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?Academy of Management Journal 1996, Vol. 39, No. 4, 779-801.
THE IMPACT OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ON ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE: PROGRESS AND PROSPECTS
BRIAN BECKER State University of New York at Buffalo BARRY GERHART Vanderbilt University
We describe why human resource management (HRM) decisions are likely to have an important and unique influence on organizational performance. Our hopeis that this research forum will help advance research on the link between HRM and organizational performance. We identify key unresolved questions in need of future study and make several suggestions intended to help researchers studying these questions build a more cumulative body of knowledge that will have key implications for both theory and practice.
A rapidly changing economicenvironment, characterized by such phenomena as the globalization and deregulation of markets, changing customer and investor demands, and ever-increasing product-market competition, has become the norm for most organizations. To compete, they must continually improve their performance by reducing costs, innovating products and processes, and improving quality, productivity, and speed to market. With thisSpecial Research Forum on Human Resource Management and Organizational Performance, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of the role of human resource decisions in creating and sustaining organizational performance and competitive advantage. The conceptual and empirical work relevant to this question has progressed far enough to suggest that the role of human resources can be crucial(Arthur, 1994; Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 1991; Huselid, 1995; Huselid & Becker, 1996; Gerhart & Milkovich, 1990; Ichniowski, Shaw, & Prennushi, 1994; MacDuffie, 1995). However, given the importance and complexities of the issue, this body of work is relatively small, and most of the key questions are sorely in need of further attention. We hope that the publication of this special forum will encourageand reinforce interest in this area, as well as
The authors contributed equally and are listed in alphabetical order. We thank Lee Dyer, Mark Huselid, Susan Jackson, Charles Trevor, and Patrick Wright for comments on an earlier version of this article.
Academy of Management Journal
help researchers in their decisions regarding what to study and how to study it. We...