Different strokes for different folks: Group variation in employee outcomes to human resource management

Kenny Cafferkey, Tony Dundon, Jonathan Winterton, Keith Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Existing research on the relationship between human resources management (HRM) and worker reactions to practices rarely explore differences between occupational classes and their receptiveness to HRM initiatives. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Using data from a single case organization, the authors examine whether HRM practices apply uniformly across distinct occupational groups, and if there are differing impacts by occupational class on commitment, motivation and satisfaction. Findings – Using occupational identity, the results indicate that different groups of employees have varied perceptions of, and reactions to, the same HRM practices. Practical implications – The paper adds that human resource practice application may have a tipping point, after which distinct employee groups require different HR architectural configurations. Social implications – HRM policy and practice may be better tailored to the different specific needs of diverse occupational groups of workers.
Originality/value – The paper argues that existing theory and practice advocating universal or high potential HRM as a route to positive employee outcomes are potentially flawed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Organizational Effectiveness
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2020


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