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The International Journal of Human ResourceManagement
ISSN: 0958-5192 (Print) 1466-4399 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rijh20
Employee perceptions of HR practices: A criticalreview and future directions
Ying Wang, Sunghoon Kim, Alannah Rafferty & Karin Sanders
To cite this article: Ying Wang, Sunghoon Kim, Alannah Rafferty & Karin Sanders (2020)Employee perceptions of HR practices: A critical review and future directions, The InternationalJournal of Human Resource Management, 31:1, 128-173, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360
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Employee perceptions of HR practices: A criticalreview and future directions
Ying Wanga , Sunghoon Kimb� , Alannah Raffertyc� andKarin Sandersd�†aSchool of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China; bThe University ofSydney Business School, Sydney, Australia; cDepartment of Employment Relations and HumanResources, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; dSchoolof Management, UNSW Business School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
ABSTRACTScholars are directing more attention to employee percep-tions of human resources (HR) practices and have exploredissues such as whether and how employees’ idiosyncratic orcollective perceptions of HR practices shape employee out-comes. To further this area of research, we seek to deter-mine what authors mean when they refer to “employeeperceptions of HR practices”. We review 105 articles fromleading human resource management journals and findthat employee perceptions of HR practices is not a mono-lithic concept. Rather, following previous scholars, we iden-tify three distinct components of employee perceptions ofHR practices: the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’. We critically sum-marize extant literature on these three components ofemployee HR perception and propose future research direc-tions, including enriching the theoretical foundations of HRcommunication, embracing cross-national contexts, andenhancing practical relevance.
KEYWORDSEmployee human resourceperceptions; perceivedhuman resource strength;human resource attributions
Over the last decade, the strategic human resource management field haspaid increasing attention to employee perceptions of human resource (HR)practices (Beijer, Peccie, Van Veldhoven, & Paauwe, in press; Hewett,Shantz, Mundy, & Alfes, 2018; Ostroff & Bowen, 2016; Sanders, Shipton, &Gomes, 2014). Human resource management (HRM) scholars largely agreethat employee perceptions of HR practices play a key role in influencing theeffectiveness of these practices (e.g. Den Hartog, Boon, Verburg, & Croon,2013; Jensen, Patel, & Messersmith, 2013; Jiang, Hu, Liu, & Lepak, 2017). Atthe individual level, employee perceptions of HR practices have been shown
CONTACT Sunghoon Kim sunghoon.kim@sydney.edu.au Work and Organisational Studies, TheUniversity of Sydney Business School, Abercrombie Building, Darlington, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia�Sunghoon Kim, Alannah Rafferty and Karin Sanders contributed equally to this paper.†Karin Sanders was working on this paper during an appointment as a Visiting Professor at the AstonBusiness School (Work & Organisational Psychology), Aston University, Birmingham, UK.� 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT2020, VOL. 31, NO. 1, 128–173https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674360

to mediate and moderate relationships between an organization’s HR practi-ces and employees’ attitudes and behaviors (e.g. Aryee, Walumbwa, Seidu,& Otaye, 2012; Liao, Toya, Lepak, & Hong, 2009). At the organizationallevel, employee perceptions of HR practices have been identified as antece-dents of unit-level performance (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004).The rapidly expanding literature in this field has led to growing diversity
in the way scholars conceptualize and operationalize employee HR percep-tions. For example, the phrase “employee HR perceptions” has been usedwhen discussing the perceived existence of certain HR practices within anorganization as well as when discussing employees’ understanding ofemployers’ intentions behind HR practices. In this review, we aim toenhance clarity regarding the different approaches taken when researchersuse the phrase “employee HR perceptions”. We build on Ostroff and Bowen’s(2016) work and identify three approaches that have been adopted whenconsidering employee HR perceptions: the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ of HRpractices. The ‘what’ of an HR practices approach considers the content ofHR practices through which an employer delivers messages to employees.The ‘how’ of an HR practices approach recognizes the possibility that thesame HR content may lead to divergent outcomes depending on how suchpractices are framed and received by employees. The ‘why’ of an HR practi-ces approach looks at the potential discrepancies in the way employees judgethe motivations that lie behind their organization’s introduction of HR prac-tices. We critically summarize existing research in the HR perception litera-ture and adopt this three-fold lens to organize research in the area and tooffer directions for future research.Our study contributes to the HR perceptions field in two ways. First, we
clarify the “employee perceptions of HR practices” construct and reviewresearch progress on the three different components (the ‘what’, ‘why’ and‘how’) that have been subsumed under this umbrella construct. We critic-ally summarize extant literature on the three components of employee HRperceptions and propose future research directions. Our review indicatesthat different components of employee HR perceptions address differentaspects of the HR process, and rely on different theoretical assumptionsand methodological approaches. Our review reveals that we lack knowledgeabout how the three different components of HR perceptions complementeach other. In this review, we take stock on the different research streamsin the field of employee perceptions of HR practices. Our review identifiesthe merits, limitations, and hidden assumptions of each research stream.We seek to help scholars develop integrative research across different com-ponents of employee HR perceptions.Second, we extend prior reviews in this domain, presenting new
insights. In relation to the ‘what’ component of employee perceptions of
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 129

HR practices, we build on work by Beijer et al. (in press), who providean insightful review on perceptual measures of HR practices. We extendBeijer et al.’s work by offering additional perspectives on how employeeperceptions of HR are conceptualized and operationalized in the litera-ture. Hewett et al. (2018) offered a summary of HR perception researchthrough the lens of attribution theory. We build on this research byexpanding the theoretical domain related to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ compo-nent of HR perception research. Specifically, we identify several theoret-ical approaches that we suggest would enrich this area. Our review alsobuilds on, but goes beyond, Ostroff and Bowen’s (2016) work in the HRstrength research stream (the ‘how’ of employee perceptions). Finally,Farndale and Sanders (2017) discuss the connection between nationalcultures and HR strength. We build on their insights and consider theimplication of cultural influences on the dynamics of employees’ HR per-ceptions. Below, we explain the methodology adopted in this review. Wethen investigate the difference between the assumptions, concepts, andmeasures of the three components of employee HR perceptions. Next,we critically review the empirical findings on the perceived ‘what’, ‘how’,and ‘why’ of HR practices, and offer insights into how research in theseareas of inquiry should advance.
Methods
In identifying relevant articles, we used various keywords on employeeperceptions of HR practices, including “HR(M) process,” “HR(M)strength,” “HR(M) attribution,” “HR(M) perception,” “HR(M) rating,”“HR(M) experience,” and “employee perceived HR(M)”. We focus onresearch published after 2004, when Bowen and Ostroff’s (2004) land-mark paper on employee HR perception appeared. However, we alsoconsidered earlier seminal books and articles that underpin this litera-ture. As our attention is on employee perceptions of HR practices, weexclude studies on managers’ perceptions of HR (Leung, Foo, &Chaturvedi, 2013; Wright, McMahan, Snell, & Gerhart, 2001). We focuson HR systems and practices as the target of employee’s perceptions.Therefore, we exclude studies with a perceptual target other than HRpractices such as the HR department (e.g. Buyens & De Vos, 2001;Stirpe, Trullen, & Bonache, 2013). Our review focuses on articlesappeared in high quality journals, indicated by A� and A rankings in theAustralian Business Deans Council (ABDC) journal list. We identified105 articles to be reviewed (see Table 1) and we grouped them into threecategories: the what (HR content), the how (HR strength), and the why(HR attribution) of employee perceptions of HR. The majority (75 out of
130 Y. WANG ET AL.

Table1.
Review
ofem
pirical
stud
ieson
employee
HRperceptio
n.
Stud
yCo
nceptualizationof
Employee
Perceptio
nsof
HRPractices
Independ
entVariables
Dependent
Variables
Mod
erators
Mediators
Context
DataAn
alysis
PerceivedHRCo
nten
tEdgarandGeare
(2005)
PR
Employee
self-repo
rtsabou
tHRM
practice(20-item
developedfrom
stud
iesinclud
ingGuest,1
999;
John
son,
2000)
Employee
perceived
HRM
practice
Organizational
commitm
ent,job
satisfaction,
andfairn
ess
Organizations
inNew
Zealand
Multip
leregression
Brow
ning
(2006)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRM
practices
(seven
catego
ries)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRM
practices
Employee
perceptio
nsof
servicebehavior
Organizational
commitm
ent
SouthAfrican
service
organizatio
nsMultip
leregression
Macky
andBo
xall
(2007)
IJHRM
Employee
scores
onan
high
performance
worksystem
(HPW
S)index(16item
developedfrom
stud
iesinclud
ing
Becker
&Huselid,1
998)
Employee
perceivedHPW
SCo
mmitm
ent
Trustin
managem
entand
jobsatisfaction
New
Zealand
employees
Multivariate
analysisof
variance
(MAN
COVA
)
Takeuchi,Lepak,
Wang,
and
Takeuchi
(2007)
JAP
Employee
ratin
gsof
HPW
S(21-item
adaptedfrom
Lepak&Snell,2002)
high
performance
work
system
(HPW
S)Relativeestablishm
ent
performance
Collectivehu
man
capital
anddegree
ofestablishm
ent
social
exchange
Companies
inJapan
Hierarchical
linearregression
Kuvaas
(2008)
JMS
Employee
perceptio
nsof
developm
ental
HRpractices
(21-item
developedfrom
Meyer
&Sm
ith,2
009)
Employee
perceived
developm
ental
HRpractices
Turnover
intentionand
workperformance
Employee-organization
relatio
nship
(perceived
organizatio
nal
supp
ort,affective
commitm
ent,
andjustice)
Norwegiansaving
sbanks
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Macky
andBo
xall
(2008)
APJHR
Employee
experienceof
high
-involvem
entworkprocesses(41-item
developedfrom
Knight-Turvey,2004;
Vand
enberg,R
ichardson,
&Eastman,1
999)
Employee
perceived
high
-involvem
ent
workprocess
Jobsatisfaction,
stress
and
fatig
ue,and
work-
lifebalance
Organizations
inNew
Zealand
Multivariate
analysis
ofcovariance
Conw
ayandMon
ks(2009)
HRM
J
Employee
perspectives
onhigh
commitm
ent-HRM
(HC-HRM
;52-item
developedfrom
Boselie,D
ietz,&
Boon
,2005)
Employee
perceived
HC-HRM
Commitm
entandintention
toleave
Financialservices
firmsin
Ireland
Hierarchical
linearmod
elling
Gellatly,H
unter,Cu
rrie,
andIrving(2009)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
developm
ent,
stability
andreward-oriented
HR
practices
(9-item
from
Porter,P
earce,
Tripoli,&Lewis,1
998)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
developm
ent,stability
andreward-oriented
HRpractices
Themem
bershipin
the
four
profileswhere
affectiveand
continuance
commitm
entishigh
vslow
Organizations
inCanada
Multin
omial
logitanalysis
Herrbachet
al.(2009)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
that
arerelevant
toretainingolder
workers
inem
ployment(14-item)
Employee
perceived
training
oppo
rtun
ities,
availabilityof
new
roles,
flexibleworking
cond
ition
s,and
Early
retirem
ent
Affectivecommitm
ent,
high
-sacrifice
commitm
ent,andlack
ofalternatives
commitm
ent
French
privatefirms
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
(continued)
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 131

