Article Critique

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Question Description

Article Critique

**Article attached***

There is a minimum requirement of 500 words for the article critique.

  • Format your critique in APA style.
  • Begin with an introduction that defines the subject of your critique and your point of view. You will first need to identify and explain the author's ideas. Include specific passages that support your description of the author's point of view.
  • Take into consideration how you would approach a recruiting program for your company based on the author’s ideas on the subject matter.
  • What challenges would you face if your company were a global conglomerate?
  • Defend your point of view by raising specific issues or aspects of the argument. Offer your own opinion. Explain what you think about the argument. Describe several points with which you agree or disagree.
  • Explain how the passages support your opinion.
  • Conclude your critique by summarizing your argument and re-emphasizing your opinion.
  • For each of the points you mention, include specific passages from the text (you may summarize, quote, or paraphrase, being sure to include proper in-text citations) that provide evidence for your point of view.
  • You will NOT need any outside sources other than the one listed


Article Reference

Gong, Y., Law, K. S., Chang, S., & Xin, K. R. (2009). Human resources management and firm performance: The differential role of managerial affective and continuance commitment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 263–275. https://doi-org.libraryresources.columbiasouthern....

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This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. Journal of Applied Psychology 2009, Vol. 94, No. 1, 263–275 © 2009 American Psychological Association 0021-9010/09/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0013116 Human Resources Management and Firm Performance: The Differential Role of Managerial Affective and Continuance Commitment Yaping Gong Kenneth S. Law and Song Chang The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology The Chinese University of Hong Kong Katherine R. Xin International Institute for Management Development (IMD) In this study, the authors developed a dual-concern (i.e., maintenance and performance) model of human resources (HR) management. The authors identified commonly examined HR practices that apply to the middle manager level and classified them into the maintenance- and performance-oriented HR subsystems. The authors found support for the 2-factor model on the basis of responses from 2,148 managers from 463 firms operating in China. Regression results indicate that the performance-oriented HR subsystems had a positive relationship with firm performance and that the relationship was mediated by middle managers’ affective commitment to the firm. The maintenance-oriented HR subsystems had a positive relationship with middle managers’ continuance commitment but not with their affective commitment and firm performance. This study contributes to the understanding of how HR practices relate to firm performance and offers an improved test of the argument that valuable and firm-specific HR provide a source of competitive advantage. Keywords: strategic human resource management, affective commitment, continuance commitment, social exchange, resource-based view The first objective of this study is to advance the understanding of the link between systems of HR practices and firm performance by examining middle managers’ affective and continuance commitment to a firm. Affective commitment refers to an emotional attachment to a firm such that the committed individual identifies with, is involved in, and enjoys membership in the firm, whereas continuance commitment refers to the tendency to stay in a firm on the basis of the potential loss or costs associated with leaving the firm (e.g., N. J. Allen & Meyer, 1990; Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979). Affective commitment is a higher order commitment because it has an affective component and increases motivation to produce, not just stay (March & Simon, 1958). Drawing upon Katz and Kahn (1978), who suggested that all open systems have maintenance and production subsystems, we developed a dualconcern model of HR systems. The performance-oriented HR subsystem focuses primarily on developing HR and providing motivation and opportunities for the productive use of such resources. The maintenance-oriented HR subsystem focuses primarily on employee protection and equality. We propose that maintenance-oriented HR subsystems are positively related to continuance commitment. Performance-oriented HR subsystems are positively related to affective commitment, which in turn enhances firm performance. The second objective of this study is to test social exchange theory (e.g., Blau, 1986; Gouldner, 1960) and the resource-based theory (e.g., Barney, 1991) that explore the link between systems of HR practices and firm performance. Social exchange theory takes as its particular focus the resources that people obtain from, and contribute to, social interactions (Blau, 1986; Molm, 