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Date Submitted: 11/11/2010 06:59 PM

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Chapter One

Introduction In the past two decades scholars have dedicated a tremendous amount of effort to studying the relationship between a firm’s performance and its human resource management (HRM) practices (Huselid, 1995; Delaney and Huselid, 1996; Becker and Gerhart, 1996; Becker and Huselid, 1998). What has emerged from these studies is empirical evidence that demonstrate a linkage between a firm’s HRM practices and performance that can give it a competitive advantage (Huselid, 1995). However, what has also become equally clear is that human resource practices do not operate independently from each other or from the firm’s overall strategy. Human resource practices operate in a complex system of interrelated parts. This system has become known as high performance work practices (HPWP) in the area of strategic human resource management (SHRM) (Becker and Huselid, 1998). This study outlines the research conducted in the development of a construct for the conceptualization of high performance work practices within the casual theme restaurant sector of the US hospitality industry and proposes a research agenda for further investigation of those practices. Firms able to implement such systems possessing universality, i.e. complementary internal fit, have been shown to increase the intangible value of their human capital (employees) and create greater economic value (Delery, 1998). Such organizations can compete more effectively in their sector. Studies on HPWP in the service industry have been limited to heavily regulated firms such as banking. These results, however, may have limited validity for the restaurant industry. Therefore, a research agenda is presented for the development of the high performance work practices construct for the causal theme restaurant business in the US. Problem Statement Strategic human resource management researchers have been advocates of the theory that provides support to the relationship between HRM practices, sustainable...