Table1.
Continued.
Stud
yCo
nceptualizationof
Employee
Perceptio
nsof
HRPractices
Independ
entVariables
Dependent
Variables
Mod
erators
Mediators
Context
DataAn
alysis
encouragem
entto
retireearly
Kas�e,P
aauw
e,and
Zupan(2009)
HRM
Experienced
HRpractices
(47-item)
Mutuale
xperienced
HR
practices
(workdesign
,incentives,and
training
)
Know
ledg
esourcing
andsharing
Structural,affe
ctive,and
cogn
itive
relatio
nsorganizatio
nsin
Slovenia
Regression
analysis
(Multip
leRegression
Quadratic
Assign
ment
Procedure)
Liao
etal.(2009)
JAP
Employee
perspectives
ofHPW
S(44-item
developedfrom
Delery&Doty,1996;
Schn
eider,White,&
Paul,1
998;
Zacharatos,B
arling,
&Iverson,
2005)
Manager
perceived
HPW
SEm
ployee
individu
alservice
performance
and
custom
ersatisfaction
Employee
perceivedHPW
S,em
ployee
human
capital,em
ployee
psycho
logical
empo
werment,and
employee
perceived
organizatio
nalsup
port
Japanese
natio
nalb
ank
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Kooij,Jansen,D
ikkers,
andDeLang
e(2010)
JOB
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
Employee
perceptio
nsof
developm
entand
maintenance
HRpractices
Affectivecommitm
entand
jobsatisfaction
Age
Articlesfrom
databases
ofPsychinfo
andAb
iInform
Meta-analysis
Shih,C
hiang,
andHsu
(2010)
IJHRM
Employee
perceivedhigh
involvem
ent
worksystem
(HIW
S26-item
from
Bae,
Chen,W
an,Law
ler,&Walum
bwa,
2003;C
hen,
Lawler,&Bae,2005)
PerceivedHIW
SJobsatisfaction,
job
performance
Perceivedwork-
family
conflict
Multin
ationalcom
panies
inTaiwan
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Veld,P
aauw
e,and
Boselie
(2010)
HRM
J
Employee
HRM
perceptio
n(14-item
from
Boon
,Den
Hartog,
Boselie,and
Paauwe(2011)
forautono
myand
performance
managem
ent,2-item
from
vanVeldho
venandMeijman
(1994),2
-item
from
Riordan,
Vand
enberg,and
Richardson
(2005)
forcommun
ication,
and5-item
from
Colquitt(2001)
for
inform
ingbehavior)
Employee
HRM
perceptio
nWardcommitm
ent
Climateforqu
ality
and
climateforsafety
Wards
and
outpatient
clinics
Multip
leRegression
Boon
etal.(2011)
IJHRM
Employee
experienced
HPW
S(38-item
developedfrom
stud
iesinclud
ing
Cable&Edwards,2
004;
Guest
&Co
nway,2
002;
Ryan
&Schm
it,1996)
Employee
perceived
HPW
SOrganizational
commitm
ent,intention
toshow
Organizational
citizenship
behavior
(OCB
),jobsatisfaction,
andintentionto
leave
Person
-organization(P-O)
fitandperson
-job
(P-J)fit
Retailandhealth
care
companies
inthe
Netherland
s
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Chen,Z
hang
,and
Fey
(2011)
IJHRM
Agent-focusedcollabo
rative
HRpractices
(9-item
)Ag
ent-focusedcollabo
rative
HRpractices
and
streng
thof
ties
Salesperformance
External
networksize
andrang
eInsuranceagents
inalife
insurancecompany
inCh
ina
Regression
analysis
Elorza
etal.(2011)
IJHRM
Employee
ratedthepresence
ofAM
OenhancingHRpractices
(22-item
Manager
perceivedAM
OenhancingHRpractices
Employee
perceivedAM
OenhancingHRpractices
Spanish
manufacturin
gplants
Multilevel
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
132 Y. WANG ET AL.

Affectivecommitm
ent,
prod
uctivity,and
absenteeism
Farndale,H
ope-Hailey,
andKelliher(2011)
PR
Employee
perceptio
nsof
high
commitm
entperformance
managem
entpractices
(6-item
)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
high
commitm
ent
performance
managem
entpractices
commitm
ent
Trustin
employer
Distributive,procedural,
andinteractionaljustice
Four
organizatio
nsin
the
UnitedKing
dom
(UK)
Multip
leRegression
Aryeeet
al.(2012)
JAP
Employee
experienced
HPW
S(44-item
from
Liao
etal.,2009)
Use
ofHPW
SServiceperformance
and
branch
market
performance
Serviceorientation
Experienced
HPW
S,em
powermentclimate,
andpsycho
logical
empo
werment
Banksin
Ghana
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Alfes,Shantz,etal.
(2013)
IJHRM
Employee
perceivedHPW
S(9-item
developedfrom
Gou
ld-W
illiams&
Davies,2005)
Employee
perceivedHPW
SOCB
andturnover
intention
Perceived
organizatio
nal
supp
ortand
leader-m
ember
exchange
Employee
engagement
UKservice-sector
organizatio
nsHierarchical
linearmod
eling
Alfes,Truss,Soane,
Rees,and
Gatenby
(2013)
HRM
Employee
perceivedHRpractices
(9-item
developedfrom
Gou
ld-W
illiams&
Davies,2005)
Employee
perceivedHR
practices;p
erceived
line
manager
behavior
Task
performance
and
inno
vative
workbehaviou
r
Employee
engagement
UKservice-sector
organizatio
nsStructural
equatio
nmod
eling
Anget
al.(2013)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
S(30-item
developedfrom
Edgar&Geare,2
005;
vanVeldho
ven&Meijman,1
994;
Zacharatos
etal.,2005)
Manager
perceivedHPW
SAffectivecommitm
ent,
intentionto
leave,
engagement,andjob
satisfaction
Employee
perceivedHPW
SAu
stralianho
spital
Multip
lelinearRegression
Baluch,Salge,and
Piening(2013)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRsystem
s(12-
item
intheNHSNational
StaffSurvey)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRsystem
sPatient
satisfaction
Employee
civilitytowards
patients;jobefficacy,
andintentionto
leave
Englishpu
blic
hospitalservices
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Den
Hartoget
al.
(2013)
JOM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
S(10-item)Manager
perceivedHPW
SSatisfactionandperceived
unitperformance
Commun
ication
Employee
perceivedHPW
SRestaurant
chainin
the
Netherland
sMultilevel
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Jensen
etal.(2013)
JOM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
S(15-items
developedfrom
Gou
ld-W
illiams&
Davies,2005;Truss,1
999)
Manager
PerceivedHPW
STurnover
Intention
Jobcontrol
Employee
perceivedHPW
S;An
xiety;Role
overload
UKgo
vernment
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Keho
eandWrig
ht(2013)
JOM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
S(15-item
developedfrom
Combs,Liu,H
all,&
Ketchen,
2006;H
uselid,1
995;
Sun,
Aryee,
&Law;2
007;
Way,2
002)
Employee
perceived
HPW
SOCB
,absenteeism
,and
intentionto
remain
Organizationalcom
mitm
entFood
serviceorganisatio
nHierarchical
linearmod
eling
Piening,
Baluch,and
Salge(2013)
JAP
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRsystem
(18-item)
a.Ch
angesin
employee
ratedHRsystem
;b.
Changesin
financial
performance;c.
Changesin
custom
ersatisfaction
a.Ch
angesin
custom
ersatisfactionand
changesin
financial
performance;
b.Ch
angesin
job
satisfaction;
c.changes
inem
ployee
perceived
HRsystem
a.Ch
angesin
job
satisfaction;
b.Ch
anges
inem
ployee
perceived
HRsystem
;c.chang
esin
jobsatisfaction
Englishpu
blic
hospitalservices
Generalmetho
dof
mom
ents
(GMM)estim
ator
(continued)
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 133

Table1.
Continued.
Stud
yCo
nceptualizationof
Employee
Perceptio
nsof
HRPractices
Independ
entVariables
Dependent
Variables
Mod
erators
Mediators
Context
DataAn
alysis
Takeuchi
andTakeuchi
(2013)
IJHRM
Employee
perceivedHRM
practices
(11-item)
Employee
perceived
HRM
practices
Turnover
intention,
affectivecommitm
ent,
continuant
commitm
ent,job
involvem
entandjob
quality
improvem
ents
P-Ofit,P
-Jfit
Health
care
organizatio
nsin
Japan
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Wrig
ht&Nishii(2013)
Chap
ter
Employee
perceivedHRpractices
Conceptualpaper
Yamam
oto(2013)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRM
basedon
thecommitm
entmod
el(23-item
developedfrom
stud
iesinclud
ing
Arthur,1
994;
Huselid,1
995;
Pfeffer,1998)
Employee
perceivedHRM
basedon
the
commitm
entmod
el
Retention
Inter-organizatio
nal
career
self-efficacy
andspecialty
commitm
ent
Private-sector
companies
Multip
leregression
Boon
andKalsho
ven
(2014)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HC-HRM
(22
item
from
Lepak&Snell,2002)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HC-HRM
Organizationalcom
mitm
entTask
proficiency
Workengagement
Companies
inthe
Netherland
s,Germany,Au
stria,
Greece,Sw
itzerland
,theUK,
andthe
UnitedStates
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
EdgarandGeare
(2014)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HC-HRM
(18-
item
developedfrom
Pfeffer,1994,
1998;W
ood&Albanese,1
995)
Employee
perceived
HC-HRM
Departm
enttask
performance
Jobsatisfaction,
affective
commitm
ent,andOCB
New
Zealandtertiary
institu
tions
Multip
lelinearRegression
Katouet
al.(2014)
HRM
PerceivedHRpractices
(16-item,from
Kinn
ie,H
utchinson,
Purcell,Rayton
,&Sw
art,2005
Employee
perceived
HRpractices
Organizationalp
erform
ance
Manager
perceived
features
ofHRpractices
Employee
reactio
ns(e.g.,
motivation,
commitm
ent,
engagement,OCB
)
Greek
organizatio
nsStructural
equatio
nmod
eling
KniesandLeisink
(2014)
HRM
J
Employee
peop
lemanagem
entactivities
(7-item
regardingsupp
ortive
HRpractices)
Employee
peop
lemanagem
entactivities
Extra-role
behaviou
rAu
tono
my,ability,
andcommitm
ent
Coop
erative
insurancecompany
Regression
(takeinto
accoun
tno
n-independ
ence
ofob
servations)
Peters,P
outsma,van
derHeijden,
Bakker,and
deBruijn
(2014)
HRM
Employee
experienced
new
waysto
work
(e.g.,telework)
Implem
ented
empo
wermentand
employee
perceived
new
waysto
work
Work-relatedflow
Publicandprivate
organizatio
nsin
the
netherland
s
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Shen
andLegg
ett
(2014)
PR
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRM
practices
(15-item
adaptedfrom
Sunet
al.,
2007
and5-item
regarding
recruitm
entandslectio
n)
Perceptio
nsof
HRM
practices
Perceived
organizatio
naljustice
Hukou
status
Companies
inCh
ina
One-way
between
grou
psMAN
OVA
Verm
eeren(2014)
IJHRM
Employee
perceivedHRM
(39-item
adaptedfrom
Appelbaum,B
ailey,
Berg,&
Kalleberg,2
000;
Boon
,2008;
Ahmad
&Schroeder,2003;G
ould-
Line
manager
transformational
leadership
Perceivedun
itperformance
Line
manager
implem
ented
andem
ployee
perceivedHRM
ADutch
mun
icipality
Hirerarchical
linearmod
eling
134 Y. WANG ET AL.

