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The last decade of empirical research on the added value of human resource management (HRM), also known as the HRM and Performance debate, demonstrates evidence that ‘HRM does matter’ (Huselid, 1995; Guest, Michie, Conway and Sheehan, 2003; Wright, Gardner and Moynihan, 2003). Unfortunately, the relationships are often (statistically) weak and the results ambiguous. This paper reviews and attempts to extend the theoretical and methodological issues in the HRM and performance debate. Our aim is to build an agenda for future research in this area. After a brief overview of achievements to date, we proceed with the theoretical and methodological issues related to what constitutes HRM, what is meant by the concept of performance and what is the nature of the link between these two. In the final section, we make a plea for research designs starting from a multidimensional concept of performance, including the perceptions of employees, and building on the premise of HRM systems as an enabling device for a whole range of strategic options. This implies a reversal of the Strategy-HRM linkage.


Suggested Citation
Paauwe, J. & Boselie, P. (2005). HRM and performance: What’s next? (CAHRS Working Paper #05-09). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.