Management Practices and Sustainable Organisational Performance: An Analysis of the European Company Survey

Stefan Speckesser, Annette Cox

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


    This report is based on secondary data analysis of Eurofound’s recent European Company Survey (ECS) 2009. It explores the links between a broad range of workplace practices and sustainable organisational performance, building on the survey report. The report develops a theoretical and analytical framework against which questions from the ECS are mapped and then subjected to a range of multivariate analyses.

    The framework used to explain the link between high-performance work practice (HPWP) and organisational performance is based on the ability, motivation and opportunity (AMO) model. It proposes that HPWPs achieve their results by increasing employees’ discretionary effort.

    Policy context
    Sustainable high-performance work practices have been presented as key to sustaining manufacturing jobs in the face of competition from cheaper labour overseas (Appelbaum et al., 2000), improving the quality of work and for raising general economic performance (Belt and Giles, 2009). In the wake of the global economic crisis, it is also increasingly evident that emerging economies can outperform many European countries in their production of low-value-added goods and services, but equally that there is growing demand for upmarket Western exports from emerging economies. To exploit competitive potential, firms therefore need to be prepared to move up the value chain, but to do so is likely to require approaches to people management that provide workers with higher levels of skills and the ability to unlock their discretionary effort. This is reflected in the European Union’s 2020 strategy, which aspires to ‘smart growth’ based on competitive strategies founded on continuous development of knowledge and innovation, and a commitment to improving competitiveness through higher productivity. Improving the quality and quantity of employment through advancing workplace practices relate closely to these aims. They are necessary to expand the proportion of people who have high-quality employment and to contribute to aspirations for a higher-value-added competitive strategy for European organisations.

    Key findings
    There is consistent evidence across all the results that use of HPWPs are associated with improved performance outcomes for both employees and the workplace.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherEuropean Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)
    Number of pages88
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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