Williams,2003;H
uselid,1
995;
Wrig
ht,
Gardn
er,M
oynihan,
&Allen,
2005)
Yanado
riandVan
Jaarsveld(2014)
IR
Employee
repo
rtsof
HPW
S(10-item
developedfrom
Moh
r&Zogh
i,2008;
Zatzick&Iverson,
2006)
Form
alHPW
S,inform
alHPW
S,and
unused
HPW
S
Jobsatisfactionand
workplace
profitability
StatisticsCanada
workplace
and
employee
survey
Ordinal
logisticregression
Foss
etal.(2015)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
rewards
for
know
ledg
esharingdevelopedfrom
Cabrera,Co
llins,and
Salgado(2006);
MaurerandTarulli(1994)
(7-item
)
Rewards
forknow
ledg
esharing
Autono
mou
smotivation
toshareknow
ledg
eAu
tono
my-prom
oting
jobdesign
and
know
ledg
esharing
supp
ortiveclimate
Know
ledg
e-intensive
firmsin
Denmark
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Maden
(2015)
PREm
ployee
perceivedhigh
-involvem
entHR
practices
(10-item
from
Yang
,2012)
Employee
perceivedhigh
-involvem
ent
HRpractices
Individu
alinno
vatio
nand
feedback
inqu
iryWorkengagementand
learning
-goal
orientation
Organizations
inTurkey
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Wehner,Glardini,and
Kabst(2015)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
recruitm
ent
processou
tsou
rcing(noou
tsou
rcing,
outsou
rcingof
preselectio
n,ou
tsou
rcingof
preselectio
nand
teleph
oneinterview,and
complete
outsou
rcing)
Extent
ofrecruitm
ent
processou
tsou
rcing
Jobacceptance
intention
Serviceprovider
image
andem
ployer
image
Employer
attractiveness
andsatisfactionwith
therecruitm
entprocess
Gradu
atestud
ents
inBu
siness
Administration
andEcon
omics
Scenario-based,
between-subject
experim
entstud
y
Andreeva
and
Sergeeva
(2016)
HRM
J
Teacherperceivedmotivation(3-item
from
Kianto,A
ndreeva,&Shi,2011;
3-item
from
Foss,M
inbaeva,
Pedersen,&
Reinho
lt,2009),ability
(3-
item
developedbasedon
stud
ies
includ
ingJia
ng,Lepak,H
u,&Baer,
2012),andop
portun
ity(7-item
from
Wu,
Hsu,&
Yeh,
2007)-enhancing
HRpractices
Ability
andmotivation-
enhancingHRpractices
Know
ledg
e-sharing
behavior
Opp
ortunity-enh
ancing
HRpractices
Ability,intrin
sicand
extrinsicmotivationto
shareknow
ledg
e
Scho
olsfrom
aRu
ssianun
iversity
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Castanheira
andStory
(2016)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
performance-
oriented
HRpractices
(14-item
developedfrom
Lepak&Snell,2002;
Takeuchi
etal.,2007)
Employee
perceived
performance-oriented
HRpractices
Affectivecommitm
ent
savorin
gstrategies
Workengagement
Alargeretailstore
Path
analysis
Conw
ayet
al.(2016)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
performance
managem
ent(3-item
developedfrom
Keho
e&Wrig
ht,2
013;
Lepak&Snell,
2002);em
ployee
voice(4-item
)
Employee
perceived
performance
managem
entand
employee
voice
Emotionale
xhaustion
andengagement
Employee
voice
Apu
blic-sector
organizatio
nin
Ireland
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Elorza
etal.(2016)
PREm
ployee
perceivedHPW
S(16-item
developedfrom
Delery&Doty,1996;
Vand
enberg
etal.,1999)
Manager
perceivedHPW
SDiscretionary
behaviou
rEm
ployee
perceivedHPW
SManufacturin
gcompanies
inSpain
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Frenkela
ndBedn
all
(2016)
HP
Employee
perceptio
nsof
training
oppo
rtun
ity(3-item
developedfrom
Wayne,Sho
re,&
Liden,
1997)and
prom
otionop
portun
ity(2-item
developedfrom
Spector,1985)
Employee
perceived
Training
andprom
otion
oppo
rtun
ities
Discretionary
workeffort
Interactionaljustice
Procedural
justice,career
expectation,
andfelt
obligationto
workun
it
Clerical
and
administrative
employeesat
branch
levelinalargebank
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Kilro
y,Flood,
Bosak,
andCh
ênevert
(2016)
HRM
J
Employee
perceptio
nsof
high
involvem
entworkpractices:
autono
my(3-item
,Spreitzer,1
995),
inform
ationsharing(3-item
,Law
ler,
Moh
rman,&
Ledford,
1995),no
n-
Employee
perceivedhigh
involvem
ent
workpractices
Emotionale
xhaustion
anddeperson
alization
Role
conflict,role
overload,
androle
ambigu
ityACanadian
generalh
ospital
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
(continued)
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 135

Table1.
Continued.
Stud
yCo
nceptualizationof
Employee
Perceptio
nsof
HRPractices
Independ
entVariables
Dependent
Variables
Mod
erators
Mediators
Context
DataAn
alysis
mon
etaryrecogn
ition
(3-item
,Trem
blay,C
loutier,Simard,
Chênevert,
&Vand
enberghe,2
010),and
training
anddevelopm
ent(6-item
,Tremblay
etal.,2010)
Ma,Silva,Callan,
and
Trigo(2016)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
(10-item
developedfrom
Schu
ster,1
982)
Employee
perceived
commitm
entand
controlH
Rpractices
Turnover
intentionandjob
satisfaction
Multin
ationalfirm
sand
domestic
firms
inCh
ina
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Mon
kset
al.(2016)
HRM
JEm
ployee
perceptio
nsof
training
and
developm
ent,performance
managem
ent,participation,
job
rotatio
nandmentorin
g(8-item
)
Employee
perceived
learning
-enh
ancing
employmentpractices
andtask
interdependent
workpractices
Know
ledg
eexchange
and
combinatio
nReflexivity
Know
ledg
eworkers
inPh
armaceutical
and
Inform
ationand
commun
ications
techno
logy
sectorsin
Ireland
andtheUK
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
SolbergandDysvik
(2016)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRinvestment
(7-item
developedfrom
Kuvaas
&Dysvik,2009;Lee
&Bruvold,
2003)
Employee
perceived
investmentin
employee
developm
ent
Internalem
ployability
orientation
andactivities
Perceivedsocialand
econ
omicexchange
relatio
nship
TheNorwegiandivision
ofamultin
ational
techno
logy
service
andmanagem
ent
consultin
gfirm
Path
analysis
Agarwal
andFarndale
(2017)
HRM
J
Employee
perceivedHPW
S(21item,
Takeuchi
etal.,2007)
Employee
perceived
HPW
SCreativity
implem
entatio
nPsycho
logicalcapitaland
psycho
logicalsafety
Aph
armaceutical
firm
Path
analysis
Andreeva,V
anhala,
Sergeeva,R
itala,
andKianto
(2017)
HRM
J
Employee
perceptio
nsof
appraisalo
fknow
ledg
ebehaviou
rs(3-item
)and
rewards
forknow
ledg
ebehaviou
rs(3-item
)
Employee
perceived
rewards
and
performance
appraisal
ofknow
ledg
ebehaviou
rs
Radicaland
increm
ental
inno
vatio
nou
tcom
esFinish
companies
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Anget
al.(2017)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
recruitm
ent(6-
item,Z
acharatoset
al.,2005),training
anddevelopm
ent(6-item
,Zacharatos
etal.,2005),andhealth
andsafety
climate(8-item
,Edg
ar&Geare,2
005)
Leader
HRpractices
Mem
berhealth
&wellbeing
andmem
ber
intentionto
leave
Mem
berHRpractices,
Mem
bersocial
conn
ectedn
ess,and
leader-
mem
berexchange
AustralianMensSheds
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Dum
ont,Shen,and
Deng(2017)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
that
enhancepo
sitiveenvironm
ent
outcom
es(6-item
)
Employee
perceived
greenHRM
Extra-role
andin-role
greenbehaviou
rIndividu
algreenvalues
Psycho
logicalg
reen
climateACh
inesesubsidiary
ofan
Australian
multin
ational
enterprise
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Jiang
etal.(2017)
HRM
Employee
perceivedHRpractices
(13-
item
developedfrom
previous
research,e
.g.,Ch
uang
&Liao,2
010;
Lepak&Snell,2002)
Manager
andCo
-worker
HRperceptio
nsEm
ployee
HRperceptio
nsDissimilarityto
manager
and
co-workers
Chineseinsurance
company
and
governmentala
gency
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Kilro
yet
al.(2017)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
high
involvem
entworkpractices:
Emotionale
xhaustionand
deperson
alization
P-Ofit
ACanadian
generalh
ospital
Structural
equatio
nmod
elling
136 Y. WANG ET AL.

