Why Complementary HRM Practices Impact Performance: The Case Of Rewards, Job Design, And Work Climate In A Knowledge-Sharing Context

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    The strategic HRM literature suggests that HRM influences employees in combinations of practices that “fit” each other rather than as stand-alone practices; however, it pays little attention to the underlying individual-level mechanisms. In contrast, the HRM literature on knowledge sharing examines the influence of single practices on individual-level knowledge sharing, but fails to include the influence of combinations of practices. We link the idea of fit between practices to employee motivation for knowledge sharing by arguing that rewards may be ambiguous and difficult to interpret, but that such ambiguity may be reduced if rewards are combined with other aligned HRM practices, notably job design and work climate. Thus, fit is established through the ambiguity-reducing effect of combining specific HRM practices. Accordingly, we test for complementarities among rewards, job design, and work climate in the form of a three-way interaction among these variables with respect to their impact on knowledge-sharing motivation. Our analysis of 1,523 employees in five knowledge-intensive firms shows that employees who are exposed to knowledge-sharing rewards experience higher levels of autonomous motivation to share when they are simultaneously exposed to a noncontrolling job design and work climate that support knowledge sharing
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHuman Resource Management
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)955–976
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Reward systems
    • Knowledge management
    • Job design

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