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Session Overview
RN17_03a: Human Resource Management and Pay
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Barbara Bechter, Durham University
Location: UP.1.218
University of Manchester Building: University Place, First Floor Oxford Road

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To Get Or Not To Get A Yearly Pay Increase – And Other Peculiarities In Performance Based Pay Raise In Sweden

Dr. Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson1, Dr. Petra Adolfsson2

1Dept. of Socioogy and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; 2Dept. of Business Administration, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Most employees in Swedish organizations, public as well as private, are covered by collective agreement stressing individual and differentiated wages. Individually set wages are especially salient in the yearly salary review, and most organizations use some sort of performance appraisal system to evaluate employees’ contributions against the background of a number of performance appraisal criteria. The basic justificatory norm in performance based pay is to reward those who have performed the best. That is, high scores or evaluation points would lead to a higher markup. However, analyses of 48 qualitative interviews from a multiple case-study conducted in four large organizations in Sweden, show that the link between performance and pay raise is not that straight forward and that there is a lot of peculiarities going on. This paper discuss how employees, managers, HR personnel and union representatives reason about pay raise. It describes and explains why a high performer may get zero Swedish kronas in pay raise in order for colleague to have a more substantial raise, and also how the amounts in the yearly pay raise relates to the wage setting managers control span and the regulations set out in the collective agreements and “the mark”.

Pressures To Perform? A Comparative Analysis Of The Role Of National Institutions On Performance Appraisal Practices In Hospitals In Europe

Alexandra Elizabeth Stroleny

University of Greenwich, United Kingdom

In recent decades, public sector hospitals across Europe have been under increasing pressures to perform both more efficiently and to higher quality (OECD, 2015; Lindlbauer et al., 2016). This paper examines how these wider pressures translate into performance appraisal systems used for general nurses, the largest occupational group in healthcare, in Germany and the Czech Republic. Drawing on institutional theory and the notion of institutional hierarchy (e.g. Amable, 2003; Morgan, 2007), it investigates which national institutions have the strength to mediate these pressures and whether this produces distinct appraisal systems across these countries.

The research adopts a mixed-method comparative case-study design. Detailed fieldwork was conducted in two public hospitals in each country which involved 86 interviews with nursing and managerial staff, the collection of documentary evidence and survey data (n=500). This was supplemented by 21 interviews with a range of national stakeholders from trade union, professional and employer organisations. In total, 107 semi-structured interviews were conducted.

The findings confirm the varied impact of key national institutions on appraisal. Despite suggestions that the strength of German industrial relations institutions is eroding, in the German public-hospital sector institutionalised workers’ voice via the works council still plays a fundamental role and leads to more employee-friendly, developmental appraisal systems. In the Czech Republic, the lack of influential employee representation institutions and external requirements from hospital accreditation bodies leads to control-orientated appraisal systems with a focus on evaluation.

Motivating and Demotivating Effects of Performance Appraisals – Performance-based Pay in Swedish Public Sector Organisations

Bengt Larsson, Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson, Petra Adolfsson

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

During the classic “Swedish model”-era wages and wage-increases were largely defined in central national collective agreements and coordinated tariffs, under the general principle of “equal pay for equal work”. During the last three decades wage setting has been decentralized and the local space for individual differentiation through performance-based pay systems has gained ground – particularly in the public sector and for white-collar workers. This paper studies to what extent line-managers and employees believe that the performance based pay system as such are beneficial for employee motivation and for the overall performance of their unit and organisation; and what factors that affect whether employees find the salary talk and performance appraisal to be motivating or demotivating for themselves. Empirically the paper is based on employee surveys (n 4313) in three big public sector organisations in Sweden: one municipality, one regional hospital and one state agency. Theoretically, the paper connects theories of motivation to an institutional logics approach. The main results are that less than 50% of the respondents believe performance pay to be motivating, but that line-managers think so to a higher degree than regular employees; and that experiences of being motivated or demotivated are explained by different factors. A general tendency was that increased motivation correlated with the usage of relevant performance criteria, the quality of the appraisal talk, and the preparations by the employee. There were, however, also important contextual and organisational differences, explained by institutional logics.

Declining Gender Differences in Low-Wage Employment in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Nina-Sophie Fritsch, Roland Verwiebe, Bernd Liedl

Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Research on European labour markets confirms that women’s earnings fall below men’s. This difference is generally known as the gender wage gap. Despite the increase in women’s human capital, climbing female labour force participation rates and adapting employment careers between the sexes, this imbalance remains surprisingly marked within recent decades. Although there is a vast amount of studies concentrating on the gender wage gap, differences in low-wage employment between male and female emploees are less well studied. The present paper wants to add to the literature by analyzing gender-specific patterns of low-wage development in a long-term perspective (1996 - 2016). It takes a closer look at the process of labour market flexibilization whilst particularly focusing on gender in three Central European counties – Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We pursue the following research questions: How has low-wage employment in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria developed over the last 20 years? Which gendered patterns can be addressed and what impact emanates from the diversified composition of the labor markets?

Our empirical analysis is based on available data sets for those three countries (GSOEP, ECHP/SILC, SLFS) for the period between 1996 and 2016. Our results indicate that, that low-wage quotas are increasing in all three countries and female employees face higher risks to fall beneath the low-wage threshold. Nevertheless our analysis also reveals, that differences between the male and female workforce are declining over the time period. Moreover, we apply decomposition analysis in an attempt to include alterations on the labor market when evaluating the narrowing gender gap. In general, the composition of labor market was cushioning a yet stronger increase in in-work poverty rates especially in Germany.

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