autono
my(3-item
,Spreitzer,1
995),
inform
ationsharing(6-item
,Law
ler
etal.,1995),no
n-mon
etary
recogn
ition
(3-item
,Tremblay
etal.,
2010),andtraining
anddevelopm
ent
(3-item
,Tremblay
etal.,2010)
Employee
perceived
high
involvem
ent
workpractices
Liet
al.(2017)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
rewardfor
creativity
(3-item
developedfrom
Baer,O
ldham,&
Cummings,2
003)
Employee
perceived
rewardforcreativity
Creativeperformance
Challeng
eandthreat
appraisal
Creativity-related
intrinsic
motivation
Aconstructio
ngrou
pin
China
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
LiandFrenkel(2017)
IJHRM
Employee
HPW
S(17-item
developed
from
Sunet
al.,2007)
Supervisor
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
Workengagement
Supervisor-sub
ordinate
hukou
status
similarity
Leader-m
emberexchange
andem
ployee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
Aprivate-ow
nedho
tel
inCh
ina
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Liuet
al.(2017)
AMJ
Employee
perceivedperformance-
oriented
HRpractices
(36-item)and
maintenance-oriented
HRpractices
(12-item)developedfrom
Gon
g,Huang
,and
Farh
(2009)
Employee
perceived
performance-oriented
HRpractices
Creativity
and
firm
inno
vatio
nFirm
ownershipand
employee
perceived
maintenance-
oriented
HRpractices
Dom
ain-relevant
skills
Metallurgical
firms
inCh
ina
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Scho
pman,K
alshoven,
andBo
on(2017)
IJHRM
Employee
perceivedHC-HRM
(22items
developedfrom
Lepak&Snell,2002)
Employee
perceived
HC-HRM
Motivationto
continue
towork
Transformationalleadership
andintrinsicmotivation
Dutch
health
care
organizatio
nsPath
analysis
Veld
andAlfes(2017)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRsystem
(10-
item
developedfrom
Kroon,
vande
Voorde,&
vanVeldho
ven,
2009)
Employee
perceived
HRsystem
Wardcommitm
entand
need
forrecovery
Climateforwell-b
eing
and
climateforefficiency
ALong
-Term
Care
organizatio
nin
the
Netherland
s
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Bos-Nehlesand
Meijerin
k(2018)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
thepresence
ofHRM
practices
(31-item
from
Liao
etal.,2009;Takeuchie
tal.,2007)
Line
manager
perceptio
nsof
organizatio
nalH
RMsupp
ort&capacity
and
employee
perceptio
nsof
LMX
Affectivecommitm
ent
Line
manager
motivation
toimplem
entHR
practices
andem
ployee
perceptio
nsof
the
presence
ofHRM
practices
Engineeringfirmsin
the
Netherland
sHierarchical
linearmod
eling
Dello
Russo,
Mascia,
andMorandi
(2018)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
(6-item
)Em
ployee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
Individu
alperceptio
nsof
proactivity
climate,
organizatio
nalclim
ate
forproactivity,and
approp
riateness
ofcare
HRM
streng
th(departm
entlevel)
Italian hospitalcom
panies
Hierarchical
linearmod
elling
Fletcher
etal.(2018)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
training
and
developm
ent(3-item
developedfrom
Robinson
,Hooker,&Hayday,2007)
Employee
perceived
training
and
developm
ent
Intentionto
stay
Employee
engagement,job
satisfaction,
emotional
exhaustio
n,and
change-related
anxiety
Companies
intheUK
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Gkorezis,Georgiou,
andTheodo
rou
(2018)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
S(11-item
from
Takeuchi
etal.,2007;C
hang
&Ch
en,2
011)
Employee
perceivedHPW
SIntentionto
leave
HR-related
education
backgrou
nd
Organizationalcynicism
Privateho
spitals
inCyprus
Regression
analysis
Kooija
ndBo
on(2018)
HRM
JEm
ployee
perceptio
nsof
high
-performance
workpractices
(14-item)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
high
-perform
ance
workpractices
Affectivecommitm
ent
over
time
Career
stage
P-Ofit
over
time
ADutch
university
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
(continued)
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 137

Table1.
Continued.
Stud
yCo
nceptualizationof
Employee
Perceptio
nsof
HRPractices
Independ
entVariables
Dependent
Variables
Mod
erators
Mediators
Context
DataAn
alysis
Li,W
ang,
Van
Jaarsveld,
Lee,and
Ma(2018)
AMJ
Employee
experienced
high
-involvem
ent
worksystem
(HIW
S;itemsfrom
the
employee
survey
collected
byStatisticsCanada)
Employee
experienced
HIW
SInno
vatio
nTheho
mog
eneity
ofHIW
Sexperiences,
thestrategic
impo
rtance
ofinno
vatio
n,andthe
churnin
human
resources
Workplacesin
Canada
Ordered
prob
itregression
s
M€ akel€ aandKinn
unen
(2018)
IJHRM
Supp
ortiveHRpractices
developedfrom
earlier
literature(e.g.,Ivancevich,
Kono
paske,&DeFrank,2
003;
Jensen,
2014;W
elch
&Worm,2
006)
(5-item
)
Employee
perceived
supp
ortiveHRpractices
Jobexhaustio
n,vigo
rand
satisfactionwith
travel
forwork
Workload&pressure,
andrisks
oftravel
destination
Multin
ationalcom
panies
andFinn
ishtrade
unionmem
bers
Structural
equatio
nmod
elling
Makhechaet
al.(2018)
IJHRM
Experienced
HRpractices
(con
tent,
process,&intent)
Intend
edHRpractices
Employee
experienced
HRpractices
e.g.,low
commun
ication&
low
comprehension
ability
ActualHRpractices
Retailsector
inIndia
Case
stud
y
Yousaf
etal.(2018)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HC-HRM
(17-item
developedfrom
Sand
ers,
Dorenbo
sch,
etal.,2008)
Employee
perceivedhigh
commitm
entHRM
Organizationala
ndoccupatio
nal
turnover
intention
Affective
occupatio
ncommitm
ent
Affective
organizatio
nal
commitm
ent
Indo
nesiarestaurants
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
BayazitandBayazit
(2019)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
availabilityof
flexibleworkarrang
ements
(4-item
developedfrom
Allen,
2001)
Employee
perceived
availabilityof
flexible
workarrang
ement
Perceivedgeneralh
ealth
Perceivedfamily-
supp
ortivecultu
reFlexibility
I-deals,w
ork-to-
family
conflict,family-
to-workconflict
Firm
sin
Turkey
Path
analysis
Bos-Nehlesand
Veenendaal( 2019)
IJHRM
Employee
perceivedHRpractices
(14-
item
from
Boselie,H
esselink,Paauwe,
&vanderWiele,2
001)
Employee
perceived
training
&developm
ent,
compensation,
inform
ationsharing,
andsupp
ortive
supervision
Inno
vativeworkbehavior
Inno
vativeclimate
Manufacturin
gcompanies
inthe
Netherland
s
Regression
analysis
Choi
(2019)
APJHR
Theextent
towhich
employeesagreed
ordisagreedthat
each
practicewas
used
bytheirperson
alexperience
andun
derstand
ingof
HRpractices
(8-item
)
HRsystem
sFirm
performance
andjob
satisfaction
Employee
perceived
HRsystem
sSouthKo
rean
manufacturin
gfirms
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Cookeet
al.(2019)
IJHRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
S(16-item
developedfrom
Bae&Lawler,2000;
Prieto
&Santana,2012;Searle
etal.,
2011;Sun
etal.,2007;Takeuchi
etal.,2007)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HPW
Sengagement
resilience
Chinesebankingindu
stry
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Beijeret
al.(in
press)
HRM
JCriticalreview
ofthemeasurementof
HR
practices
(employee
vsmanager)used
Literature
review
138 Y. WANG ET AL.

inthepaperspu
blishedbetween
2000
and2017
PerceivedHRStreng
thDorenbo
schet
al.
(2006)
MR
Consensuson
andlegitim
acyof
theHR
message
(15-item
onconsensusand
20-item
onlegitim
acydeveloped
from
Boselie
etal.,2005;D
elery&
Doty,1996;Sanders
&VanderVen,
2004;Tsui&
Wang,
2002)
Consensusandlegitim
acy
oftheHRmessage
Commitm
entstreng
thDutch
hospitals
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Sand
ers,Dorenbo
sch,
etal.(2008)
PR
Distin
ctiveness(7-item
abou
trelevance
and10-item
abou
tauthority
developedfrom
Ulrich,1
997);
Consistency(with
in-respo
ndent
agreem
enton
HRM
items)
Distin
ctiveness,consistency
andconsensus
Affectivecommitm
ent
Climatestreng
thDutch
hospital
Hierarchicallinear
mod
eling
Koster
(2011)
IJHRM
Theintensity
andconsistencyof
perceivedHRpractices
(Item
sabou
tem
ployee
perceptio
nsof
HRpractices
from
ESSandcalculated)
Theintensity
and
consistencyof
perceivedHRpractices
Organizationalcom
mitm
ent
andworkeffort
Organizations
in26
European
coun
tries
Hierarchicallinear
mod
eling
Liet
al.(2011)
IJHRM
Distin
ctiveness:5-item
scale(Frenkel
etal.,2012);Co
nsistency:with
in-
respon
dent
agreem
enton
HRM
items;
Consensus:4-item
scale(Delmotte,D
eWinne,G
ilbert,&Sels,2
007)
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,
andconsensus
Employee
worksatisfaction,
vigo
r,andintention
toqu
it
Climatestreng
thCh
ineseho
tel
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Delmotte
etal.(2012)
IJHRM
Distin
ctiveness:10-item
;Con
sistency:
9-item;C
onsensus:1
2-item
Belgianprivate
sector
companies
Scaledevelopm
ent
&validation
Ehrnroothand
Bjorkm
an(2012)
JMS
Visibility(In
tensity),relevance
(meaning
fulness),&
validity
ofHR
system
(8-item
onvisibility,8-item
onrelevance,
and16-item
onvalidity)
Visibility,relevance,
andvalidity
Employee
creativity,w
ork
load,and
job
performance
Psycho
logical
empo
werment
ITconsultant
company
inSw
eden
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Frenkel,Li,e
tal.
(2012)
BJIR
Distin
ctiveandconsistency(10-
item
scale)
Distin
ctiveandconsistency
Negativeem
otions
and
emotionale
xhaustion
Distributive,procedural,
andinteractionaljustice
Manufacturin
gorganizatio
nsStructural
equatio
nmod
eling
Frenkel,Restub
og,and
Bedn
all(2012)
IJHRM
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,and
consensus(12-item
scale)
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,
andconsensus
Discretionary
workeffort
andco-worker
assistance
Procedural
justice,
organizatio
nidentification,
and
distrib
utivejustice
Analcoho
licbeverage
firm
anda
telecommun
ications
company
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Pereira
andGom
es(2012)
IJHRM
Streng
thof
theHRsystem
(42-item
from
Coelho
etal.,2015)
Streng
thof
theHRsystem
andtransformational
leadership
Organizationalp
erform
ance
Organizationalclim
ate
Amultin
ational
company
Path
analysis
DeWinne
etal.(2013)
IJHRM
Distin
ctiveness:10-item
scale;
Consistency:9-item
scale;Co
nsensus:
12-item
scale
Perceivedeffectivenessin
thefour
HRroles;
Distin
ctiveness,
consistency,
andconsensus
Perceivedgeneral
effectivenessof
the
HRdepartment
Belgianprivate
sector
companies
Multip
lelinear
Regression
(continued)
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 139

