Similarity, Isomorphism or Duality? Recent Survey Evidence on the Human Resource Management Policies of Multinational Corporations

23 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2008

See all articles by Chris Brewster

Chris Brewster

Henley Management College - Human Resource Management

Geoffrey Wood

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Michael Brookes

Middlesex University

Abstract

There is considerable debate as to the determinants of the human resource policies of human resource management: do they reflect national institutional or cultural realities, emerging common global practices, parent country effects or the dual effects of transnational and national realities? We use an extensive international database to explore these differences, assessing variations in a range of human resource practices. We find new evidence of national differences in the manner in which indigenous firms manage their people, but also evidence of a similarity in practice amongst multinational corporations. In other words, multinational corporations tend to manage their human resources in ways that are distinct from those of their host country; at the same time, country of origin effects seem relatively weak. Whilst there is some evidence of common global practices, sufficient diversity in practice persists to suggest that duality theories may provide the most appropriate explanation.

Suggested Citation

Brewster, Chris and Wood, Geoffrey and Brookes, Michael, Similarity, Isomorphism or Duality? Recent Survey Evidence on the Human Resource Management Policies of Multinational Corporations. British Journal of Management, Vol. 19, Issue 4, pp. 320-342, December 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1297546 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2007.00546.x

Chris Brewster (Contact Author)

Henley Management College - Human Resource Management ( email )

Greenlands
Henley-on-Thames
Oxfordshire RG9 3AU, England
United Kingdom

Geoffrey Wood

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

9 Mappin Street
Sheffield, S1 4DT
United Kingdom
0114 22 23346 (Phone)

Michael Brookes

Middlesex University ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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