Background and Rationale
The examination of the efficiency of the Human Resource Management (HRM) policy designed according to the Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) configurational perspective is an important step in discussing how associated HRM practices can be used to promote employee retention. The discussion of applying the specifically designed HRM policy in the public sector of Qatar can become a significant contribution to the research literature on the topic. Therefore, the systematic literature review should be conducted to identify the studies associated with the previous discussions of the problem, limit the possible bias and repetitions in the research, and summarise the review results to identify the possible gap in the existing literature (Kitchenham et al. 2009; Parris & Peachey 2013). The results of the systematic review of studies in the field of HRM that are focused on the adoption of the HRM policy based on the SHRM perspectives are presented in this paper.
The research question to answer with the help of this systematic literature review is whether or not the previous studies discussed the HRM policy designed according to the SHRM configurational perspective as applied primarily to the public sector. The sub-questions to answer are whether such studies were conducted in the context of Qatar’s public sector and whether such studies were related to the issue of employee retention in the public sector.
The objectives of the systematic literature review are the following ones:
- To select and review the literature related to the application of the HRM policy designed according to the SHRM configurational perspective in the public sector of different countries.
- To select and review the literature related to the application of the HRM policy designed according to any SHRM perspective in any sector of different countries to cover and compare all related studies.
- To identify the relevant literature discussing the HRM policy implementation in the public sector of Qatar, associated or not with the SHRM configurational perspective.
- To analyse the collected evidence in terms of effectiveness of the HRM policy to promote employee retention.
- To analyse the collected evidence in terms of absence or presence of the gap in the HRM literature on the discussed topic of applying HRM policies developed according to the SHRM configurational perspective in the public sector.
It is important to describe inclusion and exclusion criteria that were used in the search to guarantee the selection of only relevant studies for further review.
- Articles for the review should discuss the application of the HRM policy designed according to the SHRM configurational perspective in the public sector, application of the HRM policy designed according to any SHRM perspective in the public sector, application of the HRM policy designed according to any SHRM perspective in any sector.
- Articles should discuss the application of the HRM policy according to the SHRM configurational perspective in Qatar’s public sector, application of the HRM policy according to any SHRM perspective in Qatar’s public sector, application of the HRM policy according to any SHRM perspective in Qatar’s any sector.
- Articles should discuss the HRM policy related to influencing employee retention.
- Studies published during the period of 2006-2016 are selected for the review.
The rationale for using the wide inclusion criteria is to provide the researcher with possibilities to identify the possible gap in the HRM literature related to examining the efficacy of HRM policy designed according to the SHRM configurational perspective in relation to employee retention in Qatar’s public sector.
- Articles published earlier than 2006.
- Articles published in non-reputable journals.
Such databases as EBSCOHost, ProQuest, Science Direct and Emerald Insight were selected for searching. During the first stage, the search was limited to include articles published in such journals as the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, Human Resource Management, Personnel Review, and Journal of Human Resource Management in 2006-2016 years. Combinations of such keywords as “HRM policy,” “SHRM perspective,” “SHRM configurational perspective,” “employee retention,” “public sector,” and “Qatar” were used to guide the search. During the second stage, the same strategy was used, but journals also included Academy Management Journal, Human Resource Management Review, and other reputable journals related to the sphere of management and administration of the personnel.
Studies Selection and Assessment Process
During the first stage, 187 studies were retrieved. The articles’ titles and abstracts were reviewed and assessed according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the presence of aims, research questions, results, and data analysis relevant to the review. 19 articles were selected for further review. During the second stage, 316 studies were retrieved. 33 articles were selected for further review according to the mentioned procedure.
From the selected studies, the data to be collected are presented in the following items:
- The authors’ names.
- The date of publication.
- The country where the study was conducted.
- The study methodology.
- The purpose and findings.
- The economic or industry sector (public, semi-public, private).
- The SHRM perspective.
- The relation to the employee retention problem.
All sections of the selected articles are reviewed to extract the required data and complete the table synthesising the results of the systematic literature review.
Results and Data Synthesis
The thematic analysis of the extracted data was used to summarise the information related to the application of the HRM policy designed according to SHRM perspectives in the public sector of different countries. Table 1 in Appendix A provides the summary and synthesis of features related to the discussed research question that was extracted from the reviewed articles. It was found that 28 studies presented the analysis of HRM policy designed according to different SHRM approaches, but they did not reflect the other points under discussion. Ten studies presented the discussion of the implementation of the HRM policy in the public sector. Eleven studies discussed the relationship between HRM practices and retention. Finally, only five studies referred to Qatar as the setting for implementing HRM policy and practices without relation to the public sector.
The review of the literature identified several groups or categories according to which it is possible to divide the examined researches, as well as analyse how they discuss the HRM policy designed according to SHRM perspectives applied to different economic or industry sectors, with the particular focus on the public sector, and how they are related to the aspect of the employee retention.