Table1.
Continued.
Stud
yCo
nceptualizationof
Employee
Perceptio
nsof
HRPractices
Independ
entVariables
Dependent
Variables
Mod
erators
Mediators
Context
DataAn
alysis
Farndale
andKelliher
(2013)
HRM
Justicein
performance
appraisal(5-item
developedfrom
Folger
&Ko
novsky,
1989;Skarlicki,Folger,&
Tesluk,1
999)
Employee
perceivedjustice
in performance
appraisal
Affectivecommitm
ent
Trustin
senior
managem
ent
Firm
sin
theUK
Hierarchicallinear
mod
eling
Redm
ond(2013)
HRM
Relevanceandfairn
ess(6-item
)Relevanceandjusticeof
competencymod
elJobperformance,
organizatio
nal
citizenship
behaviou
r,andem
ployability
Exchange
relatio
nship
Norwegianconsultin
g,banking,
&prop
erty
managem
ent
organizatio
n
Multip
lelinear
Regression
Bedn
all,Sand
ers,and
Runh
aar(2014)
AMLE
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,and
consensus(16-item
adaptedfrom
Delmotte
etal.,2012)
Performance
appraisalq
uality
Participationin
inform
allearning
activities
Distin
ctiveness,
consistency,
&consensus
Dutch
vocatio
nal
education
training
scho
ols
Hierarchicallinear
mod
eling
Pieninget
al.(2014)
HRM
Employee
perceivedHRpractices
(e.g.,
visibilityof
HRpractices)
Intend
edHRpractices
(e.g.,
agreem
entam
ongHR
decision
-makers)
PerceivedHRpractices
(e.g.,visibilityof
HRpractices)
Organization’sability
toleverage
itsresource;employee
expectations
ofHRM
Implem
entedHRpractices
(e.g.,degree
ofcentralizationof
the
HRfunctio
n)
Health
andsocialservice
organizatio
nsin
Germany
Multip
lecase
stud
y
Sumeliuset
al.(2014)
HRM
Visibility,validity,p
rocedu
raland
distrib
utivejusticeof
performance
appraisal(PA
)
e.g.,top
managem
ent
internalizationof
PA,
supervisor
commitm
ent
toPA
process,andpast
experienceof
PA
Perceivedvisibility,validity,
procedural
and
distrib
utivejusticeof
PA
NordicMNCs
Multip
lecase
stud
y
Heffernan
andDun
don
(2016)
HRM
J
Distributivejustice(9-item
developed
from
Colquitt,2
001),p
rocedu
ral
justice(9-item
developedfrom
Sweeney&McFarlin,1
993;
Tyler&
Lind
,1992)
andinteractionaljustice
(10-item
developedfrom
Colquitt,2
001)
HPW
SJobsatisfaction,
affective
commitm
ent,
workpressure
Distributive,procedural,
andinteractionaljustice
Irish
firms
Hierarchical
linearmod
eling
Sand
ersandYang
(2016)
HRM
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,and
consensus(m
anipulations
and
Delmotte
etal.,2012)
Highcommitm
ent-HRM
Affectivecommitm
entand
inno
vativebehaviou
rEm
ployee
HRM
streng
thOrganizationin
the
Netherland
sHierarchicallinear
mod
elingand
scenario-
basedexperim
ent
Baluch
(2017)
IJHRM
Perceiveddistinctiveness,consistency,
andconsensusof
HRM
Employee
perceived
HRstreng
thWell-b
eing
Non
-profit
organizatio
nsin
theUK
Multip
lecase
stud
y
Bedn
alland
Sand
ers
(2017)
HRM
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,and
consensus(16-item
adaptedfrom
Delmotte
etal.,2012)
Form
allearning
oppo
rtun
ityShort-andlong
-term
participationin
inform
allearning
activities
Employee
perceived
HRM
system
streng
th
Middlescho
olsin
the
Netherland
sLatent interceptmod
els
Farndale
andSand
ers
(2017)
IJHRM
Distin
ctiveness,consistency,&consensus
PerceivedHRstreng
thEm
ployee
outcom
eCu
lturalvaluesand
cultu
ral
tightness/lo
oseness
Conceptualpaper
Hauffet
al.(2017)
HRM
HRM
system
streng
th(7-item
developed
basedon
Ostroff&Bo
wen,2
000)
HRM
target
achievem
ent
(e.g.,em
ployee
Organizations
inGermany
Regression
analysis
140 Y. WANG ET AL.

HRM
system
streng
thand
numberof
impo
rtant
HRM
target
commitm
ent,high
performance)
Sand
erset
al.(2018)
HRM
Distin
ctiveness,consistency&consensus
(15-item,from
Coelho
etal.,2015)
Performance-based
reward
Inno
vativebehaviou
rEm
ployee
perceived
HRstreng
thand
uncertainty
avoidanceof
thecoun
try
Organizations
from
diffe
rent
indu
striesin
10coun
tries
Hierarchical
lineaer
mod
eling
Alfeset
al.(2019)
HRM
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRsystem
streng
th(9-item
from
Frenkel,Li,
etal.,2012)
Employee
perceptio
nsof
HRsystem
streng
thEngagementin
change-
supp
ortivebehavior
Statepo
sitiveaffect;
perceivedorganizatio
nal
supp
ort,andcoping
with
organizatio
nal
change
Policeforcein
theUK
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Chacko
andCo
nway
(2019)
HRM
J
Employee
perceivedevent-sign
alledHRM
system
streng
th(12-item
adapted
from
Delmotte
etal.,2012)
HReventvalence
Dailyworkengagement
Employee
perceivedevent-
sign
alledHRM
system
streng
thandclear
expectancy
perceptio
ns
Custom
er-facing,
administrative,and
profession
alstaffat
aLond
onlocala
utho
rity
Regression
using
cluster-robu
ststandard
errors
HRAttribu
tion
Nishiie
tal.(2008)
Ppsych
Employee
internal
(com
mitm
ent-focus
andcontrolfocus)andexternal
(union
compliance)
HRattribution
(25-item)
Employee
internaland
external
HRattribution
Custom
ersatisfaction
Affectivecommitm
ent,
satisfaction,
andOCB
Aservicefirm
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Fontinha
etal.(2012)
PREm
ployee
internal
HRattribution(6-item
forcommitm
ent-focusand6-item
for
controlfocus)
Commitm
ent-focusedHR
attributionandcontrol-
focusedHRattribution
Affectivecommitm
entto
theclient
organizatio
nAffectivecommitm
entto
theou
tsou
rcing
company
Portug
uese
outsou
rcing
companies
inthe
inform
ation
techno
logies
sector
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Webster
andBeehr
(2013)
JOB
Employee
prom
otioncriteria
attribution
(16-item
forperformance-baseand
non-performance-basemob
ility)
Received
aprom
otion
Task
performance
andOCB
Ego-defensiveness
Prom
otionaljustice,
organizatio
nal
commitm
ent,and
prom
otion
criteria
attib
ution
Alum
ni,M
BAandEM
BAstud
ents
ofon
elarge
university
inthe
Midwestern
U.S.A
Structural
equatio
nmod
eling
Vande
Voorde
and
Beijer(2015)
HRM
J
Themeaning
sem
ployeesattach
toHPW
S(10-item
forem
ployee
well-
beingandgetthemostworkou
tof
employees)
HPW
SCo
mmitm
entandjobstrain
Well-b
eing
focusedand
performance
focused
HRattributions
Dutch
organizatio
nsHierarchicallinear
mod
eling
Shantz
etal.(2016)
HRM
JPerformance
andcost
attributions
ontraining
,selectio
n,reward,
performance
appraisal,and
participation(10-item
developed
from
Nishiie
tal.,2008)
Performance
and
cost
attributions
Emotionale
xhaustion
Jobinvolvem
ent
andworkoverload
Aconstructio
nand
consultancy
organizatio
nin
theUK
Path
analysis
Hew
ettet
al.(2018)
JOB
Anew
measure
design
edforHR
attributionforpu
rposeof
organizatio
nalw
orkload(18-item)
Inform
ation(perceptions
ofdistrib
utiveand
procedural
fairn
ess)
Commitm
entand
controla
ttrib
utions
Belief(cynicism)and
motivation
(personal
relevance)
Academ
icsin
theUK
Multip
lelinearregression
a AMJ(Academyof
Managem
entJournal);
AMLE
(Academyof
Managem
entLearning
andEducation);AP
JHR(AsiaPacific
Journalof
Hum
anResources);BJIR
(BritishJournalof
Indu
strial
Relatio
ns);
HP
(Hum
anPerformance);
HRM
(Hum
anResource
Managem
ent);HRM
J(Hum
anResource
Managem
entJournal);
IJHRM
(InternationalJournalof
Hum
anResource
Managem
ent);IR
(Indu
strialRelatio
ns);
JAP
(Jou
rnal
ofAp
plied
Psycho
logy);
JMS
(Jou
rnal
ofManagem
entStud
ies);JOB
(Jou
rnal
ofOrganizationalBehavior);
JOM
(Jou
rnal
ofManagem
ent);M
R(M
anagem
entRevue);P
psych(Personn
elPsycho
logy);PR
(Personn
elReview
).
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 141

105) examine the ‘what’ of HR perception. Nearly half (49 out of 105) ofthe articles were published over the last five years, indicating the growthin this research over time. In terms of outlet, International Journal ofHuman Resource Management (38), Human Resource Management (23)and Human Resource Management Journal (14) emerged as three mostimportant journals for employee HR perception research.
Common assumptions in employee HR perception research
Before reviewing research on the three components of employee HR per-ceptions research, we consider the major assumptions that underliemuch of this literature stream. Despite the wide range of topicsaddressed, we identify several common assumptions on which the extantresearch is built. The first assumption is that HR practices function as acommunication mechanism from employer to employee. Whether bydesign or by accident, HR practices deliver certain messages to employ-ees (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). Messages can be embedded in HR content(the ‘what’) or in the way HR practices are implemented (the ‘how’). Inthis line of reasoning, employee HR perceptions encapsulate the messagesemployees, either individually or collectively, receive from their employ-ers by observing or experiencing HR practices.A second assumption is that employees may disagree with their employ-
ers regarding the types of HR practices implemented and the reason(s)behind the implementation of these practices. This premise distinguishesthe HR perception literature from prior strategic HRM research. StrategicHRM studies tend to assume that top-level managers are aware of imple-mented HR practices. Therefore, they measure firm-level HR, often basedon subjective responses from a single senior manager who is deemed tohave more knowledge of HR practices than others in the organizationincluding employees (Gerhart, Wright, Mahan, & Snell, 2000; Huselid &Becker, 2000). The employee HR perceptions literature explicitly acknowl-edges the potential disparity between HR practices perceived by managersand those perceived by employees, highlighting the importance of employ-ees’ subjective experience of HR as a driver of workplace outcomes.The third assumption underlying this field is the potential divergence
among employees in their perceptions of HR practices (Bowen &Ostroff, 2004). Employees may have idiosyncratic observations of the HRpractices available in their organization because HR practices aredesigned differently across different groups of employees within anorganization (Liao et al., 2009), or employees may consider certain HRpractices as irrelevant to themselves, and so do not make themselvesaware of their potential benefits or costs. Even within the same work
142 Y. WANG ET AL.

group, individuals may develop varied understandings about which HRpractices are available to them and why such practices were introducedby the organization. This may be attributable to individual differences,such as personalities or experiences in prior jobs (Wright & Nishii,2013), or social influences from colleagues (Jiang et al., 2017). In thisline of reasoning, the interpersonal divergence of HR perception withinan organization is not an error to be controlled for, but the phenomenonof interest that explains the effects of HR practices on outcomes.
The perceived ‘what’ of HR practices
Theoretical underpinningStudies of the perceived ‘what’ of HR practices concern the content ofHR practices implemented in an organization as subjectively experiencedby employees (e.g. Jiang et al., 2017). If HR practices are to influenceemployee outcomes, they must first exist in the minds of employees(Wright & Nishii, 2013) because cognition is a crucial precursor of sub-sequent attitudes and behaviors (Fiske & Taylor, 1991; Gray, Bougon, &Donnellon, 1985). Each HR practice or a set of HR practices (HR bun-dles) is deemed to signal its own messages to employees. For instance,high-performance work practices are assumed to convey that anemployer is sincerely supportive and committed to his or her employees(Alfes, Shantz, Truss, & Soane, 2013; Choi, 2019). If such HR practicessignal an employer’s goodwill, then they should induce positive employeereactions. This logic is justified by established theories of social exchange(Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005) and psychological contract theory(Rousseau, 1995; Rousseau & Tijoriwala, 1998). The basic argumentunderlying this approach is that the goodwill that underlies the deliveryof HR practices (such as high-performance work systems) will encourageemployees to reciprocate by displaying positive workplace behaviors.
MeasurementThe measurement items used in the what of HR perception literature areoften similar to HR practice measures previously used to capture firm-level HR practices from senior managers. Beijer et al. (in press) reportthat two sets of approaches are used when designing the ‘what’ of HRperception measures. The first approach compares descriptive and evalu-ative measures of HR practices. Descriptive measures seek to capture thereality of HR practices as cognitively recognized and remembered byemployees. Employees might be asked whether the selection processinvolves interview panels (Edgar & Geare, 2005) or how many hours offormal training are offered to employees (Kehoe & Wright, 2013).
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 143

