HRM Systems and the Problem of Internal Fit

Sven Kepes and John E. Delery

in The Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199547029
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577390 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

HRM Systems and the Problem of Internal Fit

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour


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Previous reviews of the fit perspectives in SHRM have had a pessimistic tone and concluded that there was little evidence of the assumption that ‘fit’ leads to organizational success, although most reviews did not specifically focus on internal fit. This article aims to revisit the theoretical foundation of internal fit and provide a review of the literature addressing this issue. Specifically, it sets out to explore the theory and research behind the internal fit perspective in an attempt to summarize and advance our knowledge behind HRM systems and internal fit. In doing so, it addresses the theory behind ‘fit’, the interplay between external and internal fit, issues of the level of abstraction (e.g. focus on HRM philosophies, policies, or practices in measuring HRM systems), different types of internal fit, problems stemming from levels of analysis issues, and the empirical evidence, before summarizing and concluding.

Keywords: HRM systems; SHRM; organizational success; internal fit; empirical evidence; HRM philosophies; HRM practice

Article.  8456 words. 

Subjects: Human Resource Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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