Gender and job performance: linking the high performance work system with the ability–motivation–opportunity framework. By: Edgar, Fiona; Blaker, Nancy M.; Everett, André M. Personnel Review. 2021, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p47-63. 17p.

Purpose: For some years, human resource management (HRM) scholars have sought to understand how the high performance work system (HPWS) impacts performance. Recently, attention has turned to developing knowledge about the more micro-level aspects of this relationship, with the ability–motivation–opportunity (AMO) framework providing a useful lens. Empirically, these studies have produced mixed results. This study explores whether context is useful in explaining these anomalous findings.

Design/methodology/approach: This study considered the effects of context across two levels – the descriptive (situated demography–gender) and the analytical (societal–national culture) – on employees’ behaviour in the HPWS–job performance relationship using survey data obtained from a sample of New Zealand organisations.

Findings: Results indicate that the employee demographic of gender may play an influential role, with ability found to be the most significant predictor of job performance for males and opportunity the strongest predictor of job performance for females. Given the importance of cultural context when examining employees’ gendered behaviours, this study also considers the influence of New Zealand’s national culture.

Practical implications: By describing the interaction between trait expressive work behaviours and job features, this study dispels the myth of universalism. In line with a contingency view, practitioners are encouraged to ensure alignment between features of their organisational context and the behavioural outcomes sought from their HPWS.

Originality/value: This study suggests HPWS research designs would benefit from analysing the full effects of contextual variables, rather than considering them purely as controls.