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Putting the system back into training and firm performance research : a review and research agenda

Garavan, Thomas, McCarthy, Alma, Lai, Yanqing ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9107-3464, Clark, Nicholas, Carberry, Ronan, Gubbins, Claire, Sheehan, Maura and Saunders, Mark (2021) Putting the system back into training and firm performance research : a review and research agenda. Human Resource Management Journal, 31 (4). pp. 870-903. ISSN 0954-5395

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Abstract

Research investigating training and firm performance is currently at an inflection point; capable of recognising previous achievements but also having a focus on the future. Based on our review of 207 quantitative papers over a 40-year period, we find that the field has converged in terms of theory and methods. Important insights have been generated yet there is scope to better understand the complex, interrelated and dynamic nature of the relationship between training and firm performance. We propose that open systems theory (OST) provides the potential to move the field forward and encourage researchers to investigate interactions and linkages between training and performance components, the role of temporal dynamics in inputs and processes, reverse causality and to broaden conceptualisations of firm performance. We consider six principles of OST, highlight productive avenues for future research and identify methodological challenges and implications.

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