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Workplace Innovation, Employment Relations And HRM: Two Electronics Companies In South Korea

Dong-One Kim, J. Bae
Published 2005 · Economics

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Analysing two electronics companies (unionized LG Electronics and non-union Samsung SDI) in Korea, the present paper investigates the impact of union status on workplace innovations and the effects of workplace innovations on organizational performance. Both case firms are considered highly innovative, model companies in terms of their sophisticated human resource management (HRM) and cooperative employment relations (ER). We first provide a conceptual framework and generate three propositions. The framework is composed of three main components: input, organizational system and output. The major findings include: (1) the adoption of high performance work organizations (HPWO) is highly dependent upon top management and union/employee representatives; (2) the two case firms adopted two different production modes (a team production mode in LG Electronics and a lean production mode in Samsung SDI); and (3) alignment among organizational design and work processes, ER systems and HRM systems would lead to high organizational performance. We also discuss the transferability of HPWO to other cultural settings in a universalism-contingency context.
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