Organization Management Journal


We offer a conceptual framework that explicates the effect of high-performance work systems (HPWS) on the flexibility of organizational work processes. The flexibility of work processes is conceptualized as the extent to which organizational work routines can be modified by employees to better exploit existing capabilities or be adapted to explore new alternatives. We argue that HPWS directly facilitate individual proactivity, and foster a supportive social structure that further enables individuals to be proactive in modifying their work processes. The proposed model is in response to calls for researchers to consider proximal outcomes related to the use of human resource management (HRM) systems and, more specifically, the need to better understand how HRM systems can enable employees to respond to threats and opportunities. Future research issues are also considered, including recommendations for empirical assessment of how employees modify their work processes.