Evaluative measures, on the other hand, ask employees about their assess-ment or evaluation of HR constructs. For example, researchers have askedemployees to consider whether “a rigorous selection process is used toselect new recruits” (Jensen et al., 2013) or whether “staff are given mean-ingful feedback regarding their individual performance” (Alfes, Shantz,et al., 2013). After reviewing this field, Beijer et al. (in press) concludedthat evaluative HR measures appear to dominate the literature.Based on our review, we identify additional approaches that have been
used when measuring the ‘what’ of HR perception. Specifically, we dis-tinguish observation-based versus experience-based HR measures.Observation-based HR measures capture employees’ perception of HRavailability by placing respondents as third-person observers. An exampleof observation-based HR perception measurement asks employeeswhether they observe the occurrence of formal evaluation in their ownwork unit (Kehoe & Wright, 2013). In contrast, experience-based HRmeasures are designed to capture HR practices as directly experienced bythe responding employees. For example, one measure asks whetherrespondents themselves have received formal performance evaluation(Conway, Fu, Monks, Alfes, & Bailey, 2016). Table 2 presents examplequestionnaire items that reflect these two distinct approaches.
Table 2. Examples of perceived “what” of HR practices measures.Observation-based measure Experience-based measure
Descriptive Selection: Interview panels are used duringthe recruitment and selection process inthis organization (Edgar & Geare, 2005)
Selection: I am administered manyassessment tools—including personality,aptitude, and skill tests—prior toemployment in our firm (Liu et al., 2017)
Development: On average, how manyhours of formal training do associates inthis job receive each year? (Kehoe &Wright, 2013)
Development: In the past 12 months, haveyou received any classroom trainingrelated to your job? (Yanadori & VanJaarsveld, 2014)
Performance management: At least oncea year associates in this job receive aformal evaluation of their performance(Kehoe & Wright, 2013)
Performance management: I receive aformal evaluation of my performance atleast once a year (Conway et al., 2016)
Rewards: Our company rewards employeesfor sharing information (Andreevaet al., 2017)
Rewards: The rewards I receive includefringe benefits (bonuses) in addition to afixed salary (Castanheira & Story, 2016)
Evaluative Selection: A rigorous selection process isused to select new recruits (Jensenet al., 2013)
Selection: I think that the selectionmethod of promotion is successful(Yamamoto, 2013)
Development: This organization puts in agreat deal of effort in organizing forinternal career development(Kuvaas, 2008)
Development: How satisfied do you feelwith the level of training you receive inyour current job? (Katou et al., 2014)
Performance management: Staff are givenmeaningful feedback regarding theirindividual performance, at least onceeach a year (Alfes, Shantz, et al., 2013)
Performance management: The criteria ofperformance appraisal are clear to me(Castanheira & Story, 2016)
Rewards: Individuals in my work unitreceive special recognition for uniquecontributions (Li et al., 2017)
Rewards: The rewards I get from thiscompany are associated, at least in part,to my performance (Castanheira &Story, 2016)
144 Y. WANG ET AL.

We argue, based on our review, that different types of HR perceptionmeasures produce somewhat different empirical results. In general, evalu-ative- rather than descriptive-based measures, and experience- rather thanobservation-based measures, tend to show stronger relations withemployee outcomes. One potential reason for such findings may be theperformance-cue effect (Lord, Binning, Rush, & Thomas, 1978; Shondrick,Dinh, & Lord, 2010), which occurs when a measurement method providesa prompt that facilitates the rater’s retrieval of performance-related infor-mation from his or her memory. In such a situation, evaluators’ responsescould be biased toward the given performance cues (Binning, Zaba, &Whattam, 1986). This indicates the need to be careful when interpretingthe results of the what of HR perception studies in the literature, as theycould be a product of the measures used. We would encourage futureresearch to carefully consider whether substantive or performance cueeffects are in operation when interpreting the results of their study.
Major findingsA major concern in this research stream has been demonstrating thatHR content as perceived by employees may not be the same as HR con-tent as perceived by their managers. Empirical studies confirm that HRperceptions vary across the organizational hierarchy. For instance, Liaoet al. (2009) indicate that the HR practices reported by employees werenot as similar to those of managers as the latter would like them to be.Across studies of perceived HR content (Ang, Bartram, McNeil, Leggat,& Stanton, 2013; Ang et al., 2017; Aryee et al., 2012; Choi, 2019; DenHartog et al., 2013; Elorza, Aritzeta, & Ayestaran, 2011; Elorza, Harris,Aritzeta, & Balluerka, 2016; Jensen et al., 2013; Jiang et al., 2017; Li &Frenkel, 2017; Liao et al., 2009; Vermeeren, 2014), the average correl-ation between manager and employee perceptions of HR content is mod-erate (r¼ 0.37 on average). However, the size of the HR perception gapbetween managers and employees may differ. For example, studies havefound that managers’ communication quality (Den Hartog et al., 2013)and hukou status similarity (Li & Frenkel, 2017) may enhance the per-ceptual congruence between managers and employees.Employee perceptions of the ‘what’ of HR affect a number of employee
outcomes, including organizational commitment (Edgar & Geare, 2005;Macky & Boxall, 2007), turnover intentions (Kuvaas, 2008), job satisfaction(Macky & Boxall, 2008), early retirement (Herrbach, Mignonac,Vandenberghe, & Negrini, 2009), service performance (Liao et al., 2009),organizational citizenship behavior (Alfes, Shantz, et al., 2013), knowledgesharing (Foss, Pedersen, Reinholt Fosgaard, & Stea, 2015), and emotionalexhaustion (Conway et al., 2016). Studies also reveal several moderators that
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 145

may amplify the relationship between perceived HR content and employeeoutcomes such as employees’ individual characteristics (Li, Deng, Leung, &Zhao, 2017), organizational characteristics (Liu, Gong, Zhou, & Huang,2017), and perceived organizational support (Kuvaas, 2008).In sum, the ‘what’ of employee HR perception literature concerns the
content of HR practices as perceived by employees and the impact ofthese perceptions on workplace outcomes. This literature complementsprior strategic HRM literature by demonstrating the mediating mecha-nisms through which HR practices are translated into employee out-comes. One of the limitations of this research is the inconsistency inmeasuring employees’ perceived HR content. Studies use a diverse arrayof HR perception measures (descriptive, evaluative, observation-based,and experience-based) without properly reflecting on the potential influ-ence of the choice of measurement on study results. Another limitationof research in the area is the relative lack of interest on the determinantsof the perceived content of HR, especially organizational-level antece-dents. Future research should focus on the potential influence of the dif-ferent types of HR content measures on study results.
The perceived ‘how’ of HR practices
Theoretical underpinningsEmployee perceptions of the ‘how’ of HR practices involve employeeviews of how HR practices are designed and implemented (Delmotte, DeWinne, & Sels, 2012). This research stream is distinctive from the studiesof the ‘what’ of HR practices in the sense that the focus is about the pro-cess through which HR messages are delivered to organizational mem-bers. A central assumption of research on the ’how’ of HR practices isthat even a well-intended HR system may not produce its best possibleoutcomes if employees fail to make sense of it in a coherent, consistentand unified way.The dominant concept in this literature is “HR strength”. A strong HR
system ensures that employees’ collective understanding of HR practicesis well aligned to the intentions of management (Bowen & Ostroff,2004). The notion of HR strength has its foundations in situationalstrength research (Mischel, 1973; Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Katou,Budhwar, & Patel, 2014; Ostroff & Bowen, 2000). In a strong situation,employees share a common understanding of the organization’s policies,practices, procedures, and goals, and the behaviors that are expected andrewarded (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). In contrast, in a weak situation,employees experience a high degree of ambiguity regarding what is beingexpected in their organizational lives, which produces a wide variability
146 Y. WANG ET AL.

in the workplace attitudes and behaviors displayed (Ostroff & Bowen,2000). Researchers have argued that a strong situation influencesemployee attitudes and behaviors, and therefore, that it is critical thatfeatures of an HR system allow for the creation of a strong situation.Bowen and Ostroff (2004) name nine features of HR practices that can
foster a strong situation in which unambiguous messages about anorganization’s intended attitudes and behaviors can be sent to employees.Building on Kelley’s (1973) covariation theory, these authors suggest thatan HR system will result in a strong situation when it is distinctive, con-sistent, and consensus generating (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004). Specifically,they elucidate four characteristics that can foster distinctiveness: visibility,understandability, legitimacy of authority, and relevance; three character-istics that establish consistency: instrumentality, validity, and consistentHR messages; and two characteristics that can result in consensus: agree-ment among principal HR decision makers and fairness. In short, HRstrength is intrinsically tied to the features of organizational practicesthat result in employees developing shared perceptions of organization-ally desired behaviors.One of the theoretical challenges yet to be resolved in this area is the
unit of analysis adopted when considering HR strength. In their seminalstudy, Bowen and Ostroff (2004) proposed that HR strength is an organ-izational-level construct that mediates between the HRM system andfirm-level performance. However, most studies in this area operational-ized HR strength at the individual-level and often linked it to individual-level outcomes. Ostroff and Bowen (2016: p. 198) expressed concernsabout this trend and argued that the individual-level construct of“perceptions of HRM system strength”, although meaningful in its ownright, should be differentiated from the collective-level construct of“HRM system strength”.
MeasurementStudies have used a variety of methods to measure HR strength as per-ceived by individuals, including assessing the within-person variability ofHR ratings to measure consistency (e.g. Sanders, Dorenbosch, & deReuver, 2008; Li, Frenkel, & Sanders, 2011). A study by Delmotte et al.(2012) was one of the first to design a scale to measure perceived HRstrength. More recently, Coelho, Cunha, Gomes, and Correia (2015), andHauff, Alewell, and Hansen (2017) designed scales to measure perceivedHR strength. Although these scales are widely used in empirical studies,Ostroff and Bowen (2016) concluded that the field still lacks a compre-hensive and sophisticated measure of HR strength (p. 199; see alsoHewett et al., 2018; Sanders et al., 2014). Until a widely recognized
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 147

