Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

High-performance Workplace Practices from the Employees’ Perspective

This paper examines the effects of high performance workplace practices on employees’ work attitudes, wage and quality of work. The model is recursive and workplace practices can affect work attitudes both directly and indirectly, by influencing the wage and the job content. The results suggest three distinct ways to elicit motivation: give employees voice either in formal arrangements and/or by promoting suggestions, set up partly autonomous teams and adopt appraisal schemes. Appraisals indirectly impact on motivation by raising the wage, though they strengthen supervision and intensify effort at the expense of safety; on the contrary, voice practices indirectly affect work attitudes by intrinsically enriching the job in terms of autonomy and discretion. Team-working scores mixed results: positive on work attitudes, wage and job quality if the team is autonomous in deciding tasks and time, largely negative if the team self-determines the group membership or is held responsible for the output, impoverishing jobs if no autonomy is allowed and, at best, ineffective on motivation and wages if full autonomy and self-determination is granted. Finally, the adoption of quality standards reduces employees’ motivation although it is associated with better working conditions.

Keywords: Work attitudes, motivation, wages, new workplace practices, working conditions, job satisfaction

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