2001). Exchange parties follow the principles of reciprocity (i.e., the Although extensive research has generally documented a positive relationship between systems of human resources (HR) practices and firm or unit performance, the black box in-between has received less attention (Combs, Liu, Hall, & Ketchen, 2006). Arthur (1994) argued that HR practices may affect firm performance through developing “committed employees who can be trusted to use their discretion to carry out job tasks in ways that are consistent with organizational goals” (p. 672). Scholars have repeatedly called for a better understanding of how HR practices relate to firm performance (e.g., Batt, 2002; B. E. Becker & Huselid, 1998; Delery & Shaw, 2001; Takeuchi, Lepak, Wang, & Takeuchi, 2007). Recently, Collins and Clark (2003) examined network ties as the mediator between network-building HR practices and firm performance. Important employee attributes, such as commitment, have yet to be fully examined (Meyer & Allen, 1997; Ostroff & Bowen, 2000). Yaping Gong, Department of Management of Organizations, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), China; Kenneth S. Law, Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; Song Chang, School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Katherine R. Xin, International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland. This article was supported by Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Grant HKUST6249/03H. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yaping Gong, Department of Management of Organizations, School of Business and Management, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China. E-mail: mnygong@ust.hk 263 This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. RESEARCH REPORTS 264 recipient is obligated to return a benefit to the party who furnishes such a benefit) and equivalence (i.e., the recipient returns benefits of equivalent value; Gouldner, 1960). Systems of HR practices shape the nature of a firm’s exchanges with its employees (e.g., Morrison, 1996), and employees may reciprocate with different types of commitment to the firm (e.g., D. G. Allen, Shore, & Griffeth, 2003; Blau, 1986). A maintenance-oriented HR subsystem exchanges resources that are at the lower preference order of managers (e.g., security; Cohen, 1992; England, 1967) and is likely to induce lower order continuance commitment. A performance-oriented HR subsystem exchanges resources that satisfy managers’ primary needs (e.g., skill development; Cohen, 1992; England, 1967; Meyer & Allen, 1997) and thus is likely to elicit higher order affective commitment. The resource-based theory suggests that valuable and firmspecific HR enhance firm performance (e.g., Barney, 1991; Barney & Wright, 1998). Affective commitment by managers should increase firm performance because it is valuable and specific to a particular firm. Continuance commitment by managers may not increase firm performance because it is negatively or unrelated to job performance and thus considered undesirable (Sinclair, Tucker, Cullen, & Wright, 2005). Although strategic HR researchers have utilized the resource-based theory, few have explicitly tested its key tenet (Barney, 2001). In particular, the firm-specific nature of HR has not been examined. By examining commitment of managers to a firm, we hope to provide an improved test of the theory. Our study provides a test of social exchange theory in the context of strategic HR research because employee commitment, as a social exchange variable (e.g., Blau, 1986; Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997), has not been empirically examined as the link between systems of HR practices and firm performance. We conducted the study in China. Traditional Chinese personnel management has been characterized by employment security (or the “iron rice bowl” as some Chinese employees refer to it) and egalitarianism (Ding, Lan, & Warner, 2001). The ongoing marketoriented economic reforms have led to a greater performance orientation among Chinese firms (Ding & Warner, 2001). With the backdrop of the economic reforms, we examine how performanceand maintenance-oriented HR subsystems may affect firm performance in China. This study therefore contributes to theory testing in a non-Western context. A Dual Concern Model According to Katz and Kahn (1978), all open systems include maintenance and production subsystems. The maintenance subsystem preserves the system as a whole, whereas the production subsystem yields productive outcomes. The maintenance subsystem is concerned with preserving stability and equilibrium in the system, and rewards are provided for membership in the system. The production subsystem is concerned with task requirements and develops a dynamics of proficiency. Extending Katz and Kahn’s conception to the HR function, we suggest that an HR system serves two overarching functions of performance and maintenance in managing HR, and therefore it may evolve into two distinct subsystems: the performance- and maintenance-oriented HR subsystems. We define the performance-oriented subsystem as a set of HR practices that primarily develop HR and provide motivation and opportunities for their