Purpose – Drawing on social exchange theory, prior research suggests that the adoption of human resources (HR) practices in the areas of training and development helps to maximize employees’ positive work attitudes. However, while research has generally assumed that HR practices influence all employees in the same way, there is much evidence that employees’ motives and needs change with age, suggesting that older workers may react differently to the same HR practices as compared to younger colleagues. This study seeks to shed light on this important and under-explored issue, analyzing whether the effect of HR development practices on job satisfaction (JS) and affective commitment is moderated by age in a sample of 37 companies located in Italy, involving a total of 6,182 employees. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Applying a multilevel approach, the results confirm a positive influence of HR development practices in increasing JS and affective commitment and show that this positive relationship weakens with age. Findings – Indeed, HR development practices were associated with lower JS and affective commitment for the oldest employees. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed suggesting the need to attribute greater consideration to age diversity when tailoring HR practices to improve their effect on employees’ positive work attitudes. Originality/value – At the theoretical level, the paper contributes to the HRM literature debate, as the role of intervening variables – such as age – in the relationship between HR practices and employees’ attitudes is still an open issue. At the methodological level, the paper tested the hypotheses using a multilevel regression model. The paper combined data at individual and the organizational levels and adopted a multilevel approach in order to provide a better understanding of the way age can moderate the HRM-employee attitudes relationship.

Age as moderator in the relationship between HR development practices and employees’ positive attitudes

SAMMARRA, ALESSIA
2013

Abstract

Purpose – Drawing on social exchange theory, prior research suggests that the adoption of human resources (HR) practices in the areas of training and development helps to maximize employees’ positive work attitudes. However, while research has generally assumed that HR practices influence all employees in the same way, there is much evidence that employees’ motives and needs change with age, suggesting that older workers may react differently to the same HR practices as compared to younger colleagues. This study seeks to shed light on this important and under-explored issue, analyzing whether the effect of HR development practices on job satisfaction (JS) and affective commitment is moderated by age in a sample of 37 companies located in Italy, involving a total of 6,182 employees. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Applying a multilevel approach, the results confirm a positive influence of HR development practices in increasing JS and affective commitment and show that this positive relationship weakens with age. Findings – Indeed, HR development practices were associated with lower JS and affective commitment for the oldest employees. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed suggesting the need to attribute greater consideration to age diversity when tailoring HR practices to improve their effect on employees’ positive work attitudes. Originality/value – At the theoretical level, the paper contributes to the HRM literature debate, as the role of intervening variables – such as age – in the relationship between HR practices and employees’ attitudes is still an open issue. At the methodological level, the paper tested the hypotheses using a multilevel regression model. The paper combined data at individual and the organizational levels and adopted a multilevel approach in order to provide a better understanding of the way age can moderate the HRM-employee attitudes relationship.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/16451
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