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Over the past years, rising bodies of studies have proposed that utilizing a mix or system of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices leads to high organizational and employee performance. Practices such as selective recruitment and hiring procedures, performance-based compensation systems, employee participation as well as training and development are what have been referred to as High Performance Work Systems(HPWS) and emanated from Strategic Human Resource Management study in which researchers have determined the impacts of adopting HPWS on employee performance. Despite the rising collection of proofs indicating the impacts of High Performance Work Systems on employee performance, there exist little proofs or evidences indicating the impacts of adopting High Performance Work Systems on employee performance within the telecommunication sector.  The telecommunication sector is a competitive and capital intensive sector which is composed of organizations that make communication possible on a global scale regardless of whether it is via phone, internet, airwaves, cables ,wires or even wirelessly. These organizations developed systems which allows data in words, voice, audio or video to be disseminated anywhere in the globe. Wireless operators, satellite and cable organizations as well as internet services providers are the largest organizations within this sector (Beers, 2019). Despite the rising interests by most of the telecommunication managers to adopt High Performance Work Systems, research in this distinctive sector of economy still drag behind therefore revealing that there are significant niches in the Human Resource Management literature. It is because of this that this research was carried out so as to determine the impacts of High Performance Work Systems on employee performance using Nepal’s telecommunication sector as the context of study. To realize this objective, a number of hypotheses, research questions as well as other sub-research objectives were formulated. Qualitative methods of data collection perspectives were used in which a questionnaire containing 35 closed-ended questions were distributed among 395 employees who comprises of senior human resource specialist, senior and functional managers, non-managerial and others working in the largest telecommunication industries in Nepal. Semi-structured interviews and secondary sources such as handbooks, annual reports, performance reports, employment policies, journal, websites and newsletters were utilized to add onto the findings.  The results indicated that indeed high performance work systems impact on the employee performance. The findings will be very useful for all the stakeholders including the human resource managers, human resource policy formulators and decision markers, government, and academic institutions.

Research background

Nowadays, human resource management globally has not been easy.  Technological, political, legal, cultural and economic changes couple with globalization are just some of the reasons for the aforementioned difficulty (Farooq, 2015).  Because of these dynamics, the business world has become very competitive thus the need for application of high performance works systems as way of dealing with these problems and increasing workers performance. A number  of researchers such as  Jeevan & Asha(2017), Khan(2013),Appelbaum(2000), Mohammed & Liao(2015), Mahmood et al. (2016), Messersmith et al. ( 2011), Jiang et al. (2013), Chang et al. (2013) as well as the most current Wahid & Ssekasi(2019) have carried out studies to determine how high performance work systems impact employee performance in various sectors of economy. However, none of them despite the most recent one (Wahid & Ssekasi, 2019) have studied impact of high performance work systems within the telecommunication sector. Telecommunication business is not only competitive and capital intensive whereby access to capital is paramount in ensuring the advancement and expansion of a robust network but also one in which management skills, competencies and the capabilities of qualified employees are key drivers in propelling the expansion and sustainability of businesses (Guislain & Qiang, 2006). A single supposition related with High performance work systems is that organization’s workers are the chief source of competitive edges which are difficult to achieve (Oladapo & Onyeaso, 2013). In addition, it is assumed that workers are capable of creating a constant organizational improvement and performance at higher level if they are motivated (Mohammed & Liao, 2015).  Hence, high performance systems have become integral concepts of strategic human resource management in various industries globally regardless of their size especially in this era where competition is very high.  

Research significance

As aforementioned the results of this study will be useful for all stakeholders associated to the field including human resource managers, human resource policy formulators and decision makers, government as well as academic institutions and human resource management scholars. To the managers the study will help to recognize, appreciate and understand the effects of HPWS on employee performance and thus will be able to mobilize resources so as to adopt and apply such systems in their organizations. Additionally the senior managers can used the results of this study to improve their governance skills as well as even adopt more pragmatic management approach.  Human resource policy formulates and decision makers can utilize the findings of this research to formulate policies which promote High Performance Work Systems. Similarly, government agencies and policy makers can also utilize the findings of this research to design and formulate government policies which promote the adoption of HPWS by both private organizations and government organizations and parastatals.

