An Analysis of High Performance Work Systems within Intellectual Disability Care Centres in Ireland: Operations and Outcomes.
1 12 Berkery, E., Tiernan, S., Armstrong, C.
Department of Management and Marketing, Kemmy Business School, University of 1Limerick
Department of Personnel and Employment Relations, Kemmy Business School, 2University of Limerick
Background and Rationale
The key to the effectiveness of any organisation is its employees. This is particularly true in the case of the Intellectual Disability Care Sector in Ireland, where services are fundamentally reliant on the interaction between service users and service providers. The low level of technical intervention in Intellectual Disability Care (IDC) Centres contributes to the importance of the quality of service delivered by service providers. Since the early 1990’s the number of organisations implementing High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) has increased enormously, mainly in manufacturing and production industries. The benefits of implementing such practices (mainly increased performance, increased employee satisfaction, reduced employee turnover and increased employee commitment) have been documented in the literature mainly in the UK and the US.
Similar to other organisations, IDC Centres are concerned with maximising effectiveness through the adoption of appropriate management policies and practices. 1 Preuss (2003)argues that ‘high performance’ human resource systems can reduce
costs as they promote effective information processing and decision-making in 1environments where this is critical. Preuss (2003) also notes that HPWS have found
favour among practitioners as a tool to improve organisational performance and employee outcomes, for example, greater job satisfaction and lower job stress.
2West et al (2006) highlight that unlike many other sectors, little research has examined and identified the management policies and practices that promote effectiveness in health sector settings. The vast majority of studies have been conducted in manufacturing settings, thus limiting the potential for generalised 3findings. Within the Irish context Ennis and Harrington (1999) have also identified a
lack of information concerning quality initiatives within Irish healthcare organisations.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the extent to which HPWS are implemented within Intellectual Disability Care (IDC) Centres in Ireland, and to assess the operational impacts of these systems. To date a number of benefits associated with HPWS have been documented in the UK and US literature, mainly at the organisational and employee level. This research proposes to examine the effects of implementing HPWS at four different levels, (1) organisational level, (2) team level, (3) employee level and (4) service user level.
Assessing the effects of HPWS at the four different levels will allow for a more comprehensive insight into the effects of implementing HPWS, and ultimately the impact on the quality of care offered to patients within IDC Centres in Ireland.
Prior to compiling and administering surveys, focus groups and informal interviews will be held with employees from the Intellectual Disability Sector. The initial survey will help create an industry-wide snap shot, with the aim of identifying practices which are followed within each IDC centre. Each IDC centre will subsequently be ranked on a continuum from 0 (no HPWS) to 100 (all HPWS outlined in survey), identifying HPWS at organisation level. IDC centres categorised in the first quartile and the fourth quartile will become the focus for research at team, employee and service user level. Choosing the first quartile and the fourth quartile will allow for comparisons to be drawn between centres that adopt a high level of HPWS against organisations that adopt a low level of HPWS.
Once completed surveys have been analysed a detailed report will be compiled outlining the following:
1. The extent to which HPWS are implemented within IDC Centres in Ireland
2. The correlation between the implementation of HPWS and the quality of care
provided in IDC centres
3. A detailed list of performance measures that can be used within IDC Centres
4. The effects HPWS can have on individuals and teams within IDC Centres
5. The overall effects of HPWS within IDC Centres
6. The overall employee reactions to HPWS, for example effects on motivation,
job satisfaction, employee commitment and employee involvement
1. Preuss, G.A. High Performance Work Systems and Organisation Outcomes:
The Mediating Role of Information Quality. Industrial and Labour Relations
Review. 2003: 56 (4): 590-605.
2. West, M.A., Guithrie, J.P., Dawson, J.F., Borrill, C.S., Carter, M. Reducing
Patient Mortality in Hospitals: The Role of Human Resource Management.
Journal of Organisational Behaviour. 2006: 27 (1): 1-20.
3. Ennis, K., Harrington, D. Quality Management in Irish Health Care.
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance. 1999: 12 (6):232-243