Human resource management, employee attitudes and business performance in Post Office Ltd

  • Alan Bourne

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Whilst a consistent link between the adoption of human resource management (HRM) practices by organisations and their performance has been confirmed by numerous studies, there is a need for greater understanding of why such effects occur. Recently, the attention of researchers has shifted towards understanding the so-called ‘black box’ linking HRM and business performance. This study focuses on this area of research by testing processes through which HRM may affect performance, in particular the process of HR implementation, mediation mechanisms, and fit with internal and external boundary conditions. This research was based on a sample of 136 Post Office branches in the UK and investigated the role of HR implementation, employee attitudes and competitive environment. The study revealed that HR implementation, a climate for service, job satisfaction and effective organisational commitment predicted independent measures of economic and service performance in branches. Employee attitudes moderated the relationship between implemented HRM and service performance, and both job satisfaction and commitment were found to mediate relationships between a climate for service and service performance. Finally, relative levels of competition faced by branches moderated the relationship between employee attitudes and sales. The findings demonstrate how the process of HR implementation, interactions with employee attitudes and moderation by external competition all influence the impact of HR systems on service and economic performance outcomes. These results illustrate the need for greater attention to processes of internal and external fit within HRM research in order to develop theory relating to why HR systems affect performance.
Date of Award2007
Original languageEnglish


  • Human resource management
  • employee attitudes
  • business performance
  • Post Office Ltd

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