Human capital resources, human resource management policies, and employee perceptions: An investigation of young professionals in the banking sector of Pakistan

Student thesis: Phd


Situated within the human resource management and performance (HRM-P) link literature, this thesis explores the ‘black box’ of the mechanisms that link HRM practices and performance. By doing so, it sheds light on how and why HRM practices can lead to superior firm performance. Heeding calls for more nuanced and contextual work on understanding this link, this study uses qualitative responses from 79 industry experts, HR/senior managers, and young professionals, as well as artefacts and documents, to analyse the causal mechanisms that connect HRM policies, aimed at human capital resource (HCR) accumulation, to employee outcomes in five banking organizations in Pakistan. Using the strength of HR process conceptualization and the process model of HR, the thesis looks at the entire chain that connects intended, actual, and perceived HR policies to understand why HR managers’ and young professionals’ perceptions of both the content and the process of HR implementation varies, and how this is connected with the employee outcomes of turnover intentions and job satisfaction. The first set of findings reveals that there is considerable difference in how the quality of the content of HR systems is perceived from the point of view of young professionals in comparison with HR practitioners. Young professionals have strong negative perceptions of HR policies related to their long-term career development, which is explained in part by the incongruence and the lack of focus of HR on the goal of HCR accumulation. The second set of findings show that there are several processual factors that help to explain these varying perceptions, which dilute the implementation of HR practices. The analysis reveals that the competency of HR departments, the role of line managers, elements of the Pakistani culture, and the role of top management shape the quality of the HR system that is implemented. Connecting this to employee outcomes, the analysis reveals that the link between HR and performance is not straightforward; this helps to explain the moderate statistical effects noted in the extant HRM-P link research. Employee reactions are more related to their personal circumstances and other organizational factors rather than HR factors. The third set of findings expands the analysis to individual contexts of the five banks, further revealing that the mission of the organization, the presence of a strong HR leader, external economic factors, and the historical legacy of the organisation also shapes employee perceptions and, thus the effectiveness of HR policies and their implementation. The thesis makes a theoretical contribution to the HRM-P link literature by revealing that the competitive advantage that stems, in part, from the actions of HR departments derives from how well they navigate the various processual factors that can impede HR system implementation. It makes a methodological contribution by responding to calls for more in-depth qualitative research on the phenomenon, by using a specific segment of employees within the under-represented context of Pakistan. It makes a practical contribution by highlighting that many western prescriptions, such as talent management and bell curves, may be less effective if prevailing cultural constraints are not accounted for, especially in developing countries like Pakistan. Existing HRM-P link studies have not adequately considered these contextual and cultural factors in their analyses.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorStefan Zagelmeyer (Supervisor) & Matthew Allen (Supervisor)


  • Pakistan
  • Human Capital Resources
  • HR Implementation Process
  • Qualitative Research
  • Human Resource Management and Performance Link (HRM-P Link)
  • Process Model of HR

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