Management by Vitality – Examining the ‘Active’ Well-being and Performance outcomes of High Performance Work Practices at the Work Unit Level

2009 – The argument that a healthy and happy employee is also a productive employee not  illogical. Research within companies that include employee satisfaction is a valuable touchstone in shaping HRM practices. But do these practices oriented at a happy employee without too much stress symptoms, also contribute to the performance of an organisation? This relationship is never scientifically proven.
In this thesis Luc Dorenbosch examines the extent to which ‘employee vitality’ is a more accurate test of HRM practices that contribute to the functioning of an organisation, than the traditional negative characteristics such as employee satisfaction and stress symptoms.

Research Question
Central is the vital employee: an employee who feels energetic and shows proactively by taking initiative; this attitudes is making it easy to contribute to the performance of the organisation in spite of  the complexity and uncertainty of the work context. Inspired by the literature on High Performance Work Systems ( HPWS ) Dorenbosch examines how a combination of High Performance – HRM practices stimulates the vitality of employees in such a way that organisational performance is improving. This forms the basis of the conceptual ‘management by vitality model’ in this thesis.
This thesis answers the following four questions:
• What can we conclude on the basis of previous research, about how labor organizational factors simultaneously contribute to both employee wellbeing and organisational performance?
• How can a new employee vitality concept contribute to research on employee wellbeing and organisational performance and what are the characteristics a valid vitality construct?
• What is meant by a High Performance Work System and what " High Performance " HRM practices ( HPWP ‘s) coincide with the theoretical assumptions of a High Performance Work System?
• What combination of " High Performance " – HRM practices promotes employee vitality, and to what extent vitality mediates a positive relationship between “High Performance " HRM practices and performance of organisational units?

The management by vitality model is deepened on the basis of both welfare -oriented and performance-oriented theoretical schools. In addition, using a questionnaire, research is done among 1769 workers within thirteen organizations from various sectors. The research focuses specifically on the level of organizational units. The reason for this is that often HRM will be put into practice on this level of line management.


There are five key elements of management by vitality distinguished:
– Approach management by vitality from an integrative perspective.
– Distinguish " active" from " passive " workers welfare and performance.
– Distinguish “High Performance" from  flanking HRM practices.
– Especially a flexible , development-oriented HRM focus will activate employees.
– HRM at unit level is related to employee- and unit outcomes.

These five elements of management by vitality can provide tools for the practice to underpin, give direction and monitor sustainable performance-oriented HRM policy at unit level.

: Dorenbosch, L.W. (2009) Management by Vitality – Examining the ‘ Active ‘ Well-being and performance outcomes or High Performance Work Practices at the Work Unit Level. doctorate Thesis. (see attachment)