nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2022‒02‒21
ten papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Use of digital technologies for HR management in Germany: Survey evidence By Danilov, Anastasia; Chugunova, Marina
  2. Relational Skills and Corporate Productivity By Leonardo Becchetti; Sara Mancini; Nazaria Solferino
  3. Managers' Risk Preferences and Firm Training Investments By Caliendo, Marco; Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Pfeifer, Harald; Uhlendorff, Arne; Wehner, Caroline
  4. I Won't Make the Same Mistake Again: Burnout History and Job Preferences By Sterkens, Philippe; Baert, Stijn; Moens, Eline; Derous, Eva; Wuyts, Joey
  5. Footsie, yeah! Share prices and worker wellbeing By Alex Bryson; Andrew E. Clark; Colin Green
  6. Can barely winning lead to losing? Evidence for a substantial gender gap in psychological momentum By Mario Lackner; Michael Weichselbaumer
  7. Robots, Digitalization, and Worker Voice By Belloc, Filippo; Burdin, Gabriel; Landini, Fabio
  8. The Economic Implications of Training for Firm Performance By Martins, Pedro S.
  9. The impact of working conditions on mental health: novel evidence from the UK By Belloni, Michele; Carrino, Ludovico; Meschi, Elena
  10. How to reduce discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment in amateur soccer By Robert Dur; Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez; Cornel Nesseler

  1. By: Danilov, Anastasia; Chugunova, Marina
    Abstract: Using a survey with 57 German firms, we evaluate the level of digitalization of the HR management function and document perceived benefits and barriers of technology adoption from organizational and individual users’ perspectives. The results give a reason for optimism. Most of the companies report that the core HR processes are digitized. We do not observe adverse effects of the digital HRM tools on users’ job satisfaction and work stress. Still, more than half of companies do not yet use digital tools for strategic HRM decisions. Respondents appreciate the increased speed and cost-efficiency of digital HRM processes and associate it with a competitive advantage in talent acquisition. The most prominent adoption barriers are lack of qualified professionals, high costs, and uncertainty regarding the legal framework. Moreover, we test if small and medium-sized enterprises differ systematically from larger organizations in how they use digital HRM tools.
    Keywords: digital HRM tools, human resource management, digitalization, artificial intelligence, Germany
    JEL: M12 M15 M50 O33 O52
    Date: 2022–01–14
  2. By: Leonardo Becchetti (CEIS & DEF, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Sara Mancini (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Nazaria Solferino (Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: Based on results of the different fields of the game theoretic literature on strategic interactions and social dilemmas, gift exchange and procedural utility, we argue that corporate social responsibility and relational skills i) with other firms; ii) between employers and workers iii) among workers and iv) with stakeholders are associated to positive effects on productivity. We test our research hypothesis on a large representative sample of Italian firms including the universe of medium and large companies and accounting for 91.3 percent of domestic employees. We find that companies with higher relational skills report significantly higher value added per worker after controlling for relevant concurring factors. More specifically, the identified significant skill related components are: i) corporate policies considering strategic workers’ wellbeing; ii) team working attitudes considered as priority soft skills when hiring workers; iii) initiatives in favour of the productive network operating in the same local area and iv) involvement of stakeholders in CSR projects.
    Keywords: relational skills, corporate productivity, gift exchange, team working
    JEL: L22 L25 L14 J53
    Date: 2022–01–25
  3. By: Caliendo, Marco (University of Potsdam); Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Pfeifer, Harald (BIBB); Uhlendorff, Arne (CREST); Wehner, Caroline (BIBB)
    Abstract: We provide the first estimates of the impact of managers' risk preferences on their training allocation decisions. Our conceptual framework links managers' risk preferences to firms' training decisions through the bonuses they expect to receive. Risk-averse managers are expected to select workers with low turnover risk and invest in specific rather than general training. Empirical evidence supporting these predictions is provided using a novel vignette study embedded in a nationally representative survey of firm managers. Risk-tolerant and risk-averse decision makers have significantly different training preferences. Risk aversion results in increased sensitivity to turnover risk. Managers who are risk-averse offer significantly less general training and, in some cases, are more reluctant to train workers with a history of job mobility. All managers, irrespective of their risk preferences, are sensitive to the investment risk associated with training, avoiding training that is more costly or targets those with less occupational expertise or nearing retirement. This suggests the risks of training are primarily due to the risk that trained workers will leave the firm (turnover risk) rather than the risk that the benefits of training do not outweigh the costs (investment risk).
