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Information Systems Research


We examine the effects of human resource management (HRM) practices (e.g., career development, social support, compensation, and security) on IT professionals‟ job search behavior. Job search is a relatively novel dependent variable in studies of voluntary withdrawal behavior, in general, and for IT professionals, in particular. From a universalistic perspective, HRM practices individually and in combination exhibit independently additive effects on job search behavior. Our study contrasts this perspective with configurational theory, hypothesizing that proposed idealtype configurations of HRM practices have synergistic effects on job search behavior. We contribute to the IT and broader HRM literature by theoretically explicating and empirically demonstrating with IT professionals the power of configurational theory to explain the relationship between HRM practices and job search behavior.

Our empirical results show that two configurations of HRM practices – Human Capital Focused (HCF) and Task Focused (TF), which are high and low on all HRM practices, respectively – exhibit a synergistic relationship with the job search behavior of IT professionals. HCF has lower job search behavior than would be expected based on the independently additive effects of the HRM practices, whereas TF has correspondingly higher job search behavior. Our results also show that less than perfect horizontal fit detracts from the synergy of these extreme configurations.

Just as importantly, several other non-extreme configurations of HRM practices exhibit independently additive effects for the HRM practices but not synergy, suggesting that synergy is limited to extreme configurations. We also discuss a number of implications for research and practice.

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