Are High Performance Work Systems applicable to R&D Departments?

Publication, 2012


T. Wallner, M. Menrad, S. Thurner - Are High Performance Work Systems applicable to R&D Departments? - Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference, 17.-20. June 2012, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2012, pp. 1-12


High Road to Innovation approaches in general and High Performance Work Systems (HPWSs) in particular are considered to have great potential to generate sufficient competitive advantage to keep manufacturing domestic despite high labour costs. High Performance Work Practices (HPWPs) comprise of particular management practices like self-managed teamwork, flat hierarchical structures, job rotation, performance related wages or workforce empowerment to create an organisation based on employee involvement. So far, HPWSs have primarily been applied in the context of industrial production work. In this paper we raise the question, whether the principles of HPWSs are also compatible with R&D work and in which form are they in fact applicable to R&D departments. Our preliminary conclusion is, that this question cannot be answered in general, but has to be discussed based on an individual analysis considering the industry and the exploitation vs. exploration orientation of the organizational unit under consideration.