measure of HR strength at different levels of analysis is developed, it willbe difficult to systematically accumulate knowledge on the effects of the‘how’ of HR practices (Ostroff & Bowen, 2016).
Empirical findingsIn general, studies show that employee-perceived HR strength is associ-ated with positive employee outcomes such as organizational commit-ment (Farndale & Kelliher, 2013), job satisfaction (Heffernan & Dundon,2016), vigor (Li et al., 2011), well-being (Baluch, 2017), task performance(Redmond, 2013), creativity (Ehrnrooth & Bjorkman, 2012), organiza-tional citizenship behavior (Frenkel, Restubog, & Bednall, 2012), HReffectiveness (De Winne, Delmotte, Gilbert, & Sels, 2013), and organiza-tional performance (Pereira & Gomes, 2012) while being negativelyrelated to turnover intentions (Li et al., 2011) and negative emotions(Frenkel, Li, et al., 2012).While some studies have identified perceived HR strength as a moder-
ator of relationships between HR practices and outcomes (Bednall &Sanders, 2017; Sanders & Yang, 2016; Sanders et al., 2018), other studieshave identified HR strength as an outcome. For instance, Sumelius,Bj€orkman, Ehrnrooth, M€akel€a, and Smale’s (2014) research indicated thatemployees’ prior experiences of performance appraisal influence theirperception of HR strength. They also reported that how employees per-ceive HR strength is influenced by their relationship to managers.In sum, while the work of Bowen and Ostroff (2004, 2016) reflects an
impressive theoretical development that has moved HRM research fur-ther by emphasizing the importance of employees’ understandings of theorganizational context, several concerns currently limit research in thisarea. In particular, the lack of consensus as to the level at which the HRstrength construct should be assessed, and the lack of a comprehensiveand sophisticated measure(s) of HR strength, hinders progress in thefield. Future research needs to focus on building theory around HRstrength at the higher (team or organizational) level while developingvalid and reliable measures at all levels of analysis. In addition, whilesome studies have examined HR strength as a moderator, studies exam-ining HR strength as a mediator are virtually nonexistent. As such,researchers need to consider HR strength as a mediator between HRpractices and outcomes. Another limitation of research in this area is thelack of knowledge about the determinants of HR strength. Finally, withfew exceptions, HR strength research follows a universalistic approach.In a theoretical article, however, Farndale and Sanders (2017) challengethis approach and propose that the effects of employee perceptions ofHR strength may depend on the cultural values across nations. Building
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a contingency perspective, they theorize HR strength could be moreeffective when aligned with certain cultural values of employees. Thisissue needs to be theoretically and empirically considered in differentcross-national contexts.
The perceived ‘why’ of HR practices
Theoretical underpinningsEmployees’ perceived ‘why’ of HR practices refers to their causal explana-tions regarding management’s motivations for implementing particularHR practices (Nishii, Lepak, & Schneider, 2008). The perceived ‘why’ ofHR practices is distinctive from the perceived ‘what’ and ‘how’ of HRpractices. Specifically, employees with the same perceived HR contentand HR strength may disagree with each other about why those HRpractices were put into place. In their seminal work, Nishii et al. (2008)propose multiple types of HR attributions. Internal HR attributionsinvolve employees’ beliefs that their company is responsible for its HRdecisions. Internal HR attributions can be further divided into thoseassociated with a firm’s business needs and strategies (cost control orquality enhancement) or the firm’s employee-related philosophy(employee-well-being orientation or employee-exploitation orientation).External HR attributions are based on the view that the implementationof HR practices is a result of complying with pressure from outside thecompany (such as trade unions or labor legislation). This multi-facetedcategorization of HR attribution emerged as a dominant framework toconceptualize employees’ interpretation of their company’s motivesbehind HR practices.An important assumption in this research stream is employees’ personifi-
cation of their organization, which refers to the phenomenon of“anthromorphism”. This phenomenon involves the process of attributinghumanlike qualities to nonhuman entities (Epley, Waytz, & Cacioppo,2007). Through anthromorphism, employees consider their company as ahumanlike agent who takes intentional actions (Ashforth, Schinoff, &Brickson, in press). When a company is personified, employees interpret itsHR practices in the same way they interpret other people’s behaviors (Coyle-Shapiro & Shore, 2007). Then, HR practices are subject to employees’ attri-butional processes through which employees formulate their interpretationabout organization’s motivation(s) to implement such HR practices.Whether employees personify their organization is a matter of debate.
Ashforth et al. (in press) suggest that the anthromorphism is a prevalentphenomenon and has been embraced by several strands of managementscholarship such as literature on perceived organizational support,
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psychological contract theory, and employee-employer relationship. If webuild on this research, then it would appear that the HR attribution lit-erature is built on a valid assumption. However, Coyle-Shapiro andShore (2007) warn that employees’ anthromorphism should not be takenfor granted. Some employees may find it difficult to anthromorphizetheir organization due to personal or situational reasons. If this is thecase, then the underlying assumption of the HR attribution perspectivemay have limited validity. We suggest that this assumption needs to beexplicitly considered and tested in different organizational environments.In this way, researchers could then determine whether or when employ-ees personify their organization.
MeasurementNishii et al. (2008) developed the most widely used measurement tool inthis stream of research. The authors discuss two archetypes: commitmentHR attribution, which is composed of service quality enhancing andemployee well-being attributions; and control HR attribution, whichinvolves cost-reduction and exploitation. Although most empirical stud-ies directly borrow the Nishii et al. scales to evaluate employee attribu-tion, a few scholars have developed their own measures of HRattributions (e.g. Webster & Beehr, 2013).
Empirical findingsOverall, commitment attributions, compared to control attributions, havea more noticeable positive impact on employee behaviors and attitudes(Nishii et al., 2008; Shantz, Arevshatian, Alfes, & Bailey, 2016; Van deVoorde & Beijer, 2015; Webster & Beehr, 2013). For example, researchindicates that commitment attributions are positively related to employeecommitment to the organization (Fontinha, Chambel, & De Cuyper,2012) and job satisfaction (Nishii et al., 2008), while control attributionsare positively related to work overload and emotional exhaustion (Shantzet al., 2016). Recently, Hewett, Shantz, and Mundy (2019) examine theantecedents of HR attributions, applying attribution theory (Kelley &Michela, 1980) to the influence of information (perceptions of distribu-tive and procedural fairness), beliefs (organizational cynicism), andmotivation (perceived relevance) on employees’ interpretation of employ-er’s intent behind a workload model. The results of a study of 347 UKacademics show that fairness and cynicism are important for the forma-tion of HR commitment attributions; these factors also interact in such amanner that distributive fairness buffers the negative effect of cynicism.
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In sum, in comparison to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of employee percep-tions, research on the ‘why’ is less developed (Sanders, Guest, &Rodrigues, 2017). One area where research is especially needed is thedeterminants of HR attributions (Hewett et al., 2019). Many studies haveidentified multiple types of HR attributions and explored their impact onemployee outcomes; however, knowledge is limited on how such employ-ees HR attributions are formulated. In addition, we need to develop amore nuanced understanding about the role of culture in employee HRattribution. Some empirical findings across nations appear to contradicteach other. For instance, while Nishii et al. (2008) demonstrate that anexploitation attribution has a negative effect on employee and organiza-tional outcomes in the US, in other countries such as China, theNetherlands, and the United Kingdom it has a positive effect (Sanderset al., 2018). Future research is needed to address considerations con-cerning the role of cultural values on the ‘why’ of HR perceptions.
Future directions
Enrich the theories of HR communication
Perhaps most crucially, research on employee perceptions of HR practi-ces reveals that HR practices function as a mechanism of communicationbetween employer and employees. An important direction for futureresearch is to enrich the theoretical grounding of the literature by draw-ing from established theories shown to be useful in understanding thephenomenon of communication and information processing in manager-ial settings, particularly in the areas of information processing, signaling,and sensemaking.Information-processing theory suggests that individuals go through a
series of processes when they seek to understand their surrounding envi-ronments. Individuals first select and organize pieces of informationfrom the environment and then attach their interpretation and judgmentto the acquired information (Fiske & Taylor, 1991; Sanders, Yang, & Li,in press). The selection stage involves choosing the cues, signals, andstimuli to which they will pay attention. In the organization stage, indi-viduals assign new information to extant categories familiar to them andgroup information into meaningful, orderly, and useful sets. In the inter-pretation and judgment stage, individuals translate the organized infor-mation and give it meaning. In other words, individuals make ajudgment about a person or event, and about the cause of the behavior.Information processing theory is highly relevant to employee HR per-
ceptions research. The selecting and organizing information stages relateto the pieces of HR information employees choose to recognize (the
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‘what’ of employee perception). Experimental research can provide newinsights in how and why employee perceive the same HR practices in anorganization differently. In addition to personality factors and the cul-tural value orientations of employees, saliency of different HR practicescan play a role. For instance, HR practices related to maternity leave andflexible work can be expected to be more salient for pregnant employeesand/or employees with young children. Other employees may not beaware of these HR practices and thus do not perceive them. Futureresearch can examine which HR practices are more salient for which cat-egories of employees and why this is the case.Interpretation and judgment of the perceptions of HR practices
involve attribution processes (Kelley, 1973), and therefore are related toHR strength and HR attributions of employee perceptions of HR practi-ces (the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of employee perceptions). Future research onemployee HR perceptions can readily draw from the rich stock of know-ledge in the information processing literature. For example, the moti-vated information processing perspective posits that individuals may seeand understand different things depending on their underlying motiva-tions (De Dreu, 2007). This suggests that employee memory and aware-ness of HR content may be biased depending on individuals’ personalneeds or other motivations (Sanders et al., in press). The theory of infor-mation processing could inspire researchers to explore the relationshipbetween the ‘what’ aspect of HR perception and the ‘how’ and ‘why’ ofHR attributions. This requires more studies that theoretically and empir-ically examine the interrelationship among these three dimensions of HRperceptions. Experimental research can be especially helpful to explorerelationships as it can be assumed that perceptions, interpretation andattribution occur simultaneously. Experimental research can help tountangle these relationships. However, information processing theoriescan be criticized as very descriptive frameworks that do not provide aclear understanding of the different elements and the moderators thatinfluence the relationship between the different elements and outcomes.So, in addition to further theoretical development, experimental researchcan provide the opportunity to unravel the different elements and learnmore about how they influence different employee outcomes.Signaling theory can help us further explain the phenomenon of
employee perceptions of HR practices. Signaling theory concerns ways toreduce information asymmetry between the signaler, or informationsenders, and information receivers by way of signaling activities (Spence,2002). The relevance of signaling theory to management research in gen-eral has been recognized with some authors identifying this theory asrelevant to HR perception research (Connelly, Certo, Ireland, & Reutzel,