productive use. We define the maintenanceoriented subsystem as a set of HR practices that primarily ensures employee well-being and equality and is decided in terms of values that are unrelated to input– output ratios. Similar to Katz and Kahn’s (1978) open systems theory, a maintenance-oriented HR subsystem ensures stability of HR, whereas a performanceoriented HR subsystem promotes the productive potential of such resources. A maintenance-oriented HR subsystem is based on the principle of equality and signals that employees have equal value and rights as members of a firm. The maintenance-performance subsystem typology is consistent with leadership theories that prescribe two primary types of leader behavior: initiating structures (e.g., setting performance standards, evaluating, and rewarding performance) and consideration (e.g., caring about employee well-being, and treating them as equals; Stodgill & Coons, 1951). Firms may design their performance-oriented HR subsystems to promote performance and their maintenance-oriented HR subsystems to protect employee well-being and equality. Performance- and maintenance-oriented HR subsystems play relatively distinct roles in managing the participation and production problems that firms face (March & Simon, 1958). In the work setting, all employees confront two fundamental decisions: the decision to participate and the decision to produce (March & Simon, 1958). The decision to participate determines whether employees choose to continue their membership with the firm; the decision to produce determines whether they work hard and produce as the firm demands (March & Simon, 1958). Although maintenance-oriented HR practices, such as employment security, may induce the employee to stay, performance-oriented HR practices provide motivation and enabling mechanisms (e.g., through training and participation) so that employees can produce as firms demand. We focus on maintenance- and performance-oriented HR practices among middle managers—a core employee group in firms (Lepak & Snell, 2002). Middle managers play a critical role in the formulation and execution of a firm’s strategy (Floyd & Wooldridge, 1992). They serve as the linking pin between top managers and the operating core (D. Wang, Tsui, Zhang, & Ma, 2003). The opening of the Chinese economy (e.g., through World Trade Organization membership) and the continuous strong economic growth in China have created a huge demand for skilled managers (Schafer, 2005). Management education, however, is lagging behind the surging demand for trained managers (J. M. Wang, 2006). Middle managers, therefore, are well-sought-after strategic assets in China. Given the shortage of the strategically important middle managers, how firms manage them through systems of HR practices may have important implications on their bottom lines. Hypotheses Development We propose that the commitment of middle managers serves as the link between systems of HR practices and firm performance on the basis of social exchange theory (e.g., Blau, 1986) and the resource-based theory of the firm (e.g., Barney, 1991). We focus on the affective and continuance commitment of middle managers but not on normative commitment. Conceptually, affective and continuance commitment correspond closely to decisions to produce and to stay (March & Simon, 1958). The strength of the manager’s identification with the goals and values of a firm (i.e., This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. RESEARCH REPORTS 265 affective commitment) leads to a decision to produce, and the low desirability for movement (on the basis of a concern for loss or continuance commitment) leads to the decision to stay (March & Simon, 1958). We exclude normative commitment based on social exchange theory because “. . . [normatively] committed individuals may exhibit certain behaviors not because they have figured that doing so is to their personal benefit, but because they believe that it is the ‘right’ and moral thing to do” (Wiener, 1982, p. 421). Social exchange refers to “actions of individuals that are motivated by the returns they are expected to bring and typically do in fact bring from others” (Blau, 1986, p. 91). Blau (1986) therefore explicitly suggested that it is “preferable to exclude conformity with internalized norms from the purview of the concept of social exchange” (p. 91). tinuance commitment is negatively or unrelated to attendance, task performance, and helping behaviors (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch, & Topolnytsky, 2002). Continuance commitment is also negatively related to supervisor-rated employee promotability and managerial potential (Shore, Barksdale, & Shore, 1995). At the firm level, continuance commitment does not reduce operating expenses (e.g., Angle & Perry, 1981). Overall, we expect that the maintenance-oriented HR subsystem may increase managerial continuance commitment, which may not enhance firm performance. Hence, we hypothesize the following: Maintenance-Oriented HR Subsystem, Continuance Commitment, and Firm Performance Performance-Oriented HR Subsystem, Affective Commitment, and Firm Performance According to social exchange theory, the exchange benefit includes