    Keywords: manager decisions, employee training, risk attitudes, human capital investments
    JEL: J24 D22 D91
    Date: 2022–01
  4. By: Sterkens, Philippe (Ghent University); Baert, Stijn (Ghent University); Moens, Eline (Ghent University); Derous, Eva (Ghent University); Wuyts, Joey (Ghent University)
    Abstract: The existing burnout literature has predominantly focussed on the determinants of burnout, whereas its consequences for individual careers have received little attention. In this study, we investigate whether recently burned-out individuals and persons with a very high risk of clinical burnout differ in job preferences from non-burned-out workers. Moreover, we link these differences in preferences with (1) diverging perceptions of job demands and resources in a job, as well as (2) distinct weighting of such perceptions. To this end, a high-quality sample of 582 employees varying in their history and current risk of burnout judged fictitious job offers with experimentally manipulated characteristics in terms of their willingness to apply as well as perceived job demands and resources. We find that recently burned-out employees appreciate possibilities to telework and fixed feedback relatively more, while being relatively less attracted to opportunities for learning on the job. Moreover, employees with a very high risk of burnout are more attracted to part-time jobs. These findings can be partially explained by differences in the perceived resources offered by jobs.
    Keywords: burnout, labour market, job search, job preference, factorial survey experiment
    JEL: J62 I12 C91 C83
    Date: 2022–01
  5. By: Alex Bryson (UCL - University College of London [London]); Andrew E. Clark (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Colin Green (NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology [Aalesund] - NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: Purpose A small literature has shown that individual wellbeing varies with the price of company stock, but it is unclear whether this is due to wealth effects amongst those holding stock, or more general effects on sentiment, with individuals taking rising stock prices as an indicator of improvements in the economy. The authors contribute to this literature by using two data sets to establish the relationship between share prices on the one hand and worker wellbeing on the other. Design/methodology/approach First, the authors use over 20 years of British panel data to show that employee happiness and job satisfaction moves with share prices among those whose pay is partly determined by company fortunes. The authors then examine share price movements and employee stock holding in a single corporation and provide suggestive evidence that an increase in the firm's stock price increases the well-being of those who belong to its employee share purchase plan (ESPP). These effects are greatest among those making the largest monthly contributions to the program who have the most to gain (or lose) from stock price fluctuations. There is also tentative evidence that the well-being effects of a higher share price are larger for those who hold more shares. Taken together these results suggest that, although stock price movements have little effect on well-being in the population at large, the well-being of those holding stock in their own company rises when the price of that stock is higher, suggesting the effects of share prices work at least partly via changes in wealth. Findings Taken together these results suggest that the wellbeing effects of share prices work at least partly via changes in wealth. Research limitations/implications The authors cannot be certain that the job satisfaction movements they see are causally linked to share plan participation and bonus receipt. Future research might fruitfully examine the mechanisms at play, and whether the effects identified here are linked to differences in employee motivation and effort over the business cycle. Practical implications Firms may wish to consider the appropriateness of linking their workers' pay to firm performance through share plans or profit shares to establish whether this improves worker wellbeing. Social implications The utility of workers may increase where firms offer some compensation via a share plan or profit share. Originality/value The literature suggests a link between share price movements and worker wellbeing, but the reasons for the link are contested. Using two very different data sources, the authors are able to show that share price increases induce higher worker wellbeing, at least in part, through wealth effects.
    Keywords: Job satisfaction,Profit Sharing,Share prices,Worker wellbeing
    Date: 2021–10
  6. By: Mario Lackner; Michael Weichselbaumer
    Abstract: We use data from professional tennis to measure the causal effect of past on current performance for women and men. Identification relies on exogenous shocks to the probability of facing a contested game, which is a previous stage of competition with strong resistance. We find fundamental gender differences: whereas men’s performance is unaffected by previously facing and winning a contested game, women experience a sizeable deterioration of performance after barely winning the previous stage. This result is linked to gender differences in psychological momentum. Detailed analysis reveals heterogeneous effects by experience, ability and contest progression.
    Keywords: performance feedback, relative performance, process feedback, gender differences, psychological momentum.