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2011; Ehrnrooth & Bjorkman, 2012; Bednall, Sanders, & Yang, 2019;Sanders et al., in press). This theory views HR practices as signals sentfrom managers towards employees. The theories on signals, signal send-ers, and signal receivers can further inspire HR perception research. Forinstance, future research can explore HR signaling dynamics in relationto different types of signalers, or the ‘who’ of HR perception. In today’sorganization, the implementation of HR involves various actors includingCEOs, HR professionals, and line managers (Op de Beeck, Wynen, &Hondeghem, 2016). In addition, the popularization of new HR deliverymodes such as self-service and shared service is reshaping the sourcesfrom which employees receive HR messages (Huang & Martin-Taylor,2013; Maatman, Bondarouk, & Looise, 2010). Future research may inves-tigate how employees’ attitudes and behaviors could vary depending onemployees’ perceptions regarding the senders of HR messages.Future research can also draw from signaling theory when examining
the ‘when’ of HR practices, or the temporal aspect of HR implementation.According to signaling theory, a high level of signal frequency creates sig-nals that are more visible and efficacious (Connelly et al., 2011). This maysuggest that the frequency of certain HR practices (for instance, the fre-quency of performance evaluations) may generate more positive employeeresponses. Signaling theory also suggests that signaler’s choice of timingand duration of signal matters (Connelly et al., 2011). Future researchmay build on these insights and examine how employees’ HR perceptionsare influenced by the temporal aspect of HR implementation in terms ofthe perceived frequency of HR practice implementation.Finally, researchers can further investigate the nature of HR message
receivers, or the ‘whom’ of HR perception. Signaling theory highlights therole of the receiver in the signaling process. There are two receiver-relatedsignaling processes, receiver attention and receiver interpretation. Receiverattention refers to “the extent to which receivers vigilantly scan the environ-ment for signals” (Connelly et al., 2011, p. 54). Receiver attention is particu-larly essential when signals are weak and inconsistent. Receiver interpretationcaptures “[T]he processes of translating signals into perceived meaning”(Connelly et al., 2011, p. 54). Receivers have their own agency to interpretnoted signals. Therefore, the same signals could be interpreted differently byindividual receivers. These insights suggest that the dynamics of HR signal-ing are affected by employees’ attention and interpretation. For instance,employees may pay varied levels of attention to certain HR practices depend-ing on their position, tenure, and employment status.Sensemaking can be defined as “[T]he processes whereby organizational
members translate an organizational event and construct a meaningfulexplanation for that event” (Greenberg, 1995, p.185). The sensemaking
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literature posits that employees collectively make sense of their organiza-tional lives, which affects their attitudes and behaviors. Research explicitlyacknowledges that employee perception and judgment of an organiza-tional event are socially constructed. Therefore, it is not surprising thatHR perception research recognizes the usefulness of sensemaking litera-ture. For instance, the “strong HR climate” concept (Bowen & Ostroff,2004) is directly correlated with employees’ collective sensemaking.The relevance of the sensemaking literature provides opportunities for
future HR perception research. A promising future avenue is to examinethe connections between broader institutional environments and employ-ees’ sensemaking in relation to HR practices. Employees’ sensemaking oftheir organizational practice is deeply affected by how the practice isconceived, legitimated, and categorized in broader societies (Maitlis &Christianson, 2014; Weber & Glynn, 2006). This suggests that future HRperception research can be enriched by drawing from the recent develop-ment of the micro-foundation of institutional theory.
Enlarge the empirical grounds across nations
A notable trend in the literature on employee HR perceptions is theincreasing number of studies in non-Western contexts. This expansionin the range of empirical contexts is a welcome phenomenon. Such stud-ies confirm the cross-cultural generalizability of established knowledgeon HR perceptions. However, there is a great need for research thatexplores the possible impact of cultural and institutional environmentson the dynamics of employee HR perceptions. There could be meaning-ful cross-cultural differences in the way employees perceive the ‘what’,‘how’, and ‘why’ of HR practices. Kim and Wright (2011) suggest thatemployee attributions of HR can vary across social and cultural environ-ments. They argue that the same set of HR practices may stimulatedivergent employee attributions in different contexts. Job security policiesmay lead to varied attributional reactions across nations. In a countrywith a liberal labor market, where companies have a large scope of dis-cretion in hiring and firing, employees are likely to interpret job securityas an expression of an employer’s goodwill, because it is not a legallymandated practice. However, in a country with strong employment pro-tection regulations, employees may interpret job security as an employ-er’s passive action of legal compliance. This difference in attributionalprocesses may help explain why the same practice may lead to conflict-ing outcomes in different countries.Recently, Farndale and Sanders (2017; see also Sanders et al., 2018)
proposed that employee perceptions of the ‘how’ of HR may lead to
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varied outcomes depending on the national values of cultures and coun-tries. Building on a contingency perspective, they theorize that HRstrength could be more effective when it aligns with certain cultural val-ues of employees. It is possible HR strength may have a stronger impacton employee outcomes in a low power distance culture where employeescan easily voice their concerns to managers. Future studies that test andextend such ideas on cross-cultural differences are encouraged.A challenge for cross-national examination of employee HR perception
is to make informed choices between emic and etic approaches (Morris,Leung, Ames, & Lickel, 1999). The emic approach takes the perspectiveof cultural insiders, highlighting the experiences unique to a culturalgroup. Followers of this method place a high value on qualitative meth-ods such as ethnographic fieldwork to discover the indigenous view ofthe world. The etic approach takes the view of outsider and often focuseson a slice of human experience that can be legitimately compared acrossdifferent cultures through standardized measures. Recognizing the differ-ence between emic and etic approaches is especially necessary when thesubject of research is related to human cognition and judgment.Because HR perception studies center on employees’ cognitive and sub-
jective experiences, researchers will face unavoidable methodological chal-lenges when they set out to conduct HR perception research acrossdifferent cultural settings. For instance, many studies of employee HR attri-bution develop their measurement items by directly borrowing from Nishiiet al. (2008), which assumes that an external attribution captures unioncompliance. Such measurement items may have very different meanings incountries with different industrial relations systems, such as China, wherethe CEO can be a member of a trade union, or European countries, wherenational regulations dictate many high performance work practices(Paauwe & Boselie, 2003). Therefore, one cannot assume that the measure-ments in Nishii et al. (2008) will capture the same kinds of employee per-ceptions across different national contexts. In fact, Nishii et al. constructedtheir own measures through a series of processes to come up with context-ually valid items. Future research on employee HR perception will need tofollow such an approach rather than uncritically borrow measurementsitems developed in different empirical contexts. This echoes the suggestionof Hewett et al. (2018) that emphasizes the potential benefits of qualitativeinquiry in employee HR perception research.
Enhancing practical relevance
An increasing concern in HR scholarship is the practical relevance of theknowledge contained in the academic literature. Studies reveal a sizable
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gap between the academic community and HR practitioners (Cohen,2007; Deadrick & Gibson, 2007; Rynes, Giluk, & Brown, 2007; Sanders,van Riemsdijk, & Groen, 2008). Nicolai and Seidl (2010) suggest thepractical relevance of management knowledge can take three forms:instrumental relevance, conceptual relevance, and legitimating relevance.Instrumental relevance refers to the capacity of knowledge to solve prac-tical problems at hand. Conceptual relevance provides practitioners theor-etical frameworks with which they can better understand the reality of aworkplace. Legitimating relevance is the role of scholastic knowledge as amechanism to provide legitimacy to a person or a practice in the field.The most frequently used form of practical relevance in management lit-erature is that of conceptual relevance, often expressed in a statementabout how the findings in a study can help practitioners better under-stand the unintended consequences of a phenomenon (Nicolai &Seidl, 2010).Similarly, the extant employee HR perceptions literature focuses on
conceptual relevance, helping practitioners better understand which HRpractices will work better under what conditions. Many articles include anote in the section on practical implications urging practitioners to rec-ognize the potentially serious negative consequences of poorly managedemployee HR perceptions, and vice versa. Kehoe and Wright (2013)warn practitioners that without consistent implementation of HR practi-ces, a well-designed HR system may not produce best-intended out-comes. Yousaf, Sanders, and Yustantio (2018) advise practitioners tounderstand which HR practices influence employees in the mannerintended by management. In the same vein, several studies provide sup-plementary advice such as conducting regular data collection on employ-ees’ HR perceptions (Cooke, Cooper, Bartram, Wang, & Mei, 2019;Fletcher, Alfes, & Robinson, 2018; Liao et al., 2009). In addition to con-ceptual relevance, researchers may claim their findings contain legitimat-ing relevance. For instance, Kilroy, Flood, Bosak, and Chênevert (2017)state that HR professionals can use their findings to build a case forinvesting in HR and thus overcome the problem of employee burnout.What is missing in the HR perception literature is the issue of instru-mental relevance. For a branch of social science, the limited instrumentalrelevance may not necessarily be a serious issue (Nicolai & Seidl, 2010).However, demand is increasing for research that provides specific solu-tions to problems field practitioners experience.One way to enhance the instrumental relevance of employee HR per-
ception research is to pay more attention to the drivers of employee HRperceptions. In our review, 82 empirical studies examined the consequen-ces of employee perceptions of HR practices, while only 20 investigated
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the factors that shape employee perceptions of HR practices (Ang et al.,2013; Ang et al., 2017; Aryee et al., 2012; Bos-Nehles & Meijerink, 2018;Choi, 2019; Chacko & Conway, 2019; Elorza et al., 2011; Elorza et al.,2016; Den Hartog et al., 2013; Heffernan & Dundon, 2016; Hewett et al.,2019; Jensen et al., 2013; Jiang et al., 2017; Li & Frenkel, 2017;Makhecha, Srinivasan, Prabhu, & Mukherji, 2018; Piening, Baluch, &Ridder, 2014; Sumelius, Bj€orkman, Ehrnrooth, M€akel€a, & Smale, 2014;Van de Voorde & Beijer, 2015; Vermeeren, 2014; Webster & Beehr,2013). The recent review by Hewett et al. (2018) acknowledge the lack ofunderstanding regarding the antecedents of HR perception. Futureresearch could provide more knowledge directly relevant to practitionersby identifying antecedents of employee HR perception that are under thediscretion of managerial decisions, such as organizational structure ormodern HR information technologies.
Conclusion
Scholars have called for examination of employee perceptions of HR prac-tices so as to uncover the “black box” between HR practices and perform-ance (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Den Hartog et al., 2013; Wright & Nishii,2013). In response, researchers have begun to examine employee percep-tions of HR practices in a systematic and rigorous fashion. We proposethat progress can be expedited by enriching the theoretical grounding ofresearch in this area, enlarging the empirical scope to consider, forexample, cross-cultural issues, and enhancing practical relevance. Wehope this review sparks more studies of employee perceptions of HRpractices, with a clear understanding of the multiple aspects of this con-struct and a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in the for-mulation and evolution of employee perceptions of HR in the workplace.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Funding
National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71902144) and China PostdoctoralScience Foundation (No. 2019M651594)
ORCID
Ying Wang http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1850-9393Sunghoon Kim http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4374-9332Karin Sanders http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0385-1690
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Abstract

Methods
Common assumptions in employee HR perception research

The perceived ‘what’ of HR practices

Theoretical underpinning
Measurement
Major findings

The perceived ‘how’ of HR practices

Theoretical underpinnings
Measurement
Empirical findings

The perceived ‘why’ of HR practices

Theoretical underpinnings
Measurement
Empirical findings
Future directions

Enrich the theories of HR communication
Enlarge the empirical grounds across nations
Enhancing practical relevance

Conclusion
Disclosure statement
References


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