top of page
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute

Economics and Business

Quarterly Reviews

ISSN 2775-9237 (Online)

asian institute research, jeb, journal of economics and business, economics journal, accunting journal, business journal, managemet journal
asian institute research, jeb, journal of economics and business, economics journal, accunting journal, business journal, managemet journal
asian institute research, jeb, journal of economics and business, economics journal, accunting journal, business journal, managemet journal
asian institute research, jeb, journal of economics and business, economics journal, accunting journal, business journal, managemet journal
open access

Published: 29 January 2020

The Role of Well-being on the Impact of High Performance Work Systems on Physicians’ Job Burnout

Thadeus Mkamwa

St. Augustine University of Tanzania

asian institute research, jeb, journal of economics and business, economics journal, accunting journal, business journal, management journal

Download Full-Text Pdf



Pages: 160-171

Keywords: High Performance Work Systems, Physicians’ Wellbeing, Physicians’ Job Burnout


This is a theoretical paper which examines the role of physicians’ wellbeing in the relationship between utilization of High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) and Physicians’ job burnout. The research is aimed at recommending a new model which should be adopted when researchers are identifying gaps that exist in theory and methodology on the link between HPWS and employee outcomes. The paper adopts among other theories a Critical Theory perspective which calls for Axel Honneth’s three spheres of relationships in the communication between employees and employers. The paper starts by mapping key concepts on HPWS, physicians’ well-being and physicians’ burnout. The paper also identifies types of evidence that link HPWS with physicians’ well-being and physicians’ burnout. It ends with synthesizing existing knowledge on reducing physicians’ burnout and improving physicians’ well-being. Overall, the study proposes that in order to improve employee wellbeing and get away with the ‘pessimistic perspective’ which claims that HR practices are harmful to the employees’ well-being, employers are obligated to examine operations which are based on ‘personal relationships’ which are either contractual or non-contractual, but still legally binding. In this way, workplaces which are using HPWS will reduce physicians’ burnout and improve their wellbeing. Discussion, recommendation for future research and conclusion are made.


