Do HRM practices facilitate innovation? A qualitative study in a developing country


  • Ilhaamie Abdul Ghani Azm Department of Shariah and Management, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
  • Junaidah Hashim Kulliyah of Management Sciences and Economics, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur



Human resource management practices, Innovation, Public service, Developing country


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the implementation of human resource management (HRM)
practices that facilitate innovation in the public sector in a developing country.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative method was engaged whereby a semi-structured interview
was conducted to get the responses of two groups of employees which are top management and executive in
two types of public organizations which are awarded and non-awarded. The collected data was later analyzed
Findings – The results show that there are differences and similarities among the public agencies in terms of
their implementation of HRM practices that facilitate innovation. Apparently, the awarded public agencies do
follow HRM practices that really facilitate innovation such as local training, provide more types of rewards to
their employees and set a higher minimum level of innovation in their performance evaluation.
Research limitations/implications – This research confines only 10 public agencies in Malaysia. Future
studies might want to include a larger sample size to make the findings more extensive. It also would be
interesting to know different approaches in HRM implemented in the private organizations as well as to
examine their influences on performance and other organizational factors.
Practical implications – Good and fair HRM practices such as training, reward and performance appraisal
practices that focus on innovation facilitate and produce more innovative employees and organization
innovation. Thus, public managers should implement them to a higher extent.
Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that aims to engage the
qualitative method in understanding how HRM practices can facilitate innovation in a developing country.


Não há dados estatísticos.


Ab Rahman, Z. N., and Ismail, N. (2018). “Determinant factors for managing innovation in the Malaysian public sector”, paper presented at MATEC Web of Conferences, Vol. 150, Technical University of Malaysia Malacca, Malacca, Malaysia, available at:

Abdullah, N. H., Lee, L. P., Wahab, E. and Shamsuddin, A. (2014). “Perception on training and employee innovativeness: an evidence from small firms,” in Proceeding of the 2014 IEEE ICMIT, pp. 76-80.

Agolla, J. E. (2018). “Modelling the relationship between innovation, strategy, strategic human resource management and organization competitiveness,” African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 12 No. 14, pp. 428-438.

Alaraqi, A. K. (2017). “Relationship between SHRM and organisational performance among Iraqi oil companies,” Journal of Global Economic, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 1-12.

Aryanto, R., Fontana, A. and Afiff, A. Z. (2015). “Strategic Human Resource Management, innovation capability and performance: an empirical study in Indonesia software industry,” in proceeding of the 2nd Global Conference on Business and Social Science in Bali, Indonesia, pp. 874-879.

Audenaert, M., Decramer, A., George, B., Verschuere, B. and Van Wyanberg, T. (2016). When employee performance management affects individual innovation in public organisations: the role of consistency and LMX. International Journal of Human Resource Management, pp. 815-834.

Aminuddin, M. (2018). Human resource management: principles and practices. Fourth Edition. Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur.

Boadu, F., Xie, Y, Du, Y.-F. and Dwomo-Fokuo, E. (2018). “SMEs subsidiary training and development and firm innovative performance: the moderating effects and tacit and explicit knowledge received from headquarter,” Sustainability, Vol. 10 No. 11, pp. 1-25.

Berber, M. and Lekovic, B. (2018). “The impact of HR development on innovative performances in central and eastern European countries,” Employee Relations, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 762-786.

Beugelsdijk, S. (2008). “Strategic Human Resource practices and product innovation,” Organizational Studies, Vol. 29, p. 821.

Bos-Nehles, A., Renkema, M. and Janssen, M. (2017). “HRM and innovative work behaviour: a systematic literature review,” Personnel Review, Vol. 6 No. 7, pp. 1228-1253.

Ceylan, C. (2013). “Commitment-based HR practices, different types of innovation activities and firm innovation performance,” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 208-226.

Crowlety, F. and Bourke, J. (2017). “The influence of Human Resource Management Systems on innovation: evidence from Irish manufacturing and services firms,” International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 21 No. 1.

De Saa’-Pe’rez, P. and Di’az-Di’az, N. L. (2002). “Human resource management and innovation in the Canary Islands: an ultra-peripheral region of the European Union,” International Journal of the Economics of Business, Vol. 9 No.1, pp. 139-156.

Donate, M. J., Pen’a, I. and de Pablo, J. D. S. (2010). “HRM practices for human and social capital development: effects on innovation capabilities,” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 21 No. 10, pp. 1649-1666.

