Title: The HRM practices of innovative knowledge-intensive firms

Authors: Frances Jorgensen; Karen Becker; Judy Matthews

Addresses: CORE – Centre for Organizational Renewal and Evolution, Department of Management, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Haslegaardsvej 10, DK-8210 Aarhus, Denmark. ' School of Management, Faculty of Business, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 4001, Australia. ' School of Management, Faculty of Business, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 4001, Australia

Abstract: There is little research on HRM practices in knowledge-intensive firms (KIFs), especially in comparison to that conducted in traditional production environments. Whether such HRM practices are appropriate for KIFs, particularly ones that differentiate themselves on their ability to innovate, is the basis of this research. The study investigates the HRM practices being used by four innovative firms: two KIFs and two traditional production companies. The findings suggest that there are some similarities between the HRM practices of the case firms, but there are also important differences. Specifically, the KIFs emphasise use of selection criteria and processes that secure a workforce with a desire for challenging work and the ability to work collaboratively. The KIFs are also more likely to provide a breadth of training and development opportunities for teams and individuals, to make extensive use of performance management systems, and to utilise a range of strategies to encourage and reward innovation.

Keywords: human resource management; HRM; knowledge intensive firms; innovative firms; R&D; research and development; production environments; traditional companies; selection criteria; workforce; challenging work; collaborative working; employees; workers; training opportunities; development opportunities; teams; individuals; performance management; rewards; innovation encouragement; medical technology; Denmark; organic brewing; beer; alcohol; computer games; architectural doors; Australia; production firms; HRM practices; innovation management; technology management; innovation enhancement; innovation environments.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2011.042978

International Journal of Technology Management, 2011 Vol.56 No.2/3/4, pp.123 - 137

Published online: 11 Oct 2011 *

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