not only tangible goods and services but also capacities to provide socially valued outcomes, such as prestige, approval, status, and recognition (Blau, 1986; Molm, 2001). Exchange parties follow the principles of reciprocity and equivalence (Emerson, 1976; Gouldner, 1960). The exchange domain refers to a class of outcomes of similar nature (i.e., providing similar functions) and is scalable in relative value for the actors in question (Emerson, 1987). The value of an exchange domain varies across occupational groups because these groups have different value systems, and the value system is a critical element in understanding the nature of commitment (H. S. Becker, 1960). The nature of middle managers’ commitment as a repayment to the firm is therefore contingent on the value of the exchange domain, which varies with the intensity of their needs (H. S. Becker, 1960; Gouldner, 1960). The exchange domain associated with the maintenance-oriented HR subsystem offers factors that are relatively low on the preference order of managerial employees (e.g., security and equality; Cohen, 1992; England, 1967; Ronen & Sadan, 1984; Starcevich, 1972) and are thus likely to elicit the lower order continuance commitment (Mayer & Schoorman, 1998). Managers generally have a strong need for power (Winter, 2002), and status equality is unlikely to satisfy this need. The principle of equivalence in social exchange suggests that middle managers may reciprocate the exchange of lower order factors with continuance commitment to ensure stable but not necessarily high quality service for the firm. Research suggests that job security increases continuance commitment (e.g., Mayer & Schoorman, 1998). In China, where employment security and equality are gradually decreasing (Ding & Warner, 2001), discontinuing one’s current membership creates uncertain prospects of regaining such benefits or protection. From the practical standpoint, middle managers may be induced to have a sense of continuance commitment when the employing firm provides basic protections, such as employment security and equality. Continuance commitment “often is assumed to be undesirable, because studies frequently show that it is negatively or unrelated to job performance and citizenship behavior” (Sinclair et al., 2005, p. 1280). Those who stay on the basis of continuance commitment may not have the motivation to work hard to produce for the firm (March & Simon, 1958). Meta-analytic findings reveal that con- Managers tend to attach a greater value to opportunities for self-expression, prestige, challenges, responsibilities, skill development, career advancement, recognition, and a sense of personal importance (Cohen, 1992; England, 1967; Meyer & Allen, 1997; Winter, 2002). These factors are valued by managerial employees in China as well (Hulme, 2006; Melvin, 2001). Managers develop affective commitment to a firm to the extent that it allows them to achieve important goals and to satisfy their primary needs (Angle & Perry, 1981; Meyer & Allen, 1997). A performance-oriented HR subsystem may foster managerial affective commitment through exchange factors that satisfy managers’ primary needs. For example, through participative decision making in teams, a firm offers middle managers opportunities for self-expression and influence, charges them with greater responsibilities, and increases their sense of personal importance. High selectivity conveys recognition and approval of the competence of those being selected. Managers also obtain prestige through association with a selective firm (Blau, 1986). Training constitutes a firm’s investment in middle managers’ skill development (Takeuchi et al., 2007). Career development practices signal a firm’s care for and commitment to middle managers’ futures in the firm. To summarize, the exchange domain associated with the performance-oriented HR subsystem offers factors at the higher preference order of managers. The principle of equivalence would suggest that middle managers are likely to reciprocate such exchange factors with the higher order affective commitment. Affectively committed middle managers represent a valuable, relatively rare, and firm-specific resource that is difficult for competitors to copy and, thus, should enhance firm performance (Barney, 1991). Affectively committed middle managers are valuable because they identify with a firm and its goals—an important factor in the decision to produce for the firm (March & Simon, 1958). Research suggests that affectively committed employees have lower tardiness rates and absenteeism, have higher task performance, and are ready to help others (Meyer et al., 2002; Shore & Wayne, 1993). Affective commitment is also positively related to supervisor-rated promotability and managerial potential (e.g., Shore et al., 1995). At the firm level, affective commitment enhances administrative efficiency and effectiveness (Ostroff, 1992). Hypothesis 1: The maintenance-oriented HR subsystem is positively related to continuance organizational commitment of the middle managers. This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. RESEARCH REPORTS 266 Affectively committed manage ...
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