A theory-based analysis of null causality between HRM practices and outcomes: Evidence from four-wave longitudinal data

Ogbonnaya, Chidiebere, Daniels, Kevin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8620-886X, Messersmith, Jake and Rofcanin, Yasin (2023) A theory-based analysis of null causality between HRM practices and outcomes: Evidence from four-wave longitudinal data. Journal of Management Studies, 60 (6). pp. 1448-1484. ISSN 0022-2380

[thumbnail of HRM and outcomes accepted]
PDF (HRM and outcomes accepted) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (561kB) | Preview


The last three decades have seen a growing interest in understanding the influence of human resource management (HRM) practices on employee job satisfaction and organizational performance. While the results have been generally positive, most studies have utilized cross-sectional research designs, which limit causal inferences. Recently, several studies have used longitudinal data but have not consistently found significant causal links between HRM practices and outcomes after controlling for past outcomes. This points to a tension in the literature that merits further investigation. Drawing on general systems theory (GST), we explore this issue by proposing and testing a set of null causal relationships involving HRM practices, organizational performance (i.e., patient satisfaction), and job satisfaction. We show that average scores on HRM practices and outcomes remain relatively stable at the organizational level over time, such that any observed within-organization change is likely negligible or non-significant. Using four-wave longitudinal data (with two, four, and six-year time lags) from the public healthcare sector, we argue that the causal links between HRM practices and outcomes are indeed sensitive to the forces of dynamic equilibrium operating within a highly institutionalized context. We use GST to highlight the self-sustaining nature of HRM systems and discuss the ramifications of this stability for strategic HRM research and practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work is part of the Work, Learning and Wellbeing programme of the What Works Wellbeing Centre (www.whatworkswellbeing.org). We acknowledge the support of our funding partners, administered through Economic and Social Research Council Grant ES/N003586/1. The data used in this paper are publicly available to download from NHS websites.
Uncontrolled Keywords: hrm practices,organizational performance,job satisfaction,lag effects,reverse causality,null causality,reverse causality,lag effects,null causality,job satisfaction,organizational performance,organizational behavior and human resource management,management of technology and innovation,business and international management,strategy and management,sdg 8 - decent work and economic growth,sdg 3 - good health and well-being,4*,highly respected journal, heavily refereed,innovative methods,novel theoretical perspective ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400/1407
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Employment Systems and Institutions
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 09:32
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 09:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/89197
DOI: 10.1111/joms.12881

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item