One adopt a culture and practices of High

One of the most comprehensive definitions of High
Performance Working (HPW) has been established by the UK Commission for
Employment and Skills, which defines HPW as “a general approach to managing
organisations that aims to stimulate more effective employee involvement and
commitment in order to achieve high levels of performance” (Cameron, 2011). Furthermore, High
Performance Work Systems (HPWS), are best defined as “generally associated with
workshop practices that raise the level of trust within workplaces and increase
workers intrinsic reward from work, thereby enhancing organisational
commitment” (Appelbaum, et al., 2000).

Companies which adopt a culture and practices of High
Performance working are more likely to unlock discretionary effort and talent
from their human capital. These systems of work encourage increased trust and
innovation within the organisation and also facilitate risk taking, which is
essential in growing a progressive organisation. Although HPW and HPWS can be
defined comprehensively, it is important to highlight that these systems and
ways of working are achievable only through a bundle of Human Resource
practices. Although no particular list of practices have been identified as being
essential in forming the ‘bundle’ which is critical to a HPWS, Sung and Ashton
(2005) have identified the three broad areas which, in combination, represent key
dimensions of these systems. The key towards high performance working, is in acknowledging
that it is only through people that an organisations performance can be maximised.

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Figure 1 Key Dimensions of a HPWS (Sung & Ashton, 2005)


For this report, four concepts and components will be
analysed, namely leadership and strategy, reward and recognition, learning and
development, and employee involvement.

Leadership refers to the “capacity to
inspire individuals to give their best to achieve a desired result” whereas strategy
is “a declaration of intent; where you want to go and how you mean to get there”
(Armstrong, 2009).


Reward and recognition

Learning and development

Employee involvement