Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between employees’ perceptions of HRM practices and two outcomes, namely, employee commitment and turnover intention, in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in mainland China.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper adopts a quantitative approach based on a sample of 227 employees working in 24 SMEs in eastern and western China.
Findings – Employees’ perceptions of HRM practices such as training and development, reward management, and performance management, are significant predictors of employee commitment. A negative direct relationship is found between employees’ perceptions about the use of HRM practices and turnover intentions.
Research limitations/implications – Although data were collected from two representative provinces of eastern and western China, the size of the sample may limit the generalisability of the findings to the wider region.
Practical implications – The relationship between employees’ perceptions of HRM practices and employee outcomes in Chinese SMEs provides an effective way for SME owners and HR practitioners to generate desirable employee attitudes and behaviours, which, ultimately contribute to improving organisational performance.
Originality/value – This is an original paper which makes a contribution by helping to address the dearth of studies which have explored aspects of the effectiveness of HRM in SMEs in China. In contrast to the majority of China-focused studies on this topic, it highlights HRM outcomes at the individual level rather than the organisational level. Further, the study involves SMEs in western China which is an under-explored region.