Belsito, Carrie Anne (2008-05). Toward an understanding of the impact of discretion upon the hr-performance link. Doctoral Dissertation.
The field of strategic human resource management attempts to investigate the role and contribution that human resources may provide to organizations. Although various theoretical perspectives have been applied to the field of strategic human resource management, some scholars still label this field as atheoretical. I apply discretion theory to this atheoretical discussion with the expectation that discretion theory will allow a better examination of what may be occurring in the "black box" between human resource practices (i.e. high performance work practices) and organizational outcomes. Specifically, my intent was to determine under what conditions human resource managers might influence the high performance work practices/organizational outcomes relationship. I surveyed dyads consisting of one senior human resource manager and one other human resource employee within various organizations to assess 1) the nature of the human resource practices that each organization employs, 2) the intensity of the senior human resource manager's individual discretion, and 3) the intensity of the organization's contextual discretion. Moderated regression analysis was utilized to test each hypothesis. Upon testing each hypothesis, partial support was found for the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1a: The use of high performance work practices will be negatively related to absenteeism, Hypothesis 1b: The use of high performance work practices will be negatively related to turnover, Hypothesis 2a: The use of high performance work practices will be positively related to ROA, Hypothesis 3b: Individual discretion will moderate the relationship between HPWPs and turnover: specifically, HPWPs will be more strongly related to turnover (i.e. less turnover) when individual discretion is high than when individual discretion is low, and Hypothesis 4a: Individual discretion will moderate the relationship between HPWPs and ROA; specifically, HPWPs will be more strongly related to ROA (i.e. higher levels of ROA) when individual discretion is high than when individual discretion is low. No support was found for Hypotheses 2b, 3a, and 4b. With respect to each of the three-way interaction hypotheses, slope difference tests revealed that none of the slopes for were significantly different from one another, hence no support was provided for Hypotheses 5a-5c, 6a-6c, 7a-7c, and 8a-8c.