Application of HRM Policy Designed according to the SHRM Perspectives
No studies were found that could discuss all the aspects covered in the research question in terms of relating to the HRM policy, SHRM configurational perspective, employee retention, and public sector. Therefore, the researchers discussing the application of the HRM policies according to different SHRM perspectives were analysed. Karanja (2013) examined the application of HRM policy and practices according to the SHRM configurational approach in Kenya Industrial Estates but focused more on the effect on organisational performance rather than employee retention. Subramony (2009) discussed the advantages of applying HRM practices according to the configurational approach in US organisations. Akingbola (2006) referred to the SHRM in Canadian non-profit organisations, and Raymond et al. (2010) discussed the application of HRM practices based on the configurational approach in the Canadian SMEs. Som (2007) examined the adoption of HRM practices designed according to the “bundle” approach in Indian organisations. Ridder, Baluch, and Piening (2012) also explored the application of bundled HRM practices in their study, and they focused on non-profit organisations, but they were not related to the public sector. Still, the number of studies discussing the configurational approach as the basis for the HRM policy is rather small while paying into account the other researches in the field.
The SHRM perspectives other than the configurational one are actively discussed in the reviewed studies. The application of the HRM policy and practices based on the contingency or “best fit” approach was discussed in studies by Cunningham and Kempling (2011) and Akingbola (2013), who focused on the public and non-profit organisations, but their studies were limited in terms of relating to the employee retention factor. The universalistic perspective was discussed in the studies by Hamid (2013), who focused on the Tunisian firms, Beh and Loo (2013), and Akhtar, Ding, and Ge (2008).
However, it is also important to pay attention to the fact that the review indicates that there is also a tendency of discussing the basis for the HRM policy relating to the SHRM approach only generally. Thus, Collins and Smith (2006) and Bao and Analoui (2011) mentioned only the fact of using the SHRM perspectives for the development of effective HRM practices, but they do not state what perspective was applied in the concrete case. Aladwan, Bhanugopan, and Fish (2014) focused on the examination of HRM practices in the Jordanian organisations, and Saddam and Abu Mansor (2015) concentrated on the HRM in the Iraqi oil and gas sector, but the researchers failed to effectively explain the link between the HRM practices, SHRM perspective, and the employee retention.
The studies by Arthur and Boyles (2007), Fiss (2007), Pourkiani et al. (2011), Waiganjo, Mukulu, and Kahiri, (2012), Garcia-Carbonell, Martin-Alcazar, and Sanchez-Gardey (2014), and Trehan and Setia (2014) tend to discuss the use of SHRM perspectives in organisations mainly focusing on the theoretical implications. The practice of applying the HRM policy based on different SHRM approaches was also discussed in other studies conducted over the globe (Al-Raggad 2014; Collings & Mellahi 2009; Krishnan & Singh 2006; Shih, Chiang & Hsu 2006; Tessema & Soeters 2006; Uysal 2014; Zheng et al. 2007). However, these studies do not address the application of the policy in the public sector, and they are only indirectly related to the discussion of the employee retention factor. The review of the literature indicates that the SHRM perspectives are actively discussed in the management literature to support the implementation of certain HRM policies and practices, but references to the configurational or bundle approach are rare, as well as the association of the applied HRM practices with the employee retention.
HRM Policy Implementation in the Public Sector
One of the main focuses of the review was the examination of studies that discussed how the HRM policy was implemented in public sector organisations. As it was rather problematic to retrieve the studies discussing only the HRM policy based on the SHRM configurational perspective, all SHRM approaches are discussed in this section. In their research, Gheitani and Safari (2013) examined the application of the SHRM approaches in the public sector of Iran, and Arshad, Azhar, and Khawaja (2014) focused on examining the HRM strategy in the Pakistani public institutions. These studies indicate that HRM policies are actively implemented in the public sector organisations, and these policies can be supported by different SHRM approaches, but the reviewed studies did not demonstrate the prevalence of using the configurational approach or references of the HRM practices to the employee retention. In most cases, the HRM policy is implemented in the public sector organisation to promote the commitment and increase the performance when changes in the retention can be discussed as the indirect effect (Loshali & Krishnan 2013). Therefore, it is rather difficult to state that the reviewed studies provide a complex discussion of the HRM policies primarily related to the public sector organisations.
The discussion of implementing the HRM policies based on the SHRM approaches is also observed in the studies analysing the public sector organisations. The developed HRM practices based on the configurational approach can be implemented to improve the commitment in many types of public organisations, including hospitals (Sanders, Dorenbosch & De Reuver 2008; Scully et al. 2013). These policies and practices are also adopted in public sector organisations to decrease the turnover rates in the United States (Watty-Benjamin & Udechukwu 2014), to increase the employees’ motivation based on the “best practice” approach in public organisations of Pakistan (Rehman 2012), and improve the professionalism of employees in the Australian public sector organisations (Brunetto, Farr-Wharton & Shacklock 2011). From this point, it is impossible to state that much discussion of the SHRM configurational perspective applied to the context of the public organisations is presented in the literature.
The practice of adopting the HRM policy in the public sector organisations is also discussed with references to the Middle Eastern region. However, a limited number of studies are present in this field. In their researches, Iles, Almhedie, and Baruch (2012) and Ibrahim and Al Falasi (2014) discussed the challenges associated with the implementation of the HRM policies oriented to affecting employee loyalty and retention in the public sector. These researches are not enough to cover the variety of approaches related to the application of the HRM policy in the public sector.
Application of HRM Policy Related to Employee Retention
Most studies reviewed in this paper focused on discussing the HRM policy and practices, as well as the SHRM approaches related to the factor of employee retention. However, in this section, the studies that are directly related to the aspect of retention are discussed. The policies based on the SHRM effectively contribute to improving the retention and performance of employees (Choi & Lee 2013; Timiyo 2014). This idea is also discussed by Dhiman and Mohanty (2010) in their research examining the attitudes of employees working in the semi-private sector organisations in India. HRM practices contributing to employee retention in Chinese private hotels are discussed in the work by Li, Frenkel, and Sanders (2011). In their turn, Onyemah, Rouzies, and Panagopoulos (2010) focused on the discussion of the situation in the United States and the European countries.
The relationship between HRM practices, employees’ attitudes, turnover intentions, retention, and other behaviors are discussed in a variety of studies, including the works by Berman et al. (2013), Mohamed, Nor, and Dahalan (2014), and Monavvarian, Asgari, and Hajilouei (2014), but the problem is in the fact that these studies lack the discussion of the SHRM perspectives or relation to the public sector to be viewed as completely addressing the research question for this literature review. It is possible to state that there is a tendency in the researches to discuss the link between the HRM practices and retention in such Eastern countries as India (Kuttappa 2013; Rathi & Lee 2015) and focus on the aspects of the expatriates’ job satisfaction (Kraimer, Shaffer & Bolino 2009). However, the results of the review indicate that the percentage of studies that address the problem of employee retention in the public sector is rather small, and any additional research in the field will contribute to the existing literature.
HRM Policy Implementation in Qatar
The small number of reviewed studies focused on the discussion of the HRM policy implementation in Qatar. The current review indicates that the research related to Qatar’s HRM only generally addresses the implementation of HRM policies and practices. As a result, there is a lack of researches that discuss the implementation of the HRM policy and practices in the public sector, the implementation of the HRM policy based on any SHRM perspective, and the analysis of the HRM practices in terms of their effectiveness to address the question of retention in organisations. Forstenlechner (2009) focused on the discussion of the aspect of workforce localisation while assessing the HRM practices influencing recruitment, the employees’ commitment, and retention. This study is important to be reviewed in detail, but it lacks references to particular Qatar’s context, SHRM, and the sector in which organisations develop. In their research, Williams, Bhanugopan, and Fish (2011) emphasised the importance of localisation of the employees in the context of Qatar. The paper discusses the challenges associated with the HRM policy in Qatar while addressing the immigrants and nationals’ needs, and it is related to the factor of retention, but the reference to the SHRM is absent, as well as the focus on the sector in which the HRM policy and practices can be applied.
The other researchers also focused on the discussion of HRM in Qatar while using different approaches. Al-Horr and Salih (2011) studied the recruitment strategies applied according to the certain HRM policy in Qatar’s different companies. The researchers did not focus on the public sector. Moreover, there was no reference to employee retention. However, the researchers discussed what SHRM perceptive could support the HRM policy, and they focused on the “best practice” approach. The question of commitment and retention in Qatar is discussed by Al-Esmael and Faisal (2012). Nevertheless, the researchers did not provide a review of the SHRM related to their study. The paper by Scurry, Rodriguez, and Bailouni (2013), focused on the public sector, also does not address the discussion of the SHRM or retention. As a result, there is a gap in the literature discussing the HRM policy and practices in Qatar’s public sector. In spite of the fact that several studies discussed the HRM practices in Qatar’s organisations, no attention was paid to the public sector area.
The systematic literature review indicates that in spite of the fact that many researchers studied the HRM policy designed according to SHRM perspectives and aimed at influencing employee retention, these researchers rarely related their investigations to the public sector. Moreover, a limited number of researchers identified the SHRM configurational perspective as supporting the implemented HRM policy. In addition, the limited number of studies having the mentioned features addressed the employee retention question directly. Finally, no studies related to Qatar’s context addressed all the mentioned issues as complex. As a result, it is possible to speak about the gap in the discussion of the HRM policy implementation in the public sector of Qatar with references to the SHRM and employee retention. The gap is related to the HRM policies in other countries’ public sectors, not only Qatar. From this point, the research that discusses the efficiency of the HRM policy designed according to the SHRM configurational perspective in relation to employee retention in Qatar’s public sector can be reviewed as highly contributing to the existing literature, debates on the topic, and the practice of the HRM in the public organisations of Qatar.
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