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Actions speak louder than words: how employees mind the implementation gap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Early online date23 Feb 2018
Accepted/In press12 Sep 2017
E-pub ahead of print23 Feb 2018


  • Actions speak louder than_ BUDJANOVCANIN_Firstonline23February2018_GREEN AAM

    Actions_speak_louder_than_words_How_employees_mind_the_implementation_gap_R_R.pdf, 288 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:03 Nov 2017

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of Human Resource Management on [date of publication], available online:”

King's Authors


Integral to employees’ working lives are the HR policies and more importantly, the practices that follow those and their implementation, which employees experience directly. To date, research on HR implementation considers how HRM is ‘done to’ employees by management and therefore ignores the agency of individuals to shape how HRM is ‘done to them’. Taking the perspective of employees, in a qualitative study of female lawyers, this paper examines employees’ roles in shaping HR implementation, addressing a lack of understanding about the role of ‘others’ in the process. Drawing on the concept of social power, the article focuses on the implementation of agile working practices within UK-based law firms. It finds that despite lacking legitimate position power to influence processes, employees draw on a variety of other power sources (e.g. referent, information, coercive) and tactics (e.g. leveraging membership of professional networks) in order to influence their working environment with respect to HR policy and practice, particularly in response to perceived implementation gaps. The current study underlines that employees may be integral to bridging the gap between policy and practice and therefore to ensuring the link between HRM and organisational performance. It also proposes that behavioural responses to HR practices should be considered in future theorising of the HRM-performance relationship.

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