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High performance HRM: NHS employee perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Health Organization and Management
Issue number3
Volume27
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)296-311
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine National Health Service (NHS) employee perspectives of how high performance human resource (HR) practices contribute to their performance.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on an extensive qualitative study of the NHS. A novel two-part method was used; the first part used focus group data from managers to identify high-performance HR practices specific to the NHS. Employees then conducted a card-sort exercise where they were asked how or whether the practices related to each other and how each practice affected their work.

Findings – In total, 11 high performance HR practices relevant to the NHS were identified. Also identified were four reactions to a range of HR practices, which the authors developed into a typology according to anticipated beneficiaries (personal gain, organisation gain, both gain and no-one gains). Employees were able to form their own patterns (mental models) of performance contribution for a range of HR practices (60 interviewees produced 91 groupings). These groupings indicated three bundles particular to the NHS (professional development, employee contribution and NHS deal).

Practical implications – These mental models indicate employee perceptions about how health services are organised and delivered in the NHS and illustrate the extant mental models of health care workers. As health services are rearranged and financial pressures begin to bite, these mental models will affect employee reactions to changes both positively and negatively.

Originality/value – The novel method allows for identification of mental models that explain how NHS workers understand service delivery. It also delineates the complex and varied relationships between HR practices and individual performance.