Discussion of ‘high performance’ or ‘high commitment’ workplaces has abounded in recent years and these discussions have been dominated by a positivist approach using the deductive method. There have been numerous attempts to test the relationship between establishment level performance and particular management practices (for example, Arthur, 1994; Huselid, 1995; MacDuffie, 1995). Each of these studies has sought to identify a set of practices that lead to high performance. However, as Cappelli and Neumark (2001) note in a recent overview of the existing research on work practices and organisational performance, there is considerable variation in what different researchers regard as constituting ‘high performance’ work systems. For example, Becker and Gerhart (1996) report twenty-seven different variables used as proxies for high performance work practices across just five studies.