  1. Alfes, K., Shantz, A. and Truss, C. (2012). The link between perceived HRM practices, performance and well-being: the moderating effect of trust in the employer. Human Resource Management Journal, 22 (4), 409–427.
  2. Appelbaum, E., Bailey, T., Berg, P. & Kalleberg, A. (2000). Manufacturing Advantage: Why High-Performance Work Systems Pay Off.Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.
  3. Arthur, J. B. (1994). Effects of human resource systems on manufacturing performance and turnover. Academy of Management Journal, 37(3), 670-687.
  4. Askenazy, P., Thesmar, D., & Thoenig, M. (2006). On the Relation Between Organisational Practices and New Technologies: The Role of (Time Based) Competition. The Economic Journal, 116(508): 128–154.
  5. Beer, M., Boselie, P. and Brewster, C. (2015). ‘Back to the future: implications for the field of HRM of the multistakeholder perspective proposed 30 years ago.’ Human Resource Management, 54 (3), 427–438.
  6. Berg, P., Kalleberg, A. L., & Appelbaum, E. (2003). Balancing work and family: The role of high-commitment environments. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy & Society, 42(2), 168-188.
  7. Blau, P. (1964). Exchange and Power in Social Life. New York: John Wiley.
  8. Boxall, P. & Macky, K. (2008). High-involvement work processes, work intensification and employee well-being: A study of New Zealand worker experiences. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 46(1): 38–55. [1038-4111] DOI: 10.1177/1038411107086542
  9. Boxall, P., Guthrie, J. and Paauwe, J. (2016). ‘Editorial introduction: progressing our understanding of the mediating variables linking HRM, employee well‐being and organisational performance.' Human Resource Management Journal, 26(2), 103– 111
  10. Bryson, A. & Forth, J. (2015). ‘The UK's Productivity Puzzle.’ IZA Discussion Paper No. 9097. Centre for Economic Performance.
  11. Danna, K., & Griffin, R. W. (1999). Health and well-being in the workplace: A review and synthesis of the literature. Journal of Management, 25(3), 357-384.
  12. Dashtipour, P. & Vidaillet, B. (2017). Work as affective experience: The contribution of Christophe Dejours' 'psychodynamics of work.' Organization, 24(1), 18–35. DOI: 10.1177/1350508416668191
  13. Derks, D. & Bakker, A. (2010). The impact of e-mail communication on organizational life. Cyberpsychology, 4(1), 1 –14.
  14. De Witte, H., Pienaar, J. & De Cuyper, N. (2016). Review of 30 years of longitudinal studies on the association between job insecurity and health and well-being: is there causal evidence? Australian Psychologist, 51(1), 18–31.
  15. Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Beyond money. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5(1), 1–31.
  16. Elorza, U., Harris, C., Aritzeta, A., & Balluerka, N. (2016). The effect of management and employee perspectives of high-performance work systems on employees’ discretionary behaviour. Personnel Review, 45(1), 121-141.
  17. Ettner, S. L., & Grzywacz, J. G. (2001). Workers' perceptions of how jobs affect health: A social ecological perspective. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 6(2), 101-113.
  18. European Commission (2010) Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Communication from the Commission, COM (2010) 2020 final, 3 March 2010, Brussels.
  19. Fabi, B., Lacoursiere, R. & Raymond, L. (2015). Impact of high-performance work systems on job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intention to quit in Canadian organizations, International Journal of Manpower, 36(5):772-790. DOI: 10.1108/IJM-01-2014-0005
  20. Felstead, A., Gallie, D., Green, F. & Henseke, G. (2019). The determinants of skills use and work pressure: A longitudinal analysis. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 40(3) 730–754.
  21. Gallie, D. (2005). Work Pressure in Europe 1996–2001: Trends and Determinants. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 43(3):351-375. doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1467-8543.2005.00360.x
  22. Gallie, D. & Russell, H. (2009). Work Family Conflict and Working Conditions in Western Europe. Social Indicators Research, 93(3):445-467. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9435-0
  23. Godard, J. (2004). A critical assessment of the high performance paradigm. British Journal of industrial Relations, 42(2), 349-378.
  24. Godard, J. (2010). What Is Best for Workers? The Implications of Workplace and Human Resource Management Practices Revisited. Industrial Relations, 49(3), 466-488.
  25. Goehring, C., Bouvier, G.M., Kunzi, B., Bovier, P. (2005). Psychosocial and professional characteristics of burnout in Swiss primary care practitioners: a cross-sectional survey. Swiss Med Wkly., 135(7–8):101–108.
  26. Goitein, L., Shanafelt, T.D., Wipf, J.E., Slatore, C.G., Back, A.L. (2005). The effects of work-hour limitations on resident well-being, patient care, and education in an internal medicine residency program. Arch Intern Med., 165(22):2601–2606.
  27. Gouldner, A. (1960). The norm of reciprocity. American Sociological Review, 25(2): 161-178.
  28. Grant, A., Christianson, M. & Price, R. (2007). Happiness, health, or relationships? Managerial practices and employee well-being tradeoffs? Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(3), 51-63.
  29. Guest, D. (2017). Human resource management and employee well‐being: towards a new analytic framework. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(1), 22-38.
  30. Head, J., Kivimaki, M., Siegrist, J., et al. (2007). Effort-reward imbalance and relational injustice at work predict sickness absence: The Whitehall II study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 63(4):433–440.
  31. Honneth, A. (2014). Freedom’s Right: The Foundations of Democratic Life. Polity Press, Cambridge, UK.
  32. Jensen, J. M., Patel, P. C., & Messersmith, J. G. (2013). High-performance work systems and job control: Consequences for anxiety, role overload, and turnover intentions. Journal of Management, 39(6), 1699-1724.
  33. Kalmi, P. & Kauhanen, A. (2008). Workplace innovations and employee outcomes: evidence from Finland. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 47(3), 430–459.
