A Supply - Scarcity and Strategic Decision-Making Angle: High Performance Work Practices in Small Firms

Document Type: Research Paper


College of Business and Economics, Haramaya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia


High performance work practices (HPWPs) are human resource management practices aimed at stimulating employee and organisational performance. The application of HPWPs is not widespread in small organisations. We examine whether the implementation of coherent bundles of HPWPs (aimed at employee ability, employee motivation or at the opportunity to perform) depends on the scarcity of resources, as reflected in the size of the company, and on strategic decision-making in small firms related to the owner’s expertise and attitudes. In our research, a total of 350 employees from 70 small organizations were asked to rate the presence of HPWPs in their organisation. These averaged perceptions were linked to information provided by the owner–managers on the size of their firm and their own expertise and attitudes.
The findings support that smaller but coherent bundles of HPWPs can be found in small organisations and that the implementation of these bundles depends on available resources, strategic decision-making and the combination of the two. These findings highlight the need to integrate the notions of supply scarcity and strategic decision-making to understand the uptake of bundles of HPWPs within small firms.