Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

A theory-based analysis of null causality between HRM practices and outcomes: Evidence from four-wave longitudinal data

Ogbonnaya, Chidiebere, Daniels, Kevin, Messersmith, Jake, Rofcanin, Yasin (2022) A theory-based analysis of null causality between HRM practices and outcomes: Evidence from four-wave longitudinal data. Journal of Management Studies, . ISSN 1467-6486. (doi:10.1111/joms.12881) (KAR id:97540)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

Download this file
[thumbnail of J Management Studies - 2022 - Ogbonnaya - A Theory‚ÄźBased Analysis of Null Causality between HRM Practices and Outcomes .pdf]
Request a format suitable for use with assistive technology e.g. a screenreader
PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of Final manuscript 19.10.2022.pdf]
Official URL:


The last three decades have seen a growing interest in understanding the influence of human resource management (HRM) practices on employee job satisfaction and organizational performance. While the results have been generally positive, most studies have utilized cross-sectional research designs, which limit causal inferences. Recently, several studies have used longitudinal data but have not consistently found significant causal links between HRM practices and outcomes after controlling for past outcomes. This points to a tension in the literature that merits further investigation. Drawing on general systems theory (GST), we explore this issue by proposing and testing a set of null causal relationships involving HRM practices, organizational performance (i.e., patient satisfaction), and job satisfaction. We show that average scores on HRM practices and outcomes remain relatively stable at the organizational level over time, such that any observed within-organization change is likely negligible or non-significant. Using four-wave longitudinal data (with two, four, and six-year time lags) from the public healthcare sector, we argue that the causal links between HRM practices and outcomes are indeed sensitive to the forces of dynamic equilibrium operating within a highly institutionalized context. We use GST to highlight the self-sustaining nature of HRM systems and discuss the ramifications of this stability for strategic HRM research and practice.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/joms.12881
Projects: Work, Learning and Wellbeing Programme
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: HRM practices, organizational performance, job satisfaction, lag effects, reverse causality, null causality
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Chidi Ogbonnaya
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2022 19:39 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 11:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Ogbonnaya, Chidiebere.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.