Moreover, this research will also be useful to the stakeholders in education field. Persons responsible for curriculum formulation and development used to educate students could integrate important lessons from this research into the education curriculum. Additionally, human resource management students can also gain knowledge of the methods in which they can run organizations and gain superior employee performance.

Problem statement

Any organizations which need to succeed in a highly competitive environment ought to have specific significant factors of production which promote it to strive towards that very important objective of success. The most significant factor which such success oriented organization ought to have is its human resource or in other words, its workforce. Every organization has the ability of developing itself through motivating and promoting its employees efficiencyOne way of doing that, is through executing the high-performance work systems within their organization. The ability and willingness of the employees to use their skills, creativeness, innovativeness, abilities and knowledge dictate the organization success (Markova & Ford, 2011). Moreover, Cropanzano and Mitchell (2005) claimed that if firms invest in the development of their workforce, they are acting in a constructive and progressive way for the safety and progression of the firm. Motivation is a key tool of achieving such willingness and ability. Employee motivation affects employee performance in that the more the employees get motivated the higher their performances.  Hence in a nutshell, the general problem statement of this study is that high-performance work systems impacts employee performance.
           Purpose statement

With the view of the aforementioned abstract, introduction and research background, the main purpose of this qualitative correlation study is to determine the impacts of High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS) on employee performance within telecommunications industries of Nepal.  To substantiate this key goal, other sub-goals  involved the identification of high-performance work systems’ methods and tactics adopted by the managers within the various telecommunication industries in Nepal, analysis of the skills and  knowledge enhancement of employees through high- performance work systems as well as  the suggestion  of the methods to be utilized so as to improve high employee performance’s   influencing factors for the benefit of future researchers and practitioners, in the telecom industry of Nepal.

Research objectives

As earlier stated, the main objective of this correlation research study was to find out the impacts of high performance work systems on employee performance using Nepal’s telecommunication industries as its context. However, in order to substantiate this main objective as well as achieve it, the following three sub-objectives were also developed:

  1. To identify the methods and tactics adopted by the managers inside various telecommunication industries.
  2. To analyze the skill and knowledge enhancement of employees through high performance work system process.
  3.  To suggest ways to improve the influencing factors to the benefit of future researchers and practitioners, in the telecom industry of Nepal.

Research Questions

In addition, in order to achieve the main objective as well as the above sub-objectives, the below five research questions were also developed:

  1. What are the key factors of HPWS in an organization?
    1. Can HPWS help to maximize better employee performance for better intrinsic and extrinsic incentive?
    1. Are Nepal’s organizations adopting the method of HPWS for employee better performance outcome?
    1. Are employees able to accept the impacts of HPWS?
  2. Research contents
  3. This research is composed of four chapters. Chapter one comprises of short introduction, background of study, significance of research and brief definition and basis of the terms like HPWS, HRM, Employee motivation, self-efficacy and their relationship with employee performance. In addition, the problem statement, research contents and nature of study is also briefly explained in this section. Chapter two is the theoretical and literature review section. In this section, motivation theories and HRM theories, HPWS theories as well as their practices in the organizational setting are explained. Chapter three is about the research methodology in terms of the research hypotheses, research design, sampling, data analysis and results.  Chapter four is the conclusion section where the findings and recommendations on the way high performance work systems has impacted employee performance.
  4. Research methods
  5. It is imperative to mention that this was qualitative research carried out on February 2019. As earlier stated, the study involved the use of questionnaires and semi-structured interview.  The questionnaires were distributed among 395 Nepal’s telecommunication industries employees who composed of senior human resource specialists, senior and functional managers, non-managerial and others. The aim was to understand the ways in which HPWS is carried out in such companies as well as understand the manner in which they impact employee performances of such industries. Things such as motivation of human resource, and high performances theories as well as organizational practices were greatly looked into.  Secondary sources such as handbooks, annual reports, performance reports, employment policies, journal, websites and newsletters were utilized to analyze findings of  high -performance  work systems impacts on employee s’ performance


The initial two chapters have concentrated on the literature review and the theoretical background of high performance work systems as an integral part of Human Resource Management and its impacts on employee performance. As aforementioned, this research study was concentrated on finding out the correlation between high performance work systems and workers’ performance or productivity with different tools of motivation as mediators. Also, apart from the main objectives which was to determine the impacts of high performance work systems on employee performance, the other sub-objectives to build the main objective as earlier stated were to identify the methods and tactics of HPWS adopted by the managers inside various telecommunication industries, to analyze the skill and knowledge enhancement of employees through high performance work system process and to suggest ways to improve the influencing factors to the benefit of future researchers and practitioners, in the telecom industry of Nepal.  This section therefore will focus on the hypotheses.

The hypotheses are developed so as to investigate and clearly examine the main objective of the study which for this case is to determine the impacts of high performance work systems on employee performance in the context of telecommunication industry of Nepal.   Based on the underlying variables, the following three hypotheses were developed.

H1: There is a relationship between High performance work system’s impacts leading to team work of employees.


                                                    Fig 3: Team work as a mediator

H1a:  There is a relationship between HPWS and Team work.

H1b:  There is a relationship between Team Work and Employee Performance.

H1c:  There is a relationship between HPWS and Employee Performance

Initial research indicates that team managers have a unique and consistent duty implementing Human Resource policies in their work groups which may be essential in promoting team performance. By its scope, Human Resource Management deals with the implementation of strategy (Mathis & Jackson, 1985). As per Schuler & MacMillan (1984), immediately after strategy formulation, human resource policies are designed in such a way that it enables the organization to achieve its strategic goals. Human Resource Management adds to improved performance through clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of employees and motivating them to work toward performance goals during strategy implementation (Schuler & Jackson, 1987). Thus, performance may be explicated in terms of the extent to which aspired human resource practices are implemented within the organization. Though high performance work systems at the team level is a worthwhile subject for investigation, only a few empirical studies have examined its effect on work group outcomes (e.g., Lee, Pak, & Kim, 2014; Pak, Kim, & Li, 2015). However, several scholars have asserted that high performance work systems at the team level may be positively related to team performance (TP). For instance, a recent study by Fu, Flood, Bosak, Morris, and O’Regan (2013) suggests that high performance work systems positively influences team formation. Individuals placed on the right team cooperate better with clients, which improves organizational performance. Messersmith, Patel, Lepak, and Gould Williams (2011) reported that high performance work systems are positively associated with collective job satisfaction, commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB). In addition, Takeuchi, Lepak, Wang, and Takeuchi (2007) confirmed that the HPWS-performance relationship is mediated by enhancement of collective human capital and social exchange. Hence, we also hypothesize that the intensity of implementation of HPWS at the team level is positively associated with Team Performance

H2: There is a relationship between High performance work system’s impacts leading to self-efficacy of employees


                                                  Fig 3: Self-Efficacy as a mediator.

H2a:  There is a relationship between HPWS and Self-Efficacy.

H2b:  There is a relationship between Self-Efficacy and Employee Performance.

H2c:  There is a relationship between HPWS and Employee Performance.

A lot of research studies done previously have reported  that there is important relationship between self-efficacy and job performance( Bandura, 1982; Bandura & Adams, 1977; Bandura, Adams & Beyer, 1977; Chambliss & Murray, 1979;Feltz, 1982; Locke, Fredrick, Lee & Bobko, 1984). Moreover, self-efficacy perceptions still forecast high performance even in research studies where efficacy perceptions have been altered.  Bandura (1977a) pinpointed that though active mastery produces the highest rise in self-efficacy, correlations between self-efficacy and performance remain high for non-enactive modes such as modeling.

Furthermore, numerous research studies have determined that self-efficacy is a good forecaster of high performance more than the previous behavior (Bandura, 1977a; Bandura, 1982; Bandura & Adams, 1977; Bandura et al., 1977; Bandura et al., 1980; Chambliss & Murray, 1979). Nonetheless, other studies contradicted this, for example Gist (1987).  Studies conducted by Feltz (1982) provided some evidence that as experience with a task increases, past performance becomes more predictive than self-efficacy.  It needs to be noted that Feltz’s study involved a task in which subjects were unable to observe their performance and no feedback was provided (Gist, 1987).  Under these circumstances self-efficacy may have lacked veridicality. Bandura (1997) and Schunk (1995) confirm the contention that efficacy beliefs mediate the effect of skills or other self-beliefs on subsequent performance attainments.  Researchers have also demonstrated that self-efficacy beliefs influence these attainments by influencing effort, persistence and perseverance (Bandura & Schunk, 1981; Bouffard-Bouchard, 1990; Schunk & Hanson, 1985).

