A literature review on HRM and innovation – taking stock and future directions

Hannele Seeck, Marjo-Riitta Diehl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the growing body of empirical evidence (N = 35) on the impact of HRM on innovation that has been published during the past 25 years (1990–2015). Our most definitive finding concerns the impact of bundled HRM practices, which can be firmly linked to innovation. The role of high-commitment practice bundles appears particularly important. Studies on the various individual practices indicate that practices that foster employee commitment, loyalty, learning and intrinsic motivation are conducive to innovation. Some evidence points to the role of macro- and micro-level moderators setting boundary conditions (e.g. industry and strategy) for the HRM–innovation relationship and to mediators, such as creativity and knowledge management, as explanatory mechanisms as to why HRM impacts innovation. We noted a number of insufficiently covered areas that call for further research. We present four specific recommendations: (1) different phases of the innovation process deserve greater attention; (2) the invention of radical innovation warrants further investigation; (3) measurement of innovation and HRM should be more consistent; and (4) the theoretical underpinnings of the relationship between HRM and innovation should be strengthened. We conclude by reflecting the ‘black box’ stage between HRM and innovation through the AMO framework.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)913-944
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Human resource management
  • innovation
  • review


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