Control and Commitment HRM Systems in SME Family Firms: A Qualitative Study of Hybrid Forms

Daniela Gauci Borda, Nina Katrin Hansen, Julie Gore

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


For a long time, scholars have highlighted the importance of strategic HRM - in form of consistent bundles of HRM practices – and have studied the positive impact of HRM system on firm performance. However, strategic HRM research in small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) family businesses remains in its infancy. The aim of this study is therefore to enhance the understanding of HRM systems in SME family businesses and to identify the main characteristics of strategic HRM in this context and to especially analyze hybrid forms between control and commitment HRM systems. It is also one of the first qualitative empirical studies in this field, which is based on semi-structured interviews with managers and directors from SME family firms in Malta. Empirical findings show that there is a variety in the implementation of different combinations of HRM practices on the spectrum between control and commitment HRM. We identify two new hybrid systems: The “selective” control and the “informal” commitment HRM systems as one major contribution of this study. The findings shed light on the importance of context in implementing an effective HRM system. Furthermore, we derive some relevant practical implications including the identification of key areas for potential improvement of HRM systems adopted by SME family businesses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
Publication statusAcceptance date - 13 Sept 2019
EventHerbstworkshop der Wissenschaftlichen Kommission Personal 2019 - Universität der Bundeswehr München, Munich, Germany
Duration: 11 Sept 201913 Sept 2019


ConferenceHerbstworkshop der Wissenschaftlichen Kommission Personal 2019
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