  34. Karasek, R. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: implications for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285–308. doi:10.2307/2392498
  35. Kinnie, N., Hutchinson, S., Purcell, J., Rayton, B. & Swart, J. (2005). Satisfaction with HR practices and commitment to the organisation: why one size does not fit all. Human Resource Management Journal,15(4): 9-29.
  36. Kivimaki, M., Elovainio., M, Vahtera. J, Ferrie, J.E. (2003). Organisational justice and health of employees: prospective cohort study. Occup Environ Med., 60(1):27–33.
  37. Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W., & Leiter, M. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 397–422. doi:10.1146/annurev. psych.52.1.397.
  38. Mäkikangas, A., & Kinnunen, U. (2003). Psychosocial work stressors and well-being: self-esteem and optimism as moderators in a one-year longitudinal sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 537–557. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00217-
  39. McMurray, J.E, Linzer, M., Konrad, T.R., Douglas, J., Shugerman, R. & Nelson, K. (2000). The Work Lives of Women Physicians. Gen Intern Med. 15:372–380.
  40. Misra, K. (2018). High-Performance Human Resource Practices and Team Job Satisfaction: Moderating Role of Team Citizenship Behaviors. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, ISSN 2162-3058, Vol.8, No. 3, pp.86-102:
  41. Montgomery, A.J. (2016). The relationship between leadership and physician well-being: a scoping review. Journal of Healthcare Leadership,8:71–80.
  42. Montgomery, A., Todorova, I., Baban, A., & Panagopoulou, E. (2013). Improving quality and safety in the hospital: the link between organizational culture, burnout, and quality of care. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18(3): 656–662.
  43. Montgomery, A.J. (2014). The inevitability of physician burnout: implications for interventions. Burnout Research, 1(1):50–56.
  44. North F, Syme SL, Feeney A, Head J, Shipley MJ, Marmot MG. (1993). Explaining socioeconomic differences in sickness absence: the Whitehall II study. BMJ. 306(6874):361–366.
  45. Peutere, L, Saloniemi, A., Aho, S., Natti, J. & Nummi, T. (2018). High-involvement management practices, job control, and employee well-being in the public and private sectors. Evidence from Finland. Transfer, 24(4): 467–486: DOI: 10.1177/1024258918807387
  46. Peccei, R. (2004). Human Resource Management and the Search for the Happy Workplace, Rotterdam: Inaugural Lecture, Erasmus University Institute of Management.
  47. Peccei, R., van de Voorde, K. & van Veldhoven, M. (2013). 'HRM, well-being and performance: a theoretical and empirical review,' in J. Paauwe, D. Guest & P. Wright (eds), HRM and Performance: Achievements and Challenges, Chichester: Wiley, pp. 15–45.
  48. Ramsay, H., Scholarios, D., & Harley, B. (2000). Employees and high‐performance work systems: Testing inside the black box. British Journal of industrial relations, 38(4), 501-531.
  49. Rauch, A. & Hatak, I. (2016). A meta-analysis of different HR-enhancing practices and performance of small and medium sized firms, Journal of Business Venturing, 31(5):485-504. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2016.05.005
  50. Shanafelt, T.D., Balch, C.M., & Bechamps, G., et al. (2010). Burnout and medical errors among American surgeons. Annals of Surgery, 251(6):995-1000, DOI: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181bfdab3
  51. Salminen, S., Andreou, E., Holma, J., Pekkonen, M., Mäkikangas, A. (2017). Narratives of burnout and recovery from an agency perspective: A two-year longitudinal study. Burnout Research, 7, 1–9.
  52. Shin, D., & Konrad, A. M. (2017). Causality between high-performance work systems and organizational performance. Journal of Management, 43(4), 973-997.
  53. Subramony, M. (2009). A meta‐analytic investigation of the relationship between HRM bundles and firm performance. Human Resource Management, 48(5), 745-768.
  54. Takeuchi, R., Chen, G. & Lepak, D.P. (2009) Through the looking glass of a social system: Cross-level effects of high-performance work systems on employees’ attitudes. Personnel Psychology, 62(1): 1–29.
  55. Van de Voorde, K., Paauwe, J. & van Veldhoven, M. (2012). ‘Employee well-being and the HRM-performance relationship: a review of quantitative studies.’ International Journal of Management Reviews, 14: 4, 391–407.
  56. Van De Voorde, K., & Jensen, J. M. (2016). “High Performance at the Expense of Employee Health? Reconciling the Dark Side of High-Performance Work Systems.” In Understanding the High-Performance Workplace (pp. 81-102). Routledge.
  57. Wallace, J.E., Lemaire, J.B., & Ghali, W.A. (2009). Physician wellness: a missing quality indicator. Lancet. 374(9702):1714–1721.
  58. Zatzick, C.D. & Iverson, R.D. (2011). Putting employee involvement in context: a cross-level model examining job satisfaction and absenteeism in high involvement work systems. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(17): 3462–3476.
  59. Ungureanu, P., Bertolotti, F., & Pilatti, M. (2019). What drives alignment between offered and perceived well-being initiatives in organizations? A cross-case analysis of employer -employee shared strategic intentionality, European Management Journal, j.emj.2019.03.005 (in press).
  60. Vander Elst, T., Van den Broeck, A., De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2014). On the reciprocal relationship between job insecurity and employee well-being: mediation by perceived control? Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87, 671–693. doi:10.1111/joop.12068
  61. Warr, P. (2007). Work, Happiness, and Unhappiness. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  62. Wellmer, A. (2014). On critical theory. Social Research: An International Quarterly, 81(3), 705-733.
  63. Wood, S, & De Menezes, L. (2011). High involvement management, high-performance work systems and wellbeing. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(7): 1585–1608.
  64. Wood, S., Van Veldhoven, M., Croon, & De Menezes, L. (2012). Enriched job design, high involvement management and organizational performance: the mediating roles of job satisfaction and well-being. Human Relations, 65(4): 419–446.
bottom of page