspects of performance-reward linkage in balance and in the context of transformational leadership as well. That is a best practice that separates the many unsuccessful HPWS implementations for the highest-performing ones (Varma, Beatty, Schneier, Ulrich, 1999).

The Principle of Egalitarianism

Of the four principles that comprise effective HPWS design and implementation, this is the most complex and also the most strategic. The elements of this specific principle include all four factors of compensation listed in previous principle-based discussions (Incentives, Gain sharing, Profit Sharing and Skill-based pay), Leadership, Staffing, the communications aspect of technology and workflow support both form a self-managed teams and empowerment perspective (Hartog, Verburg, 2004) (McCalman, Buchanan, 1990). This principle of egalitarianism must pervade the processes, systems and workflows of the entire HPWS for it to succeed. It must also be firmly anchored in the culture of the organization for it to succeed as well (Wood, de Menezes, 2011).

Creating a culture of egalitarianism will also be a very effective catalyst in creating a foundation for transformational leadership as well (Birasnav, Rangnekar, Dalpati, 2011). Many organizations rely on employee satisfaction surveys to measure just how effective their HPWS are on this dimension of performance. This is closely aligned with governance and HRM policies as well. Policies must be seen as equal, fair and oriented more towards achievement and less towards constricting the ability of an enterprise to achieve its objectives (Mittal, 2011). The principle of egalitarianism needs to also be present in the transformational leadership strategies of those defining, leading and continually refining the HPWS as well. When this is the case, the attainment of autonomy, mastery and purpose, the three critical aspects of long-term motivation, are much more easily accomplished over time. Further, egalitarianism is also critically important for keeping the culture of any organization stabilized as it goes through the significant shifts in system, process and workflow performance essential for an HPWS initiative to succeed.


HPWS have the ability to transform organizations by synchronizing workflows, processes, procedures and support technology to HRM practices and governance frameworks, all focused on attaining strategic initiatives. The system design components of an HRM integrate to the strategic initiatives of the enterprise, while also being fueled by transformational leadership (McCalman, Buchanan, 1990). Unifying these many aspects of an organization together, synchronizing them to a common goal only becomes possible when the four foundational principles of HPWS are actively used and perfected on an enterprise by enterprise basis (Varma, Beatty, Schneier, Ulrich, 1999). The intent of this analysis has been to evaluate each of the fundamental principles of HPWS and illustrate through literature review and research how critical a cross-functional, highly collaborative framework so for the successful implementation and ongoing management of this system. The four fundamental principles of shared information, knowledge development, performance-reward linkage and egalitarianism combine to form an agile yet scalable platform for the growth of HPWS strategies globally.


Boxall, P. (2012). High-performance work systems: What, why, how and for whom? Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 50(2), 169.

Birasnav, M., Rangnekar, S., & Dalpati, a. (2011). Transformational leadership and human capital benefits: The role of knowledge management. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 32(2), 106-126.

Jorg Felfe, & Schyns, B. (2004). Is similarity in leadership related to organizational outcomes? The case of transformational leadership. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 10(4), 92-102.

Fitzgerald, S., & Schutte, N.S. (2010). Increasing transformational leadership through enhancing self-efficacy. The Journal of Management Development, 29(5), 495-505.

Den Hartog, D.,N., & Verburg, R.M. (2004). High performance work systems, organisational culture and firm effectiveness. Human Resource Management Journal, 14(1), 55-78.

McCalman, J., & Buchanan, D.A. (1990). High performance work systems: The need for transition management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 10(2), 10-10.

Mittal, R. (2011). High performance work systems: A cross-cultural perspective. Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, 6, 1-10.

Preuss, G.A. (2003). High performance work systems and organizational…[continue]

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