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HRM and innovation

Corella Slob-Winterink and I did a case study on the relation between HRM and innovation to better understand how HRM can have influence on innovation. The case study is a Dutch technical company, a branch of a German global corporation. It delivers innovative customer solutions in factory automation. The guiding question for the study was ‘Which HRM practices are important to foster innovation and which HRM practices should receive more attention to achieve the company’s innovation ambitions?’ A small questionnaire survey structured along the AMO model (abilities, motivation, opportunities) and complementary interviews were conducted.

The results show that the company’s HRM has most AMO factors in place, but improvements can be made in cross-departmental teamwork based on team targets instead of individual tasks; - more facilitated interactions between teams; - less focus on quantitative performance standards; - more flexible organisational procedures and more employee autonomy. 

What can be learned from the case study, is that a contingency approach is more appropriate than searching for generalizations of the influence of HRM on innovation and that human resource development / organizational development may be more relevant than working with HRM models such as AMO. 

modern Office

Also in the Western Balkans studies were done on HRM and innovation. In 2016 an assessment of business innovation and a plea for a pragmatic ‘everyday innovation’ approach instead of trying to build up a national innovation system – for which countries lack knowledge, skills and funds and a political longer term perspective.

HRM is not well developed in the Western Balkans – also in higher education it is a traditional administrative subject. Through regular studies, Polis University draws attention to the field of HRM. For example, on HRM, Dritan Shutina and I did the study on High performance work practices in Albania.  HRM high performance work practices have considerable potential for Albanian companies.

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