We argue that differentiating HR practices across employees leads employees to compare their situation with colleagues to assess the favourability of HR practice outcomes (e.g. money). These perceptions can be negative (i.e. feeling set back), neutral (i.e. feeling treated the same) or positive (i.e. feeling advantaged). Data from 13,639 Belgian employees showed that perceived favourability of HR practice outcomes is positively associated with affective organisational commitment, but the relationship is attenuated at positive levels. Thus, differentiation may be a double‐edged sword as the losses among employees feeling set back may temper, neutralise or even outweigh the benefits among those feeling advantaged. The relationships found were especially salient for work practices (e.g. autonomy) compared with economic practices (e.g. bonuses). Developmental practices were found to be least suited for differentiation across employees. No evidence of a moderating role of employees’ preference for equality (vs. differentiation) was found.
Human Resource Management Journal – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 2013
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