HRM effectivity in small and medium-sized enterprises: a multiple cross-case study of Pakistani and Dutch SMEs

M.A. Rauf

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This study presents an investigation conducted on HRM within SMEs to determine HRM effectivity in both the readymade garments manufacturers and exporters industry of Lahore, Pakistan, and SMEs from multiple industries in the Netherlands. This study has attempted to contribute to contemporary research with regard to how HRM alignment and HRM effectivity in SMEs can best be measured. This is done by investigating SME’s HR practices to measure HRM alignments and HRM outcomes in order to determine the level of HRM effectivity in SMEs. This study used competing values, contingency, configurational and role behavioural theory to develop and design the conceptual framework to measure the impact of HR practices in SMEs. A multiple cross-case study research strategy was opted that allowed comprehensive details to be collected. The main purpose of the present study was: to investigate if well-aligned HRM systems make HRM in SMEs effective in the context of a developing country, namely Pakistan Regarding the main research question results confirm that; a) better HRM alignment plays a pivotal role for HRM effectivity within SMEs in a developing country context. b) the four archetypal framework appears to be promising in measuring HR policies and practices within the so-called complex HRM territory of SMEs. This method of measuring HRM within SMEs provides useful findings through four archetypes (quality enhancement, collaboration, market and compliance) without adding any more jargon such as ‘bleak-house’ ‘HRM is complex’ or ‘small is beautiful’. c) HRM within SMEs appears to show diversity in their HR policies and practices. There are clearly firms with well-formulated HR policies and practices and firms with hardly any systematic set of HR practices. In reality, HRM in SMEs do not appear to be as ad hoc, bleak-house or informal as generally suggested, but, rather, a logically shaped series of actions to fulfil HRM requirements efficiently and effectively. HRM in SMEs is intelligently crafted, although with varying level of quality linked to education, experience and HR knowledge of their owner/managers among SMEs.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Looise, Jan C., Supervisor
  • Looise, J.C., Supervisor, External person
Award date2 Sep 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-94-6203-870-7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2015


  • METIS-311240
  • IR-96835

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