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Title: A critical realist approach to understanding the human resource management practices-organizational financial performance link : evidence from Nigeria's petroleum sector
Author: Ukpai, Ukpai Iro
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 5706
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2019
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Existing research on the HRM-P link has been unable to establish whether or not an HRM-P `link´ exists. Research reviewers have given factors such as inadequate theory, weak research design, and inappropriate methodology as responsible for the research problem. I argue that at the root of the problem is (a) a lack of theory underpinning research in the area, coupled with (b) a neglect of meta-theory. To overcome this, I integrate theories that may contribute to an explanation of the HRM-P `link´, and a meta-theory that might help gain some methodological clarity apropos data collection and data analysis. I argue for an alternative approach - a Critical Realist approach to solving the problem. Drawing mainly on Institutional approaches (comprising modified versions of Transaction Cost Economics theory, Social Exchange theory, Organisational Support theory, and the Resource-Based view; and Institutional theory) whose components constitute a newly developed integrated theoretical framework, I conduct empirical research to answer two questions, simply put: Is there a HRM-P `link´? ; If yes, what causal mechanisms mediate the link? Based then on a Critical Realist descriptive and interpretive crosssectional qualitative case study research design, survey data was collected by administering questionnaires on and interviewing employees and managers in a case study of three Nigeria-based petroleum companies with service capabilities. Data was analysed using an integration of existing Critical Realist data analysis frameworks with the core elements of a classical Grounded Theory data analysis technique. The empirical research finds that there is a HRM-P `link´, highlighting that human resource practices (HRPs) causally tend to influence organisational financial performance (OFP) and other HR outcomes. The causal mechanisms found operating to establish this `link´ are eight mediating mechanisms combining and interpenetrating one another, stimulating the perceptions and emotions of human actors (starting from employees but also influencing managers and clients). These empirical findings are at variance with extant research which suggests that a system of HR practices (SHRP) influences employees through a single-path influence on their skills and motivation and on organisational structures or through only employees' perceived organisational support. Contributions to HR management practice and theory and future research directions are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral