“There’s Many a Slip ‘Twixt the Cup and the Lip”: HR Management Practices and Firm Performance

Lien Vossaert, Frederik Anseel, Veroniek Collewaert, Nicolai J. Foss

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Divergent but complementary perspectives have been articulated regarding how management practices and their implementation influence firm performance. Integrating such perspectives in the human resource (HR) management literature, we examine how HR management practices formulated at firm level interact with HR decisions at lower levels, and how this affects firm performance. HR implementation models have proposed that consistency in HR practices across organizational levels and units is key; conversely, idiosyncratic deals (i-deals) theory advances individualization as a central principle, suggesting that lower-level initiative in making decisions that reflect local circumstances should have beneficial effects. Addressing the interplay between the consistency and individualization perspectives in a sample of 870 employees nested in 36 firms, we present evidence suggesting that individualized HR decisions positively affect firm performance only in the presence of strong firm-level HR practices. This interplay occurs through two mediating social exchange processes: perceived organizational support and perceived distributive justice.
TidsskriftJournal of Management Studies
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)660-694
Antal sider35
StatusUdgivet - maj 2022

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 31 October 2021.


  • Firm performance
  • HR differentiation
  • I-deals
  • Individualized HR
  • Management practices
  • Strategic HR