Dorenbosch, L., van Engen, M. L. and Verhagen, M. (2005). “On-the-job innovation: the impact of job design and Human Resource Management through production ownership,” Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 14 No. 2.

Dostie, B. (2018). “The impact of training on innovation,” ILR Review, Vol. 71 No. 1, pp. 64-87.

Fernandez, M. D., Barrachina, M. B. and Cabrales, A. L. (2012). “Being innovative for surviving: the role of HRM practices,” working paper series, Department of Organization and Marketing, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain, April.

Fernandez, S. and Pitts, D. W. (2011). “Understanding employee motivation to innovate: evidence from front line employees in United States federal agencies,” Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 70 No. 2, pp. 202-222.

Fernandez, S. and Moldogaviez, T. (2011). “Empowering public sector employees to improve performance: does it work?” The American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 41 No. 1, 23-47, available at:

Fu, N., Flood, P. C., Bosak, J., Morris, T. and O’Regan, P. (2015). “How do high performance work systems influence organisational innovation in the professional service firms?” Employee Relations, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 209-231.

Giauque, D., Anderfuhren-Biget, S. S., Jamsheed, H. and Zaman, K. (2011). “Relationship between rewards and employee’s motivation in the non-profit organisations of Pakistan,” Business Intelligence Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 327-334.

Harmen, H. and Pitaloka, E. (2014). “Strategic Human Resource Management and sustainable competitive advantage: the role of dynamics and innovation capabilities,” South East Asia Journal of Contemporary Business, Economics and Law, Vol. 5 No.2, pp. 41-47.

Hazoor, A. A., Makhdoom, M. S. H. R. and Hussain, M. S. (2016). “Effort-enhancing HR Practices and innovative work behavior: role of employee empowerment,” International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Vol. 6 No. 10, pp. 358-368.

Heffernan, M., Harney, B., Cafferkey, K. and Dundon, T. (2016). “Exploring the HRM performance relationship: the role of creativity climate and strategy,” Employee Relations, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 438-462.

Irfan Ullah, M. F. and Hameed, R. M. (2015). “HR practices and organisational innovation: the mediating role of knowledge management effectiveness,” Journal of Resources Development and Management, Vol. 13, pp. 48-62.

Jime’nez-Jime’nez, D. and Sanz-Valle, R. (2018). “Could HRM support organisational innovation?” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp. 1208-1221.

Jiang, K., Lepak, D.P., Hu, J. and Baer, J.C. (2012). “How does human resource management influence organisational outcomes? A meta-analytic investigation of mediating mechanisms,” Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 55 No. 6, pp. 1264-1294.

Katou, A. A. and Budhwar, P. S. (2006). “Human resource management systems and organisational performance: a test of a mediating model in the Greek manufacturing context,” International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 17 No. 7, pp. 1223-1253.

Khoreva, V. and Wechtler, H. (2018). “HR practices and employee performance: the mediating role of well-being,” Employee Relations, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 227-243.

Lai, W. H. and Kwang, S. N. (2014). “Enhancing organisational performance of Malaysian SMEs: the role of HRM and organisational learning capability,” International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 35 No. 7, pp. 973-995.

Lau, C.-M. and Ngo, H.-Y. (2004). “The HR system, organisational culture, and product innovation,” International Business Review, Vol. 13, pp. 685-703.

Laursen, K. (2008). “The importance of sectorial differences in the application of complementary HRM practices for innovation performance” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp. 1208-1221.

Lu, K., Zhu, J. and Bao, H. (2015). “High-performance human resource management and firm performance: the mediating role of innovation in China,” Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 115 No. 2, pp. 353-382.

Mo, Y. L., Wang, D. D., Jaarsveld, G., Lee, K. and Ma, D. G. (2016). “From employee-experienced high-involvement work system to innovation: an emergence-based Human Resource Management framework,” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 27 No. 9, pp. 928-953.

Mohammad Khaled, K. N. (2012). “The effects of human resource management practices (HRM) on service innovation in Malaysian Islamic books.” (Unpublished Master of Business Administration Dissertation), USM, Penang, Malaysia.

Prieto, I. M. and Pe’rez-Santana, M. P. (2014). “Managing innovative work behaviour: the role of human resource practices,” Personnel Review, Vol. 43 No. 2, pp. 184-208.