H3: There is a relationship between High performance work system’s impacts leading to employee’s perceived support.


Fig 5: Employee’s Perceived Support as a mediator.

H3a:  There is a relationship between HPWS and Employee’s Perceived Support.

H3b:  There is a relationship between Employee’s Perceived Support and Employee Performance.

H3c:  There is a relationship between HPWS and Employee Performance.

A lot of researches have determined that workers obtain economic gains, status, individual relationship as well as social gains through work (Cropanzano, KacMar & Bozeman, 1995; Halbesleben, 2011). Moreover, employees provide services, skills and energies and anticipate something as result as a reward. Nevertheless, these rewards are not only just limited to monetary gains such as pay but also entail a large variety of social gains. When the workers view that they are not accorded enough economic and non-economic rewards, they become de-motivated and thus does not work hard to achieve the organizational goals, aspirations and intentions. Apart from rewards, workers also anticipate company’s support on what they are daily undertaking. In an evident that the company gives them support, they are motivated and thus enhancing personal and organizational performance with respect to profitability and advancement (Mowday, Porter & Steers, 1982; Zhong, Wayne & Liden, 2016). Employees are actually engaged in a social exchange with the organizations they work in where they put in more efforts with the expectation of high rewards in return of this exchange process. For many years, organizational researchers have described the employment contract in the context of social exchange theory which states that employees’ efforts and loyalty to the organization is contingent on the provision of socio-economic benefits (March & Simon, 1958; Etzioni, 1961; Levinson, 1965; Porter, Steers, Mowday, & Boulian, 1974). This characterization of the employee–organization relationship stresses the fact that organizations’ attainment of desirable outcomes could be possible through the favorable treatment of employees.

According to Meyer and Allen (1997), employees who receive proper and fair treatment from their organizations are more likely to demonstrate more commitment and work beyond the call of explicitly prescribed duties. They also respond with greater flexibility to the problems an organization confronts in uncertain situations (George & Brief, 1992). The notion of organizational commitment and employees’ motivation has attracted considerable attention of both researchers and practitioner as an attempt to understand the stability and intensity of employees’ devotion to their duties in modern organizations. Workplace Support (WS) is one of the key areas which affect employees’’ commitment as well as their motivation (Shore & Shore 1995). Workplace support is employees’ perception about how much their organization provide them support in difficult situations performing various tasks.

3.2 Study variable design

As aforementioned that this study focused on finding the relationship between the high performance work systems and employee performance, a variety of variables were used to ascertain the relationship. The three main variables which were utilized were high performance work systems (independent variable), mediators (team work, self-efficacy and perceived support) and employee performance which were the dependent variable. The other variable which were useful for this study were gender, education level and employees’ working period.

3.3 Research design

As earlier stated, this research study was a qualitative correlation study whose main objective was to find out the impacts of high performance work systems on employee performance.  Hence, the approach of this study was a qualitative in nature. According to Ghauri & Gronhang (2005) a qualitative study approach involves the utilization of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to collect data. It is very significant since it is flexible thus helps in determining the missing parts of unknown. The major focus of this study was to identify that into what depth is HPWS understood and also how much has it been adopted by managers of telecommunication industries in Nepal and majorly about how much it has been able to enhance the skills, abilities and knowledge of employees’ of theses sector. Therefore, the respondents were none other than the employees, line managers and staffs of selected 8 different telecommunication companies of Nepal. The reason behind selecting these 8 companies is that these companies are the fast growing companies both into its service providing manner and also about customer demand and satisfaction way. Hence, the business strategies and also the development strategies of these companies are high compared to remaining telecommunication companies in Nepal which will result into effective result of the study.

The questionnaire was adopted for the process of valid data collection. The questionnaires were the same for all the members of the organization that is same for all line managers, employees and human resource executives. The questionnaires had two sections where the first section had general questioning about the demographics of the employees whose major focus was about their education qualification, age, sex, and tenure in the organization whereas the second section had been divided into further 3 different subsections whose major focus was totally into the research design of the paper. The division was made into 3 subsections here varying upon the independent variable (ID), dependent variable (DV) and the moderators (M) of the research design. Here, employees were given options to select their correct answers using rating scale method which had 5 different dimensions where Likert’s scale ranging from 5 strongly agreed to 1 strongly disagreed. This helped to create very much friendly, easy and effective way of analyzing the accurate result.

3.4 Sampling and Data Collection

The data collection as carried out in total of 8 different leading telecommunication companies of Nepal. To make the sampling survey effective and convenient, questionnaire were developed and distributed among the employees, managers and HR executives. For better understanding and for keeping the belief of secrecy, an attachment of cover letter and also a copy of academic thesis proposal were made available to the HR executives of each company and the staffs who desire to have a look over it. The questionnaire were developed on the basis of the research model which consists of Independent Variable (High performance work system), Dependent variable (Employee performance) and three different moderators (Team work, Self-efficacy, and Employee perceived support) respectively.

Prior of data collection from overall employees, HR executives were asked to assign us any specific department of their firm for the accurate and valid outcome of the survey and major focus were given towards the outcome of the specific department as questionnaires were distributed from departments to departments. All the surveys were conducted in human participation and as per the requirement of the academic thesis survey only.

The sampling were made only in the headquarter of each company as Nepal is very small and developing country and often don’t adopt for more number of staffs and also the major focus of development is made only in the capital city which hence lands managers and HR executives in their headquarter only. A total number of 395 employees including 12 HR executives and 45 line managers were invited to complete the survey. The set of questionnaire were same for all the staffs of the firm. The questionnaire were developed in English language and then interpreted into Nepali (local) language as and when necessary.

The survey questionnaires were distributed among the employees in person and few via HR executives of the firm for the purpose of secrecy. The questionnaire were developed and distributed in around mid of January 2019 and were returned for further work in the end of February 2019.All the relevant telecommunication companies and the one who were willing to participate in the survey analysis were included and the questionnaire were randomly distributed departments to departments among all the eligible employees of the firm.

3.5 Data Analysis and Interpretation

A multivariate data analysis on the collected data was carried out using the SPSS software where the mean, standard deviations, correlations and reliabilities of data were determined using SPSS statistical program.

3.5.1 Overview of Nepal Telecommunication Industry

As earlier mentioned, the telecommunication enterprise is not only a capital-intensive industry where capital is essential in ensuring the advancement and expansion of a robust network but also one where management skills, competencies and the abilities of workers are key in fastening the expansion as well as the sustainability of the enterprise (Guislain & Qiang, 2006). Telecommunication sector is an enjoyable sector to research not just because of its volatility scope with respect to technological advancement as well as its policies but also because of the high development rate of this sector over the previous couple of years as well as the important contributions of this sector to country’s economies. Currently, Nepal telecom sector is made up of six telecom operators and twenty internet services providers.

    The first telecom operator which is the largest with respect to the number of subscribers and market share of about 48% is the Nepal telecom. Ncell is the runners-up with market share of 45% followed by Smart Telecom with a market share of just 5%. However, despite the small market share percentage, Smart Telecom is expanding its mobile network.  The below pie chart illustrates the market share of the various telecommunication companies in Nepal.

                                       Fig1: Market share coverage of telephone operators.

                                  Source: Nepali Telecom 2016.

Statistics reports indicate that the number of internet users in Nepal is immensely rising. In fact based on the recent data, Nepal’s internet penetration reached a whopping 63%.  Moreover, as many individuals are beginning to use services such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Online Games, E-class, E-commerce etc.and a lot of them are installing internet, this percentage is expected to even rise further in a couple of years.  Nonetheless, the main challenge which is very detrimental to this growth is the fact that Nepal does not have a prudent internet service.  The internet connected people utilized influence productivity. However, a lot of individuals do not have adequate time to spend in thoroughly exploring all the available options. Hence, people usually end up making fast and less ideal selections.

                              Fig2: people’s choice for internet service operators.

                              Source: People choice survey February 2018

From this data, it is clear that Nepal has a lot of potential market in expanding the telecommunication services. Therefore, Nepal should bring efficient technologies with enough policies and resources. Furthermore, experienced and skilled human resource personnel ought to be hired in order to manage the business and also formulate and implement the necessary Human Resource Management policies and practices such as the HPWS within concerned organizations.

However, all that said, Nepal’s telecommunication sector is still in developing stage and it has encountered numerous challenges as result of lack of prudent management and trust. In addition, it has encountered a lot of technical and commercial and thus urgently need qualified and experienced human resource managers to implement the financial portfolios as well as correctly manage the capital.  In order to make sure that the human resource managers are in a able to effectively and efficiently apply technologies in their jobs as well as deal with technological dynamics, organizations should have competitive human resource development strategies. 

3.5.2 Questionnaire sample distribution outcomes.

Table 1:

Details of questionnaire distribution

Respondents Total Population Percentage (%) Sample Number Percentage (%)
Employees 339 86% 59 74%
Line Managers 42 11% 18 23%
HR Executives 14 4% 3 4%
Total Staffs 395 100% 80 100%

The investigation was made for the reason of total 80 (20%) non respondents from different department levels of the firm. Varieties of reasons were found out of which few of them were as:

  1. Not present on the day of questionnaire distribution.
  2. Too busy in the work and forget about the same.
  3. Misplaced the questionnaire.

Table 2

Details of Hierarchy data distribution of the respondents

S/N   Sub-position Total Number Percentage
1 Managers a. Telecom administrator 9 21%
b. Telecom communication specialist 4 10%
c. Public affair specialist 5 12%
d. Chief marketing manager 7 17%
e. Concept development manager 9 21%
f. Telecom information specialist 8 19%
TOTAL 42 100%
2 Human resource a. Human resource executive/ manager 9 64%
b. Assistant human resource 5 36%
TOTAL 14 100%
3 Employees a. Administrative department 18 5%
b. Communication department 30 9%
c. Public affairs 20 6%
d. Information tracking department (Record Keeping) 30 9%
e. Media and marketing 45 13%
f. Server analyst 27 8%
g. Sales 33 10%
h. Others (Telecom associate, Front desk,Trainee,Reception desk, Engineer analyst,Informationofficer,Team leader and other lower level staffs) 136 40%
TOTAL 339 100%

By the table above we can see that the managers were divided into 6 different groups. Likewise, for human resource department we can see the total of 14 participants with the division of 2 different subgroups. This shows that the human resource department is still a very small part of the organization and covers only 4% of the total population in 8 different survey companies with the total of 395 surveyors’. Similarly, the highest coverage is under employees with the sub-division of 8 different groups with the coverage of 80% which is quite very common factor in any organization.

Table 3

Details of Distribution by Gender

S.No Gender Managers Percentage (%) Employees Percentage (%)
1 Female 24 43% 203 60%
2 Male 32 57% 136 40%
  Total 56 100% 339 100%

From the gender based data above we can see that most of the managers are male whereas majority of employees are female. Among the managers we found out that females are mainly preferred in the post of human resources rather than male employees.

Table 4

Details of Distribution by Education

S.No. Education Managers Percentage (%) Employees Percentage (%)
1 Vocational 6 11% 46 14%
2 Under Graduate 13 23% 211 62%
3 Post Graduate 30 54% 80 24%
4 Doctorate (others) 7 13% 2 1%
  Total 56 100% 339 100%

The educational background was divided into 4 different groups as Vocational, Undergraduates, Post graduates and Doctorates including other divisions. There were significant outcome in the management as well as employees side regarding the same.

Table 5

Details of Distribution by Working Period

Working Period Managers Percentage (%) Employees Percentage (%)
Less than 3 years 7 13% 125 37%
3 to 5 years 9 16% 116 34%
5 to 8 years 20 36% 56 17%
8 to 10 years 8 14% 22 6%
10 years and above 12 21% 20 6%
Total 56 100% 339 100%

The above table shows that working period for managers is 21% for more than 10 years where as that of employees is only 6%. This directly shows that there is high rate of job switch among employees than compared to managers which is the central problem of this study.

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