Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Women's participation in high performance work practices: a comparative analysis of Portugal and Spain

Ferreira, Pedro and Porto, Nelida and Portela, Marta (2010): Women's participation in high performance work practices: a comparative analysis of Portugal and Spain.

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Abstract

High-performance work systems (HPWS) can be seen as a set of new forms of work organization combined with flexible human resources (HR) practices that enhance organizational performance through employee involvement and empowerment. Although in the past two decades much research has been conducted on the effects that high-performance work practices can have on organizations, there is still much to know about the ideal conditions for the adoption of such practices. According to some research, there are organizational and employees’ determinants that can influence the adoption of high-performance work practices. On the other hand, gender, as an employee characteristic has not been much considered. However, according to the literature, female employees may be less likely to participate in HPWS (Heywood & Jirjahn, 2002). Women tend to have a greater need for flexible working conditions, such as part-time jobs or flexibility between work and home. This can lead to shorter tenure and less complex tasks, but also to more individualized job functions, which mean that workers with these kind of profile have less probability of making part of teams, a fundamental feature of HPWS. The main goal of this paper is to understand how employees’ characteristics can influence the adoption of high-performance work practices. Specifically, it will be given special attention to gender as a potential determinant of participation in HPWS. To accomplish this goal, we frame the debate in recent research on HPWS that include employees’ characteristics and then follow to an analysis of Portugal and Spain, using data from the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).

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