• Yiyang Sun

Student thesis: Phd


This study focuses on investigating the existence and application of HPWS in the context of Chinese SMEs, given HPWS have been studied mainly in large enterprises rather than in small and medium-sized enterprises. Moreover, there is an inadequate amount of study with regard to the motivations for enterprises adopting HPWS. Therefore, considering the significant role of SMEs in China practically, and the knowledge contribution to HPWS within this particular research context academically, Chinese SMEs are selected as the research context in which to explore the application of HPWS. In particular, this thesis first assesses the extent and nature of the uptake of HPWS. The influential factors mainly associated with the adoption of HPWS are then discussed. Specifically, factors related to willingness to adopt HPWS, and reasons associated with the different types of application of HPWS are discussed respectively. Finally, related outcomes after the application of HPWS are presented. In order to effectively answer these questions, mixed methods are employed. Precisely, quantitative data from 207 Chinese SMEs, supplemented by qualitative data from 15 SMEs in China, are analysed to answer the above questions. The results demonstrate that HPWS are being adopted by Chinese SMEs. The extent of application is at a moderate level and the nature of the adoption shares something in common with SMEs in western countries but also shows unique characteristics. Moreover, findings suggest that employing management innovation theory as a theoretical underpinning to explain the reasons for the adoption of HPWS seems promising. It turns out that internal factors have more explanatory power than external factors for the adoption of HPWS. In particular, top management support, organisational size, business strategies, perceived impacts of HPWS, and pressures from the business community have been found to be significantly related to the adoption of HPWS. In addition, pressures from national legislation have limited power in explaining the adoption of HPWS. Lastly, related positive outcomes, such as increased productivity, lower turnover rate and enhanced economic performance, can be obtained through the application of either HPWS systematically, or some of its elements individually.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAminu Mamman (Supervisor)

Cite this