    JEL: J16 M52
    Date: 2021–12
  7. By: Belloc, Filippo; Burdin, Gabriel; Landini, Fabio
    Abstract: The interplay between labor institutions and the firm-level adoption of new technologies such as robotics and other advanced digital tools remains poorly understood. Using a cross-sectional sample of more than 20000 European establishments, this paper documents a positive association between shop-floor employee representation (ER) and the utilization of these advanced technologies. We extensively dig into the potential mechanisms driving this correlation by exploiting rich information on the de facto role played by ER bodies in relation to well-defined decision areas of management, such as work organization, dismissals, training and working time. In addition, we conduct a quantitative case study using a panel of Italian firms and exploiting size-contingent policy rules governing the operation of ER bodies in the context of a local-randomization regression discontinuity design. The analysis suggests a positive effect of ER on investments in advanced technologies around the firm size cutoff, although the results are sensitive to the type of technology and specification choices. We also document positive effects on training intensity and process innovation and no evidence of employment losses or changes in the composition of employment. Taken together, our findings cast doubts on the idea that ER discourages technology adoption. On the contrary, ER seems to influence work organization and certain workplace practices in ways that may enhance the complementary between labor and new advanced technologies.
    Keywords: Automation,Robots,Digitalization,Unions,Employee Representation,Labor Market Institutions
    JEL: J50 O32 O33
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Martins, Pedro S.
    Abstract: This paper surveys the emerging economics literature on the relationship between employee training and firm performance. Most studies find very high returns to training, at least from the perspective of firms, indicating that the costs of training can be recouped in short periods of time. These results follow from different identification approaches, including randomised control trials. The training provided is typically of a general nature, which is consistent with employers' labour market power. Several areas for future research are also proposed, including the role of labour market institutions in promoting training and the extent to which the productivity effects of training are shared with employees.
    Keywords: Productivity,Skills,Competences,Human Capital,Lifelong Learning,Employment,Public Policy,Programme Evaluation
    JEL: M53 I26 J24
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Belloni, Michele; Carrino, Ludovico; Meschi, Elena
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal impact of working conditions on mental health in the UK, combining new comprehensive longitudinal data on working conditions from the European Working Condition Survey with microdata from the UK Household Longitudinal Survey (Understanding Society). Our empirical strategy accounts for the endogenous sorting of individuals into occupations by including individual fixed effects. It addresses the potential endogeneity of occupational change over time by focusing only on individuals who remain in the same occupation (same ISCO), exploiting the variation in working conditions within each occupation over time. This variation, determined primarily by general macroeconomic conditions, is likely to be exogenous from the individual point of view. Our results indicate that improvements in working conditions have a beneficial, statistically significant, and clinically meaningful impact on depressive symptoms for women. A one standard deviation increase in the skills and discretion index reduces depression score by 2.84 points, which corresponds to approximately 20% of the GHQ score standard deviation, while a one standard deviation increase in working time quality reduces depression score by 0.97 points. The results differ by age: improvements in skills and discretion benefit younger workers (through increases in decision latitude and training) and older workers (through higher cognitive roles), as do improvements in working time quality; changes in work intensity and physical environment affect only younger and older workers, respectively. Each aspect of job quality impacts different dimensions of mental health. Specifically, skills and discretion primarily affect the loss of confidence and anxiety; working time quality impacts anxiety and social dysfunction; work intensity affects the feeling of social dysfunction among young female workers. Finally, we show that improvements in levels of job control (higher skills and discretion) and job demand (lower intensity) lead to greater health benefits, especially for occupations that are inherently characterised by higher job strain.
    Keywords: mental health,working conditions,job demand,job control
    JEL: I1 J24 J28 J81
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Robert Dur (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez (University of Zurich); Cornel Nesseler (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: A rich literature shows that ethnic discrimination is an omnipresent and highly persistent phenomenon. Little is known, however, about how to reduce discrimination. This study reports the results of a large-scale field experiment we ran together with the Norwegian Football Federation. The federation sent an email to a random selection of about 500 amateur soccer coaches, pointing towards the important role that soccer can play in promoting inclusivity and reducing racism in society and calling on the coaches to be open to all interested applicants. Two weeks later, we sent fictitious applications to join an amateur club, using either a nativesounding or a foreign-sounding name, to the same coaches and to a random selection of about 500 coaches who form the control group. In line with earlier research, we find that applications from people with a native-sounding name receive significantly more positive responses than applications from people with a foreign-sounding name. Surprisingly and unintentionally, the email from the federation substantially increased rather than decreased this gap. Our study underlines the importance of running field experiments to check whether well-intended initiatives are effective in reducing discrimination.
    Keywords: ethnic discrimination; intervention; field experiment; correspondence test; amateur soccer.
    JEL: C93 J15 Z2
    Date: 2022–01–24

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