The influence of human capital of the workforce in the adoption of high-performance work systems: the case of Portugal and Spain
Pedro Ferreira (),
Isabel Neira Gómez () and
Elvira Vieira ()
Additional contact information Isabel Neira Gómez: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
Elvira Vieira: ISAG - Institutuo Superior de Administracao e Gestao
High-performance work systems (HPWS) can be seen as a set of new forms of work organization combined with flexible human resources (HR) practices that enhance organizational performance through employee involvement and empowerment. This stream has been researched in several disciplines such as human resources management, sociology and economics. It is believed that these set of practices, based on involvement, training and incentives, call for a skilled workforce in order to cope with the demands of decentralized and participative work environment where decision making and problem solving are constant. Moreover, the assumed need of a high-skilled workforce is reinforced with several practices related to staff selectivity. Thus, the need for a high-skilled workforce has been accepted without much scrutiny. Recently, some research, namely in the service sector, has challenged this assumption by concluding that there is no special need for a high-skilled workforce in order to successfully implement high-performance work practices. Following this debate, the aim of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the role of human capital on the diffusion and implementation of high-performance work systems. To accomplish this goal, we frame the debate in the human capital and work organization theory and then follow to an analysis of Portugal and Spain, using data from the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).