With the rise of Boundaryless Careers, the implementation of Developmental Human Resource Management Practices (D-HRMPs) is particularly important, and relevant empirical research is rare. The newly emerging concept of boundaryless careers focuses on enhancement of employability instead of long-term employment so as to achieve sustainable employment across different industries. The employment motivation has changed from employment relationship maintenance to sustainable enhancement of employability and long-term growth. Would D-HRMPs be applicable in China’s current pattern of human resource market? How do D-HRMPs impact the work performance of employees and to what extent? All such questions in human resource management practices are in urgent need of being answered. To fill this theoretical gap, this paper is to explore the relationship between D-HRMPs and work performance, and seeks to verify the effectiveness of D-HRMPs in the Chinese context.
We propose a theoretical framework based on previous theoretical studies. First, according to the social exchange theory, after receiving signals from HRMPs and sense the support from organizations, employees would be more devoted to work based on the reciprocal principle so as to finish working tasks more efficiently and improve working performance. Therefore, we propose D-HRMPs have a stronger positive effect on work performance. Second, according to the psychological field theory, individual behavior (B) is decided by the interactions between persons (P) and the environment (E). Person-Organization Fit (P-O Fit) is an essential variable to interpret person-environment interactions while field theory provides theoretical support for P-O Fit to interpret the intermediate mechanism of the relationship between D-HRMPs and work performance. This paper therefore propose P-O Fit will mediate the relationship between D-HRMPs and work performance.Third, according to the self-determination theory, the non-internal incentives function based on the internalization and combination of external motivations. The relationship between D-HRMPs and work performance is essentially about the impact of non-internal incentives on individual adaptions after the internalization and combination of external motivations. It is worth studying whether career commitment as a key internal motivation interacts with D-HRMPs and how it affects work performance. This paper proposes the relationship between HRMPs and work performance is in the inverted U shape when the degree of career commitment changes from low to medium and to high, i.e. Career commitment generates non-linear moderate effect on the relationship between D-HRMPs and work performance.
To test our hypotheses, a questionnaire survey was conducted in China, using convenience sampling and a cross-sectional research method. The study sample consisted of employees from organizations of different sizes, ownerships, and industry types. Finally, 320 sets of questionnaires were obtained. Multilevel structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized relationships.This study has several findings. First, D-HRMPs have a direct positive impact on job performance, and also have an indirect effect on job performance through the mediating effect of person-organization fit. Second, career commitment had non-linear moderating effect on the relationship between developmental D-HRMPs and work performance. Specifically, the relationship between human resource management practices and work performance was in the inverted U shape when the degree of career commitment changed from low to medium and to high.
This research has three theoretical implications: First, we explored the impact mechanism of D-HRMPs on work performance, and clarified the boundary condition and the channel, which enriched domestic HRM theories. By considering the features of the new generation workforce in China and based on the latest international findings, this paper seeks to investigate the three dimensions (skill training, performance feedback and career advancement) of D-HRMPs to deeply reveal its impact on work performance. In addition to the direct positive effect on work performance, D-HRMPs also had an indirect effect, which had different directions and strengths. Therefore, our results can make specific guidance value to practice. Second, this paper revealed the mediating effect of P-O Fit in the relationship between organization investment and employee productivity. The intermediate mechanism between organizational actual input and employee output can not ignore the impact of values and objectives fit. This “black box” needs to be further researched. The conclusions verified the mediating effect of P-O Fit perceived by employees on the relationship between D-HRMPs and work performance. At the same time, it further illustrated that HRM was the embodiment of organizational culture at the value level in the management practice at the factual level. The impact of HRM on employees’ performance was reflected by shaping the consistency of values and goals between employees and organizations. Third, this paper thoroughly explained that career commitment was an essential boundary condition in the relationship between organization investment and employee productivity. By justifying the non-linear moderating effect of career commitment, this paper deeply explained that the relationship between employees and organizations was not just about mutual investment, and that more investment does not always generate better results.
The conclusions are of practical significance as well. Firstly, organizations could introduce D-HRMPs to offer more skill training sessions, timely performance feedback and career advancement opportunities in particular, thus improving work performance, developing the sense of ownership and establishing long-term reciprocal relations between organizations and employees. Secondly, the management should focus on the boundary condition of D-HRMPs so as to give full play to the optimal effect of HRM policies. Employees with adequate career commitment are confident with career prospects and willing to learn from models for better work performance. Thirdly, values and goals of employees should be taken into consideration when organizing D-HRMPs by engaging candidates who share similar values and goals to those of organizations, investing in their growth and aligning values and goals of both parties so as to witness positive work performance.
Even so, this research also has several limitations that should be further studied. First, we choose P-O Fit and career commitment as underlying mechanism and boundary condition. More psychological and behavioral variables, such as Person-Occupation Fit and positive feedback seeking behavior, are suggested to be included in future studies for their impact on work performance. Second, we used cross-section data. As the relationship among different variables and their intensity might change along time, we can conduct longitudinal research design in the future research.
Li Genqiang, Meng Yong, Liu Renjing.Influence of developmental human resource management practices on job performance:The effects of person-organization fit and career commitment[J] Science Research Management, 2019,V40(9): 199-210