Qaiser, A., Tayyba, N., Khan, K., Ali, R. and Yasin, A. (2018). “Management practices on innovative ability of employees moderated by organisational culture,” International Journal of Organizational Leadership, Vol. 7, pp. 426-439.

Raj, R. and Srivastava, K. B. L. (2013). “The mediating role of organisational leaning on the relationship among organisational culture, HRM Practices and innovativeness,” Management and Labour Studies, Vol. 38 No.3, pp. 201-223.

Rasheed, M. A., Shahzad, K., Conroy, C., Nadeem, S. and Siddique, M. U. (2017). “Exploring the role of employees between high-performance work-system and organisational innovation in small and medium enterprises,” Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 670-688.

Rosdi, I.-S. and Chew, K.-W. (2010). “A framework for human resource management in the knowledge economy: building intellectual capital and innovative capability,” International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 251-273.

Saddam, A. K. (2017). “A study on the relationship between strategic human resource management and organisation performance with organisation citizenship behaviour as the mediator.” (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis), UTM, Skudai, Malaysia.

Sanz-Valle, R. and Jimenez-Jimenez, D. (2018). “HRM and product innovation: does innovative work behaviour mediate that relationship?” Management Decision, Vol. 56 No. 6, pp. 1417-1429.

Saunila, M. and Ukko, J. (2013). “Facilitating innovation capability through performance measurement: a study of Finnish SMEs,” Management Research Review, Vol. 36 No. 10, pp. 991-1010.

Siddiquee, N. A. (2016). “Public management reform in Malaysia recent initiatives and experiences,” International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 339-358.

Siengthai, S. and Bechter, C. (2001). “Strategic Human Resource Management and firm innovation,” Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 35-37.

Tabasi, M. M. and Seyed Mehdi, R. V. (2014). “A relationship between strategic human resources management practices and organisational innovation with respect to the role of organisational learning,” Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, Vol. 3 No. 7, pp. 370-385.

Tan, C. L. and Nasurdin, A. M. (2010). “Human resource management practices and organisational innovation: assessing the mediating role of knowledge management effectiveness,” The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 9 No, 2, pp. 155-167.

The Global Innovation Index (GII). (2019). Creating healthy lives – the future of medical innovation. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva.

The Global Innovation Index (2014). The human factor in innovation. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva.

The Star. (2017). “Malaysia ranks 37th in Global Innovation Index”, 15 June.

Ukko, J., Hilden, S., Saunila, M. and Tikkamaki, K. (2017). “Comprehensive performance measurement and management – innovativeness and performance through reflective practice,” Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 425-448.

Van Houten, G. and Demetriades, S. (2018). “Associations of workplace practices, innovation and performance with changes in employment,” working paper, Eurofound, Europe,

Vishal, G. (2014). “The employee creativity: mediating & moderating role of psychological capital,” Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 49 No. 4.

Wallo, A., Kock, H. and Nilsson, P. (2016). “Setting the stage for innovation: towards a conceptual model of the HR-innovation link,” Int. J. Human Resource Development and Management, Vol. 16 No. 1/2, pp. 100-200.

Walsworth, S. and Verma, A. (2018). “Globalisation, human resource practices and innovation: recent evidence from the Canadian workplace and employee survey,” Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 61 No.5, pp. 2000-2009.

Wang, G. G., Lamond, D. and Zhang, Y. (2013). “Innovation and Chinese HRM research and practice,” Journal of Chinese HRM, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 105-116.

Wei, L.-Q., Liu, J. and Herndon, N. C. (2011). “SHRM and product innovation: testing the moderating effects of organisational culture and structure in Chinese firms,” The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 19-33.

Wong, K.-L., Tan, P. S.-H., Ng, Y.-K. and Fong, C.-Y. (2013). “The role of HRM in enhancing organisational performance,” Human Resource Management, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 11-15.

Zanko, M., Badham, R., Couchman, P. and Schubert, M. (2008). “The play of power and politics in innovation and HRM,” International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 562-581.

Zhou, Y., Zhang, Y. and Montoro-Sanchez. (2011). “Utilitarianism or romanticism: the effort of rewards on employees’ innovation behaviour,” International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 81-98.




Como Citar

Azm, I. A. G. ., & Hashim, J. (2023). Do HRM practices facilitate innovation? A qualitative study in a developing country. INMR - Innovation & Management Review, 19(4), 368-381.