ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (7): 1091-1106.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.01091

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The potential mechanisms involved in the negative effect of high performance work system

SUN Jianmin1,2; WANG Honglei1   

  1. (1 School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China) (2 Leadership Research Center, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)
  • Received:2015-11-02 Online:2016-07-15 Published:2016-07-15
  • Contact: SUN Jianmin, E-mail:


High performance work system (HPWS) is a set of human resource practices that designed to improve organizational performance, which has attracted widespread attention over recent decades. Existing research, however, revealed that the system had also brought negative effect apart from the positive outcomes. This paper clarified the conceptualization of HPWS and analyzed the causes for the negative effect from perspectives of management philosophy and measurement techniques. Differences of the impact of HPWS on organization and individual employees were analyzed and the sources of negative effect from pluralistic perspectives were presented. Building on the Job Demand-Resources model, Self-Determination Theory, Attribution Theory and the Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing effect, we explicated the underlying mechanisms that HPWS exerts negative impact on employees and proposed the boundary conditions at both individual and organizational levels. Finally, implications and suggestions for future research were discussed.

Key words: high performance work system, negative effect, underlying mechanisms, boundary conditions