Purpose – This paper aims to propose a conceptual framework to explore the link between strategic human resource management (SHRM) and firm performance of the coal mining companies in Central Queensland (CQ), Australia.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews literature relating to the process and issues of transforming human resource practices and industrial relations of the coal industry in Australia for the past decade. Theoretical development and empirical studies on the SHRM-performance linkage are discussed. Based on the literature review, the paper develops an integrated model for testing the relationship between SHRM and firm performance in the context of CQ's coalmines and proposes a number of research propositions.
Findings – Three perceivable outcomes are likely derived from application of this framework in the field. First, a testing of the linkage between strategic HRM and firm performance in the coal industry, using an integrated approach, would complement the empirical deficiency of treatments on the prior SHRM models. Second, data at firm level could be collected to develop a better understanding of how the adoption of strategic HRM practices in coal companies can affect firm performance. Third, the extent of flexibility practices, use of contractors and associated management practices could be identified.
Originality/value – The coal industry is central to economic development of regional Queensland. The industry contributes substantially to GDP via employment, investment and product export. An exploration of the impact of SHRM on the coal industry will likely result in identifying some best practices that could be potentially adopted in the wider business community to foster regional economic development in Australia and worldwide.
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