Human capital enhancing HRM systems and frontline employees in Australian manufacturing SMEs

Stephen T. T. Teo, Melanie Le Clerc, Maria Carmen Galang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The current study seeks to answer a number of key questions concerning the strategic management of frontline employees (e.g. individuals who do not occupy an executive, managerial or supervisory role in functions such as production, maintenance, service and clerical functions) and their contributions towards the performance of small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms in Australia. This study adopts a human capital perspective to examine the employee and organisational performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia. We were also interested in seeking to examine the presence of the human resource management (HRM) function of SMEs in Australia and their contribution towards employee and firm performance. Findings from the partial least square analysis identified the antecedents and consequences of a human capital enhancing (HCE) approach for the strategic HRM of frontline employees in Australia's manufacturing industry. Strategic orientations of small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms mediate the contribution of the HRM function in adopting a set of HCE HRM systems. HCE HRM system was found to have a direct and indirect impact on manufacturing performance outcomes. Frontline employees' performance was found to mediate the impact of HCE HRM system on manufacturing performance outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in relation to the management of frontline employees in enhancing perceived employee and manufacturing performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2522-2538
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


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