Flexibility-oriented HRM systems, absorptive capacity, and market responsiveness and firm innovativeness

Song Chang, Yaping Gong, Sean A. Way, Liangding Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


Although market responsiveness and firm innovativeness are important aspects of firm performance, little is known about which human resource management (HRM) systems foster these performance aspects and how. Building on prior research, we delineate flexibility-oriented human resource management (FHRM) systems in terms of resource- and coordination-flexibility-oriented HRM subsystems. In addition, we draw on organizational learning theory and the concept of absorptive capacity (AC) to articulate the mechanisms through which these systems might influence market responsiveness and firm innovativeness. We develop and validate measures of FHRM systems using a series of four independent samples. Our findings based on a sample of high-technology firms indicate that FHRM systems are positively associated with firm-level potential and realized AC and that potential AC, in turn, is positively associated with market responsiveness and firm innovativeness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1924-1951
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • absorptive capacity
  • firm innovativeness
  • flexibility-oriented HRM systems
  • market responsiveness

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